Useful Notes / Kuwait
Looks a lot like Darth Vader's helmet, doesn't it?

Kuwait (Arabic: دولة الكويت‎ Dawlat al-Kuwayt) is a city-state on the Persian Gulf. It was founded in 1756 by a confederation of tribes in a seaside oasis and given the name it has which is a transliteration of the Arabic word for "seaside fort". In other words the name means roughly "Shoreburg" or "Shorecastle".

After negotiations it was agreed that the Al-Sabah tribe would hold the Emirate of Kuwait (not necessarily the biggest piece of the pie considering all the wealth the other tribes would get from the deal) and the other tribes would be free to trade. This fairly civilized means of settling the issue began Kuwait's history as a Merchant City.

Through the years Kuwaitis became known as seafarers and caravaners. They were also especially known for their pearl fishing.

Politically Kuwait had a pleasantly uneventful history. Though occasionally a power struggle in the desert would bring an army roaring to their gates, their walls were impregnable to any siege techniques available to any prince in the area. The Ottomans were far away and satisfied with nominal tribute, and The British Empire was inclined to act as their patron to protect such things as local trade, policing of the seas, and the Balance of Power. On the whole neither Great Power desired to meddle unbearably. Thus Kuwait's chief worry was negotiations with desert tribes about the proper tolls to be charged.

When oil was found in the early twentieth century, it changed Kuwait's economy. For one thing, it made it a more attractive tidbit. Kuwait finally came to the world's attention in 1991 when Saddam Hussein conquered it, becoming, for six months, the 20th governorate of Iraq. This threatened to give Saddam control of the Middle East oil supply. A coalition was formed led by the United States and the invaders were ejected.

At the present time Kuwait is recovering from the war. The Al-Sabah's monopoly of government function has of late been questioned and there has been talk of modifying the local constitution. Out of all of the Persian Gulf monarchies, though, Kuwait is no doubt the most liberal, being the only one to have a democratic government (not fully, but it's still a big step), making it similar to Jordan and Morocco.

Demographically, Kuwait is diverse due to having more foreign expatriates than the native-born citizens. It once hosted the largest Palestinian community outside of the Levant, though most of them have been expelled for their collaboration with Iraq in bringing down the Kuwaiti regime during the Gulf War.

Oh, and its currency currently has the highest value in the world (1 KWD = US$3.29).

The Kuwaiti flag
Like other Arabic Middle Eastern flags, this one uses all four Pan-Arab colors — the green, white and red horizontal stripes symbolize the land, the Kuwaitis' actions, and the blood of fallen enemies, respectively, while the black truncated triangle on the hoist side commemorates the country's battles.

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