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1. A country of the northeast Arabian Peninsula at the head of the Persian Gulf. Settled by Arab tribes in the early 1700s, it became a British protectorate in 1897 and an independent kingdom in 1961. Iraq invaded and occupied the country in 1990, sparking the Persian Gulf War (1991), which ended with Iraqi troops being driven out by a coalition of Arab and Western forces. With its major oil reserves, discovered in 1938, it has one of the highest per capita incomes in the world. The city of Kuwait is its capital.
2. also Kuwait City The capital of Kuwait, in the east-central part of the country on the Persian Gulf. It was heavily damaged during the Gulf War.
Ku·wait′i (-wā′tē) adj. & n.