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Oman
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Oman

The Sultanate of Oman is a country in the southwestern part of Asia, on the southeast coast of the Arabian Peninsula. It borders the United Arab Emirates in the northwest, Saudi Arabia in the west, and Yemen in the southwest. The coast is formed by the Arabian Sea in the south and east, and the Gulf of Oman in the northeast.

Saltanat Uman
سلطنة عُمان
(In Detail) (In Detail)
National motto: none
Official language Arabic
Capital Muscat
SultanQaboos bin Said Al Said
Area
 - Total
 - % water
Ranked 82nd
309,500 kmē
0%
Population
 - Total (2000)
 - Density
Ranked 135th
2,622,198
12.3/kmē
Independence1741
Currency Rial
Time zone UTC+4
National anthem Ya Rabbana Ehfid Lana Jalalat Al Sultan
Internet TLD.om
Calling Code968

Table of contents
1 History
2 Politics
3 Regions
4 Geography
5 Economy
6 Demographics
7 Culture
8 Miscellaneous topics
9 External links

History

Main article: History of Oman

Oman has been a centre for traders for centuries. In 1508, the main port, Muscat, was captured by the Portuguese, who held it until it was taken by the Ottomanss in 1659. These were driven out in 1741, when the present line of sultans was formed by Ahmed ibn Said.

In the early 19th century, Oman grew to a major power, having possessions in Persia, Baluchistan and Zanzibar, but these were gradually all lost. In 1891, Oman became a British protectorate, which lasted until 1971. The year prior, sultan Said ibn Taimur had been ousted by his son, sultan Qaboos bin Said Al Said, (ruled 1970 - ). Qaboos has since greatly improved the economic situation of the country, remaining in peace with all other countries in the Middle East.

Politics

Main article: Politics of Oman

Chief of state and government is the sultan, who appoints a cabinet to assist him. The title of sultan is hereditary. In the early 1990s, the sultan instituted an elected advisory council, the Majlis ash-Shura, though only a small part of the Omanis were elegible to vote. Universal suffrage for those over 21 was instituted on October 4 2003. Over 190,000 people (74% of those registered) voted to elect the 83 seats. Two women were elected to seats.

Although the sultan functions basically as a totalitarian ruler, he has the approval of most of the Omanis: in his 30 years of government he has greatly improved the situation in the country. The governmental system is developing into a democracy, although this is done only gradually.

Regions

Main article: Regions of Oman

Oman is divided into eight regions (mintaqah). These regions are subdivided into smaller districts (wilayat).

Geography

Main article:
Geography of Oman

A vast desert plain covers most of central Oman, with mountain ranges along the north and southeast coast, where the countries main cities are also located: capital city Muscat, Matrah and Sur in the north, and Salalah in the south. Oman's climate in the interior is hot and dry, but humid along the coast.

The peninsula of Musandam which has a strategic location on the Strait of Hormuz, is separated from the rest of Oman by the United Arab Emirates. Not all of Oman's borders with that country are well defined. Oman is considered to be one of the fifteen states that comprise the so-called "Cradle of Humanity"

Economy

Main article: Economy of Oman

The economy of Oman is dominated by its dependence on crude oil. A joint venture called IPC drilled a number of dry holes from 1956 onwards though the logistics of doing this were extremely difficult due to lack of any transportation infrastructure.

A lack of success, combined with worsening logistical problems and a glut of oil on the world market, led most of the partners to withdraw from the venture in 1960. Only Shell and Partex opted to remain in Oman to continue the search for oil. They struck oil at Yibal in 1962 at a site just some few hundreds of metres from the last dry hole.

Today Oman produces around 700,000 barrels (110,000 m³) of oil per day and there have been significant discoveries of natural gas and development of LNG terminals.

The income generated was quickly deployed into building infrastructures of roads, schools, hospitals, water and electricity generating plants. All of this activity has made Oman a major success story for economic growth.

 
Oman's economic performance improved significantly in 2000 due largely to the upturn in oil prices. The government is moving ahead with privatization of its utilities, the development of a body of commercial law to facilitate foreign investment, and increased budgetary outlays. Oman continues to liberalise its markets and joined the World Trade Organization in November 2000. GDP growth improved in 2001 despite the global economic slowdown.

Demographics

Main article: Demographics of Oman

Oman is the world's easternmost Arabian country. The majority of the Omanis are Arabs, although there is a sizable Baluchi minority. Like in most other Arab countries, a large number of foreign laborers lives here, mostly from India, Pakistan and Iran. The official language is Arabic, but the minorities speak their own languages.

Islam is the predominant religion, mostly Ibadhi Muslims; many of the Indians practise Hinduism.

Culture

Main article: Culture of Oman

Although Oman is a modern country, western influences are restricted; the Ibadhi form of Islam is very strict in comparison with Sunni Islam and Shi'a Islam.

Oman is famous for its khanjar knives.

Miscellaneous topics

External links


[ Edit {}] Countries in Southwest Asia
Afghanistan | Armenia | Azerbaijan | Bahrain | Cyprus | Egypt¹ | Gaza Strip | Georgia | Iran | Iraq | Israel | Jordan | Kuwait | Lebanon | Oman | Qatar | Saudi Arabia | Syria | Turkey² | United Arab Emirates | West Bank | Yemen