Kuwait is a small emirate situated between Iraq and Saudi Arabia, in a section of one of the driest, least-hospitable deserts. The name “Kuwait” was derived from the Arabic diminutive of the Hindustani kūt (“fort”). From when the ruling family, known as the Āl Ṣabāḥ, established a sheikhdom in 1756, the fortunes of the country have been interlinked to foreign commerce. The small fort rose slowly to become Kuwait city, a metropolis full of skyscrapers, apartment complexes, and mosques. Kuwait city hosts the largest part of the country’s population, making it one of the world’s most urbanized countries.
Highest Per Capita Incomes
The tiny country, a British protectorate between 1899 and 1961, drew global attention in 1990 when Iraqi forces invaded and tried to force for secession. A coalition of forces formed by the U.N and led by the U.S drove out Iraq’s army within days of the offensive in February 1991. However, the defeated army looted the country and set fire to most of its oil wells as they retreated. Kuwait has mostly recovered from the effects of that war known as the Persian war and is ranked as having one of the highest per capita incomes in the world.
The usually conservative government has continued to offer generous material benefits for its citizens. Though conservative factions within the society are still resistant to some of the reforms such as woman suffrage, it has remained relatively stable. It is sometimes referred to as an “oasis” of peace and safety in an otherwise turbulent region.
Natural Gas Reserves
Kuwait does not have permanent surface water, either in the form of standing bodies or in the form of flows such as perennial rivers. Naturally occurring fresh water in Kuwait was scarce until after World War II when desalination plants were built.
About one-tenth of the world’s oil reserves are found in this tiny country. Its proven recoverable reserves are projected to withstand sustainable levels for some 150 years at current production rates. Though the oil industry suffered severe damage during the Iraqi invasion, most was repaired by the mid-1990s. Kuwait also has considerable natural gas reserves with almost all of it in the form of associated gas, that is, gas produced together with crude oil.
The production of oil has resulted in soil contamination due to oil and soot accumulation. And this made the eastern and south-eastern parts of Kuwait almost completely uninhabitable. Build up of sand and oil residue has reduced huge chunks of the Kuwaiti desert to semi-asphalt surfaces. Oil spills that occurred during the Gulf War also significantly affected Kuwait's marine resources.
Oil prices have fallen tremendously since last year but Kuwait remains a very wealthy nation. The rulers realize that the oil will eventually run out and are now encouraging projects which are aimed at giving the country a post-oil future.
The barren desert on the border between Kuwait and Saudi Arabia does not sound like the ideal place to build a new city, but it has been picked as the site for the Sabah Al Ahmed Sea City this amazing city is being built in the with special tidal gates to allow the sea to come almost six miles inland and it can be flushed away.