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دولة الكويت





Armed Forces



Air Force





Kuwait was founded in the early eighteenth century by members of the Bani Utbah tribe, also known as the Al-Khalifa, Al-Sabah, Al-Roumi, and Al-Jalahma in the year 1705. Soon after the colony was founded, a Sabah became its leader, ruling until his death in 1762.

In 1899 an agreement was signed with the British which pledged that Kuwait would never cede any territory nor receive agents or representatives of any foreign power without the British Government's consent. In essence, this agreement gave Britain control of Kuwait's foreign policy.

In the Anglo-Ottoman Convention of 1913, the British concurred with the Ottoman Empire in defining Kuwait as an autonomous territory of the Ottoman Empire and that the Sheikhs of Kuwait were not independent leaders, but rather qaimmaqams (lieutenants-colonel) of the Ottoman government.[1]


Rulers of Kuwait


Sheiks of Kuwait (1718–1961)

Sabah I bin Jaber


Abdullah I Al-Sabah


Jaber I Al-Sabah


Sabah II Al-Sabah


Abdullah II Al-Sabah


Muhammad I Al-Sabah


Mubarak Al-Sabah, "the Great"


Jaber II Al-Sabah


Salim I Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah


Ahmad I Al-Jaber Al-Sabah


Abdullah III Al-Salim Al-Sabah


Emirs of Kuwait (1961–Present)

Abdullah III Al-Salim Al-Sabah


Sabah III Al-Salim Al-Sabah


Jaber III Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah


Saad I Al-Abdullah Al-Salim Al-Sabah


Sabah IV Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah


After World War I, when the Ottoman Empire was defeated, the British invalidated the Anglo-Ottoman Convention, declaring Kuwait to be an ‘independent sheikhdom under British protectorate.’ By early 1961, the British had withdrawn their special court system, which handled the cases of foreigners resident in Kuwait, and the Kuwaiti Government began to exercise legal jurisdiction under new laws drawn up by an Egyptian jurist. On June 19, 1961, Kuwait became fully independent following an exchange of notes with the United Kingdom.




In the Ottoman era and in the first years of British protectorate the nation and its ruler were merely symbolized by a flag. At first this flag was the flag of an ottoman military commander being green, charged with a white crescent and star.

In 1871 the national flag of the Ottoman Empire was added to this flag. Such a flag was also flown by all admirals holding the title of pasha.

At the end of the 19th century sheikh Mubarak al-Sabah signed the Anglo-Kuwait Agreement, followed by several other activities that helped Kuwait gain more power and sovereignty apart from the Ottomans. In 1903 this resulted in a new flag being red with an inscription in white lettering.

This flag was replaced in 1906 by another red flag inscribed KOWEIT, transcribed in arabic in 1914: دولة.


Flag of Kuwait, 1906-1914 (project)


Mubarak al Sabah allowed exclusive rights for Britain to set up a post office in Kuwait in 1904 and in 1905-06 it was being considered that Kuwait should fly its own flag instead of the Ottoman standard. However, neither the post office nor the flag would happen until World War I.


Flag of Kuwait, 1914-1921

Autonomous Territory of the Ottoman Empire


When after WWI Kuwait was declared an “independent sheikhdom under Bitish protectorate” a motto was added to the flag. At the same time an emblem was adopted consisting of two (new) flags in saltire: 


Emblem of Kuwait Protectorate



The flags are red, inscribed ‘Kuwait’ and with the shahada in white lettering parallel to the mast. The shahada reads:



(lā ʾilāha ʾillā-llāh, muḥammadun rasūlu-llāh)

which means:

There is no god but God, Muhammad is the messenger of God


The shahada was on kuwaiti flags until 1962


At the beginning of WWII an achievement was adopted for the protectorate. It is:


Emblem of Kuwait


Emblem: Two governors’ pennons in saltire crested of a falcon wings expanded, with palm-leaves in its talons, proper.

Mantle: Vert, lined Argent, fringed and tasseled Or, crowned with a crown of five hoops 


Governors’ pennon obverse and reverse



A new achievement was adopted in 1956.


Proclamation of the achievement of Kuwait. 1956

It is:



Arms: Azure, a baghla Argent ensigned Kuwait, sailing on a base barry wavy Argent and Azure of six.

Crest: On a mamluk helmet a falcon statant, wings expanded, proper

Supporters: Two 1940 national flags in saltire.


Kuwait National Flag



The national emblem, adopted 1963 is:


Arms: A shield with the national colours of Kuwait, Sable, Gules, Argent and Vert (White is our deeds, black our battlefields, green our pastures, and red, deyed with the blood of the enemy, is our future). Issuant from the upper part of the shield a falcon displayed Or, the wings joined together at their ends and between them, Argent, in base barry wavy Azure and Argent a baghla proper. Above the baghla on a scroll Argent an inscription in Arabic script: “DAULAT AL KUWAIT” (State of Kuwait). [2]


Ć See illustration in the head of this essay.


ď A baghla, bagala or baggala (Arabic: بغلة‎) is a large deep-sea dhow, a traditional Arabic sailing vessel. The name "baghla" means "mule" in the Arabic language.

The baghla dhows had a curved prow with a stem-head, an ornately carved stern and quarter galleries. Their average length was 30 m with an average weight of 275 tons. Usually they had two masts using two to three lateen sails; supplementary sails like a jib were often added on the bowsprit, as well as on a topmast atop the main mast. As a large and heavy ship the baghlah required a crew of at least 30 sailors. Some had even up to 40.


Photo Superstock





Founded 1938

Police Badge 1940-1956


Present Kuwait Police Star


The flag of Kuwait was adopted 07.09.1961


Armed Forces








Present Kuwait Army Badge





Air Force


Founded 1953








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© Hubert de Vries 2011-10-12. Updated 2014-02-12;  2018-06-02


[1] The badge of rank of a qaimmakam was a five-pointed star set with diamonds.

[2] From: http://www.kuwait-history.net/vb/showthread.php?t=2671.

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