Landscape and Climate
Kuwait is a small Middle Eastern country, located on the northwest side of the Persian Gulf. Saudi Arabia is to the south and southwest and Iraq is to the north and northwest. Conflict with Iraq has been a major factor in Kuwait's history. Its borders have long been in dispute. Saudi Arabia and Kuwait have peacefully resolved their border conflicts by creating a Divided Zone. Each country governs one-half of the Zone, but both countries share the territory's resources.

With a total area of 17,820 square kilometres, Kuwait is about one-third the size of Nova Scotia. Its area includes nine islands and a coastline that is 290 kilometres long. Of these islands, the largest is Bubiyan on the north coast, which is uninhabited marshland.

The mainland of Kuwait is almost entirely flat desert. Most of the soil is heavily infused with salt,which means that only 9% of the area is good for agriculture. Natural salt-free drinking water is virtually non-existent. Nearly all of Kuwait's drinking water is produced by removing salt from sea water.

Kuwait is an extremely hot, dry country. The average daily temperature is about 33C. Temperatures are even higher during the summer months between May and October, while the humidity is very low. It almost never rains during the summer. Temperatures are more moderate in winter. This is when Kuwait receives its annual rainfall of 25 to 175 millimitres. Sandstorms are common and can last several days.

The little rain that falls allows the desert to bloom for a short time. Desert flowers and shrubs grow abundantly. The most common of these is the desert shrub called arfaj, which may reach 76 centimetres in height. Sheep, goats and camels eat these desert plants.

Kuwaitis remain in this harsh landscape for two important reasons. First, the sheltered waters of Kuwait Bay provide ports for busy Persian Gulf naval traffic. Second there is oil under the desert. Oil has had a very important influence on the country's modern history.

Summary Fact Sheet

Official Name: State of Kuwait
Capital: Kuwait City
Type of Government: Constitutional Monarchy
Population: 2 million including 45% citizens and 55% foreigners
Area: 17,820 sq km
Major Ethnic Groups: Kuwaiti, other Arabs, South Asian, Iranian, others
Languages: Arabic, English
Religion: Islam
Unit of Currency: Kuwaiti Dinar (KD)
National Flag: Three equal horizontal bands of: green on top, white and red on bottom with a black trapezoid based on the hoist side.
Date of Independence: June 19, 2021