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History & Facts

The Origin of Kuwait

The importance of the Arabian Gulf and Kuwait in history and in the international relations and international trade in particular stretches back to the old distant ages. The present land of Kuwait was located within the Arabian middle lands of the State of Kendah which emerged during the period from the third to the fifth centuries A.D.

The archeological excavation commenced by the effort of the Danish mission in Failaka Island in 1958 proved that an ancient historical civilization existed in Kuwait. The present land of the State of Kuwait is connected in the west to the Arabian Peninsula which is an inseparable part of it. Also from the sea side, it forms a part of the Arabian Gulf Coast. On that basis, the ancient and middle history are firmly related to the Arabian Peninsula, its residents and the Gulf area.

Historians mentioned that when the Macedonian Alexander (the Great), the great Greek conqueror and leader, invaded the east in 326 BC, he discovered a sea way between Al-Sind River and Shatt Alarab through the gulf in 326 BC. He stayed with some of his soldiers in Failaka and discovered in the Island "Ikariues" stone, written upon by the Greeks, along with other many antiques. It is historical proof that certifies the emergence of an old civilization in Kuwait that was contemporary to the ancient eastern civilizations.

One of the historians stated that the land of Kuwait witnessed a day of the war between Al-Harith bin Amro bin Hajr Al-Kindi and the King of Al-Munathira, Al-Munthir bin Maa Al-Samaa Al-Lakhmi who defeated Al-Hareth at Warbah Island in the pre-Islamic époque.

In addition, the coasts of the Gulf witnessed the first clash in the onset of Islam between the Persians and the Muslims during the period of Caliphate Abu Baker Al-Sideeq in 12 AH., 633 AD, in Kadhima (That Al-Salasil) which was known later as Kuwait.

From the end of the ninth century to the end of 11th century AD., the region of Kuwait was integrated with a great part of Arabian Peninsula within the strong State of Al-Karamitah, which threatened the Abassied Caliphate in Baghdad. After the collapse of that state, which many historians described as "the first socialist state in the history", a group of local and tribal emirates emerged and continued to the end of the 15th Century. The port of Kazdhema on the coast of Kuwait served as the nautical gate to the east side of Arabian Peninsula during that period.

In the modern ages Banu Khalid became the strongest Arab tribe in this region and were able at the end of the 15th century to occupy larger areas stretching from Basra to Qatar including Kuwait. The Sheikhs of Banu Khalid refused to surrender to Ottoman Turkish power after that. When sheikh, Barrak bin Areiar took over the leadership of Bani Khalid in 1669 AD., he sieged Alhafoof city. It was part of Alhasa, until it collapsed after the surrender of the Ottomen ruler Omar Basha. Therefore, the Ottomen Turkish power over the east coast of the Arabian Gulf practically ended.

The importance of Kuwait aroused when some highly dignified families, like Al-Sabah and other families who immigrated with them, who belong to Eneza tribe and others, lived in it. They were the first to build stone houses there. Kuwait was initially called Qurain. It is the name that appeared in the European maps in the 18th & 19th centuries. Then the name was changed to "Kuwait". The word Kuwait is a minor of the word Kout. Barrak, the Amir of Bani Khalid, was the first to build Alkout as a storehouse at the end of 1110 AH (1698 AD).

The Sabah, Al-Kahlifa, Al-Zaid Al-Jalahma and Al-Mo'awda families, were the first to migrate to Kuwait with a group of bedouins and fishermen. Sabah the First was chosen as the Amir of Kuwait in 1110 - 1130 AH.

The history of Al-Sabah family in Kuwait goes back to 1613 AD. According to a letter from Sheikh Mubarak to the British dweller in the Gulf regarding the demarcation of boundaries of Kuwait he stated: "Kuwait is a barren land our Grandfather Sabah lived in it in 1022 AH. 1613 AD." Then he referred to the emergence of Kuwait that we have mentioned previously and which was supported by a group of resources. Many stories stated its stability and development in the period 1469 AD, which is the year the people of Qurain sent ships and weapons to Nasser Bin Murshid, the Sultan of Oman, to assist him against the Portuguese resistance aiming to occupy the Gulf area. During this historical period, the researchers found clear references of the stability, advancement, and progress of Kuwait which show that there was no political disorder or conflicts that led to changing or transforming the ruling system. The reference of Sheikh Mubarak to the history of Al-Sabah family in Kuwait since 1022 AH. 1613 AD in his letter has no means to oppose or weaken it. So historically, the first ruler of Al-Sabah family is Sheikh Sabah bin Jaber, also known as Sabah the First who departed in 1190 AH. (1776 AD).