The Kuwaitis trace their roots to the Al-Anisa and the Al-Utub tribe from the Najd province, in modern Saudi Arabia. They moved to Qatar and then to Al-Qurain The word 'Kuwait' is derived from Koot, the Arabic word for fortress, which is in modern day Kuwait bay around 1710. By 1752, the long term residents of Al-Qurain decided that the instability of the region, caused by warring tribes, called for the establishment of a stable government. The Al-Sabah tribe was chosen to rule, and the first Sheikh was Sabah ibn Jaber, who ruled as Sabah I, from 1752 to 1756. The Sabah's were skillful diplomats, and weathered out religious and tribal strifes successfully. They dealt with the Ottomans, the Egyptians and the Europeans. Mubarak I signed an agreement with the British making Kuwait a British Protectorate in 1899. The British were in Kuwait for quite a while by then, and as early as the 1770's Abdullah I had a contract with the British to deliver mail for them up to Allepo in Syria. The agreement gave the British control of the Kuwaiti foreign policy in exchange for military protection. In the 20's and the 30's, the chief source of revenue was pearls. But around that time the Japanese started flooding the international market with cultured pearls and this source of income was in decline. In 1938, oil was first struck at the Burgan oil field in Kuwait, and by 1946, they started exporting it. In 1961, Kuwait nullified the treaty of 1899, and became an independent nation. Kuwait was attacked and overrun by Iraq on 2 August 1990. Following several weeks of aerial bombardment, a US-led UN coalition began a ground assault on 23 February 1991 that completely liberated Kuwait in four days; February 26 is celebrated as Liberation Day. Kuwait spent more than $5 billion to repair oil infrastructure damaged during 1990-91. It is currently ruled by Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah after the demise of Sheikh Jaber al Ahmed al Jaber al Sabah in January 2006.
Dry desert; intensely hot summers; short, cool winters. Natural hazards : sudden cloudbursts are common from October to April; they occasionally bring heavy rain which can, in some rare cases, damage roads and houses; sandstorms and dust storms occur throughout the year, but are most common between March and August. Common temperatures range from 5oC in Dec/Jan to over 50oC from Jun to Aug.