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Friday 24th May
Kuwait Information - Page 2
In the seventeenth century the north-east part of the Arabian Peninsula was incorporated into the Ottoman Empire.

In the 1750s Kuwait came under the leadership of the Al Sabah family, with semi-autonomy from the Ottomans.

Towards the end of the nineteenth century the threat of Ottoman direct rule led Sheikh Mubarak Al Sabah to sign the Special Treaty of Friendship with Britain. The British navy protected Kuwait in return for Britain's control of Kuwait's foreign affairs.

The British Protectorate came to an end in 1961 and Kuwait became an independent country.

In August 1990 neighbouring Iraq annexed Kuwait and refused to obey a resolution of the United Nations to leave the country. An international military campaign, led by the United States, forced Iraqi troops out of Kuwait.

A new Kuwait-Iraq border was set by the United Nations.

Prior to the discovery of oil Kuwait's economy depended on commercial activities, fishing, and pearl diving.

The oil resources of Kuwait are estimated to represent around nine percent of the world's reserves. Petroleum earns nearly half of the country's Gross Domestic Product.

Industries, other than oil, include natural gas, petrochemicals, cement, shipbuilding and repair, construction materials and food processing.

Kuwait's terrain is not suited to agriculture. Apart from fish, most food is imported. Seawater undergoes the process of desalination and water is also imported.

Many aspects of social welfare and public works are supported by oil revenues. (2011)

Much of Kuwait's tradition in music and dance is derived from the Bedouin way of life. The Ardha, a national dance, is a sword dance performed by men and accompanied by drums and tambourines.

Traditional songs include sea shanties sung during pearl diving voyages. Poetry also has a long history in Kuwaiti culture.

Jewellery and weaving are traditional crafts. The production of textiles woven from wool can be seen at Sadu House, the centre for Kuwaiti Bedouin weaving.

Soccer is the most popular team game in Kuwait. Other sports include tennis, athletics, and martial arts.

Traditional sports such as falconry and horse racing are still practised.

Water sports are swimming, scuba diving, surfing and yachting.

All religious holidays are celebrated. Independence Day is on 19 June 1961 (from the UK).

News from Kuwait is available in Newslink.

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