Bahrain Facts

Bahrain Facts and History


Bahrain – the island nation in the Persian Gulf

The Kingdom of Bahrain, an island state consisting of 33 islands in a bay in the Persian Gulf, spreads to the east of Saudi Arabia and west of Qatar. The “Kingdom of the Two Seas”, as the German translation of the Arabic name “Bahrain” is, is connected to its gigantic neighbor Saudi Arabia via the King Fahd Causeway, which was officially opened in 1986 and which around 3 million people annually Use vehicles. In the next few years, Bahrain will be connected to the smaller but historically more closely linked neighbor Qatar via the Friendship Bridge. Once this project is completed, it will be the world’s longest fixed land link.

The Kingdom of Bahrain Kingdom is something of an oasis of liberalism among the Muslim countries in the region. Travelers like the authentic Arabic flair in this country, which one can experience there without the somewhat strict regulations of Islamic law. This is supported by the fact that alcohol flows here – even if since the new regulations of 2007 only in larger hotels.

Bahrain, the smallest country in the independent Gulf States, has often had to carry out a diplomatic tightrope act with regard to its (and in the case of Saudi Arabia, considerably) larger neighbors. The country has oil reserves, albeit few. Bills see it finally drying up in 2015, so that Bahrain has to rely on other economic foundations. The liberal political system does not stand in the way, but promoted developments such as banking, aluminum exports or the company’s own automotive industry.

By the way, Bahrain’s history began around 5,000 years ago. The region lived through the great times of the Dilmun period, experienced the Islamic conquest and conversion and stands today as a modern and open country in the 21st century. In addition to the oil refineries, it also has significant freshwater resources that are unique in the Gulf region.

It is worth noting that the king belongs to the Sunni faith, while about 70% of the population are Shiites.

Name of the country Mamlakat al-Bahrain(= Kingdom of Bahrain)
Form of government Constitutional monarchy
Geographical location The island state of Bahrain extends in the Middle East on a bay in the Persian Gulf.It is east of Saudi Arabia and west of Qatar.
National anthem Bahrainuna (= Our Bahrain)
Population around 1.2 million – of which around 50% are foreigners (Credit: Countryaah: Bahrain Population)
Ethnicities Bahraini (50%)Non-Bahraini (50%)
Religions Islam is the state religion in Bahrain.

  • Shiite Islam (70%)
  • Sunni Islam (30%)
  • Christians (9%)
  • Other denominations, especially Hinduism
Languages ArabicEnglish is very common and business languages

Farsi, Urdu and Hindi are also widely used.

The languages of the guest workers are also spoken.

Capital al-Manama(approx. 200,000 residents)
Surface 710 km²
Highest mountain Djebel Dukhan (134 m).
International license plate BRN
National currency 1 Bahraini dinar = 1,000 fils
Time difference to CET + 2 h(There is no summer or winter time change in Bahrain. Therefore, the difference to Central Europe is + 2 hours in winter and +1 hour in summer.
International phone code 00973
Mains voltage, frequency 230 volts, 50 Hertz (three-pin plug)110 V, 60 Hz (in Awali)
Internet TLD (Top Level Domain) .bra

Bahrain: history

Already in the 4th millennium BC The culturally highly developed Sumer and Babylonians recognized the importance of today’s Bahrain. Both civilizations made the region a center of trade with Makan (present-day Oman) and Melucha (present-day India)). The question of why the archipelago was able to achieve this importance must be answered with a reference to the abundant freshwater resources and the pearl banks that spread so attractively off the coast. Meanwhile, the fruitful trade with the island kingdom began in the 16th century BC. At its end, which was due to the fact that trade with India came to a standstill through the end of the Indus culture. This economic deficit was compensated for by the export of pearls and dates. After an increased change of rule that the island kingdom had to go through, the kingdom first went to the Greeks, under whom it was able to rise again to an important trading center. Now it was the frankincense from southern Arabia that was responsible for the renewed economic prosperity of today’s Bahrain.

According to Abbreviationfinder website, in the 7th century the island was overrun in the course of the Islamic conquests and converted to the new faith.

After the island kingdom of Bahrain had come under the rule of the Karmatians in the 9th century and then under that of the Persian Kingdom of Hormuz, it was occupied by Portugal in 1507. The renewed importance that came with it was due to the interest of the Portuguese in controlling the pearl fishery, which promised considerable economic gains. It was not until the beginning of the 17th century that the Persians expelled the Portuguese, but were unable to maintain control of the island – despite vehement attacks – and had to surrender in 1783 at the latest.

From then on, the Chalifa clan from Qatar ruled, who moved their residence to Bahrain in 1796 and brought the island kingdom to a considerable economic boom. Thanks to their fleet, the al-Khalifa were able to control a large part of the sea trade in the Persian Gulf for themselves. Meanwhile, they were attacked by Oman in 1799. The strong opponent could only with the help of the Wahabites (= supporters of a conservative and dogmatic direction of Sunni Islam, which is in today’s Saudi Arabiamake up the religious majority) are defeated. The Wahabites now occupied the island and became its new rulers. In 1812 they were driven out thanks to an alliance between the al-Chalifa clan, Oman and Persia. Everything started all over again, only that in addition to the harsh attacks of Oman there were also internal power struggles of the al-Khalifa clan.

In the second half of the 19th century, the British came to Bahrain and in 1861 forced the island kingdom to sign a protectorate treaty with the United Kingdom. After British intervention during a violent war with Qatar, Bahrain’s influence on Qatar was extinguished in 1868. The positive effect of the British protectorate was the end of the al-Khalifa power struggles.

At the beginning of the 20th century, pearl fishing was Bahrain’s most important industry. However, this collapsed after 1930, when Imperial Japan entered the world market with its cultured pearls. The economic failure since the 1930s has been replaced by oil – a far more lucrative natural resource. Incidentally, the first oil discoveries were made in 1932.

On August 15, 1971, Bahrain was able to achieve its independence from Great Britain. The head of the country at the time was Sheikh Isa ibn Salman Al Khalifa (1961-1999). The United States then received an air force and naval base on the island.

In 1975 the al-Khalifa clan proclaimed absolute monarchy. In 1979 it put down Shiite unrest related to the ecstasy of the Iranian revolution and cracked down on attempts (also Shiite) in 1981. That same year, Bahrain was one of the founding members of the Gulf Cooperation Council. In 1982, thanks to the US delivery of six F-5F combat aircraft and missiles, the small state had its own air force for the first time.

Since 1986 there have been border conflicts with Saudi Arabia and Qatar due to oil production. These ever-growing disputes were ended in 2001 by the International Court of Justice in The Hague.

Democratic reforms have been taking place in Bahrain since 2000 under Sheikh Hamad bin Isa. As a result, in 2002 the absolute monarchy was converted into a constitutional monarchy.

Bahrain Facts