Kuwait - Country history and economic development

1756. Part of the Ottoman Empire since the 16th century, Kuwait gains semi-autonomy under the Sheikh of the Sabah family.

1899. The ruling Sabah family accepts British protection to counter the spread of Turkish influence and grants control of external relations to Britain.

1918. The end of World War I ends what is already nominal Turkish control over Kuwait.

1938. Oil is discovered in Kuwait, but World War II interrupts further exploration. Drilling resumes after the war and Kuwait soon develops into a thriving commercial center. The government begins to use oil revenue to develop the country's infrastructure and a modern and comprehensive welfare system.

1960. Kuwait becomes a founding member of the Organization of Petroleum-Exporting Countries (OPEC) on 14 September.

1961. Kuwait's status as a British protectorate ends, and the country assumes independence on 19 June. The ruling sheikh becomes the emir and assumes full executive power.

1961-63. Iraq moves troops to the border, threatening to annex Kuwait but draws back due to international pressure and a coup within Iraq.

1974-75. The Supreme Petroleum Council is created, followed by the nationalization of domestic and foreign oil assets and the creation of the Kuwait Petroleum Company (KPC).

1977. Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah becomes emir, succeeding Sheikh Sabah Al-Salem Al-Sabah.

1990-91. Iraq invades Kuwait. The international community condemns the invasion and, led by the United States, deploys armed forces to Saudi Arabia. The allied forces launch an aerial bombing campaign against Iraqi forces in Kuwait and Iraq on 17 January 1991. On 24 February 1991, American-led ground forces enter Kuwait, and on 28 February Iraq agrees to accept UN resolutions concerning Kuwait.

1999. A draft law granting women full political rights is narrowly rejected in December.

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