Bahrain



Official Country Name
Bahrain

Bahrain Overview
In 1782, the Al Khalifa family captured Bahrain from the Persians. In order to secure these holdings, it entered into a series of treaties with the UK during the 19th century that made Bahrain a British protectorate. The archipelago attained its independence in 1971. Bahrain's small size and central location among Persian Gulf countries require it to play a delicate balancing act in foreign affairs among its larger neighbors. Facing declining oil reserves, Bahrain has turned to petroleum processing and refining and has transformed itself into an international banking center. King HAMAD bin Isa Al Khalifa, after coming to power in 1999, pushed economic and political reforms to improve relations with the Shia community and Shia political societies participated in 2006 parliamentary and municipal elections. Al Wifaq, the largest Shia political society, won the largest number of seats in the elected chamber of the legislature. However, Shia discontent has resurfaced in recent years with street demonstrations and occasional low-level violence.

Bahrain Economy
With its highly developed communication and transport facilities, Bahrain is home to numerous multinational firms with business in the Gulf. Petroleum production and refining account for about 60% of Bahrain's export receipts, 70% of government revenues, and 20% of GDP, underpinning Bahrain's strong economic growth in recent years. The financial and construction sectors have also bolstered GDP growth. Bahrain is actively pursuing the diversification and privatization of its economy to reduce the country's dependence on oil. As part of this effort, Bahrain and the US in August 2006 implemented a Free Trade Agreement (FTA), the first FTA between the US and a Gulf state. Unemployment, especially among the young, and the depletion of oil and underground water resources are major long-term economic problems.

Bahrain Location
Bahrain is located in Middle East, archipelago in the Persian Gulf, east of Saudi Arabia

Region
Bahrain is located in Asia

Bahrain Population
Bahrain has population of 698,585

Bahrain Climate
Bahrain has arid; mild, pleasant winters; very hot, humid summers

Bahrain Terrain
mostly low desert plain rising gently to low central escarpment

Bahrain Natural Resources
oil, associated and nonassociated natural gas, fish, pearls

Ethnic Groups in Bahrain
Bahrain has the following ethnic groups - Bahraini 62.4%, non-Bahraini 37.6% (2001 census)

Bahrain Religions
Muslim (Shi'a and Sunni) 81.2%, Christian 9%, other 9.8% (2001 census)

Bahrain Languages
Arabic, English, Farsi, Urdu

Bahrain Capital
Bahrain capital is Manama

Bahrain Currency
Bahrain currency is Bahraini dinar

Map of Bahrain