The site of the ancient Bronze Age civilization of Dilmun, Bahrain was an important center linking trade routes between Mesopotamia and the Indus Valley as early as 5,000 years ago. The Dilmun civilization began to decline about 2,000 B.C. as trade from India was cut off.
Shaikh Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa acceded to the throne in March 1999, after the death of his father Shaikh Isa bin Hamad Al Khalifa, Bahrain's ruler since 1961. He championed a program of democratic reform shortly after his accession. In November 2000, Shaikh Hamad established a committee to create a blueprint to transform Bahrain from a hereditary emirate to a constitutional monarchy within 2 years.
Bahrain is one of the most densely populated countries in the world; about 89% of the population lives in the two principal cities of Manama and Al Muharraq. Approximately 66% of the indigenous population is originally from the Arabian Peninsula and Iran.
The indigenous population is 98% Muslim. Although some two-thirds of the indigenous population is Shi'a Muslim, the ruling family and the majority of government, military, and corporate leaders are Sunni Muslims. The small indigenous Christian and Jewish communities make up the remaining 2% of the population.
Citibank, a unit of Citicorp, said today that it had opened an Islamic bank in Bahrain to offer investments that conform to Islamic religious principles. The Citi Islamic Investment Bank has an initial capital of $20 million and will operate independently from its American parent company. Citibank is the first Western financial institution to found such a bank in the Persian Gulf region.
Amnesty International on Friday urged Bahrain to free a human rights activist who is on a hunger strike. The group said that the activist, Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, should be released immediately and that his life was at risk after more than 50 days on a hunger strike. He was sentenced to life in prison for his role in last year’s uprising.
Bahrain is an archipelago of thirty-three islands in the Persian Gulf in the Middle East. It is located off the coast of Saudi Arabia and Qatar. Bahrain has a strategic location in the Gulf, through which much of the Western world's petroleum must transit to reach open ocean.
The government system is a constitutional monarchy. The chief of state is the King and the head of government is the Prime Minister.
The two most important islands of the 33 that comprise the country of Bahrain are Bahrain and Al Muharraq. These two islands are connected by a causeway that was built in 1929, but there are a number of causeways linking Bahrain's islands and its neighboring countries.
In 1932...it was the first Arabian country bordering the Persian Gulf to find oil, a discovery that brought newfound prosperity to this tiny country. When Bahrain's neighbors all discovered petroleum, as well, each of them built nearly all of their economy on this single resource. But Bahrain refused to do so. Instead, it became the first country in the Persian Gulf region to begin diversifying its economy.