Oman , officially the Sultanate of Oman is an Arab state in Southwest Asia, on the southeast coast of the Arabian Peninsula, where it holds a strategically important position at the mouth of the Persian Gulf. The nation is bordered by the United Arab Emirates to the northwest, Saudi Arabia to the west, and Yemen to the southwest, and shares marine borders with Iran and Pakistan. The coast is formed by the Arabian Sea on the southeast and the Gulf of Oman on the northeast. The Madha and Musandam exclaves are surrounded by the UAE on their land borders, with the Strait of Hormuz and Gulf of Oman forming Musandam's coastal boundaries.
From the late 17th century the Omani Sultanate was a powerful empire, vying with Portugal and Britain for influence in the Persian Gulf and Indian Ocean. At its peak in the 19th century, Omani influence or control extended across the Strait of Hormuz to Iran and modern-day Pakistan, and as far south as Zanzibar (today part of Tanzania). As its power declined in the 20th century, the sultanate came under the influence of the United Kingdom, although Oman was never formally part of the British Empire, or a British protectorate.
Omani people are ethnically diverse, consisting of Arabs, ethnic Balochis, Swahilis, ethnic Lurs (who speak Kumzari), Hindus, and Mehri people. The largest non-Arab Omani community are the Balochi, an Iranian people following the Sunni faith. At least 12 different languages are native to Omani citizens. Oman's official religion is Ibadi Islam.
Oman is a republican government in which the Sultan of Oman exercises ultimate authority, but its parliament has some legislative and oversight powers. It is a member of the United Nations, the Gulf Cooperation Council, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, and the Arab League, and has long standing military and political ties with the United Kingdom and the United States.
Unlike its resource-rich neighbors, Oman has modest oil reserves, ranking at 25th globally. Nevertheless, in 2010 the UNDP ranked Oman as the most improved nation in the world in terms of development during the preceding 40 years. Additionally, Oman is categorized as a high-income economy and ranks as the 59th most peaceful country in the world.