Geography of Kuwait

Learn Information about the Middle Eastern Nation of Kuwait

Kuwait Flag
The Kuwait flag has three equal horizontal bands of green (top), white, and red with a black trapezoid based on the hoist side; design, which dates to 1961, based on the Arab revolt flag of World War I. Source: CIA World Factbook, 2007

Kuwait, officially called the State of Kuwait, is a country located on the northeastern portion of the Arab Peninsula. It shares borders with Saudi Arabia to the south and Iraq to the north and west. Kuwait’s eastern borders are along the Persian Gulf. Kuwait has a total area of 6,879 square miles (17,818 sq km) and a population density of 377 people per square mile or 145.6 people per square kilometer. Kuwait’s capital and largest city is Kuwait City.

Fast Facts: Kuwait

  • Official Name: State of Kuwait
  • Capital: Kuwait City
  • Population: 2,916,467 (2018)
  • Official Language: Arabic
  • Currency: Kuwaiti dinar (KD)
  • Form of Government: Constitutional monarchy (emirate) 
  • Climate: Dry desert; intensely hot summers; short, cool winters  
  • Total Area: 6,879 square miles (17,818 square kilometers)
  • Highest Point: 3.6 km W. of Al-Salmi Border Post at 116 feet (300 meters)
  • Lowest Point: Persian Gulf at 0 feet (0 meters)

History of Kuwait

Kuwait’s modern history began in the 18th century when the Uteiba founded Kuwait City. In the 19th century, control of Kuwait was threatened by the Ottoman Turks and other groups located on the Arabian Peninsula. As a result, Kuwait’s ruler Sheikh Mubarak Al Sabah signed an agreement with the British government in 1899 that promised Kuwait would not cede any lands to any foreign power without Britain’s consent. The agreement was signed in exchange for British protection and financial aid.

Throughout the early to mid-20th century, Kuwait underwent significant growth and its economy was dependent on shipbuilding and pearl diving by 1915. In the period from 1921–1950, oil was discovered in Kuwait and the government attempted to create recognized borders. In 1922, the Treaty of Uqair established Kuwait’s border with Saudi Arabia. By the mid-20th century, Kuwait began pushing for independence from Great Britain and on June 19, 1961, Kuwait became fully independent.

Following its independence, Kuwait experienced a period of growth and stability, despite Iraq’s claiming of the new country. In August 1990, Iraq invaded Kuwait and in February 1991, a United Nations coalition led by the United States liberated the country. Following Kuwait’s liberation, the U.N. Security Council drew new borders between Kuwait and Iraq based on historic agreements. The two nations continue to struggle to maintain peaceful relations today, however.

Geography and Climate of Kuwait

The climate of Kuwait is dry desert and it has very hot summers and short, cool winters. Sandstorms are also common during June and July due to wind patterns and thunderstorms often occur in the spring. The average August high temperature for Kuwait is 112ºF (44.5ºC) while the average January low temperature is 45ºF (7ºC).