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The Sultanate of Oman is a country in western 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
(In Detail[?]) (Full size)
National motto: Xxxxx
Official language Arabic
Capital Muscat
SultanQaboos bin Said Al Said[?]
 - Total
 - % water
Ranked 82nd
212,460 kmē
 - Total (2000)
 - Density
Ranked 135th
Currency Rial[?]
Time zone UTC+4
National anthem Ya Rabbana Ehfid Lana Jalalat Al Sultan[?]
Internet TLD.OM
Calling Code968

Table of contents

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 Ottomans in 1659. These were driven out in 1741, when the present line of sultans was formed by Ahmed ibn Said[?].

In early the 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 heriditary. In the early 1990s, the sultan instituted an elected parliament, the Majlis ash-Shura, though only a small part of the Omanis is elegible to vote.

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. Recently , the sultan announced that all Omanis over the age of 21 would be eligible to vote.

Regions Main article: Regions of Oman[?]

Oman is divided into eight regions (mintaqah). These regions are subdivided in smaller discricts, (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.

Economy Main article: Economy of Oman

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

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 Arab[?], 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

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