History of Kuwait

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The country of Kuwait has a history which dates to ancient times.


Ancient History

The Greeks

In 3rd century BC, the Ancient Greeks colonized the island, Failaka, on today's Kuwait coast under Alexander the Great and named it "Ikaros". Some believe the name came from an island off the Greek coast, where it is believed that the mythical Icarus was buried, which resembled Failaka. Others however believe it was named so due to its heat and the belief that it was close to the sun.[1]

In 127 BC, out of the ruins of the Seleucid Greek Empire, Characene was founded at the head of the Persian Gulf in borders similar to present day Kuwait. Its capital was Charax Spasinou, "The Fort of Hyspaosines". The city was an important port in the trade from Mesopotamia to India and provided port facilities for the great city of Susa, further up the Tigris River. Trajan, the Roman emperor, visited Charax in 116 AD, during his invasion of Parthia, and watched the ships leaving for India. He reportedly lamented the fact that he was not younger so that he could, like Alexander, have gone there himself.

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