Kuwait, Al-

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Kuwait, Al-

Al- Kuwait (äl´kŏŏwāt´) or Kuwait City, city (1991 pop. 150,1000), capital of Kuwait, on the SE coast of Kuwait Bay, an inlet of the Persian Gulf. The city and its suburbs constitute about a third of Kuwait's total area. A modern city, it is the seat of the nation's government, has a thriving banking industry and an important trading sector, and is also a cultural hub. The city is the site of Kuwait Univ. (1966), the vast Grand Mosque (1986), and an international airport. The port of Shuwaikh (or Bandar Shuwaikh), a suburb SW of Al-Kuwait on Kuwait Bay, is a busy shipping center and anchorage. It is linked by pipeline with the capital's main port, the town of Mina al-Ahmadi, located 22 mi (35 km) SSE of Al-Kuwait. Mina al-Ahmadi has a large loading terminal for oil and natural gas and also has oil-refining and petrochemical industries. Al-Kuwait was first settled as a fort in the 18th cent.; its original gates still stand. The discovery of oil nearby in 1938 spurred the city's growth. It suffered considerable looting and damage during the 1990–91 Iraqi occupation, but has been largely rebuilt.

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