1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Kuwēt

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KUWĒT (Kuweit, Koweit), a port in Arabia at the north-western angle of the Persian Gulf in 29° 20′ N. and 48° E., about 80 m. due S. of Basra and 60 m. S.W. of the mouth of the Shat el Arab. The name Kuwēt is the diminutive form of Kut, a common term in Irāk for a walled village; it is also shown in some maps as Grane or Grain, a corruption of Kurēn, the diminutive of Karn, a horn. It lies on the south side of a bay 20 m. long and 5 m. wide, the mouth of which is protected by two islands, forming a fine natural harbour, with good anchorage in from 4 to 9 fathoms of water. The town has 15,000 inhabitants and is clean and well built; the country around being practically desert, it depends entirely on the sea and its trade, and its sailors have a high reputation as the most skilful and trustworthy on the Persian Gulf; while its position as the nearest port to Upper Nejd gives it great importance as the port of entry for rice, piece goods, &c., and of export for horses, sheep, wool and other products of the interior. Kuwēt was recommended in 1850 by General F. R. Chesney as the terminus of his proposed Euphrates Valley railway, and since 1898, when the extension of the Anatolian railway to Bagdad and the Gulf has been under discussion, attention has again been directed to it. An alternative site for the terminus has been suggested in Um Khasa, at the head of the Khor ʽAbdallah, where a branch of the Shat el Arab formerly entered the sea; it lies some 20 m. N.E. of Kuwēt and separated from it by the island of Bubiān, which has for some time been in Turkish occupation. An attempt by Turkey to occupy Kuwēt in 1898 was met by a formal protest from Great Britain against any infringement of the status quo, and in 1899 Sheikh Mubārak of Kuwēt placed his interests under British protection.

The total trade passing through Kuwēt in 1904–1905 was valued at £160,000. The imports include arms and ammunition, piece goods, rice, coffee, sugar, &c.; and the exports, horses, pearls, dates, wool, &c. The steamers of the British India Steamship Company call fortnightly.  (R. A. W.)