Brief History of Bahrain:
Bahrain is home to one of the oldest civilizations in the world. As far back as 3000 BC the Dilmun civilization was a trade center between the Indus Valley (India) and Ancient Mesopotamia for almost 1000 years. The former capital of the Dilmun, Qal'at al-Bahrain, was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2005.
Later Bahrain was taken over by the Assyrians and then the Persian Empire. Next came Alexander the Great and the Greeks who renamed the island Tylos. The island was ruled over the next several hundreds of years by various Arab and Mediterranean countries and rulers.
In 1783 the Al Khalifa family, from the Bani Utbah tribe, captured Bahrain from Persia. They have ruled the island ever since. In the 1830s Bahrain became a British Protectorate. This meant they had British protection, but where also considered a British ally. This was mainly done to protect Bahrain from Ottoman Turkey.
In 1968, the British government decided to end its treaties in the Persian Gulf. In 1971 Bahrain became a fully independent country.
The Geography of Bahrain
Total Size: 665 square km
Size Comparison: 3.5 times the size of Washington, DC
Geographical Coordinates: 26 00 N, 50 33 E
World Region or Continent: Middle East
General Terrain: mostly low desert plain rising gently to low central escarpment
Geographical Low Point: Persian Gulf 0 m
Geographical High Point: Jabal ad Dukhan 122 m
Climate: arid; mild, pleasant winters; very hot, humid summers
Major cities: MANAMA (capital) 163,000 (2009)
The People of Bahrain
Type of Government: constitutional hereditary monarchy
Languages Spoken: Arabic, English, Farsi, Urdu
Independence: 15 August 1971 (from UK)
National Holiday: National Day, 16 December (1971); note - 15 August 1971 is the date of independence from the UK, 16 December 1971 is the date of independence from British protection
Religions: Muslim (Shi'a and Sunni) 81.2%, Christian 9%, other 9.8% (2001 census)
National Anthem or Song: Bahrainona (Our Bahrain)
Economy of Bahrain
Major Industries: petroleum processing and refining, aluminum smelting, iron pelletization, fertilizers, offshore banking, ship repairing, tourism
Agricultural Products: fruit, vegetables; poultry, dairy products; shrimp, fish
Natural Resources: oil, associated and nonassociated natural gas, fish, pearls
Major Exports: petroleum and petroleum products, aluminum, textiles
Major Imports: crude oil, machinery, chemicals
Currency: Bahraini dinar (BHD)
National GDP: $31,300,000,000
** Source for population (2012 est.) and GDP (2011 est.) is CIA World Factbook.
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