Now one of the richest countries in the world, Kuwait was a pearling port in the Persian Gulf until the discovery of oil transformed the emirate. Kuwait gained its independence from the Emirate of Al Hasa in 1752. At that time, Kuwait City was a trading base and also a center for boat building, which had risen to prominence during the Persian siege of Basra in 1775–79. Briefly quite wealthy after the decline of Basra, it then developed as a port for the trading of horses. It was formally established as an emirate by the Anglo-Ottoman Convention of 1913. It was then blockaded during World War I.

Kuwait City was poor, and even the pearling industry had collapsed with the Great Depression of the 1930s and ...

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