Bahrain

Map

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

Resources : oil, associated and nonassociated natural gas, fish, pearls.

Natural Hazards : periodic droughts; dust storms.

Population : 708,573 note: includes 235,108 non-nationals (July 2007 est.).

Factbook

Quick Facts About Bahrain

Population

738,004
note: includes 235,108 non-nationals (July 2010 est.)

Age Structure

0-14 years: 25.4% (male 94,819/female 92,799)
15-64 years: 70.4% (male 296,942/female 222,669)
65 years and over: 4.2% (male 16,356/female 14,419) (2010 est.)

Religions

Muslim (Shia and Sunni) 81.2%, Christian 9%, other 9.8% (2001 census)

Languages

Arabic, English, Farsi, Urdu

Internet Users

402,900 (2008)

Country Name

conventional long form: Kingdom of Bahrain
conventional short form: Bahrain
local long form: Mamlakat al Bahrayn
local short form: Al Bahrayn
former: Dilmun

Government Type

constitutional monarchy

Capital

name: Manama
geographic coordinates: 26 14 N, 50 34 E
time difference: UTC+3 (8 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)

Military Branches

Bahrain Defense Forces (BDF): Ground Force (includes Air Defense), Naval Force, Air Force, National Guard

Dependency Status

*

Background

In 1783, 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. 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.

Area – Comparative

3.5 times the size of Washington, DC

Area

total: 741 sq km
land: 741 sq km
water: 0 sq km

Terrain

mostly low desert plain rising gently to low central escarpment

Climate

arid; mild, pleasant winters; very hot, humid summers

Natural Hazards

periodic droughts; dust storms