|Former name (until 1970): Muscat and Oman a sultanate in SE Arabia, on the Gulf of Oman and the Arabian Sea: the most powerful state in Arabia in the 19th century, ruling Zanzibar, much of the Persian coast, and part of Pakistan. Official language: Arabic. Official religion: Muslim. Currency: rial. Capital: Muscat. Pop: 2 935 000 (2004 est). Area: about 306 000 sq km (118 150 sq miles)|
Kingdom on the southern and eastern coasts of the Arabian Peninsula on the Arabian Sea, bordered to the northwest by the United Arab Emirates, the west by Saudi Arabia, and the southwest by Yemen. Oman includes a tip of land on one side of the Strait of Hormuz at the entrance to the Persian Gulf.
Note: Strategically located on trading and military routes between the Persian Gulf and Asia and east Africa, Oman has been occupied by the Portuguese, the Turks, and the Persians; since the beginning of the nineteenth century, it has maintained close relations with Britain.
Note: Oman began exporting oil in 1967.