Useful country information
Total area: 6,880 sq mi (17,819 sq km)
Population (2012 est.): 4.329 million
Capital (2009 est.): Kuwait, 3,177,000
Kuwait: Capital City Profile
Monetary unit: Kuwaiti dinar (KD)
Languages: Arabic (official), English
Ethnicity/race: Kuwaiti 45%, other Arab 35%, South Asian 9%, Iranian 4%, other 7%
Religions: Islam 85% (Sunni 70%, Shiite 30%); Christian, Hindu, Parsi, and other 15%
National Holiday: National Day, February 25
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Nominally a province of the Ottoman Empire ruled from Constantinople (todays Istanbul) from the 16th century until the latter part of the 19th century.
On 23 November 1899, Sheikh Mubarak signed the Anglo-Kuwaiti Treaty with Great Britain. The treaty established Kuwait as an autonomous British protectorate with a semi-autonomous status for the country.
In the mid-1930s, Kuwait began the development of its petroleum industry, the basis of the country's modern prosperity. On 19 June 1961, Kuwait gained full independence from Britain, and in 1963 it became a member of the United Nations.
Kuwait's sovereignty was critically threatened when Iraq invaded and occupied Kuwait on 2 August 1990,
an international coalition of 30 states, led by the United States, began a ground assault on 23 February 1991 that completely liberated Kuwait in four days.
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