Kuwait (/kʊˈweɪt/ (About this sound listen) Arabic: الكويت al-Kuwait, Gulf Arabic pronunciation: [ɪl‿ɪkweːt] or [lɪkweːt]), officially the State of Kuwait (Arabic: دولة الكويت About this sound Dawlat al-Kuwait), is a country in Western Asia. Situated in the northern edge of Eastern Arabia at the tip of the Persian Gulf, it shares borders with Iraq and Saudi Arabia. As of 2016, Kuwait has a population of 4.2 million people; 1.3 million are Kuwaitis and 2.9 million are expatriates. Expatriates account for 70% of the population.
Oil reserves were discovered in commercial quantities in 1938. From 1946 to 1982, the country underwent large-scale modernization. In the 1980s, Kuwait experienced a period of geopolitical instability and an economic crisis following the stock market crash. In 1990, Kuwait was invaded, and later annexed, by Saddam’s Iraq. The Iraqi occupation of Kuwait came to an end in 1991 after military intervention by a military coalition led by the United States, the United Kingdom, France and Saudi Arabia. At the end of the war, there were extensive efforts to revive the economy and rebuild national infrastructure. The resulting improvement of its relation with the United States led to it becoming a major non-NATO ally in 2004.
Islam is the official religion of Kuwait. It is a constitutional state with a semi-democratic political system. It has a high income economy backed by the world’s sixth largest oil reserves. The Kuwaiti dinar is the highest valued currency in the world. According to the World Bank, the country has the fourth highest per capita income in the world. The Constitution was promulgated in 1962. Kuwait is home to the largest opera house in the Middle East. The Kuwait National Cultural District is a member of the Global Cultural Districts Network. Kuwait is widely considered the “Hollywood of the Gulf” due to the popularity of its soap operas and theatre.
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