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The sheiks were not paid. They depended on the merchants’ benevolence for their daily living. Since 1752, the Sabah family has ruled Kuwait, and as such, their rule has been called the Sabah dynasty. The Al-Sabah Dynasty Kuwait City was established around 1672, and the Sabah family arrived in Kuwait City in 1716. About 36 years later, the first sheik from the Sabah family, Sabin bin Jaber al-Sabah was named Kuwait’s first ruler. No one really knew much about his beginning other than he came with the rest of the Utub clan and that his father’s name was Jaber.

This was why Iraq tried to annex Kuwait in 1990. The border between Iraq and Kuwait was determined in 1913 by Turkey, which then was in control of the two countries. The border between Kuwait and Saudi Arabia was established in 1922. Iraq accepted the boundary in 1923 when it obtained its independence from Turkey. In 1963, however, Iraq changed the boundary to its advantage. A neutral zone of 2,000 square miles (5,180 square kilometers) was established during this time. The neutral zone was divided in 1969, and in July 2000 the maritime boundary dividing the sea between the two countries was ratified.

The many new oil-related jobs served as a magnet that attracted a steady stream of people from other lands. So many foreigners came to Kuwait that today Kuwaitis are a minority population in their own country. In 1990, before the Gulf War, Kuwaitis represented only 27 percent of their country’s population. In an attempt to reverse this trend, the government began to restrict the influx of people into the country. It would like to see Kuwaitis make up at least 50 percent of the nation’s people. The government also is encouraging Kuwaitis to have more children by giving them a financial incentive for every child a couple has.

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