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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 Shi'a community and Shi'a political societies participated in 2006 parliamentary and municipal elections. Al Wifaq, the largest Shi'a political society, won the largest number of seats in the elected chamber of the legislature. However, Shi'a discontent has resurfaced in recent years with street demonstrations and occasional low-level violence.

Languages & Population

Approximate Population: 708,573 (July 2007 est.)

Nationality (Noun): Bahraini(s)

Nationality (Adjective): Bahraini

Official Language(s): Arabic

Major Languages Spoken: Arabic, English, Farsi, Urdu

Map of Bahrain

Country Facts

Country Name (long form): Kingdom of Bahrain

Country Name (short form): Bahrain

Country Name (local long form): Mamlakat al Bahrayn

Country Name (local short form): Al Bahrayn

Name of Capital: Manama

UTC Time Difference (from capital): UTC+3 (8 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)

Countries Near by, and Bordering Bahrain: Qatar, Saudi Arabia

Land Area: 665 sq km

Comparative Area: 3.5 times the size of Washington, DC

Coastline: 161 km

National Holiday: National Day, 16 December (1971); note - 15 August 1971 was the date of independence from the UK, 16 December 1971 was the date of independence from British protection

International Phone Code: 973

Currency Code: Bahraini dinar (BHD)

Internet Country Code: .bh

US Embassy Location: Building #979, Road 3119 (next to Al-Ahli Sports Club), Block 331, Zinj District, Manama

US Embassy Mailing Address: PSC 451, Box 660, FPO AE 09834-5100


Bahrain flag

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