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The Origin of Kuwait

The importance of the Arabian Gulf and Kuwait in history or in the international relations and international trade in particular stretches back to the old distant ages. The present land of Kuwait was located within the Arabian middle lands of the State of Kendah which emerged during the period from the third to the fifth century A.D.

The archeological excavation commenced by the effort of the Danish mission in Failaka Island in 1958, proved that an ancient historical civilization existed in Kuwait. The present land of the Sate of Kuwait is connected in the west to the Arabian Peninsula which is an inseparable part of it. Also from the sea side, it forms as a part of the Arabian Gulf Coast. On that basis, the ancient and middle history was firmly related to the Arabia Peninsula, its residents and the Gulf area.

Historians mentioned that the Macedonian Alexander (the Great), the great Greek conqueror and leader, when invaded the east and discovered a sea way between Al-Sind River and Shatt Alarab through the gulf in 326 BC. he stayed with some of his soldiers in Failaka and discovered in the Island “Ikariues” stone, where Greeks wrote on it, along with other many antiques. It is a historical proof that certifies the emergence of an old civilization in Kuwait that was contemporary to the ancient eastern civilizations.

One of the historians stated that, the land of Kuwait witnessed a day of the war between Al-Harith bin Amro bin Hajr Al-Kindi and the King of Al-Munathira, Al-Munthir bin Maa Al-Samaa Al-Lakhmi who defeated Al-Hareth at Wara Island in the pre-Islamic époque.

In addition, the coasts of the Gulf witnessed the first clash in the onset of Islam between the Persians and the Muslims during the period of Caliphate Abu Baker Al-Sideeq in 12 AH., 633 AD. in Kadhima (That Al-Salasil) which was known later as Kuwait.

At the end of the 9th century to the end of 11th Century AD., the region of Kuwait was integrated with a great part of Arabian Peninsula within the strong State of Al-Karamitah which threatened the Abassied Caliphate in Baghdad. After the collapse of that State, which many historians described as “the first socialist state in the history”, a group of local and tribal emirates emerged and continued to the end of the 15th Century. The port of Kazdhema on the coast of Kuwait served as the nautical gate to the east side of Arabian Peninsula during that period.

In the modern ages, Banu Khaklid, became the strongest Arab tribe in this region and were able at the end of the 15th century to occupy larger areas stretching from Basra to Qatar including Kuwait. The Sheikhs of Banu Khalid refused to surrender to Ottoman Turkish power after that. When sheikh, Barrak bin Areiar took over the leadership of Bani Khalid in 1669 AD., he sieged Alhafoof city. Part of Ehas, untill it collapsed after the surrender of the Ottomen ruler Omar Basha. Therefore, the Ottomen Turkish power over the east coast of the Arabian Gulf practically ended.

The importance of Kuwait aroused when some of highly dignified families, like Al-Sabah and other families who immigrated with them, who belong to Eneza tribe and others, lived in it. They were the first to build the stone houses. Kuwait was called at the beginning (Qurain). It is the name that appeared in the European maps in the 18th & 19th centuries. Then the name was changed to “Kuwait”. the word Kuwait is a minor of the word Kout. Barrak, the Amir of Bani Khalid, was the first who built Alkout as a storehouse at the end of 1110 AH.

The Sabah Family, Al-Kahlifa, Al-Zaid Al-Jalahma and Al-Mo’awda, were the first to migrate to Kuwait with a group of bedouins and fishermen. Sabah the First was chosen as the Amir of Kuwait in 1110 – 1130 AH.

The history of Al-Sabah family in Kuwait goes back to 1613 AD. according to a letter from Sheikh Mubarak to the British dweller in the Gulf regarding the demarcation of boundaries of Kuwait. He stated: Kuwait is a barren land our Grandfather Sabah lived in it in 1022 AH. 1613 AD. Then He referred to the emergence of Kuwait that we have mentioned previously and which was supported by a group of resources. Many stories stated its stability and development in the period 1469 AD. which is the year the people of Qurain sent ships and weapons to Nasser Bin Murshid, the Sultan of Oman, to assist him against the Portuguese resistance aiming to occupy the Gulf area. During this historical period, the researcher finds clear reference of the stability, advancement, and progress of Kuwait which shows that there was no political disorder or conflicts that led to changing or transforming the ruling system. The reference of Sheikh Mubarak to the history of Al-Sabah family in Kuwait since 1022 AH. 1613 AD in his letter has no means to oppose or weaken it. So historically, the first ruler of Al-Sabah family is Sheikh Sabah bin Jaber, also known as Sabah the First who departed in 1190 AH. (1776 AD)

As for the first ruler who ruled Kuwait from Al-Sabah family historically, is Sheikh Sabah bin Jaber who is also known as Sabah the First, who died in 1190 AH. (1776 AD)

The Initials in Kuwait History

  • The first map that included the name Qurain (Kuwait) was set by Johannes Van Keulen in 1753. This name remained in maps associated with the name Kuwait. Other names were mentioned like Bobyan, Failaka (Felecia) & Oha Island (Hou).
  • The first wall around Kuwait city was built in Sheikh Abdullah bin Sabah reign to protect the city from Wahabi’s invasion in 1793.
  • The first mail ship anchored in Kuwait in 1868. It’s an American ship called “Bebaik” arriving from Burma to Basra.
  • In 1879, mailing services started in Kuwait under the supervision of the Indian Mail Department until 1904 when Sheikh Mubarak Al-Sabah asked the British government to establish a post office in Kuwait.
  • Tea entered Kuwait in 1892.
  • In 1899, the first treaty was signed with Britain during the reign of Sheikh Mubarak Al-Sabah, the seventh ruler of Kuwait, to maintain Kuwait independence and political entity.
  • Custom department, the first government directorate, was established in 1899.
  • The first import of kerosene (Kaz, in Kuwaiti dialect) to Kuwait from India in 1902 by Mr. McKenzi, the British ships agent in Jerri cans. It was distilled & filled in Russia. It came in 2 categories; the lion mark & the sun mark. Before that, Kuwaitis used normal oils like sesame oil, olive oil & tallow for lights.
  • The first clinic was in the former British Commissioner house in Sharq area, known to Kuwaitis as Dickson House.
  • The first car in Kuwait “Monaro” was given as a present from Sheikh Qassim al Ibraheem to Sheikh Mubarak. It was seen as prodigy.
  • The first telegraph office in Kuwait was established in 1912.
  • The first modern school was established in 1913 by the pioneers of the American mission in the Gulf. The first building in Kuwait was of iron ferroconcrete that cost US $ 6000.
  • The first water desalination device was bought by Sheikh Mubarak Al-Sabah through “streak shipping” company and cost 250,000 Rupees.
  • The first land custom building was established in a small building in Safat square in 1914 to control the caravan arriving to the city and collect the tax from it. Then, it was transferred to Nayaf Gate and permanently removed in April 1957.
  • The first dam was built to collect rain water by an order from the departed Amir Sheikh Salem A-Sabah in 1917 and it was known as Alnoqra.
  • In 1921, the first consultative council was established. It was the first organized political event that contributed in determining the state’s authorities and it’s administration. It was the first direct participation of the nation in managing the state’s affairs. Sheikh Ahmed Al-Jaber had agreed to form a specific consultative council of 12 members chosen by recommendation.
  • The first public library, the National Library, was opened in 1923 and contained many useful books. Kuwaiti people contributed financially in this project , and provided many valuable & unique books that were added to the library books, which later became a source of science to the Kuwaiti educated people.
  • In 1927, the first airport was opened in Dasma area outside Kuwait city. The first flights to Dasma airport were operated by the Empire Airlines, which later became the British Airways. It used the land runway in Dasma as fuel platform for its flights Britain-India-Britain.
  • The first Amir to travel to Europe was Sheikh Ahmed Al-Jaber. He was his uncle’s, Sheikh Salem Al-Mubarak, envoy to extend the felicitation of the Amir of Kuwait to King George the fifth in the occasion of Britain’s victory in the First World War.
  • The first law in Kuwait was the Municipality Law issued by Sheikh Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah in 1931.
  • In 1931, the first municipality council was established. It was formed in 1932.
  • Electricity entered Kuwait for the first time in 1934 by Kuwait Electricity Company, which sold its electricity production, not exceeding 200 kilo watt, to Kuwaiti people in high costs.
  • The first radio was brought to Kuwait by Major Holmse in 1934 and gave it as a present to Sheikh Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah.
  • The first regular school for girls: the Education Council that supervises education in Kuwait realized the importance of educating woman in the society and hence decided to open the first regular school for girls in 1937. The council made a contract with two qualified teachers who were sisters from Palestinian nationality.
  • The first parliamentary council elected in the political history of Kuwait is the First Legislative National Assembly in the era of Sheikh Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah in 1938. The fourteen members of that council were selected via election.
  • Telephone wires were extended for the first time in Kuwait in 1942.
  • 1940 was the year of establishing the Amiri Hospital, which was later officially opened in 1949.
  • The first street in Kuwait to be paved with tar is Dasman street in 1945.
  • The first marine cargo line was established in 1946.
  • The year 1946 witnessed the export of the first Kuwaiti oil shipment from Mina Alahmadi (Ahmadi Port) in a British tanker to Britain.
  • The first hotel in Kuwait was “Sherin” hotel, named after his owner Mr. Yousif Sherin, and was built in the city, Safat area, in 1947.
  • The first church was built in Kuwait in Ahmadi city in 1948, and was called “Our Lady of Arabia”.
  • The first newspaper to be issued and published in Kuwait was “Kazma” magazine, which is a monthly artistic social news paper. Its first issue was published in 1948.
  • The first center for literacy in Kuwait was opened in 1952.The first Kuwaiti national bank was established in 1952, and was called “Kuwait National Limited Bank”.
  • In 1954, the Kuwaiti National Airlines company celebrated the arrival of the first airplane, which was called “Kazma”. The Dakota DC3 airplane landed in the old airport which was located in the area currently occupied by Al-dahiya and Al-nozha areas. The airplane took a number of the invitees in a shout round above Kuwait territories and then returned to the airport. The capacity of that airplane was 32 seats.
  • The first official gazette was “Kuwait Today”, first published in 1954 by “Publications Department”, and was printed in their print press.
  • The first news agency in Kuwait was (Kuwait News Agency) established in 1956.
  • The first official census of the population in Kuwait was performed in 1957.
  • By the end of 1958, the first Kuwaiti tanker for crude oil was built. The Kuwaiti Oil Tankers Company, established in Kuwait with Kuwaiti monies, ordered its manufacture in Japan. The tanker had the capacity of 46 million tons.
  • The real estate register started in Kuwait in 1959.
  • The year 1960 witnessed the first session of the “Council of Kuwaiti Currency”.
  • The official beginning of the cooperative movement in Kuwait was in 1962 after the issuance of its organizing law. Kaifan Cooperative Society was the first official cooperative society in Kuwait.
  • The elections of the first establishing council was performed in Kuwait in 1962 for drafting a constitution that organizes ruling pursuant to democratic basis derived from the factual life and objectives of Kuwait.
  • The first ministry in the history of Kuwait was in 1962. His Highness Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah occupied the position of the Minister of “Guidance and News”.
  • The first national assembly was inaugurated in 1963. Sheikh Abdullah Al-Salem Al-Sabah, the ruler of Kuwait by then inaugurated the first sessions in a speech where he said: “In the name of Allah Almighty, we open the first session of the National Assembly which starts the stage of the constitutional era in Kuwait”

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