|Sultanate of Oman|
|Anthem: Nashid as-Salaam as-Sultani
(and largest city)
|Government||Islamic absolute monarchy|
|-||Sultan||Qaboos bin Said Al Said|
|-||Deputy Prime Minister||Fahd bin Mahmoud al Said|
|-||Total||309,550 km2 (70th)
119,498 sq mi
|-||2009 estimate||2,845,000 (139th)|
|GDP (PPP)||2009 estimate|
|GDP (nominal)||2009 estimate|
|HDI (2007)||0.846 (high) (56th)|
|Drives on the||right|
|1||Population estimate includes 693,000 non-nationals.|
Oman ( ; Arabic: عمان ʻUmān), officially the Sultanate of Oman (Arabic: سلطنة عمان Salṭanat ʻUmān), is an Arab country in southwest Asia on the southeast coast of the Arabian Peninsula. It borders the United Arab Emirates on the northwest, Saudi Arabia on the west and Yemen on the southwest. The coast is formed by the Arabian Sea on the southeast and the Gulf of Oman on the northeast. The Madha and Musandam enclaves are surrounded by the UAE on their land borders, with the Strait of Hormuz and Gulf of Oman forming Musandam's coastal boundaries.
In November 2010, The United Nations Development Programme's (UNDP) listed Oman as the most-improved nation in last 40 years from among 135 countries worldwide.
Wattayah, located in the Governorate of Muscat, is the oldest known human settlement in the area and dates back to the Stone Age, making it around 5,000 years old. Archaeological remains have been discovered here from the Stone Age and the Bronze Age; findings have consisted of stone implements, animal bones, shells and fire hearths, with the latter dating back to 7615 BC as the oldest signs of human settlement in the area. Other discoveries include hand-moulded pottery bearing distinguishing pre-Bronze Age marks, heavy flint implements, pointed tools and scrapers.
On a mountain rock-face in the same district, animal drawings have been discovered. Similar drawings have also been found in the Wadi Sahtan and Wadi Bani Kharus areas of Rustaq, consisting of human figures carrying weapons and being confronted by wild animals. Siwan in Haima is another Stone Age location and some of the archaeological finds have included arrowheads, knives, chisels and circular stones which may have been used to throw at animals.
Sumerian tablets refer to a country called Majan, a name believed to refer to Oman's ancient copper mines. Mazoon, another name used for the region, is derived from the word muzn, which means heavy clouds which carry abundant water. The present-day name of the country, Oman, is believed to originate from the Arab tribes who migrated to its territory from the Uman region of Yemen; many tribes settled in Oman making a living by fishing, herding or stock breeding and many present day Omani families are able to trace their ancestral roots to other parts of Arabia.
From the 6th century BC to the arrival of Islam in the 7th century AD, Oman was controlled and/or influenced by three Persian dynasties, the Achaemenids, Parthians and Sassanids. Achaemenids in the 6th century BC controlled and influenced the Oman peninsula, most likely exerted from a coastal center such as Sohar. By about 250 BC the Parthian dynasty brought the Persian Gulf under their control and extended their influence as far as Oman, establishing garrisons in Oman because they needed to control the Persian Gulf trade route. In the 3rd century AD the Sasanids succeeded the Parthians and held the area until the rise of Islam four centuries later.