Independence and Building the Modern State

1899 Treaty

The late Sheikh Mubarak Al Sabah, the 7th Ruler of the State of Kuwait and known as “Great Mubarak” asked for British protection in September 1897 due to a dispute with the Ottoman State. His demand was rejected by the British Government on the pretext of that it is unnecessary to intervene in the region. However, it changed its position and agreed on signing an agreement in January 23, 1899. One of the most prominent features of the agreement is that Sheikh Mubarak should not accept any agent or representatives of any foreign country without the British Government’s consent.


Sheikh Mubarak agreed that Britain assigns a commissioner in Kuwait and he was captain Nox who arrived to Kuwait in August 1904. He continued to occupy this position until April 28, 1906. Later, political commissioners were assigned till the declaration of Kuwait’s independence in 1961. 

Kuwait took advantage of this treaty to build and strengthen the bases of modern state. This treaty has provided foreign political stability and protection from external threats and greed, which made this foreign stability an internal constructive factor. Rulers of Kuwait were able to take care and build the emirate after they got rid of the concern of external greed. Therefore, schools were built Like Mubarakeyah and Ahmadeyah, Shura Council was established in 1921, 1st election of municipality was held in 1932 and Legislative Council in 1938, Health and Education Councils were established in 1936, Public Security Department in 1938 and Orphanage Department in 1939. Also, HH Sheikh Ahmad Al Jaber signed an agreement with American and British companies to explore oil in 1934 and other issues and things practiced by Kuwaitis that determine their destiny.

The Era of the Late HH Sheikh Abdallah Al Salem was the real set off on the path of independence. HH has taken vigorous steps towards establishing independent constitutional state since he took office in 1950. HH worked on issuing laws and legislations that supports the establishment of an independent state like nationality and judiciary organization laws in 1959, monetary law in 1960, Fatwa and Legislation Department was established in the same year, government departments were organized and other laws and regulations which are considered pillars of the state. 

Due to the abundance of many factors that contributed directly and indirectly in Kuwait independence either internally or externally, internal voices were raised calling for independence, which made Sheikh Abdallah Al Salem play an effective role in investing these information to declare Kuwait independence. Therefore, he expressed to the British Kuwait desire to end the British Protection Treating and replace it with other agreements suitable for the political development in the country and the Arab and international realm. He also reiterated the importance of respecting Kuwaiti desire to have full independence.



Abolition of Treaty and Declaration of Independence

The actual independence of Kuwait was on 19 June 1961 when HH the late Amir Sheikh Abdallah Al Salem Al Sabah exchanged 2 important memorandums with the British political residency in the Arabian Gulf Sir William Los. The memorandums contained “the cancellations of 1988 Treaty as it is incompatible with the sovereignty and independence of Kuwait” and that “relations between Britain and Kuwait shall continue on the basis of strong friendship”. 



Independence means freedom of the state and its independent entity and that it performs its external mission without other tutelage. This was achieved through the independent agreement signed by the father of the constitution by then HH Sheikh Abdallah Al Salem.

The new era of independence has imposed taking many new legal, constitutional and diplomatic procedures, the most prominent of which was the issuance of an Amiri decree that calls for general elections for a constituent assembly that was authorized to draft the state constitution. During the 9 months of the assembly’s date, the draft constitution of Kuwait was accomplished consisting of 183 articles and presented to HH Sheikh Abdallah Al Salem who ratified it and issued it on 11 November 1962. 

Moreover, the old flag of Kuwait which was in red color and the word “Kuwait” was in the middle was replaced with the new flag. As an implementation of the constitution provisions, the 1st parliamentary election was held in the modern history of Kuwait to choose 50 members representing 10 constituencies on 23 January 1962.


On 29 January 1963, HH Sheikh Abdallah Al Salem inaugurated the 1st National Assembly in the history of Kuwait. 


Kuwait independence was a new phase that made it enter the international community according to a special Kuwaiti policy based on pursuing peace and achieving cooperation with different world states within the framework of brotherhood and friendship among nations. The first step on the diplomatic and political arena was establishing the ministry of foreign affairs to pursue its duty.  Therefore, an Amiri decree was issued in 19 August 1961 to establish a foreign department that shall carry out foreign affairs of the state and integrate Kuwait government secretariat in the foreign department which turned with the 1st ministerial formation into the ministry of foreign affairs. 

Following independence, Kuwait asked for the Arab League membership where the council of the latter met in 16 July 1961 and issued a resolution accepting Kuwait as a member. 

In 30 November 1961, the Security Council started to take into consideration Kuwait demand to join the United Nation’s. In 14 May 1963 Kuwait got the approval and became the 111 member. HH the Amir Sheikh Sabah al Ahmed Al Jaber Al Sabah, Minister of Foreign Affairs by then, delivered Kuwait’s speech at the UN in a historic moment of Kuwait’s march.

Kuwait, thereafter, has participated in UN international organizations like, WHO, FAO, UNESCO, WB, ILO and worked hard through its international activity to advocate Arab issues amongst which is the Palestinian issue. 

As an appreciation of the great role played by the late Amir Sheikh Abdallah Al Salem in Kuwait independence and laying down the foundation of modern state, a decree was issued in 1963 to integrate the National Day with Accession the Throne Day corresponding to February 25th which is the date when HH ascent the throne in Kuwait in 1950.




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