Bahrain, officially the Kingdom of Bahrain is a small island country situated near the western shores of the Persian Gulf. It is an archipelago with Bahrain Island the largest land mass at long by wide. Saudi Arabia lies to the west and is connected to Bahrain by the King Fahd Causeway while Iran lies to the north across the Persian Gulf. The peninsula of Qatar is to the southeast across the Gulf of Bahrain. The planned Qatar Bahrain Causeway will link Bahrain and Qatar and become the world's longest marine causeway. The population in 2010 stood at 1,234,571, including 666,172 non-nationals.
Bahrain is believed to be the site of the ancient land of the Dilmun civilization and later came under the rule of successive Parthian and Sassanid Persian empires. The country was one of the earliest areas to convert to Islam in 628 AD. Following a period of Arab rule, Bahrain was occupied by the Portuguese in 1521, who in turn were expelled in 1602 by Shah Abbas I of the Safavid empire. In 1783, the Bani Utbah tribe captured Bahrain from the Qajars and has since been ruled by the Al Khalifa royal family, with Ahmed al Fateh the first hakim of Bahrain. In the late 1800s, following successive treaties with the British, Bahrain became a protectorate of the United Kingdom. Following the withdrawal of the British from the region in the late 1960s, Bahrain declared independence in 1971. Formerly a state, Bahrain was declared a "Kingdom" in 2002. Since early 2011, the country has experienced sustained protests and unrest inspired by the regional Arab Spring, particularly by the majority Shia population.
As of 2012, Bahrain had a high Human Development Index (ranked 48th in the world) and was recognised by the World Bank as a high income economy. The country is a member of the United Nations, the World Trade Organisation, the Arab League, the Non-Aligned Movement and the Organization of the Islamic Conference as well as a founding member of the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf. Bahrain was designated a major non-NATO ally by the George W. Bush administration in 2001.
Oil was discovered in Bahrain in 1932, the first such find on the Arabian side of the Gulf. Since the late 20th century, Bahrain has sought to diversify its economy and become less dependent on oil by investing in the banking and tourism sectors. The country's capital, Manama is home to many large financial structures, including the Bahrain World Trade Center and the Bahrain Financial Harbour. The Qal'at al-Bahrain (the harbour and capital of the ancient land of Dilmun) and the Bahrain pearling trail were declared UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 2005 and 2012 respectively. The Bahrain Formula One Grand Prix takes place at the Bahrain International Circuit.
How places in Bahrain are organized
All places in Bahrain
Further information on historical place organization in Bahrain