The al-Sabahs have been the royal family of Kuwait since about 1752. The al-Sabah dynasty is not strictly hereditary, and although many emirs have succeeded their fathers, the ruling family chooses their leader from each succeeding generation, rather than selecting from the children of the current ruler.
Mubarak was succeeded as ruler by his son Jabir (1915-17) and another son Salim (1917-21). Subsequent emirs descended from these two brothers. Sheikh Ahmed al-Jabir Al Sabah ruled from 1921 until his death in 1950, and Sheikh Abdullah al-Salim Al Sabah from 1950 to 1965. Shiekeh sabah al-Salim ruled after the death of his brother Sheikh Abdullah, from 1965 to 1977. Sheikh Jaber al-Ahmad is the present ruler.