Content on this page:

- Facts and figures
- About Bahrain
- History of Bahrain

See also:

- Video: Brev fra Bahrain
- Photos from Bahrain

Links: Bahrain

Bahrain - A Country Study - U.S. Library of Congress / area handbooks
Gulf Air
Bahrain Tribune
Gulf daily News
Bahrain: Ministry of tourism
Timeline of modern Bahrain




This page contains general information about the country Bahrain.

Bahrain flag State of Bahrain (in facts and figures)

Capital: Manama
Area: 678 km²
Est. population: 645,361
Official language: Arabic
Major religion: Islam

Literacy: 85 % of adult population.
Universities: 1
Hospital beds: 1,612
Infant mortality: 19.7 per 1,000 live births
Life expectancy: 76 (Women), 71 (Men)

Government type: Constitutional monarchy
Government leader:
Prime Minister Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa
Chief of state: Amir Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa
GNP: $3.03 billion, $6,610 per capita

More facts and figures:

CIA World Factbook: Bahrain

About Bahrain

The late Emir Sheik Isa bin Salman al-Khalifa The State of Bahrain is an small emirate of a group of islands. The main island Bahrain contains the capital Manama and the airport is located on the island Muharraq. The islands are found in the Persian Gulf, connected to Saudi Arabia with the long low-bridge King Fahad Causeway, which opened in 1986.

Bahrain is a dry desert land with very little rain, but water wells all over the country has made small agriculture possible.

Bahrain was the first country in the gulf to discover and refine oil (from 1931), but today Bahrains oilreserves are almost finished. Bahrain still have a oil refinery which refines oil from Saudi Arabian pipelines. The industry also includes natural gas and an aluminium factory.

Bahrain is turning into a center of commerce and trade - and maybe tourism. The Islands have an good location between Saudi Arabia and Qatar and has become the regions banking and communications center. Other major plusses for Bahrain is the international Airport and the free trade zone in the port.

Most of the population is arab, but many Indians, Persians, Europeans and Americans also reside and work in Bahrain. English is understood by most people and the government knows the importance of having good relationships with the international society.

Most Bahrainis practice Islam, which is the official religion. The sheik family and about one third of the population belongs to the sunnite sect. The shiite sect is bigger in number, but the sunnite is dominant. In the later years there has been riots and conflicts between the poor shiite people and the ruling family. The police forces has struck hard upon every sign of rebellion. Iran has from the eighties been supporting the Shiites and as a result the official Bahrain has a closer relationship with The sunnite Saudi Arabia and the Western countries. In general Bahrain is still among the peaceful corners of the Islamic world.

History of Bahrain

The Portugese Fort in Bahrain Bahrain was in the 3d millennium BC center of a large trade in the region called Dilmun. Dilmun is described as something close to paradise in several pre-bible writings.

From 1953 a team of Danish archaeologists lead by professor P.V. Glob discovered a large city, temples and hundreds of graves in Bahrain from the Dilmun period. Bahrain stayed as an independant arab state until first Portugese (1521) and then Persians (1602) occupied the country. From the Portugese period Bahrain has a Fort in the North of the Island. In 1783 the Al-Khalifa family gained power in the country and has ruled the Monarchy ever since. For a long period of time Bahrain was a British protectorate. Bahrain had its independence in 1971.

The Sunni Sheik-Government has had problems with its shiite population and Iran who has claimed that they should rule in Bahrain. During the Iraq war (1990) Bahrain aggreed to be a center for U.S. troops, planes and ships. Bahrain forces took part of the anti-Iraq coalition and is still used by American forces in the area.


March 6, 1999: The ruler of Bahrain, Sheikh Isa Ibn Salman Al-Khalifa, died in Manama. The emir died of a heart attack only minutes after a meeting with the US Secretary of Defence. His son immediately assumed power as the new prince for the state of Bahrain

October 24, 2002: The first legislative elections in Bahrain since 1973. The Emir is carrying out the plans of approaching democracy in Bahrain. For the first time women were allowed to vote - and Bahrain is the only nation in the region allowing women to run for the parliament.

JCJ Film has produced a video about a Danish girl growing up in the Gulf-state Bahrain. The video is partly about her life and partly about Bahrain.



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