Facts about Kuwait:
The National Emblem:
The emblem of Kuwait consisted of 'a helmet with a falcon
and two intersecting flags over it' until the middle of 1963, when the
Council of Ministers decided to replace it with a new one. The present
emblem of Kuwait is a falcon with outspread wings embracing a dhow (boom)
sailing on blue and white waves. It is a symbol of Kuwait’s maritime
The First Flag of the State of Kuwait:
After the conclusion of the Protectorate Treaty with the British Empire in
1899 and the declaration of the First World War, where Turkey and Britain
were opponent parties, many discussions were carried on about the form of a
new flag that would replace the Ottoman one. The situation deteriorated when
the ship of a well-known Kuwaiti Trader raising the Ottoman flag was blocked
by British boats that threatened the Kuwaiti ships of sinking them if they
continued to raise the Ottoman flag, since there was a treaty between the
two countries. Sheikh Mubarak Al-Sabah decided, then, to raise a new red
flag with the word “Kuwait” in white. He also chose three forms of flag: a
triangular flag for the Emirate, a square one for the public departments,
and a rectangular one for the ships. The red flag underwent many changes
The Current Flag Of Kuwait:
When Kuwait gained full independence in 1961, the
government decided to replace the old flag with a new design. This was
promulgated by a law issued on September 7, 1961, some provisions of which
were amended on November 18, 1961. The first Article stipulated that
Kuwait’s national flag should consist of a horizontal rectangle which is
twice as long as it is wide.
This is divided into three equal horizontal stripes: the
top one being green, the middle white and the bottom red; with the side next
to the flag pole forming the base of a black trapezoid protruding into the
stripes. The colors of the flag are derived from a poem by Safie Al-Deen Al-Hali.
The words of his poem denote:
White for our
Black for our
Green for our
Red for our past.
Since ancient times, Kuwait has served as the gateway to
the Middle East because of its geographical location. Kuwait has drawn upon
the accumulated wisdom of countries around the world to power its own
growth. In a few decades, after the discovery of oil, a nation of fishermen
and traders has transformed into one of the richest and developed nations in
the world - offering state-of-the-art amenities, secure infrastructure and
technical excellence - and is respected around the world.
The Kuwaitis' pride in their history, heritage and
national progress has given rise to an identity which is uniquely Kuwaiti.
An identity which is worthy of emulation by all nations in the world.
The centuries have changed; the traditions have not. The
country has modernized, but its people's links with their heritage are as
strong as ever. Kuwait's wealth -- Black Gold -- may be buried underground,
but its spirit is still vibrantly free and alive.
After the proclamation of Kuwait’s independence, the
Kuwaiti national anthem was written by the poet Meshari Al-Adwani and was
broadcast for the first time on February 25, 1978. The music was composed by
Ibrahim Al-Soula and arranged by Ahmad Ali. The ‘Amiri Salute’ was composed
by Yousuf Adees in 1951 and was used until February 1978. The ‘National
Salute’ consists of the first six bars of the National Anthem.
The Words of the Anthem in Arabic
Translated to English
Abaa-il Ola Katabou
Kawakebo Jannatil Kholdi
Watanil Kuwaita Lana
Eshta Alal Mada Watana
Horron Fi Hemaka Bana
Be Akramil Aydi
Watani Wa Shahidona
Wal Haqqo Ra-Edona
Wa Amirona Lil
Hamiyati Sadqol Waadi
Country, May you be safe and glorious! May you always enjoy good
You are the
cradle of my ancestors,
distinguished themselves in this world,
immortalized themselves with their heroic deeds and martyrdom, and are
to be found like stars shining in Paradise.
Country, May you be safe and glorious!
May you always
enjoy good fortune!
Country, May you be blessed as our happy homeland, and may you ever
stand defended by free countrymen who have built our noble life with the
most generous hands.
Country, May you be safe and glorious!
May you always
enjoy good fortune!
We vow to
defend you, with Divine Law as our witness, and truth and rightness as
our guide, and with our reliable, generous and trustworthy Amir as our
leader to prosperity and glory.
Country, May you be safe and glorious!
May you always
enjoy good fortune!
In the early 17th century Kuwait was known as Qurain (or
Grane), from the Arabic words Qarn (a high hill) and Kout (a fortress). Some
historians believe that Barrak Bin Ghuraif, Sheikh of the Bani Khalid tribe,
built Kuwait in Grane and that since then the city has been referred to by
its present name.
Kuwait lies at the north-west corner of the Arabian Gulf,
between 28o and 30o latitudes and between 46o and 48o longitudes. To the
north and the west, it shares a border of 240 km (149 miles) with the
Republic of Iraq, and to the south and south-west it shares 250 km (155
miles) with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. On the east it has a coastline of
290 km (181 miles) on the Arabian Gulf.
Area and Topography:
The total area of the State of Kuwait is 17,818 sq km.
Most of the mainland is a flat sandy desert gradually sloping towards sea
level in the east. It is broken by shallow depressions and low hills, which
form a ridge at Jal Al-Zor (145 meters above sea level), cut by the Umm Al-Ramam
Wadi. The area is locally known as Ghodai, meaning a hill. The southern part
of Kuwait is generally flat, with the exception of Ahmadi hill which is 137
meters above sea level.
The Kuwaiti mainland, with no mountains, rivers or other
natural features, was for a long time a transit area for nomadic tribes and
caravans. Such freedom of movement made delineation of borders rather
difficult. On July 7, 1965, a neutral zone was created between the State of
Kuwait and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The northern part of the partitioned
zone is administered by Kuwait, whilst the southern part is the
administrative responsibility of Saudi Arabia. The crude oil extracted from
the partitioned zone is equally shared by both countries.
Due to the location of Kuwait in the Sahara geographical
region, the weather of the country is characterized by long, hot and dry
summers and short, warm and sometimes rainy winters. Dust storms almost
always occur with a rise in humidity during summer.
The highest temperature ever recorded was 52oC in July
1978, (making Kuwait the fourth hottest place in the world). The lowest
temperature, -6oC, was recorded in January 1964. There is a wide variation
of temperature, ranging from an average of 45oC in summer to an average of
8oC in winter. Such climate fluctuation is often accompanied by a change in
the annual rainfall -- which may vary from 22 mm one year to 352 mm the
An Amiri Decree issued on December 17, 1967, defined the
boundaries of Kuwait’s territorial waters as 12 miles -- for both the
mainland and islands. It also regarded the Bay of Kuwait as purely inland
waters, with the limits of territorial waters starting at the line between
the two headlands of the little Gulf.
The area of Kuwaiti territorial waters is estimated at
about 2,200 sq miles. They can be divided into two parts -- the shallow
northern area, which is less than 5 meters deep in most places with a muddy
bed, and the relatively deep southern area, which has a bed of sand and
silica deposits. Most of Kuwait’s ports are located on the southern shore,
taking advantage of the deep waters in this area.
There has always been a strong link between Kuwait and
the sea, and it is this link which has shaped the distinctive character of
today’s Kuwaitis and had constituted the main source of income in ancient
Although today the picture is very different with urban
expansion and rapid modernisation, the link with the sea is still a
cherished memory of the past for the Kuwaitis.
The 290-km coast can be divided into two main parts: one
extending along the Arabian Gulf and the other around the Kuwaiti Bay and
Khor Subiya. Most of the former area is characterized by sandy beaches,
while the second area, 70 km in length, is characterized by mudflats,
especially in the shallow northern area in the Bay of Kuwait where the
maximum wave height is 16 cm opposite Kuwait city.
There are six seaports located at Shuwaikh, Doha, Ahmadi,
Mina Abdallah, Shuaiba and Al-Zor, besides some special anchorage points
used by companies and individuals. There are also 20 anchorage points for
small boats. Eleven per cent of the beaches are assigned for tourist
recreation and entertainment and 40 per cent of the shoreline is utilized by
special establishments and nationals for private villas and chalets, whilst
35 per cent of the beaches, mainly in the northern part, are as yet
Kuwait’s wild plant-life is one of its unique natural
heritage. Plants are adapted to survive in the harsh conditions and extreme
temperatures. Unfortunately, they suffered under the intense pressure caused
by grazing, collection of fuel etc. However, four major ecosystems may be
recognized, they are:
Some perennial shrubs which have medicinal value grow
here. The other dominant plantation is the annual grass.
Salt-marshes and saline depressions:
These are common along the shores of Kuwait. The
plant-life here has to be more that just salt-tolerant since this is very
much a marine dominated environment. A clearly defined zonation of plants
associated with salt-marshes are found here.
This is dominated by bushy clamps of perennial desert
grass. However, in low depressions where occasional rainfall gathers,
attractive purple or blue colored flowers grow aplenty.
Kuwait is home to numerous species of insects, animals
and birds. Among the diverse insects the most attractive group is that of
butterflies. Several beautiful varieties are found here and the best time to
see them is Spring. There are 38 recorded reptiles in Kuwait, comprising of
a variety of snakes, lizards, geckos etc. Besides, there are 50 listed
varieties of mammals a number of them are endangered species. Some commonly
found animals include hedgehog, wolf, wild cat, Gazelle etc. Nearly 280
species of birds have been recorded here. Incidentally, most of them are
There are nine islands off the coast of Kuwait: Failaka,
Bubiyan, Miskan, Warba, Auhha, Umm Al-Maradim, Umm Al-Naml, Kubbar and Qaruh.
Bubiyan, the largest island of the State, has an area of
863 sq km and is connected with the mainland by a concrete bridge. Warba, at
the north extremity of the Gulf, occupies an area of 37 sq km. Miskan and
Auhha lie on the north and the south of Failaka island, respectively.
Located at the mouth of Kuwait Bay, a lot of Islamic antiquities have been
found on Umm Al-Naml island. Kubbar and Qaruh lie at the southern end of the
Gulf and have been the favorite homes for large flocks of sea birds.
Lying 20 km north-east of Kuwait city, the island of
Failaka is the most beautiful and famous of Kuwait's islands. It combines
the ancient history of Kuwait, dating back to the early Stone Age and the
modern history of Kuwait, when the early Utubs settled in after their long
journey, prior to their settlement on the Kuwaiti mainland in the late 17th
A 21-km submarine pipeline connecting the island to the
mainland provides the inhabitants with more than 100 million gallons of
sweet water every year. Parallel to the submarine water pipeline there are
three submarine power cables from Kuwait City providing electrical energy to
Failaka island has become a modern tourist attraction,
keeping abreast of all aspects of modern progress. Every day, before the
Iraqi aggression, visitors were carried from the mainland at Ras Al-Ardh (Salmiyah)
to the island by ferry boats belonging to the Public Transport Company, to
relax and swim in its lazuline waters. Much of their leisure time was spent
at its five million sq meter tourist complex, located in the southern part
of Failaka, which contains a good number of swimming pools, sports
playgrounds and restaurants.
The first currency circulated in Kuwait discovered in
Falaika Island was a Greek currency of the 3rd century before J. C. The
Greeks lived in Falaika named at that time “Ikarus” and built houses,
temples, and fortresses. The most important currency discovered was the one
with the head of Alexander the Great and other currencies with the image of
the King “Antakhus”, who governed the Island 200 years before J.C.
However, the first currency that circulated in Kuwait for 50 years was a
strange coin (twisted metal) issued in Hassa before the foundation of the
Emirate by the Sabah at the beginning of 18th century. From that time, other
different currencies were used in Kuwait, as the
Austrian real, the Indian
Maher, Ottoman and Persian currencies. The entrance of the Indian currency,
the Rupee, which circulated in Kuwait until 1960, was a consequence of the
strong relationship in trade between Kuwait and Britain. In fact, the
British Government decided to transfer the branch of the Agency of the East
India Company from Basra to Kuwait in 1820, consequently Kuwait became the
intermediary for British exportations from India to Europe.
The Indian Rupee had known several phases:
During the reign of William IV of England 1830-1837
During the reign of Victoria of England 1837-1901
During the reign of Edward VII of England 1901-1910
During the reign of Georges V of England 1910-1936
During the reign of Georges VI of England 1936-1952
After the independence of India the Rupee was issued by
the Indian Government with the Indian Emblem (A lion), it circulated in
Kuwait since 1956.
Government decided to replace the Indian Rupee that circulated in Kuwait and
in the Golf Countries with a different one. This act had shocked all the
Arab Golf Countries since the Indian Rupee had, at that time, a big effect
on the economy. Consequently, the issuing of new currencies would have had
bad effects not only on the Kuwaiti economy but also on the economies of
other Arab Golf Countries.
Kuwait was obliged
to accept the procedure undertaken by the Indian government but Sheikh
Abdullah Al-Salem Al-Sabah ordered the Financial Department to take the
necessary steps to issue a national Kuwaiti currency.
Sheikh Abdullah Bin Sabah Bin Jaber Al-Sabah, the fifth governor of Kuwait
(1866-1892), had tried before to issue a hand made Kuwaiti currency but the
coins were not uniform and they were far from being competitive with Indian
and English currencies, especially because Kuwait did not have the necessary
In April 1961, the First issue of the Kuwaiti Currency, the Kuwaiti Dinar,
was put into circulation replacing the “Indian Rupee”. The Kuwait currency
comes with denominations Quarter Dinar, Half Dinar, One Dinar, Five Dinars,
ten Dinars, Twenty Dinars.
Since the beginning of placing the Kuwait Currency in circulation, there
have been five consecutive issues of the Kuwaiti Currency. The Fifth one is
the only currently circulating currency of the State of Kuwait with a
high-level technology utilizing technical features and security
developments. As far as the coins are concerned, no changes have so far been
made since the day it was issued in 1961. The units of these coins are, One
Fils, Five Fils, Ten Fils, Twenty Fils, Fifty Fils, and One Hundred Fils.
These coins have retained their designed technical specifications since