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Musandam Peninsula, capital of Oman, Strait of Hormuz, Shia Islam, Gulf of Oman

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Oman, nation occupying the southeastern corner of the Arabian Peninsula. Oman is a desert country in which high mountain peaks gaze down on dazzling white sand beaches. It is the principal home of the Ibadis, a minority Islamic sect distinct from both Sunni and Shia Islam. For centuries a hub of Indian Ocean trade, Oman was an imperial power from the 17th through the 19th century. Oman is ruled by a monarch called a sultan, and the country’s official name is the Sultanate of Oman.

Yemen, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) border Oman to the west. The Arabian Sea (part of the Indian Ocean) lies to the east and the Gulf of Oman to the north. Its northernmost extension, on the Musandam Peninsula (separated from the rest of Oman by the UAE), overlooks the Strait of Hormuz and has a few miles of Persian Gulf coastline. Masqat, also known as Muscat, is the capital of Oman and the center of the country’s largest metropolitan area.


Arabian history

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Goldschmidt, Arthur. A Concise History of the Middle East. 6th. ed. Westview, 1998. Introductory college-level text.

Hitti, Philip K. The Arabs: A Short History. Regnery, 1996. Author is a leading historian of the Arabic-speaking peoples.

Hourani, Albert Habib. A History of the Arab Peoples. Warner, 1992. Comprehensive and definitive history of social, economic, political, and cultural life in the Middle East, from the prophet Muhammad to the 20th century.

Lewis, Bernard W. The Middle East: A Brief History of the Last 2,000 Years. Touchstone, 1997. Draws on many sources, including the work of archaeologists and scholars, to chronologically trace the political, economical, social, and cultural development of the Middle East.

Mansfield, Peter. The Arabs. 3rd ed. Penguin, 1992. Informed journalist's introduction to the history of the modern Arab world.

Robinson, Francis, ed. The Cambridge Illustrated History of the Islamic World. Cambridge University Press, 1996. Emphasizes Islamic economy, society, knowledge, art, and architecture.

Who's Who in the Arab World. 13th ed. Publitec, 1996. Up-to-date biographical source.


Peck, Malcolm C., A.B., A.M., M.A., M.A.L.D., Ph.D. Program Officer, Meridian International Center. Author of Historical Dictionary of the Gulf Arab States and The United Arab Emirates: A Venture in Unity.

Microsoft ® Encarta ® 2009. © 1993-2008 Microsoft Corporation.

Article key phrases:

Musandam Peninsula, capital of Oman, Strait of Hormuz, Shia Islam, Gulf of Oman, Arabian Sea, Sultanate of Oman, Arabian Peninsula, Sunni, Muscat, imperial power, monarch, United Arab Emirates, Indian Ocean, UAE, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, centuries, century, west, nation, east, country, center

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