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sunnuntai 2. elokuuta 2015

Kuwait, Cool Facts #55

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1. Al-Sahab Family

Kuwait is ruled by the Al-Sahab family which has been in power since 1756. In the year 1961 Kuwait became independent from the UK and the Emir of Kuwait, Abdullah al-Salmi as-Sabah continued his autocratic rule.

The current Emir of Kuwait is the 15th leader from the House of Sahab. His name is Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah and he has been in power since the year 2006.

Sabah al-Sabah on the right


2. Kuwaiti Oil 

First oil finding were made in 1938 but the production began after the second world war. One tenth of the world's oil reserves lie in Kuwait and it's one of the biggest oil and natural gas producers in the world. In 1975 the oil production was moved from Gulf Oil and BP to the state-owned Kuwait Oil Company.

The oil profits made Kuwait wealthy and a lot of workers moved there from poorer countries. This explains why there are only 1,2 native Kuwaitis in a country with a 4,1 million population. Kuwaiti people have free education and healthcare because of the oil profits and there are no taxes.



3. Golden Age of Kuwait 

The Golden Age of Kuwait was the time period between the years 1946-1982. Kuwait was the most developed country in the region in the 1960s and 1970s.

- Kuwaiti society embraced liberal and Western attitudes
- Most Kuwaiti women didn't wear the hijab in the 1960s and 1970s
- At Kuwait University, mini-skirts were more common than the hijab
- Kuwait's press was one of the freest in the world in the 1960s and 1970s
- Many Arab writers moved to Kuwait for their greater freedom of expression
- Kuwait's theatre industry was famous among the Arab world

There were economic crisis and terror attacks in the 1980s ending the Golden Age of Kuwait.



4. Gulf War 

Kuwait had supported Iraq during the Iran-Iraq War between 1980-1988. After the war Iraq requested Kuwait to forgive Iraq's 65 billion dollar debt. Kuwait declined so Iraq decided to occupy Kuwait in 1990 and annexed Kuwait into Iraq as a new province.

In 1991 the coalition forces led by USA drove the Iraqi away from Kuwait. As a compensation Kuwait paid 17 billion dollars for the coalition that helped them to drive the Iraqi away from Kuwait. Iraqi forces set oil fields on fire when they retreated and that caused major economic and environmental damage for Kuwait.

Gulf War

5. World's Highest Valued Currency

Kuwait has the world's highest valued currency. The Kuwaiti Dinar.

Top 5 Currencies of the World (2015)

1. Kuwaiti Dinar 3,30 US dollars
2. Bahraini Dinar 2,65 US dollars
3. Omani Rial 2,60 US dollars
4. British Pound 1,56 US dollars
5. Jordanian Dinar 1,41 US dollars



Timeline

1700s Almost uninhabited area before the Bedouins established a community at the bay of Kuwait
1756 The al-Sahab family rises in power and they still rule the country
1820 A treaty considering the piracy in Persian Gulf, a white stripe was added to the flags to refer to the treaty by British demand
1899 Kuwait signs a protection agreement with the UK
1914 Kuwait becomes a British colony
1920s Saudi-Arabia tries to grab Kuwait to itself but the British soldiers prevented it
1961 Kuwait becomes independent
1975 Oil production is transferred from British Petroleum and Gulf Oil to Kuwait Oil Company
1990 Iraq attacks to Kuwait making it an Iraqi province, the foreign troops occupy Kuwait back from Iraq
2005 Women are allowed to vote for the first time in parliament elections
2011 Small demonstrations during the Arab Spring

Sources:
Maailman liput maat ja historia by Kimmo Kiljunen
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kuwait

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