--- National Day
Kuwait commemorates 2 National Days
each year. The first one is held on February 25
and is for Kuwait's creation as a nation, and the second one marks the liberation from Iraq and is held on February 26
Large oil reserves were discovered by the US-British Kuwait Oil Company in 1937. Exploitation was delayed by World War II, but thereafter fueled the country's development into a modern commercial centre. A major public-works programme began in 1951; Kuwait's infrastructure was transformed, and residents began to enjoy a high standard of living. By 1952, the country became the largest exporter of oil in the Persian Gulf region. This massive growth attracted many foreign workers, especially from Egypt and India. On 19 June 1961, Kuwait became independent with the end of the British protectorate; the sheikh Abdullah III Al-Salim Al-Sabah, became an emir, and the country joined the Arab League. The Gulf rupee, issued by the Reserve Bank of India, was replaced by the Kuwaiti dinar. Iraq laid claim that Kuwait was part of its territory, but backed down after British military intervention and a brief stand-off. Iraq formally recognized Kuwait's independence and its borders in October 1963. Under the terms of a newly drafted constitution, Kuwait held its first ever elections for the National Assembly in 1963. However, the Emir suspended the National Assembly in 1976, saying it was not acting in the country's interests.