Fast Facts

Population:
2,436,000
Capital:
Muscat; 638,000
Area:
309,500 square kilometers (119,500 square miles)
Language:
Arabic, English, Baluchi, Urdu, Indian dialects
Religion:
Ibadhi Muslim, Sunni Muslim, Shiite Muslim, Hindu
Currency:
Omani rial
Life Expectancy:
73
GDP per Capita:
U.S. $8,300
Literacy Percent:
76
Flag: Oman
Map: Oman

At the mouth of the Persian Gulf and in the path of trade routes to East Africa and the Orient, Oman built a commercial empire centuries ago. After the mid-19th century, power struggles weakened the sultanate, strengthening bonds to the British Empire. In 1970 British-educated Qaboos bin Said deposed his father and, as sultan, began modernizing. Oman allows the United States to use port and air base facilities. Oil, exported since 1967, has financed roads, schools, and hospitals. The majority of Omanis still farm or fish, and protection of fisheries and coastal zones is promoted.

ECONOMY

  • Industry: Crude oil production and refining, natural gas production, construction
  • Agriculture: Dates, limes, bananas, alfalfa; camels; fish
  • Exports: Petroleum, reexports, fish, metals, textiles

—Text From National Geographic Atlas of the World, Eighth Edition

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