Muscat is the capital city and is the most populated city in Oman. It is the seat of the Governorate of Muscat. The metropolitan area includes six provinces called wilayats. Known since the early 1st century AD as an important trading port between the west and the east, Muscat was ruled by various indigenous tribes as well as foreign powers such as the Persians, the Portuguese Empire, the Iberian Union and the Ottoman Empire at various points in its history. A regional military power in the 18th century, Muscat's influence extended as far as East Africa and Zanzibar. As an important port-town in the Gulf of Oman, Muscat attracted foreign tradesmen and settlers such as the Persians and the Balochis. Since the ascension of Qaboos bin Said as Sultan of Oman in 1970, Muscat has experienced rapid infrastructure development that has led to the growth of a vibrant economy and a multiethnic society.
Muscat is rated Beta − by the Globalization and World Cities Research Network (GaWC) which evaluates and ranks the relationships between world cities in the context of globalisation. Beta level cities are cities that link moderate economic regions to the world economy.
Muscat has a population of over 76,340 people. Muscat also forms part of the wider Muscat metropolitan area which has a population of over 1,400,000 people.
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