Oman Country Facts

عمان – Uman
Capital city Muscat
Surface 309,550 km²
Population 4,829,000
Road network length 60,230 km
Length of highway network 1,653 km
First highway 2010
Motorway name ?
Traffic drives Right
License plate code TO

Oman is a country in Asia, located on the east of the Arabian Peninsula. The country has almost 5 million inhabitants and is almost 8 times the size of the Netherlands. The capital is Muscat.


Oman is located on the Gulf of Oman and the Arabian Sea, on the eastern tip of the Arabian Peninsula. The country borders the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia to the west and Yemen to the southwest. The capital Muscat is located in the north on the coast. Oman is largely desert, with a mountainous north and center. Oman also includes two exclaves in the UAE. There are few other major cities outside Muscat, only Sur and Salalah are of importance. Most of Oman is very sparsely populated, especially in the south and the border region with Saudi Arabia. The Jebel Akhdar is the highest point in Oman at 3,075 meters.


Oman is a relatively developed country, with a nominal GDP of $17,000 per capita. Oman’s economy is relatively diverse, although oil is by far Oman’s largest export, it dominates the economy less than some other Gulf countries. The economy is dependent on the government, a large part of the Omanis work for the government. As a stable country in the Middle East, the country also attracts more and more tourists. More than half of the workers in Oman come from abroad, mainly from India. Agriculture plays a limited role because only a very small part of the land is cultivated with agriculture.


Oman’s population is divided into Omanis and foreigners, who make up almost half of the population. The country has a rapidly growing population, from 2.2 million in 2000 to 5 million in 2020. About half of the population lives in Muscat or the coastal strip in the north.

Oman is an Islamic country, traditionally more tolerant than elsewhere in the Arab world, which has its origins in the commercial spirit of Omanis. Arabic is spoken in Oman. English is relatively widely spoken. Swahili is also spoken due to its historical ties to Zanzibar.


For many centuries Arab tribes migrated east into the area that is now Oman. Oman came into contact with Islam in the 7th century. It was then ruled by several dynasties. In 1507, the Portuguese landed in Muscat and held it until 1650. However, the surrounding land was not colonized. During the 17th century, the local tribes regained power and expanded into the Omani Empire, which during the 17th century expanded to the coast of the entire western Indian Ocean, from present-day Iran in the north to present-day Mozambique in the south. Oman was an important maritime power at that time.

Oman was briefly colonized by Persia in the mid-18th century, but then the British expanded their influence in the Arabian Peninsula. Oman was not formally colonized by the British, but increasingly came under British influence in the 19th century. In the 19th century, Zanzibar was of great importance to Oman as the center of the slave trade on the Swahili coast. In 1856, Zanzibar and Oman became two separate sultanates under British influence. In 1932 Said bin Taimur became the Sultan of Oman. He was supported by the British but followed an isolationist course. Oman still controlled territory in Balochistan, the Makran coast and the port city of Gwadar. The Makran coast was ceded to Pakistan in 1955, in 1958 Pakistan also bought the coastal city of Gwadar.

Oil was found in 1964 and production started in 1967. However, this did not reach the level of the Gulf States and Oman remained a severely underdeveloped area. In 1970, a coup d’état followed in which Qaboos bin Said Al Said overthrew his father and an almost 50-year period of Omani rule by Sultan Qaboos followed. The country thus formally became a sultanate. Slavery was abolished and Oman developed into a more modern country in the decades that followed. Sultan Qaboos passed away in 2020.


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