The name Kuwait is derived from “akwat", or "kout", in Arabic meaning ‘fortress’. The history of Kuwait can be traced back as early as the 4th century BC, with the invasion of the Greeks who colonized the land and was later taken over by tribes who came from central Arabia. The country was founded in the 1700’s when Sabah I bin Jaber was elected as the first Amir of the country in 1756. Under this rule Kuwait became a centre for trade and commerce, specializing in the pearl trade and also spices between India and Europe.
With the discovery of oil in the 1930’s, the Kuwaiti government became more concerned with establishing internationally known boundaries, and Kuwait was declared an "independent sheikdom under British protectorate" under the British Army after World War I.
In 1961 Kuwait became fully independent under the rule of Amir Abdullah Al-Salim Al-Sabah. The Kuwaiti Dinar was declared as its official currency. The growth of its oil and petroleum industry established Kuwait as one of the richest countries in the world. However its streak of success was soon interrupted by the Gulf War. In August 1990 Iraq troops, led by Saddam Hussein, invaded Kuwait. Kuwait was annexed and occupied by Iraq for seven months, during which the monarchy was abolished and Kuwait was declared as the 19th province of Iraq by Saddam. Kuwait was liberated in February 1991 by a multi-national military force led by the United States.
Kuwait took about two years to recover from the aftermath of the war and spent over 50 billion Dollars to reconstruct and recuperate all the damages which were cause to the oil reserves and infrastructure. It has since largely recovered from the socio-economic, environmental, and public physical and mental health effects of the Gulf War.