History & Background
Located in the Middle East, Oman, officially known as the Sultanate of Oman, borders Saudi Arabia, Yemen, and the United Arab Emirates. Its bordering waterways include the Arabian Sea, Gulf of Oman, and the Persian Gulf. Oman is 82,030 square miles (1,374 kilometers) large. Its capital and largest city is Muscat.
Oman has a mixture of ethnic groups including people of Arab, Baluchi, South Asian, and African decent. Its official language is Arabic, but English, Indian dialects, Baluchi, and Urdu are spoken as well. Its primary religion is Islam.
Oman gained its independence during its expulsion of the Portuguese in 1650. Its government is a monarchy, and the legal system is based on a combination of English common law and Islamic law. Although Oman is an independent state under the sultan, it has been under British protection since the early nineteenth century.
Even though it is an active member of the World Trade Organization (WTO), Oman's borders were once sealed to the outside world, with Muscat's gates closing shut at sunset. In 1970, however, things changed drastically; Sultan Qabus bin Said overthrew his father, Sultan Sa'id ibn Timur, as the sultan and began to use money that came from the oil surplus to build schools, houses, roads, and improve the environment. The young sultan also made health and education free.