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Kuwait, officially the State of Kuwait, is a sovereign Arab state situated in the north-east of the Arabian Peninsula in Western Asia. It is bordered by Saudi Arabia to the south at Khafji, and Iraq to the north at Basra. It lies on the north-western shore of the Persian Gulf. The name Kuwait is derived from the Arabic, the plural of kūt, meaning a fortress built near water. The country covers an area of 17,820 square kilometers (6,880 sq mi) and has a population of about 3.5 million.

Historically, the region was the site of Characene, a major Parthian port for trade between Mesopotamia and India. The Bani Utbah tribe were the first permanent Arab settlers in the region, and laid the foundation of the modern emirate. By the 19th century, Kuwait came under the influence of the Ottoman Empire, and after World War I, it emerged as an independent sheikhdom under the protection of the British Empire. Kuwait's large oil fields were discovered in the late 1930s.

After Kuwait gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1961, the state's oil industry saw unprecedented economic growth. In 1990, Kuwait was invaded and annexed by neighboring Iraq. The seven month-long Iraqi occupation came to an end after a direct military intervention by United States-led forces. Around 773 Kuwaiti oil wells were set ablaze by the retreating Iraqi army resulting in a major environmental and economic catastrophe. Kuwait's infrastructure was badly damaged during the war and had to be rebuilt.

Kuwait is a constitutional emirate with a parliamentary system of government, with Kuwait City serving as the country's political and economic capital. The country has the world's fifth largest oil reserves and petroleum products now account for nearly 95% of export revenues, and 80% of government income. Kuwait is the eleventh richest country in the world per capita. In 2007, it had the highest human development index (HDI) in the Arab world. Kuwait is classified as a high income economy by the World Bank and is designated as a major non-NATO ally of the United States.

Located in the north-east corner of the Arabian Peninsula, Kuwait is one of the smallest countries in the world in terms of land area. It lies between latitudes 28° and 31° N, and longitudes 46° and 49° E. The flat, sandy Arabian Desert covers most of Kuwait. The country is generally low lying, with the highest point being 306 m (1,004 ft) above sea-level. It has nine islands, all of which with the exception of Failaka Island are uninhabited. With an area of 860 km2 (330 sq mi), the Bubiyan is the largest island in Kuwait and is connected to the rest of the country by a 2,380 m (7,808 ft) long bridge. The land area is considered arable and sparse vegetation is found along its 499 km long coastline. Kuwait City is located on Kuwait Bay, a natural deep-water harbor.

Kuwait has some of the world's richest oil fields with the Burgan field having a total capacity of approximately 70 billion barrels (1.1×1010 m3) of proven oil reserves. During the 1991 Kuwaiti oil fires, more than 500 oil lakes were created covering a combined surface area of about 35.7 km2 (13.8 sq mi). The resulting soil contamination due to oil and soot accumulation had made eastern and south-eastern parts of Kuwait uninhabitable. Sand and oil residue had reduced large parts of the Kuwaiti desert to semi-asphalt surfaces. The oil spills during the Gulf War also drastically affected Kuwait's marine resources.

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