BAHRAIN (/bɑːˈreɪn/ (_ listen ); Arabic : البحرين
al-Baḥrayn_ ), officially the KINGDOM OF BAHRAIN (Arabic :
مملكة البحرين _ Mamlakat al-Baḥrayn _), is a small
Arab monarchy in the
Persian Gulf . It is an island country consisting
of a small archipelago centered around
Bahrain Island , situated
Qatar peninsula and the north eastern coast of Saudi
Arabia , to which it is connected by the 25 km (16 mi)
Causeway . Bahrain's population is 1,234,571 (c. 2010), including
666,172 non-nationals. It is 780 km2 in size, making it the third
smallest nation in
Asia after the
Bahrain is the site of the ancient
Dilmun civilisation . It has been
famed since antiquity for its pearl fisheries , which were considered
the best in the world into the 19th century.
Bahrain was one of the
earliest areas to convert to
Islam (AD 628). Following a period of
Bahrain was occupied by the Portuguese in 1521, who in turn
were expelled in 1602 by
Shah Abbas I of the
Safavid dynasty under the
Persian Empire . In 1783, the
Bani Utbah clan captured
Nasr Al-Madhkur and it has since been ruled by the
Al Khalifa royal
family , with Ahmed al Fateh as Bahrain's first hakim . In the late
1800s, following successive treaties with the British ,
a protectorate of the United Kingdom. In 1971,
independence . Formerly an emirate ,
Bahrain was declared a Kingdom in
2002. In 2011, the country experienced protests inspired by the
Arab Spring .
Bahrain had the first post-oil economy in the Persian Gulf. Since
the late 20th century,
Bahrain has invested in the banking and tourism
sectors. Many large financial institutions have a presence in Manama
, the country's capital.
Bahrain has a high Human Development Index
and was recognised by the
World Bank as a high income economy .
* 1 Etymology
* 2 History
* 2.1 Antiquity
* 2.2 Time of
* 2.4 Early modern era
* 2.5 19th century and later
* 2.7 Bahraini uprising
* 3 Geography
* 3.1 Climate
* 3.2 Biodiversity
* 4 Politics
* 4.1 Human rights
* 4.2 Women\'s rights
* 4.3 Media
* 4.4 Military
* 4.5 Foreign relations
* 5 Economy
* 6 Infrastructure
* 7 Science and technology
* 7.1 Policy framework
* 7.2 New infrastructure for science and education
* 7.3 Investment in education and research
* 7.4 Trends in research output
* 8 Demographics
* 8.2 Religion
* 8.3 Languages
* 8.4 Education
* 8.5 Health
* 9 Culture
* 9.1 Art
* 9.2 Literature
* 9.3 Music
* 9.4 Sports
* 9.5 Holidays
* 10 See also
* 11 Notes
* 12 Sources
* 13 References
* 14 References
* 15 External links
A 1745 Bellin map of the historical region of
In Arabic, _Bahrayn_ is the dual form of _bahr_ ("sea"), so
_al-Bahrayn_ means "the two seas", although which two seas were
originally intended remains in dispute. The term appears five times
Quran , but does not refer to the modern island—originally
known to the Arabs as _Awal_— but rather to all of Eastern Arabia
(most notably al-Katif and al-Hasa ).
Today, Bahrain's "two seas" are instead generally taken to be the bay
east and west of the island, the seas north and south of the island,
or the salt and fresh water present above and below the ground. In
addition to wells, there are areas of the sea north of
fresh water bubbles up in the middle of the salt water as noted by
visitors since antiquity. An alternate theory with regard to
Bahrain's toponymy is offered by the al-Ahsa region, which suggests
that the two seas were the Great Green Ocean (the Persian Gulf) and a
peaceful lake on the Arabian mainland. Another supposition by
al-Jawahari suggests that the more formal name _Bahri_ (lit.
"belonging to the sea") would have been misunderstood and so was opted
Until the late
Middle Ages , "Bahrain" referred to the region of
Eastern Arabia that included Southern Iraq, Kuwait, Al-Hasa,
Bahrain. The region stretched from
Iraq to the Strait of
Oman . This was Iqlīm al-Bahrayn's "Bahrayn Province". The
exact date at which the term "Bahrain" began to refer solely to the
Awal archipelago is unknown. The entire coastal strip of Eastern
Arabia was known as "Bahrain" for a millennium. The island and
kingdom were also commonly spelled BAHREIN into the 1950s.
History of Bahrain
Map showing the locations of the ancient burial mounds . There
are an estimated 350,000 burial mounds. The
Persian Empire in
Sassanid era at its peak during the reign of
Khosrau II (590–628).
Bahrain was home to the
Dilmun civilization , an important Bronze Age
trade centre linking
Mesopotamia and the Indus Valley .
later ruled by the Assyrians and Babylonians .
From the 6th to 3rd century BC,
Bahrain was part of the Persian
Empire ruled by the
Achaemenian dynasty. By about 250 BC, Parthia
Persian Gulf under its control and extended its influence
as far as Oman. The Parthians established garrisons along the southern
coast of the
Persian Gulf to control trade routes.
During the classical era ,
Bahrain was referred to by the ancient
Greeks as _
Tylos _, the centre of pearl trading, when the Greek
Nearchus serving under
Alexander the Great landed on Bahrain.
Nearchus is believed to have been the first of Alexander's commanders
to visit the island, and he found a verdant land that was part of a
wide trading network; he recorded: "That on the island of Tylos,
situated in the Persian Gulf, are large plantations of cotton trees,
from which are manufactured clothes called _sindones_, of strongly
differing degrees of value, some being costly, others less expensive.
The use of these is not confined to India, but extends to Arabia."
The Greek historian
Theophrastus states that much of
covered by these cotton trees and that
Bahrain was famous for
exporting walking canes engraved with emblems that were customarily
carried in Babylon.
Alexander had planned to settle Greek colonists on Bahrain, and
although it is not clear that this happened on the scale he envisaged,
Bahrain became very much part of the Hellenised world: the language of
the upper classes was Greek (although Aramaic was in everyday use),
Zeus was worshipped in the form of the Arabian sun-god Shams.
Bahrain even became the site of Greek athletic contests.
The Greek historian
Strabo believed the
Phoenicians originate from
Herodotus also believed that the homeland of the Phoenicians
was Bahrain. This theory was accepted by the 19th-century German
classicist Arnold Heeren who said that: "In the Greek geographers, for
instance, we read of two islands, named Tyrus or
Tylos , and Arad,
Bahrain , which boasted that they were the mother country of the
Phoenicians, and exhibited relics of Phoenician temples." The people
of Tyre in particular have long maintained
Persian Gulf origins, and
the similarity in the words "Tylos" and "Tyre" has been commented
upon. However, there is little evidence of any human settlement at
Bahrain during the time when such migration had supposedly
Tylos is thought to be a Hellenisation of the Semitic
Dilmun ). The term
Tylos was commonly used for the
islands until Ptolemy’s _Geographia _ when the inhabitants are
referred to as Thilouanoi. Some place names on
Bahrain go back to the
Tylos era; for instance the name of Arad, a residential suburb of
Muharraq , is believed to originate from "Arados", the ancient Greek
name for Muharraq.
In the 3rd century,
Ardashir I , the first ruler of the Sassanid
dynasty , marched on
Oman and Bahrain, where he defeated Sanatruq the
ruler of Bahrain. At this time,
Bahrain was known as
in Middle-Persian/Pahlavi means "ewe-fish").
Bahrain was also the site of worship of an ox deity called
Worshipers built a large statue to
Muharraq , although it has
now been lost. For many centuries after _Tylos_,
Bahrain was known as
Awal _. By the 5th century,
Bahrain became a centre for Nestorian
Christianity , with the village
Samahij as the seat of bishops. In
410, according to the Oriental Syriac Church synodal records, a bishop
named Batai was excommunicated from the church in Bahrain. As a sect,
the Nestorians were often persecuted as heretics by the Byzantine
Empire , but
Bahrain was outside the Empire's control, offering some
safety. The names of several
Muharraq villages today reflect Bahrain's
Christian legacy, with
Al Dair meaning "the monastery".
Bahrain's pre-Islamic population consisted of Christian Arabs (mostly
Abd al-Qays ), Persians (
Zoroastrians ), Jews , and Aramaic -speaking
agriculturalists. According to
Robert Bertram Serjeant , the
Baharna may be the
Arabized "descendants of converts from the original
population of Christians (Aramaeans), Jews and Persians inhabiting the
island and cultivated coastal provinces of
Eastern Arabia at the time
Muslim conquest ". The sedentary people of pre-Islamic
Bahrain were Aramaic speakers and to some degree Persian speakers,
while Syriac functioned as a liturgical language .
TIME OF MUHAMMAD
List of expeditions of Muhammad
Facsimile of a
letter sent by
Munzir ibn-Sawa al-Tamimi , governor of
Bahrain in AD 628
Muhammad 's first interaction with the people of
Bahrain was the Al
Kudr Invasion .
Muhammad ordered a surprise attack on the Banu Salim
tribe for allegedly plotting to attack Medina. He had received news
that some tribes were assembling an army on
Bahrain and preparing to
attack the mainland. But the tribesmen retreated when they learned
Muhammad was leading an army to do battle with them.
Traditional Islamic accounts state that
Al-ʿAlāʾ Al-Haḍrami was
sent as an envoy during the
Expedition of Zaid ibn Haritha (Hisma)
Bahrain region by the prophet
Muhammad in AD 628 and that
Munzir ibn-Sawa al-Tamimi , the local ruler, responded to his mission
and converted the entire area.
In AD 899, the
Qarmatians , a millenarian Ismaili Muslim sect seized
Bahrain, seeking to create a utopian society based on reason and
redistribution of property among initiates. Thereafter, the Qarmatians
demanded tribute from the caliph in
Baghdad , and in AD 930 sacked
Medina , bringing the sacred
Black Stone back to their base
in Ahsa , in medieval Bahrain, for ransom. According to historian
Al-Juwayni , the stone was returned 22 years later in 951 under
mysterious circumstances. Wrapped in a sack, it was thrown into the
Great Mosque of Kufa in Iraq, accompanied by a note saying "By command
we took it, and by command we have brought it back." The theft and
removal of the
Black Stone caused it to break into seven pieces.
Following their AD 976 defeat by the
Abbasids , the Qarmations were
overthrown by the
Arab Uyunid dynasty of al-Hasa , who took over the
Bahrain region in 1076. The
1235, when the archipelago was briefly occupied by the Persian ruler
of Fars . In 1253, the
Usfurids brought down the Uyunid
dynasty, thereby gaining control over eastern
Arabia , including the
islands of Bahrain. In 1330, the archipelago became a tributary state
of the rulers of Hormuz , though locally the islands were controlled
by the Shi'ite Jarwanid dynasty of
Qatif . In the mid-15th century,
the archipelago came under the rule of the
Jabrids , a
also based in Al-Ahsa that ruled most of eastern Arabia.
EARLY MODERN ERA
1782-1783 unrest in Bahrain , History of Bahrain
(1783–1971) , and
Arad Fort in Arad ;
constructed before the Portuguese assumed control.
In 1521, the Portuguese allied with Hormuz and seized
the Jabrid ruler
Migrin ibn Zamil , who was killed during the
takeover. Portuguese rule lasted for around 80 years, during which
time they depended mainly on Sunni Persian governors. The Portuguese
were expelled from the islands in 1602 by Abbas I of the Safavid
Persia , which gave impetus to Shia
Islam . For the next
two centuries, Persian rulers retained control of the archipelago,
interrupted by the 1717 and 1738 invasions of the
Ibadhis of Oman.
During most of this period, they resorted to governing Bahrain
indirectly, either through the city of
Bushehr or through immigrant
Arab clans. The latter were tribes returning to the Arabian side
Persian Gulf from Persian territories in the north who were
known as _
Huwala _ (literally: those that have changed or moved).
In 1753, the
Huwala clan of
Nasr Al-Madhkur invaded
Bahrain on behalf
of the Iranian Zand leader
Karim Khan Zand and restored direct Iranian
In 1783, Al-Madhkur lost the islands of
Bahrain following his defeat
Bani Utbah tribe at the 1782 Battle of
not new territory to the Bani Utbah; they had been a presence there
since the 17th century. During that time, they started purchasing
date palm gardens in Bahrain; a document shows that 81 years before
arrival of the Al-Khalifa, one of the shaikhs of the
Al Bin Ali tribe
(an offshoot of the Bani Utbah) had bought a palm garden from Mariam
bint Ahmed Al Sanadi in
Al Bin Ali were the dominant group controlling the town of
Zubarah on the
Qatar peninsula, originally the center of power of
the Bani Utbah. After the
Bani Utbah gained control of Bahrain, the Al
Bin Ali had a practically independent status there as a self-governing
tribe. They used a flag with four red and three white stripes, called
Al-Sulami flag in Bahrain, Qatar,
Kuwait , and the Eastern
province of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Later, different
clans and tribes from
Qatar moved to
Bahrain to settle after the fall
Nasr Al-Madhkur of
Bushehr . These families included the Al Khalifa
, Al-Ma'awdah, Al-Fadhil, Al-Mannai, Al-Noaimi, Al-Sulaiti, Al-Sadah,
Al-Thawadi and other families and tribes.
Al Khalifa family moved from
Bahrain in 1799.
Originally, their ancestors were expelled from
Umm Qasr in central
Arabia by the Ottomans due to their predatory habits of preying on
Basra and trading ships in Shatt al-
Arab waterway until
Turks expelled them to
Kuwait in 1716, where they remained until 1766.
Around the 1760s, the
Al Jalahma and
Al Khalifa clans, both belonging
to the Utub federation, migrated to
Zubarah in modern-day
leaving Al Sabah as the sole proprietors of Kuwait.
19TH CENTURY AND LATER
In the early 19th century,
Bahrain was invaded by both the Omanis and
the Al Sauds . In 1802 it was governed by a 12-year-old child, when
the Omani ruler Sayyid Sultan installed his son, Salim, as
Arad Fort . In 1816, the British political resident in the Gulf,
William Bruce, received a letter from the Sheikh of
Bahrain who was
concerned about a rumour that Britain would support an attack on the
island by the Imam of Muscat. He sailed to
Bahrain to reassure the
Sheikh that this was not the case and drew up an informal agreement
assuring the Sheikh that Britain would remain a neutral party.
In 1820, the
Al Khalifa tribe were recognised by Great Britain as the
rulers ("Al-Hakim" in Arabic) of
Bahrain after signing a treaty
relationship . However, ten years later they were forced to pay
yearly tributes to
Egypt despite seeking Persian and British
Bahrain harbor, c. 1870
In 1860, the Al Khalifas used the same tactic when the British tried
to overpower Bahrain. Writing letters to the Persians and Ottomans ,
Al Khalifas agreed to place
Bahrain under the latter's protection in
March due to offering better conditions. Eventually the Government of
Bahrain when the Persians refused to protect
it. Colonel Pelly signed a new treaty with Al Khalifas placing Bahrain
under British rule and protection.
Qatari–Bahraini War in 1868, British representatives
signed another agreement with the Al Khalifas. It specified that the
ruler could not dispose of any of his territory except to the United
Kingdom and could not enter into relationships with any foreign
government without British consent. In return the British promised
Bahrain from all aggression by sea and to lend support in
case of land attack. More importantly the British promised to support
the rule of the
Al Khalifa in Bahrain, securing its unstable position
as rulers of the country. Other agreements in 1880 and 1892 sealed the
protectorate status of
Bahrain to the British.
Unrest amongst the people of
Bahrain began when Britain officially
established complete dominance over the territory in 1892. The first
revolt and widespread uprising took place in March 1895 against Sheikh
Issa bin Ali, then ruler of Bahrain. Sheikh Issa was the first of the
Al Khalifa to rule without Persian relations. Sir
Arnold Wilson ,
Britain's representative in the
Persian Gulf and author of _The
Persian Gulf_, arrived in
Bahrain from Muscat at this time. The
uprising developed further with some protesters killed by British
Before the development of petroleum, the island was largely devoted
to pearl fisheries and, as late as the 19th century, was considered to
be the finest in the world. In 1903, German explorer, Hermann
Burchardt , visited
Bahrain and took many photographs of historical
sites, including the old _Qaṣr es-Sheikh_, photos now stored at the
Ethnological Museum of Berlin . Prior to the
First World War
First World War , there
were about 400 vessels hunting pearls and an annual export of more
In 1911, a group of Bahraini merchants demanded restrictions on the
British influence in the country. The group's leaders were
subsequently arrested and exiled to India. In 1923, the British
introduced administrative reforms and replaced Sheikh Issa bin Ali
with his son. Some clerical opponents and families such as al Dossari
left or were exiled to
Saudi Arabia and Iran. Three years later the
British placed the country under the _de facto_ rule of Charles
Belgrave who operated as an adviser to the ruler until 1957.
Belgrave brought a number of reforms such as establishment of the
country's first modern school in 1919, the Persian Gulf's first girls'
school in 1928 and the abolition of slavery in 1937. At the same
time, the pearl diving industry developed at a rapid pace.
Rezā Shāh , then
Iran , demanded sovereignty over
Bahrain in a letter to the
League of Nations , a move that prompted
Belgrave to undertake harsh measures including encouraging conflicts
between Shia and Sunni Muslims in order to bring down the uprisings
and limit the Iranian influence. Belgrave even went further by
suggesting to rename the
Persian Gulf to the "Arabian Gulf"; however,
the proposal was refused by the British government. Britain's
interest in Bahrain's development was motivated by concerns over Saudi
and Iranian ambitions in the region. A photograph of the First
Oil Well in Bahrain, with oil first being extracted in 1931
Bahrain Petroleum Company (Bapco), a subsidiary of the Standard
Oil Company of California (Socal), discovered oil in 1931 and
production began the following year. This was to bring rapid
modernisation to Bahrain. Relations with the
United Kingdom became
closer, as evidenced by the British
Royal Navy moving its entire
Middle Eastern command from
Bahrain in 1935.
In the early 1930s
Bahrain Airport was developed. Imperial Airways
flew there, including the
Handley Page HP42 aircraft. Later in the
same decade the
Bahrain Maritime Airport was established, for
flying-boats and seaplanes.
Bahrain participated in the
Second World War
Second World War on the Allied side,
joining on 10 September 1939. On 19 October 1940, four Italian SM.82s
Dhahran oilfields in Saudi Arabia,
targeting Allied-operated oil refineries. Although minimal damage was
caused in both locations, the attack forced the Allies to upgrade
Bahrain's defences, an action which further stretched Allied military
After World War II, increasing anti-British sentiment spread
Arab World and led to riots in Bahrain. The riots
focused on the Jewish community. In 1948, following rising
hostilities and looting , most members of Bahrain's Jewish community
abandoned their properties and evacuated to
Bombay , later settling in
Pardes Hanna-Karkur ) and the United Kingdom. As of 2008 , 37
Jews remained in the country. In the 1950s, the National Union
Committee , formed by reformists following sectarian clashes, demanded
an elected popular assembly, removal of Belgrave and carried out a
number of protests and general strikes. In 1965 a month-long uprising
broke out after hundreds of workers at the
Bahrain Petroleum Company
were laid off.
Manama souq in 1965
On 15 August 1971, though the
Iran was claiming historical
sovereignty over Bahrain, he accepted a referendum held by the United
Nations and eventually
Bahrain declared independence and signed a new
treaty of friendship with the United Kingdom.
Bahrain joined the
United Nations and the
Arab League later in the year. The oil boom of
the 1970s benefited
Bahrain greatly, although the subsequent downturn
hurt the economy. The country had already begun diversification of its
economy and benefited further from the
Lebanese Civil War in the 1970s
and 1980s, when
Beirut as the Middle East's financial
hub after Lebanon's large banking sector was driven out of the country
by the war.
Following the 1979 Islamic revolution in
Iran , in 1981 Bahraini
Shī'a fundamentalists orchestrated a failed coup attempt under the
auspices of a front organisation, the Islamic Front for the Liberation
Bahrain . The coup would have installed a Shī'a cleric exiled in
Iran, Hujjatu l-Islām Hādī al-Mudarrisī , as supreme leader
heading a theocratic government . In December 1994, a group of youths
threw stones at female runners during an international marathon for
running bare-legged. The resulting clash with police soon grew into
A popular uprising occurred between 1994 and 2000 in which leftists,
Islamists joined forces. The event resulted in
approximately forty deaths and ended after Hamad ibn Isa Al Khalifa
became the Emir of
Bahrain in 1999. He instituted elections for
parliament, gave women the right to vote, and released all political
prisoners. A referendum on 14–15 February 2001 massively supported
the National Action Charter . As part of the adoption of the National
Action Charter on 14 February 2002,
Bahrain changed its formal name
from the State (_dawla_) of
Bahrain to the Kingdom of Bahrain.
Protesters gathered at the
Pearl Roundabout for the first time on 15
The country participated in military action against the
October 2001 by deploying a frigate in the Arabian Sea for rescue and
humanitarian operations. As a result, in November of that year, US
George W. Bush 's administration designated
Bahrain as a
"major non-NATO ally ".
Bahrain opposed the invasion of
Iraq and had
Saddam Hussein asylum in the days prior to the invasion.
Relations improved with neighbouring
Qatar after the border dispute
Hawar Islands was resolved by the International Court of
The Hague in 2001. Following the political liberalisation
of the country,
Bahrain negotiated a free trade agreement with the
United States in 2004.
Bahraini uprising of 2011 and Saudi-led intervention
Inspired by the regional
Arab Spring , Bahrain's Shia majority
started large protests against its Sunni rulers in early 2011.
:162–3 The government initially allowed protests following a
pre-dawn raid on protesters camped in
Pearl Roundabout . :73–4, 88 A
month later it requested security assistance from
Saudi Arabia and
other GCC countries and declared a three-month state of emergency.
:132–9 The government then launched a crackdown on the opposition
that included conducting thousands of arrests and systematic torture .
Almost daily clashes between protesters and security forces led
to dozens of deaths . Protests, sometimes staged by opposition
parties, are ongoing. More than 80 civilians and 13 policemen
have been killed as of March 2014. The lack of coverage by
in the Persian Gulf, as compared to other
Arab Spring uprisings, has
sparked several controversies.
Geography of Bahrain
Bahrain map 2014 A
Bahrain is a generally flat and arid archipelago in the Persian Gulf.
It consists of a low desert plain rising gently to a low central
escarpment with the highest point the 134 m (440 ft) Mountain of Smoke
_(Jabal ad Dukhan)_.
Bahrain had a total area of 665 km2 (257 sq mi)
but due to land reclamation , the area increased to 765 km2 (295 sq
mi), which is slightly larger than Hamburg or the
Isle of Man
Isle of Man .
Often described as an archipelago of 33 islands, extensive land
reclamation projects have changed this; by August 2008 the number of
islands and island groups had increased to 84.
Bahrain does not share
a land boundary with another country but does have a 161 km (100 mi)
coastline. The country also claims a further 22 km (12 nmi) of
territorial sea and a 44 km (24 nmi) contiguous zone . Bahrain's
largest islands are
Bahrain Island , the
Hawar Islands , Muharraq
Umm an Nasan , and
Bahrain has mild winters and very
hot, humid summers. The country's natural resources include large
quantities of oil and natural gas as well as fish in the offshore
Arable land constitutes only 2.82% of the total area.
About 92% of
Bahrain is desert with periodic droughts and dust
storms, the main natural hazards for Bahrainis. Environmental issues
Bahrain include desertification resulting from the degradation
of limited arable land, coastal degradation (damage to coastlines,
coral reefs , and sea vegetation) resulting from oil spills and other
discharges from large tankers, oil refineries, distribution stations,
and illegal land reclamation at places such as
Tubli Bay . The
agricultural and domestic sectors' over-utilisation of the Dammam
Aquifer , the principal aquifer in Bahrain, has led to its
salinisation by adjacent brackish and saline water bodies. A
hydrochemical study identified the locations of the sources of aquifer
salinisation and delineated their areas of influence. The
investigation indicates that the aquifer water quality is
significantly modified as groundwater flows from the northwestern
parts of Bahrain, where the aquifer receives its water by lateral
underflow from eastern Saudi Arabia, to the southern and southeastern
parts. Four types of salinisation of the aquifer are identified:
brackish-water up-flow from the underlying brackish-water zones in
north-central, western, and eastern regions; seawater intrusion in the
eastern region; intrusion of sabkha water in the southwestern region;
and irrigation return flow in a local area in the western region. Four
alternatives for the management of groundwater quality that are
available to the water authorities in
Bahrain are discussed and their
priority areas are proposed, based on the type and extent of each
salinisation source, in addition to groundwater use in that area.
Climate of Bahrain
Zagros Mountains across the
Persian Gulf in
Iran cause low level
winds to be directed toward Bahrain. Dust storms from
Iraq and Saudi
Arabia transported by northwesterly winds, locally called shamal wind,
cause reduced visibility in the months of June and July.
Summers are very hot. The seas around
Bahrain are very shallow,
heating up quickly in the summer to produce high humidity , especially
at night. Summer temperatures may reach up to 50 °C (122 °F) under
the right conditions. Rainfall in
Bahrain is minimal and irregular.
Rainfalls mostly occur in winter, with a recorded maximum of 71.8 mm
CLIMATE DATA FOR MANAMA
AVERAGE HIGH °C (°F)
AVERAGE LOW °C (°F)
AVERAGE PRECIPITATION MM (INCHES)
AVERAGE PRECIPITATION DAYS
World Meteorological Organisation (UN )
_ Greater flamingos (Phoenicopterus roseus_) are native to
Bahrain. Main articles:
Wildlife of Bahrain and List of birds of
More than 330 species of birds were recorded in the Bahrain
archipelago, 26 species of which breed in the country. Millions of
migratory birds pass through the
Persian Gulf region in the winter and
autumn months. One globally endangered species, _Chlamydotis undulata
_, is a regular migrant in the autumn. The many islands and shallow
Bahrain are globally important for the breeding of the Socotra
cormorant ; up to 100,000 pairs of these birds were recorded over the
Only 18 species of mammals are found in Bahrain, animals such as
gazelles , desert rabbits and hedgehogs are common in the wild but the
Arabian oryx was hunted to extinction on the island. 25 species of
amphibians and reptiles were recorded as well as 21 species of
butterflies and 307 species of flora . The marine biotopes are
diverse and include extensive sea grass beds and mudflats , patchy
coral reefs as well as offshore islands.
Sea grass beds are important
foraging grounds for some threatened species such as dugongs and the
green turtle . In 2003,
Bahrain banned the capture of sea cows ,
marine turtles and dolphins within its territorial waters.
Hawar Islands Protected Area provides valuable feeding and
breeding grounds for a variety of migratory seabirds, it is an
internationally recognised site for bird migration . The breeding
Socotra cormorant on
Hawar Islands is the largest in the
world, and the dugongs foraging around the archipelago form the second
largest dugong aggregation after Australia.
Bahrain has five designated protected areas , four of which are
marine environments. They are:
* Mashtan Island , off the coast of Bahrain.
* Arad bay, in Muharraq.
Al Areen Wildlife Park , which is a zoo and a breeding centre for
endangered animals , is the only protected area on land and also the
only protected area which is managed on a day-to-day basis.
Politics of Bahrain Shaikh Hamad bin Isa Al
King of Bahrain
Bahrain under the Al-Khalifa is a constitutional monarchy headed by
King , Shaikh
Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa .
King Hamad enjoys wide
executive powers which include appointing the Prime Minister and his
ministers , commanding the army , chairing the Higher Judicial Council
, appointing the parliament 's upper house and dissolving its elected
lower house . (p15) The head of government is the unelected Prime
Minister, Shaikh Khalīfa bin Salman
Al Khalifa , the uncle of the
current king who has served in this position since 1971, making him
the longest serving prime minister in the world. In 2010, about half
of the government was composed of the
Al Khalifa family .
Bahrain has a bicameral National Assembly (_al-Jam'iyyah al-Watani_)
consisting of the Shura Council (_Majlis Al-Shura_) with 40 seats and
the Council of Representatives (_Majlis Al-Nuwab_) with 40 seats. The
40 members of the Shura are appointed by the king. In the Council of
Representatives, 40 members are elected by absolute majority vote in
single-member constituencies to serve 4-year terms. The appointed
council "exercises a _de facto_ veto" over the elected, because draft
acts must be approved so they may pass into law. After approval, the
king may ratify and issue the act or return it within six months to
the National Assembly where it may only pass into law if approved by
two thirds of both councils. (p15)
In 1973, the country held its first parliamentary elections ;
however, two years later, the late emir dissolved the parliament and
suspended the constitution after parliament rejected the State
Security Law . The period between 2002 and 2010 saw three
parliamentary elections. The first , held in 2002 was boycotted by the
Al Wefaq , which won a majority in the second in 2006 and
third in 2010. The 2011 by-election was held to replace 18 members of
Al Wefaq who resigned in protest against government crackdown.
The opening up of politics saw big gains for both Shīa and Sunnī
Islamists in elections, which gave them a parliamentary platform to
pursue their policies. It gave a new prominence to clerics within the
political system, with the most senior Shia religious leader, Sheikh
Isa Qassim , playing a vital role. This was especially evident when
in 2005 the government called off the Shia branch of the "Family law"
after over 100,000 Shia took to the streets.
Islamists opposed the law
because "neither elected MPs nor the government has the authority to
change the law because these institutions could misinterpret the word
of God". The law was supported by women activists who said they were
"suffering in silence". They managed to organise a rally attended by
Ghada Jamsheer , a leading woman activist said
the government was using the law as a "bargaining tool with opposition
Analysts of democratisation in the
Middle East cite the Islamists'
references to respect human rights in their justification for these
programmes as evidence that these groups can serve as a progressive
force in the region. Some Islamist parties have been particularly
critical of the government's readiness to sign international treaties
such as the
United Nations ' International Convention on Civil and
Political Rights. At a parliamentary session in June 2006 to discuss
ratification of the Convention, Sheikh
Adel Mouwda , the former leader
of salafist party,
Asalah , explained the party's objections: "The
convention has been tailored by our enemies, God kill them all, to
serve their needs and protect their interests rather than ours. This
why we have eyes from the American Embassy watching us during our
sessions, to ensure things are swinging their way".
Human rights in Bahrain Bahraini protesters shot
by security forces, February 2011
The period between 1975 and 1999 known as the "State Security Law Era
", saw wide range of human rights violations including arbitrary
arrests, detention without trial, torture and forced exile. After
the Emir Hamad
Al Khalifa (now king) succeeded his father Isa Al
Khalifa in 1999, he introduced wide reforms and human rights improved
significantly. These moves were described by
Amnesty International as
representing a "historic period of human rights".
Human rights conditions started to decline by 2007 when torture began
to be employed again. In 2011,
Human Rights Watch described the
country's human rights situation as "dismal". Due to this, Bahrain
lost some of the high International rankings it had gained before.
Bahrain was criticised for its crackdown on the
uprising . In September, a government appointed commission confirmed
reports of grave human rights violations including systematic torture
. The government promised to introduce reforms and avoid repeating the
"painful events". However, reports by human rights organisations
Amnesty International and
Human Rights Watch issued in April 2012 said
the same violations were still happening. Bahraini protests
against the ruling
Al Khalifa family
The documentary TV film _Bahrain: Shouting in the Dark _ which was
produced by the Qatari channel
Al Jazeera , talks about the Bahraini
protests during 2011. This TV film showed all the violations that have
been taken against the rights of Bahraini citizens during the
uprising. It also caused some problems between the Bahraini and the
Qatari governments. Relations between
following a meeting of the
Gulf Cooperation Council in November 2014
in which it was announced
Bahrain diplomats would return to Qatar.
Amnesty International 's 2015 report on the country points to
continued suppression of dissent, restricted freedom of expression,
unjust imprisonment, and frequent torture and other ill-treatment of
Human Rights Watch in its 2015 report described the
situation of a Shia majority as more than tragic.
Freedom House labels
Bahrain as "not free" in its 2016 report. On 7 July 2016, the European
Parliament adopted, with a large majority, a resolution condemning
human rights abuses performed by Bahraini authorities, and strongly
called for an end to the ongoing repression against the country’s
human rights defenders, political opposition and civil society.
Main article: Women\'s rights in
Women's political rights in
Bahrain increased when women were granted
the right to vote and stand in national elections for the first time
in the 2002 election. However, no women were elected to office in
that year's polls. In response to the failure of women candidates,
six were appointed to the Shura Council, which also includes
representatives of the Kingdom's indigenous Jewish and Christian
Nada Haffadh became the country's first female
cabinet minister on her appointment as Minister of Health in 2004. The
quasi-governmental women's group, the
Supreme Council for Women ,
trained female candidates to take part in the 2006 general election.
Bahrain was elected to head the
United Nations General Assembly
in 2006 it appointed lawyer and women's rights activist Haya bint
Al Khalifa President of the
United Nations General Assembly,
only the third woman in history to head the world body. Female
Ghada Jamsheer said "The government used women's rights as a
decorative tool on the international level." She referred to the
reforms as "artificial and marginal" and accused the government of
"hinder non-governmental women societies".
Lateefa Al Gaood became the first female MP after winning by
default. The number rose to four after the 2011 by-elections. In
Houda Nonoo was appointed ambassador to the
United States making
her the first Jewish ambassador of any
Arab country. In 2011, Alice
Samaan , a Christian woman was appointed ambassador to the UK.
Bahraini journalists risk prosecution for offences which include
"undermining" the government and religion.
widespread. Journalists were targeted by officials during
anti-government protests in 2011. Three editors from opposition daily
Al-Wasat (Bahraini newspaper) were sacked and later fined for
publishing "false" news. Several foreign correspondents were expelled.
Most domestic broadcasters are state-run. An independent commission,
set up to look into the unrest, found that state media coverage was at
times inflammatory. It said opposition groups suffered from lack of
access to mainstream media, and recommended that the government
"consider relaxing censorship".
Bahrain will host the Saudi-financed
Alarab News Channel , expected to launch in December 2012. It will be
based at a planned "Media City". An opposition satellite station,
Lualua TV, operates from London but has found its signals blocked.
By June 2012,
Bahrain had 961,000 internet users. The platform
"provides a welcome free space for journalists, although one that is
increasingly monitored", according to
Reporters Without Borders
Reporters Without Borders .
Rigorous filtering targets political, human rights, religious material
and content deemed obscene. Bloggers and other netizens were among
those detained during protests in 2011.
Bahrain Defence Force See also: Peninsula Shield Force
and Naval Support Activity
Bahrain _ RBNS Sabha_ of the Royal
Bahraini Navy taking part in a multilateral sea exercise
The kingdom has a small but well equipped military called the Bahrain
Defence Force (BDF), numbering around 13,000 personnel. The supreme
commander of the Bahraini military is
King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa
and the deputy supreme commander is the Crown Prince, Salman bin Hamad
Al Khalifa .
The BDF is primarily equipped with
United States equipment, such as
the F16 Fighting Falcon , F5 Freedom Fighter , UH60 Blackhawk , M60A3
tanks , and the ex-USS _Jack Williams_ , an Oliver Hazard Perry class
frigate renamed the RBNS _Sabha_ .
The Government of
Bahrain has close relations with the United States
, having signed a cooperative agreement with the United States
Military and has provided the
United States a base in
the early 1990s, although a US naval presence existed since 1948.
This is the home of the headquarters for Commander, _United States
Naval Forces Central Command_ (
COMUSNAVCENT ) / _
United States Fifth
Fleet_ (COMFIFTHFLT), and around 6,000
United States military
Bahrain participates in the Saudi Arabian-led intervention in Yemen
against the Shia
Houthis and forces loyal to former President Ali
Abdullah Saleh , who was deposed in the 2011
Arab Spring uprising.
Many civilians have died and large parts of the infrastructure in this
region were destroyed.
Main article: Foreign relations of
King Hamad bin Isa
Al Khalifa greets U.S. Secretary of State
John Kerry , 14 March 2015
Bahrain is the headquarters of the
U.S. Navy 's Fifth Fleet
responsible for naval forces in the
Persian Gulf .
Bahrain established bilateral relations with 190 countries worldwide.
As of 2012 ,
Bahrain maintains a network of 25 embassies , 3
consulates and 4 permanent missions to the
Arab League, United Nations
and European Union respectively.
Bahrain also hosts 36 embassies.
Bahrain plays a modest, moderating role in regional politics and
adheres to the views of the
Arab League on
Middle East peace and
Palestinian rights by supporting the two state solution .
also one of the founding members of the
Gulf Cooperation Council .
Iran tend to be tense as a result of a failed coup in
Iran for and occasional claims of Iranian
Bahrain by ultra-conservative elements in the Iranian
Saudi Arabian troops were sent into
Bahrain to crush a pro-democracy
protests in 2011.
The first municipality in
Bahrain was the 8-member Manama
municipality which was established in July 1919. Members of the
municipality were elected annually; the municipality was said to have
been the first municipality to be established in the
Arab world . The
municipality was in charge of cleaning roads and renting buildings to
tenants and shops. By 1929, it undertook road expansions as well as
opening markets and slaughterhouses . In 1958, the municipality
started water purification projects. In 1960,
Bahrain comprised four
municipalities including _Manama_, _Hidd_, _Al Muharraq_, and _Riffa_.
Over the next 30 years, the 4 municipalities were divided into 12
municipalities as settlements such as
Hamad Town and
Isa Town grew.
These municipalities were administered from
Manama under a central
municipal council whose members are appointed by the king.
The first municipal elections to be held in
independence in 1971, was in 2002. The most recent was in 2010. The
municipalities are listed below:
3. Western Region
4. Central Region
5. Northern Region
7. Rifa and Southern Region
Hamad Town (not shown)
After 3 July 2002,
Bahrain was split into five administrative
governorates , each of which has its own governor . These
1. Capital Governorate
2. Central Governorate
The Central Governorate was abolished in September 2014, its
territory divided between the
Northern Governorate , Southern
Governorate , and Capital Governorate .
1 – CAPITAL GOVERNORATE
2 – MUHARRAQ GOVERNORATE
3 – NORTHERN GOVERNORATE
4 – SOUTHERN GOVERNORATE
United States designated
Bahrain a major non-NATO ally in 2001.
As of October 2014 ,
Bahrain is ruled by an "authoritarian regime "
and is rated as "Not Free" by the U.S.-based non-governmental Freedom
Main article: Economy of
Bahrain The skyline of
According to a January 2006 report by the
United Nations Economic and
Social Commission for Western
Bahrain has the fastest growing
economy in the
Bahrain also has the freest economy in the
Middle East and is twelfth freest overall in the world based on the
Index of Economic Freedom published by the Heritage Foundation
Wall Street Journal
Wall Street Journal _.
Bahrain was named the world's fastest growing financial
center by the City of London's
Global Financial Centres Index .
Bahrain's banking and financial services sector, particularly Islamic
banking , have benefited from the regional boom driven by demand for
oil. Petroleum production and processing is Bahrain's most exported
product, accounting for 60% of export receipts, 70% of government
revenues, and 11% of GDP .
Aluminium production is the second most
exported product, followed by finance and construction materials.
Manama skyline as viewed from
Economic conditions have fluctuated with the changing price of oil
since 1985, for example during and following the
Persian Gulf crisis
of 1990–91 . With its highly developed communication and transport
Bahrain is home to a number of multinational firms and
construction proceeds on several major industrial projects. A large
share of exports consist of petroleum products made from imported
crude oil, which accounted for 51% of the country's imports in 2007.
Bahrain depends heavily on food imports to feed its growing
population; it relies heavily on meat imports from
Australia and also
imports 75% of its total fruit consumption needs. Since only 2.9% of
the country's land is arable , agriculture contributes to 0.5% of
Bahrain's GDP. In 2004,
Bahrain signed the US-
Bahrain Free Trade
Agreement , which will reduce certain trade barriers between the two
nations. Due to the combination of the global financial crisis and
the recent unrest , the growth rate decreased to 2.2% which is the
lowest growth rate since 1994.
Unemployment, especially among the young, and the depletion of both
oil and underground water resources are major long-term economic
problems. In 2008, the jobless figure was at 4%, with women over
represented at 85% of the total. In 2007
Bahrain became the first
Arab country to institute unemployment benefits as part of a series of
labour reforms instigated under Minister of Labour, Dr. Majeed Al
Bahrain _ The cities of Muharraq
As a tourist destination,
Bahrain received over eight million
visitors in 2008 though the exact number varies yearly. Most of these
are from the surrounding
Arab states although an increasing number
hail from outside the region due to growing awareness of the kingdom's
heritage and its higher profile as a result of the Bahrain
International F1 Circuit .
The kingdom combines modern
Arab culture and the archaeological
legacy of five thousand years of civilisation. The island is home to
forts including Qalat Al
Bahrain which has been listed by
UNESCO as a
World Heritage Site
World Heritage Site . The
Bahrain National Museum has artefacts from
the country's history dating back to the island's first human
inhabitants some 9000 years ago and the Beit Al
Quran (Arabic: بيت
القرآن, meaning: the House of Qur'an) is a museum that holds
Islamic artefacts of the Qur\'an . Some of the popular historical
tourist attractions in the kingdom are the
Al Khamis Mosque , which is
one of the oldest mosques in the region, the
Arad fort in Muharraq,
Barbar temple , which is an ancient temple from the Dilmunite period
of Bahrain, as well as the A\'ali Burial Mounds and the Saar temple.
The Tree of Life , a 400-year-old tree that grows in the
with no nearby water, is also a popular tourist attraction.
Bird watching (primarily in the
Hawar Islands ), scuba diving and
horse riding are popular tourist activities in Bahrain. Many tourists
Saudi Arabia and across the region visit
for the shopping malls in the capital Manama, such as the
Seef Mall in the
Seef district of Manama. The
and _Gold Souq_ in the old district of
Manama are also popular with
Bahrain annually hosts a festival in March, titled
_Spring of Culture _, which features internationally renowned
musicians and artists performing in concerts.
Manama was named the
Arab Capital of Culture for 2012 and _Capital of
Arab Tourism_ for
2013 by the
Arab League. The 2012 festival featured concerts starring
Andrea Bocelli ,
Julio Iglesias and other musicians.
Main article: Transport in
Bahrain has one main international airport , the Bahrain
International Airport (BIA) which is located on the island of
Muharraq, in the north-east. The airport handled more than 100,000
flights and more than 8 million passengers in 2010. Bahrain's
Gulf Air operates and bases itself in the BIA.
King Fahd Causeway as seen from space
Bahrain has a well-developed road network , particularly in Manama.
The discovery of oil in the early 1930s accelerated the creation of
multiple roads and highways in Bahrain, connecting several isolated
villages, such as
Budaiya , to Manama.
To the east, a bridge connected
Muharraq since 1929, a new
causeway was built in 1941 which replaced the old wooden bridge.
Currently there are three modern bridges connecting the two locations.
Transits between the two islands peaked after the construction of the
Bahrain International Airport in 1932.
Ring roads and highways were
later built to connect
Manama to the villages of the Northern
Governorate and towards towns in central and southern Bahrain.
The four main islands and all the towns and villages are linked by
well-constructed roads. There were 3,164 km (1,966 mi) of roadways in
2002, of which 2,433 km (1,512 mi) were paved. A causeway stretching
over 2.8 km (2 mi), connect
Muharraq Island , and another
Sitra to the main island. The
King Fahd Causeway ,
measuring 24 km (15 mi), links
Bahrain with the Saudi Arabian mainland
via the island of
Umm an-Nasan . It was completed in December 1986,
and financed by
Saudi Arabia . In 2008, there were 17,743,495
passengers transiting through the causeway.
Bahrain's port of
Mina Salman is the main seaport of the country and
consists of 15 berths . In 2001,
Bahrain had a merchant fleet of
eight ships of 1,000 GRT or over, totaling 270,784 GRT . Private
vehicles and taxis are the primary means of transportation in the
Bahrain and Internet in
The telecommunications sector in
Bahrain officially started in 1981
with the establishment of Bahrain's first telecommunications company,
Batelco and until 2004, it monopolised the sector. In 1981, there were
more than 45,000 telephones in use in the country. By 1999, Batelco
had more than 100,000 mobile contracts. In 2002, under pressure from
Bahrain implemented its telecommunications law
which included the establishment of an independent _Telecommunications
Regulatory Authority _ (TRA). In 2004, Zain (a rebranded version of
MTC Vodafone ) started operations in
Bahrain and in 2010 VIVA (owned
by STC Group) became the third company to provide mobile services.
Bahrain has been connected to the internet since 1995 with the
country's domain suffix is '
.bh '. The country's connectivity score (a
statistic which measures both Internet access and fixed and mobile
telephone lines) is 210.4 percent per person, while the regional
Arab States of the
Persian Gulf is 135.37 percent. The
number of Bahraini internet users has risen from 40,000 in 2000 to
250,000 in 2008, or from 5.95 to 33 percent of the population. As of
August 2013, the TRA has licensed 22
Internet Service Providers .
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
The _Bahraini Economic Vision 2030_ published in 2008 does not
indicate how the stated goal of shifting from an economy built on oil
wealth to a productive, globally competitive economy will be attained.
Bahrain has already diversified its exports to some extent, out of
necessity. It has the smallest hydrocarbon reserves of any Gulf state,
producing 48,000 barrels per day from its one onshore field. The bulk
of the country’s revenue comes from its share in the offshore field
administered by Saudi Arabia. The gas reserve in
Bahrain is expected
to last for less than 27 years, leaving the country with few sources
of capital to pursue the development of new industries. Investment in
research and development remained very low in 2013.
Apart from the Ministry of Education and the Higher Education
Council, the two main hives of activity in science, technology and
innovation are the University of
Bahrain (established in 1986) and the
Bahrain Centre for Strategic, International and Energy Studies. The
latter was founded in 2009 to undertake research with a focus on
strategic security and energy issues to encourage new thinking and
NEW INFRASTRUCTURE FOR SCIENCE AND EDUCATION
Bahrain hopes to build a science culture within the kingdom and to
encourage technological innovation, among other goals. In 2013, the
Bahrain Science Centre was launched as an interactive educational
facility targeting 6–18-year olds. The topics covered by current
exhibitions include junior engineering, human health, the five senses,
Earth sciences and biodiversity.
In April 2014,
Bahrain launched its National Space Science Agency.
The agency has been working to ratify international space-related
agreements such as the Outer Space Treaty, the Rescue Agreement, the
Space Liability Convention, the Registration Convention and the Moon
Agreement. The agency plans to establish infrastructure for the
observation of both outer space and the Earth.
In November 2008, an agreement was signed to establish a Regional
Centre for Information and Communication Technology in
the auspices of UNESCO. The aim is to establish a knowledge hub for
the six member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council. In March 2012,
the centre hosted two high-level workshops on ICTs and education. In
Bahrain topped the
Arab world for internet penetration (90% of
the population), trailed by the United
Arab Emirates (86%) and Qatar
(85%). Just half of Bahrainis and Qataris (53%) and two-thirds of
those in the United
Arab Emirates (64%) had access in 2009.
INVESTMENT IN EDUCATION AND RESEARCH
In 2012, the government devoted 2.6% of GDP to education, one of the
lowest ratios in the
Arab world. This ratio was on a par with
investment in education in
Lebanon and higher only than that in Qatar
(2.4% in 2008) and
Sudan (2.2% in 2009).
Bahrain invests little in research and development. In 2009 and 2013,
this investment reportedly amounted to 0.04% of GDP, although the data
were incomplete, covering only the higher education sector. The lack
of comprehensive data on research and development poses a challenge
for policy-makers, as data inform evidence-based policy-making.
The available data for researchers in 2013 only cover the higher
education sector. Here, the number of researchers is equivalent to 50
per million inhabitants, compared to a global average for all
employment sectors of 1,083 per million.
The University of
Bahrain had over 20,000 students in 2014, 65% of
whom are women, and around 900 faculty members, 40% of whom are women.
From 1986 to 2014, university staff published 5 500 papers and books.
The university spent about US$11 million per year on research in 2014,
which was conducted by a contingent of 172 men and 128 women. Women
thus made up 43% of researchers at the University of
Bahrain in 2014.
Bahrain was one of 11
Arab states which counted a majority of female
university graduates in science and engineering in 2014. Women
accounted for 66% of graduates in natural sciences, 28% of those in
engineering and 77% of those in health and welfare. It is harder to
judge the contribution of women to research, as the data for 2013 only
cover the higher education sector.
TRENDS IN RESEARCH OUTPUT
In 2014, Bahraini scientists published 155 articles in
internationally catalogued journals, according to Thomson reuters' Web
of Science (Science Citation Index Expanded). This corresponds to 15
articles per million inhabitants, compared to a global average of 176
per million inhabitants in 2013. Scientific output has risen slowly
from 93 articles in 2005 and remains modest. By 2014, only Mauritania
and Palestine had a smaller output in this database among
Between 2008 and 2014, Bahraini scientists collaborated most with
their peers from
Saudi Arabia (137 articles), followed by
United Kingdom (93), the
United States (89) and
Demographics of Bahrain and Freedom of religion in
Bahrain Bahrainis observing public prayers in
In 2010, Bahrain's population grew to 1.2 million, of which 568,399
were Bahraini and 666,172 were non-nationals. It had risen from 1.05
million (517,368 non-nationals) in 2007, the year when Bahrain's
population crossed the one million mark. Though a majority of the
population is Middle Eastern, a sizeable number of people from South
Asia live in the country. In 2008, approximately 290,000 Indian
nationals lived in Bahrain, making them the single largest expatriate
community in the country.
Bahrain is the fourth most densely
populated sovereign state in the world with a population density of
1,646 people per km2 in 2010. The only sovereign states with larger
population densities are city states . Much of this population is
concentrated in the north of the country with the Southern Governorate
being the least densely populated part. The north of the country is
so urbanised that it is considered by some to be one large
metropolitan area .
Bahraini people and Ethnic, cultural and religious
Bahraini people are ethnically diverse. Shia Bahrainis are divided
into two main ethnic groups:
Baharna and Ajam . Most Shia Bahrainis
Baharna . The Ajam are ethnic Persian Shias. Shia Persians
form large communities in
Manama and Muharraq. A tiny minority of Shia
Bahrainis are ethnic Hasawis from
Sunni Bahrainis are mainly divided into two main ethnic groups: Arabs
(al Arab) and
Huwala . Sunni Arabs are the most influential ethnic
group in Bahrain, they hold most government positions and the Bahraini
monarchy are Sunni Arabs. Sunni Arabs have traditionally lived in
areas such as Zallaq, Muharraq, Riffa and Hawar islands. The Huwala
are descendants of Sunni Iranians; some of them are Sunni Persians,
while others Sunni Arabs. There are also Sunnis of Baloch origin.
Most Bahrainis of African origin come from east
Africa and have
traditionally lived in
Muharraq Island and Riffa.
RELIGION IN BAHRAIN, 2010 (PEW RESEARCH )
The state religion of
Islam and most Bahraini citizens are
Muslim. There are no official figures for the proportion of Shia and
Sunni among the Muslims of Bahrain, but approximately 70% percent of
Bahraini Muslims are Shia.
The Muslim population is numbered 866,888 according to the 2010
There is a native Christian community in
Bahrain . Non-Muslim
Bahraini residents numbered 367,683 per the 2010 census, most of whom
are Christians. Expatriate Christians make up the majority of
Christians in Bahrain, while native Christian Bahrainis (who hold
Bahraini citizenship) make up a smaller community.
Alees Samaan , a
former Bahraini ambassador to the
United Kingdom is a native
Bahrain also has a native Jewish community numbering
thirty-seven Bahraini citizens. Various sources cite Bahrain's native
Jewish community as being from 36 to 50 people. Gudaibiya
Due to an influx of immigrants and guest workers from southern Asian
countries, such as India, the
Sri Lanka , the overall
percentage of Muslims in the country has declined in recent years.
According to the 2001 census, 81.2% of Bahrain's population was
Muslim, 10% were Christian, and 9.8% practised Hinduism or other
religions. The 2010 census records that the Muslim proportion had
fallen to 70.2% (the 2010 census did not differentiate between the
Bahrain government officials rejected reports
Bahraini opposition that the administration was trying to alter
the country's demographics by naturalizing Sunni Syrians. Baha'is
constitute approximately 1% of Bahrain's total population.
Arabic is the official language of Bahrain, though English is widely
Bahrani Arabic is the most widely spoken dialect of the Arabic
language, though it differs widely from standard Arabic, like all
Arabic dialects. Arabic plays an important role in political life, as,
according to article 57 (c) of Bahrain's constitution, an MP must be
fluent in Arabic to stand for parliament. Among the Bahraini and
non-Bahraini population, many people speak Persian , the official
language of Iran, or
Urdu , an official language in
Pakistan and a
regional language in India. Nepali is also widely spoken in the
Nepalese workers and
Gurkha Soldiers community.
Malayalam , Tamil and
Hindi are spoken among significant Indian communities. All commercial
institutions and road signs are bilingual , displaying both English
* Arabic (Bahrani , Gulf )
* Armenian (Armenians )
Malayalam (Indians )
* Persian (Ajams )
Arabic Sign Language
Main article: Education in
Bahrain See also: List of universities in
Bahrain Female students at the University of
Bahrain dressed in
Education is compulsory for children between the ages of 6 and 14.
Education is free for Bahraini citizens in public schools , with the
Bahraini Ministry of Education providing free textbooks. Coeducation
is not used in public schools, with boys and girls segregated into
At the beginning of the 20th century, Qur'anic schools (_Kuttab_)
were the only form of education in Bahrain. They were traditional
schools aimed at teaching children and youth the reading of the
Qur\'an . After World War I,
Bahrain became open to western
influences, and a demand for modern educational institutions appeared.
1919 marked the beginning of modern public school system in Bahrain
when the Al-Hidaya Al-Khalifia School for boys opened in
In 1926, the Education Committee opened the second public school for
Manama , and in 1928 the first public school for girls was
opened in Muharraq. As of 2011 , there are a total of 126,981
students studying in public schools.
King Hamad ibn Isa
Al Khalifa introduced the "
Schools of Future" project that uses Information Communication
Technology to support
K–12 education in Bahrain. The project's
objective is to connect all schools within the kingdom with the
Internet. In addition to British intermediate schools, the island is
served by the
Bahrain School (BS). The BS is a United States
Department of Defense school that provides a K-12 curriculum including
International Baccalaureate offerings. There are also private schools
that offer either the
IB Diploma Programme or United Kingdom's
Bahrain also encourages institutions of higher learning, drawing on
expatriate talent and the increasing pool of
returning from abroad with advanced degrees. The University of Bahrain
was established for standard undergraduate and graduate study, and the
King Abdulaziz University College of Health Sciences , operating under
the direction of the Ministry of Health, trains physicians, nurses,
pharmacists, and paramedics. The 2001 National Action Charter paved
the way for the formation of private universities such as the Ahlia
Manama and University College of
Bahrain in Saar . The
Royal University for Women (RUW), established in 2005, was the first
private, purpose-built, international University in
solely to educating women. The
University of London
University of London External has
appointed MCG (Management Consultancy Group) as the regional
representative office in
Bahrain for distance learning programmes.
MCG is one of the oldest private institutes in the country. Institutes
have also opened which educate South Asian students, such as the
Bahrain and the Indian School,
Bahrain . A few
prominent institutions are
DePaul University ,
Bentley University ,
the Ernst "> IHB Ambulance
Bahrain has a universal health care system, dating back to 1960.
Government-provided health care is free to Bahraini citizens and
heavily subsidised for non-Bahrainis. Healthcare expenditure accounted
for 4.5% of Bahrain's GDP, according to the World Health Organisation
. Bahraini physicians and nurses form a majority of the country's
workforce in the health sector, unlike neighbouring Gulf states. The
first hospital in
Bahrain was the American Mission
Hospital , which
opened in 1893 as a dispensary. The first public hospital, and also
tertiary hospital , to open in
Bahrain was the
Complex , in the
Salmaniya district of Manama, in 1957. Private
hospitals are also present throughout the country, such as the
The life expectancy in
Bahrain is 73 for males and 76 for females.
Compared to many countries in the region, the prevalence of
HIV is relatively low.
Malaria and tuberculosis (TB) do not
constitute major problems in
Bahrain as neither disease is indigenous
to the country. As a result, cases of malaria and TB have declined in
recent decades with cases of contractions amongst Bahraini nationals
becoming rare. The Ministry of Health sponsors regular vaccination
campaigns against TB and other diseases such as hepatitis B .
Bahrain is currently suffering from an obesity epidemic as 28.9% of
all males and 38.2% of all females are classified as obese. Bahrain
also has one of the highest prevalence of diabetes in the world (5th
place), with more than 15% of the Bahraini population suffering from
the disease, and accounting for 5% of deaths in the country.
Cardiovascular diseases account for 32% of all deaths in Bahrain,
being the number one cause of death in the country (the second being
Sickle cell anaemia and thalassaemia are prevalent in the
country, with a study concluding that 18% of Bahrainis are carriers of
sickle cell anaemia while 24% are carriers of thalassaemia.
Main article: Culture of
Bahrain _ Shia Muslims in Bahrain
strike their chests during
Muharram _ in remembrance of
Islam is the main religion, and Bahrainis are known for their
tolerance towards the practice of other faiths. Intermarriages
between Bahrainis and Expatriates are not uncommon, there are many
Filipino-Bahrainis like that of Filipino child actress Mona Marbella
Rules regarding female attire are generally relaxed compared to
regional neighbours; the traditional attire of women usually include
the hijab or the abaya . Although the traditional male attire is the
thobe which also includes traditional headdresses such as the keffiyeh
, ghutra and agal , Western clothing is common in the country.
Bahrain legalized homosexuality in 1976, many homosexuals
have since been arrested.
Bahraini art A wind tower in Bahrain.
The modern art movement in the country officially emerged in the
1950s, culminating in the establishment of an art society.
Expressionism and surrealism , as well as calligraphic art are the
popular forms of art in the country.
Abstract expressionism has gained
popularity in recent decades.
Pottery -making and textile weaving are
also popular products that were widely made in Bahraini villages.
Arabic calligraphy grew in popularity as the
Bahraini government was
an active patron in
Islamic art , culminating in the establishment of
an Islamic museum, Beit Al
Quran . The
Bahrain national museum houses
a permanent contemporary art exhibition. The architecture of Bahrain
is similar to that of its neighbours in the Persian Gulf. The wind
tower , which generates natural ventilation in a house, is a common
sight on old buildings, particularly in the old districts of Manama
Main article: Literature of
Literature retains a strong tradition in the country; most
traditional writers and poets write in the classical Arabic style. In
recent years, the number of younger poets influenced by western
literature are rising, most writing in free verse and often including
political or personal content.
Ali Al Shargawi , a decorated longtime
poet, was described in 2011 by _Al Shorfa _ as the literary icon of
Bahrain was the site of the ancient land of Dilmun
mentioned in the
Epic of Gilgamesh
Epic of Gilgamesh . Legend also states that it was
the location of the
Garden of Eden
Garden of Eden .
Main article: Music of
The music style in
Bahrain is similar to that of its neighbours. The
Khaliji style of music, which is folk music , is popular in the
country. The sawt style of music, which involves a complex form of
urban music, performed by an
Oud (plucked lute), a violin and mirwas
(a drum), is also popular in Bahrain.
Ali Bahar was one of the most
famous singers in Bahrain. He performed his music with his Band
_Al-Ekhwa_ (_The Brothers_).
Bahrain was also the site of the first
recording studio amongst the
Persian Gulf states.
Main article: Sport in
Association football is the most popular sport in Bahrain.
Bahrain\'s national football team has competed multiple times at the
Asian Cup ,
Arab Nations Cup and played in the FIFA World Cup
qualifiers, though it has never qualified for the World Cup. Bahrain
has its own top-tier domestic professional football league , the
Bahraini Premier League . Basketball , Rugby and horse racing are also
widely popular in the country.
Brave Combat Federation is a Bahrain-based Mixed Martial Arts
promotion which has hosted events in Bahrain, United
Kazakhstan and India.
Bahrain MMA Federation (BMMAF) has been
set up under the patronage of Sheikh Khalid bin Hamad
Al Khalifa and
the jurisdiction of the Sports Minister, Sheikh Nasser bin Hamad Al
Khalifa . The development of MMA in the nation is convened through
KHK MMA, which owns
Brave Combat Federation which is the largest Mixed
Martial Arts promotion in the Middle East.
Bahrain will be hosting
Amateur World Championships 2017 in association with International
Mixed Martial Arts Federation .
Bahrain will be the first Asian and
Arab country to host the amateur MMA championship. The podium
ceremony at the 2007
Bahrain Grand Prix
Bahrain has a Formula One race-track , which hosted the inaugural
Bahrain Grand Prix on 4 April 2004, the first in an Arab
country. This was followed by the
Bahrain Grand Prix in 2005. Bahrain
hosted the opening Grand Prix of the 2006 season on 12 March of that
year. Both the above races were won by
Fernando Alonso of
The race has since been hosted annually, except for 2011 when it was
cancelled due to ongoing anti-government protests . The 2012 race
occurred despite concerns of the safety of the teams and the ongoing
protests in the country. The decision to hold the race despite
ongoing protests and violence has been described as "controversial"
Al Jazeera English ,
CNN , AFP and
Sky News . _The Independent
_ named it "one of the most controversial in the history of the
Bahrain also hosted its inaugural Australian V8 Supercar
event dubbed the "_Desert 400_". The V8s returned every November to
Sakhir circuit until 2010, in which it was the second event of the
series. The series has not returned since. The
Circuit also features a full-length dragstrip where the
Racing Club has organised invitational events featuring some of
Europe's top drag racing teams to try to raise the profile of the
sport in the Middle East.
On 1 September 2006,
Bahrain changed its weekend from being Thursdays
and Fridays to Fridays and Saturdays, in order to have a day of the
weekend shared with the rest of the world. Notable holidays in the
country are listed below:
LOCAL (ARABIC ) NAME
New Year\'s Day
رأس السنة الميلادية
The Gregorian New Year's Day.
Locally called "Eid Al Oumal" (Workers' Day).
National Day of Bahrain.
Accession Day for the late Amir _Sh. Isa Bin Salman Al Khalifa_
Islamic New Year
رأس السنة الهجرية
Islamic New Year (also known as: _Hijri New Year_).
9th, 10th _Muharram_
Day of _Ashura_
Represented on the 9th and 10th day of the Hijri month of Muharram.
Coincided with the memory of the martyrdom of
Imam Hussein .
12th _Rabiul Awwal _
Prophet Muhammad\'s birthday
Muhammad 's birthday, celebrated in most parts
of the Muslim world.
1st, 2nd, and 3rd _
Commemorates the end of
9th _Zulhijjah _
Commemoration of Muhammad's final sermon and completion of the
message of Islam.
10th, 11th, 12th, and 13th _Zulhijjah _
Feast of the Sacrifice
Commemorates Ibrahim 's willingness to sacrifice his son. Also
known as the _Big Feast_ (celebrated from the 10th to 13th).
* List of tallest structures in
* List of towns and villages of
* Outline of
* Geography portal
Middle East portal
* ^ 2010 Census shows only two religion categories: "Muslim" and
"Other". Reasonably assuming majority of "Other" Bahraini citizens is
This article incorporates text from a free content work. Licensed
under CC-BY-SA IGO 3.0
UNESCO Science Report: towards 2030_, ??,
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see:Adding open license text to .
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