Sultanate of Oman (Arabic: سلطنة عُمان) is an Arab nation on the south east corner of the Arabian peninsula. Oman has a narrow coastal plain up to only 16 kilometers in width, and then wide barren mountain ranges and waterless plateaus further inland. Oman also controls the access to the Persian Gulf with the Musandam peninsula, a separate enclave to the north. The total area is 309,500 km2, although its boundaries with the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia are still undefined.
Oman has a population of over 3,200,000 and the capital city is Muscat, which is a major port in the southwest region of the Arabian peninsula. Like many Middle Eastern countries some 600,000 expatriates perform much of the menial work in the country.
Oman succeeded Portugal as a power in the western Indian Ocean in the eighteenth century. In the late 18th century, Muscat signed a series of friendship treaties with Great Britain but it never became a British colony. In the 1950's Britain would aid in suppressing uprisings by the rebellious interior tribes. In 1970 Sultan Said bin Taimus was overthrown by his son to free the country from his father's oppressive rule. Qaboos bin Said al-Said has ruled as Sultan since then.
With large oil reserves Oman has been able to develop rapidly.
Government and politics
The Sultanate of Oman is a hereditary absolute monarchy. The Sultan is both chief officer of state and chief executive and wields considerable power in a largely centralized state.
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