Kuwait City

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Kuwait City (Arabic: مدينة الكويت, transliteration: Madīnat al-Kuwayt), is the capital of Kuwait. It has a population of 2.38 million in the metropolitan area. Located at the heart of the country on the shore of the Persian Gulf, and containing Kuwait's parliament (Majlis Al-Umma), most governmental offices, the headquarters of most Kuwaiti corporations and banks, it is the undisputable political, cultural and economic center of the emirate.

Kuwait City’s trade and transportation needs are served by Kuwait International Airport, Mina Al-Shuwaik (Shuwaik Port) and Mina al-Ahmadi (Ahmadi Port) 50 kilometers to the south, on the Persian Gulf coast.

Contents

History

Kuwait City was first settled in the early 18th Century by the Al-Sabāh clan, later the ruling family of Kuwait and a branch of the Al-Utūb tribe (that also included the Al-Khalīfah clan, the ruling family of Bahrain), and their leader, Sheikh Sabāh I. Its name may have derived from an earlier abandoned fort located there, called "Kūt" (كوت) - Arabic for a fortress by the sea.

The settlement grew quickly, and by the time its first wall was built (1760), the town had its own dhow fleet of about 800 and trading relations to Baghdad and Damascus. It was a successful and thriving sea port by the early 19th Century.

It was unclear whether or not Kuwait was part of the Ottoman Empire, and as a result, tensions often broke out between the sheikhdom and the empire. These tensions peaked when, in 1896, Sheikh Mubārak Al-Sabāh assassinated his brother, the emir Muhammad Al-Sabāh, over Mubārak's deep suspicion that the Ottoman Empire was willing to annex Kuwait.

In exchange for British naval protection, Mubārak was not to negotiate or give territory to any other foreign power without British consent. With the discovery of oil in 1936, the city’s standard of living improved dramatically, including health and education services.

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