A sheikhdom at the northern end of the Persian Gulf. Kuwait was under British protection from 1899 to 1961, becoming independent June 19, 1961. Kuwait is rich in oil and one of the more active members of OPEC. During the 1970s, Kuwait led the push for increasing petroleum prices and became extremely wealthy. Education, medical care and social security are free to Kuwaiti citizens, and internal taxation has been abolished. During the war between Iran and Iraq (1980-88), Kuwait supported Iraq, which brought Iranian attacks against its oil tankers in the Gulf. On August 2, 1990, Kuwait was attacked and quickly overrun by Iraq. A coalition of nations, led by the United States, reoccupied Kuwait in February 1991. The government has since spent billions of dollars repairing oil fields set ablaze by the retreating Iraqis.