Kuwait has long been an important port on the Indian Ocean, though it rose to prominence only in the twentieth century with oil discoveries in the state. The name is a diminutive of an Arabic word meaning "fortress built near water". The establishment of Kuwait is relatively recent, when a nomadic tribal group wandering north from the area of modern-day Qatar established a settlement on the broad bay at the head of the Gulf. Kuwait came under the rule of the Al-Sabah family in 1751, and established ties with Britain in 1775 to seek autonomy within the Ottoman Empire. The relationship was formalized by a treaty in 1899 establishing a protectorate that lasted until 1961. Kuwaitis eked out a living as traders and fishermen until oil was discovered in the area in 1937. Kuwait was admitted to the Arab League despite opposition from Iraq, which claimed that Kuwait was historically part of Iraqi territory.
Abu-Hakima, Ahmad Mustafa. The modern history of Kuwait, 1750-1965. London: Luzac & Co., 1983.
Al-Hijji, Dr. Yacoub Yousef. Building Sailing Ships in Kuwait. Kuwait: Centre for Research and Studies on Kuwait.
Anscombe, Frederick F. The Ottoman Gulf : the creation of Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar. New York: Columbia University Press, 1997.
Broeze, Frank. "Kuwait Before Oil: The Dynamics and Morphology of an Arab Port City". In Frank Broeze, ed., Gateways of Asia: Port Cities of Asia in the 13th-20th Centuries. London: Kegan Paul International, 1997.
Dickson, Violet. Forty years in Kuwait. London: Allen & Unwin, 1971.
Slot, B. J. The origins of Kuwait. Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1991.
History of Kuwait, by Embassy of Kuwait
History of Kuwait, by CountryReports
History of Kuwait, by Kuwaitonline