Oman ( (listen) oh-MAHN; Arabic: عُمَان ʿUmān [ʕʊˈmaːn]), officially the Sultanate of Oman (Arabic: سلْطنةُ عُمان Salṭanat(u) ʻUmān), is a country on the southeastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula in Western Asia. Formerly a maritime empire, Oman is the oldest continuously independent state in the Arab world. Located in a strategically important position at the mouth of the Persian Gulf, the country shares land borders with the United Arab Emirates to the northwest, Saudi Arabia to the west, and Yemen to the southwest, and shares maritime borders with Iran, and Pakistan. The coast is formed by the Arabian Sea on the southeast, and the Gulf of Oman on the northeast. The Madha and Musandam exclaves are surrounded by the UAE on their land borders, with the Strait of Hormuz (which it shares with Iran) and the Gulf of Oman forming Musandam's coastal boundaries. Muscat is its capital and largest city.
From the late 17th century, the Omani Sultanate was a powerful empire, vying with the Portuguese and British empires for influence in the Persian Gulf and Indian Ocean. At its peak in the 19th century, Omani influence or control extended across the Strait of Hormuz to modern-day Iran, and Pakistan, and as far south as Zanzibar. When its power declined in the 20th century, the sultanate came under the influence of the United Kingdom. For over 300 years, the relations built between the two empires were based on mutual benefit. The UK recognized Oman's geographical importance as a trading hub that secured their trading lanes in the Persian Gulf and Indian Ocean and protected their empire in the Indian sub-continent. Historically, Muscat was the principal trading port of the Persian Gulf region. Muscat was also among the most important trading ports of the Indian Ocean.
Sultan Qaboos bin Said was the hereditary leader of the country, which is an absolute monarchy, from 1970 until his death on 10 January 2020. According to the rules for succession to the sultanic throne of Oman, the son of the Sultan is usually announced as the new monarch. However, Sultan Qaboos bin Said did not have any children, and decreed in his last will and testament that his successor should be whichever member of the dynasty was deemed most suitable. Therefore, upon the death of Qaboos, the sultanic family named his cousin, Haitham bin Tariq, as the new Sultan of Oman.
Oman is a member of the United Nations, the Arab League, the Gulf Cooperation Council, the Non-Aligned Movement and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation. It has sizeable oil reserves, ranking 25th globally. In 2010, the United Nations Development Programme ranked Oman as the most improved nation in the world in terms of development during the preceding 40 years. A significant portion of its economy involves tourism and trading fish, dates and other agricultural produce. Oman is categorized as a high-income economy and ranks as the 69th most peaceful country in the world according to the Global Peace Index.
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