Fun Facts about Bahrain

Fort Bahrain with Manama in the background.
Fort Bahrain with Manama in the background.

Bahrain is a small island country located in the Persian Gulf. Officially known as the Kingdom of Bahrain, the country is headed by the king, whose succession is hereditary. The island nation is situated north of Qatar and east of Saudi Arabia. Here are some interesting facts about Bahrain.

  • Bahrain is the smallest country in the Middle East and is Asia’s third smallest country, covering an area of only 295 square miles.
  • The country was originally made up of 33 islands, but intensive land reclamation has increased this figure to 84 islands. Land reclamation also increased the country’s land area by 38 square miles.
  • Bahrain has a coastline stretching 100 miles and does not border any country by land.
  • Only 2.82% of the country’s land is arable, and agriculture is reliant on irrigation.
  • July and August are Bahrain’s hottest months of the year, while January and February are the country’s wettest months.
  • Jabal al Dukhan, a 134-meter escarpment, is the highest point in the country.
  • Coastal degradation and desertification are the country's two key environmental concerns.
  • Manama is the capital city of Bahrain and is also its largest city.
  • The country gets its name from the Arabic word “al-Bahrayn” which is loosely translates to “the two seas.”
  • Until the Middle Ages, "Bahrain" represented the Eastern Arabia region.
  • In the Bronze Age Bahrain was inhabited by the Dilmun civilization.
  • Bahrain was historically famed for its pearl fisheries, which were considered to be among the best in the world.
  • Several ancient kingdoms conquered ancient Bahrain including the Babylonians and the Assyrians.
  • The ancient Greeks knew Bahrain as Tylos, which at the time was renowned for its cotton trees and textile industry.
  • In the 5th century, Christianity was a dominant religion in Bahrain.
  • Bahrain fell under Islamic rule after the 7th-century Expedition of Zaid ibn Haritha, which was sanctioned by Prophet Muhammad.
  • Bahrain was ruled by the Portuguese for 80 years after capturing the islands in 1521.
  • The islands officially became a British colony in 1892.
  • Bahrain was involved in World War II and sent troops to aid the Allied Forces.
  • The country gained independence from British colonial rule in 1971 and became a member of both the Arab League and the United Nations.
  • The government of Bahrain is a constitutional monarchy, and King Hamad is the head of state.
  • The current prime minister of Bahrain is the longest serving prime minister in the world, holding the title since 1971.
  • Bahrain is one of the few countries in the Middle East in which women have the right to vote and vie for elective positions.
  • Bahrain has a strong foreign policy and has established 25 embassies all over the world. Bahrain was also a founding member of the Gulf Cooperation Council.
  • Bahrain has a well-equipped defense force that includes 13,000 officers. The country is also home to a US military base located in Juffair.
  • The official currency of the country is the Bahraini dollar, and is the world’s second highest valued currency unit.
  • Bahrain is among the richest countries in the world based on GDP per capita, with a GDP per capita of $29,146.
  • Crude oil and petroleum products are the primary exports of Bahrain. The country has a daily oil production of 40,000 barrels.
  • Expatriates make up 55% of Bahrain’s total population and the majority are laborers from South Asia.
  • Bahrain has a population density of 4,212 persons per square mile, which is the fourth highest in any country.

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