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KuwaitThe name Kuwait comes from the Arabic word akwat, which means "fortresses built near the water."


Much of Kuwait is desert, which is real suitable for life. There are areas, most particularly in the northeast, where there is enough water that plants and foods can grow so life can be sustained, but elsewhere this is little reason for people to have settled the region. Through much of history this deserted land has been sparsely populated as the culture has been one of simplicity based on the lands and waters. However, with the discovery of oil the way of life is now one that is dependent on technology, communication, and transportation, yet is still rooted in the desert.

As a desert, the earliest people to the region survived primarily on the coasts, fishing for foods, while also eating dates and camel's milk. Housing was often times temporary as people moved to the water sources, although in oasis villages there was more permanence. Life was fluid and difficult as the lands were very sparsely populated.

Controlling bits of the Persian Gulf trade and later being a significant player in the pearl industry, the people of Kuwait gained money and trading power; this was the greatest shift in the early history of Kuwait. With a prized resource, such as pearls, people were willing to trade with the people so survival, food, and the way of life shifted from being dependent on the land and sea to being dependent on external products through trade. Although oil has replaced pearls, this dependence of foreign trade is still the crutch of the economy and culture.

This dependency on foreign products continued and was magnified with the discovery of oil in the 1930s. The population of Kuwait was too small to take immediate advantage of this resource so began importing technology and people. This created a movement of people to oil sights and cities and a change in the daily life from pearl diving and trading to oil prospecting, drilling, production, sales, and shipping.

Today Kuwait remains fairly dependent on oil and the jobs that come with it. The economy, jobs, and even education are focused on this industry and the way people live, what they eat, what they study, and where they live is all influenced by this natural resource.

In addition to oil making a huge impact on the way of life in Kuwait, the other most influential cause of their culture today is their religion. As Muslims, the people have numerous dietary, social, and religious rules that dictate social behavior, eating habits, and religious rituals. In Kuwait most Muslims are fairly conservative as the dress, diet, and lifestyle all reflect this.

Information for Kuwait was last updated: March, 2014 ● View our: Sources & Special Thanks