Geography of Kuwait

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{island, water, area}
{area, part, region}
{government, party, election}
{country, population, people}
{war, force, army}
{city, population, household}
{land, century, early}
{water, park, boat}
{town, population, incorporate}
{village, small, smallsup}

Kuwait is situated in Southwest Asia, bordering the Persian Gulf, between Iraq and Saudi Arabia. Once a small Persian Gulf sheikhdom known locally as a center for pearl diving and boat construction, Kuwait came to international prominence in the post-World War II era largely because of its enormous oil revenues. Yet its history as an autonomous political entity is much older, dating back to the eighteenth century. At that time, the town of Kuwait was settled by migrants from central Arabia who arrived at what was then a lightly populated fishing village under the suzerainty of the Bani Khalid tribe of Arabia. Members of one family, the Al Sabah, have ruled Kuwait from that time.

Since 2009 Kuwait has been ruled by Shaykh Jabir al Ahmad al Jabir Al Sabah and his designated successor, Shaykh Saad al Abd Allah as Salim Al Sabah, the prime minister and crown prince. In the postwar period, these men have supported, with some ambivalence, the strengthening of popular participation in decision making as provided for in the constitution.

Kuwait is located at the far northwestern corner of the Persian Gulf. It is a small state of 17,820 square kilometers, a little smaller than the state of New Jersey. At its most distant points, it is about 200 kilometers north to south and 170 kilometers east to west.

Contents

Boundaries

Shaped roughly like a triangle, Kuwait borders the Persian Gulf to the east, with 195 kilometers of coast. Kuwait includes within its territory nine Persian Gulf islands, two of which, Bubiyan (the largest) and Warbah, are largely uninhabited but strategically important. The island of Faylakah, at the mouth of Kuwait Bay, is also largely uninhabited as people did not return to their homes after the Iraqi invasion. It is believed to be the outermost point of the ancient civilization of Dilmun, which was centered in what is present-day Bahrain. Faylakah is the site of an ancient Greek temple built by the forces of Alexander the Great. Kuwait's most prominent geographic feature is Kuwait Bay, which indents the shoreline for about forty kilometers, providing natural protection for the port of Kuwait and accounting for nearly onehalf the state's shoreline.

To the south and west, Kuwait shares a long border of 250 kilometers with Saudi Arabia. The boundary between Kuwait and Saudi Arabia was set by the Treaty of Al Uqayr in 1922, which also established the Kuwait-Saudi Arabia neutral zone of 5,700 square kilometers. In 1966 Kuwait and Saudi Arabia agreed to divide the Neutral Zone; the partitioning agreement making each country responsible for administration in its portion was signed in December 1969. The resources in the area, since known as the Divided Zone, are not affected by the agreement, and the oil from onshore and offshore fields continues to be shared equally between the two countries.

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