A Background to Development

  • M. W. Khouja
  • P. G. Sadler


The origins of Kuwait as a state are not comparable with most of those of the great majority of other states which have achieved international recognition of their sovereignty in the years since World War II. The boundaries of so many of the emergent nations of the former colonial territories were fixed during the colonial period by conquest or agreement between the colonial powers and these boundaries usually bore no relevance to ethnic or social divisions of the peoples which lived within them, indeed the reverse was often the case. Tribes and even whole peoples with no linguistic or cultural affinity one for another might find themselves in a grouping of convenience made solely on the basis of a useful colonial administration and that grouping might well now form the basis of an emergent ‘nation’ which in fact might have no historical foundation at all. Many of the emergent states therefore had few of the elements of cohesion so necessary for political stability and ordered progress. Even where an efficient civil service had been built up during the colonial period, this was usually structured to facilitate the maintenance of a status quo rather than to provide an executive arm for an independent government of a sovereign state primarily concerned with indigenous development. This, however, was not so in Kuwait. Even though the indigenous population came from similar Arab tribes to those of its neighbours, their history provided them with those elements of cohesion that have maintained the social and political unity of Kuwaiti society for more than two centuries.


Middle East Neutral Zone British Government Political Representative Indigenous Development 


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Copyright information

© M. W. Khouja and P. G. Sadler 1979

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. W. Khouja
  • P. G. Sadler

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