Bahrain is located in the Persian Gulf, east of Saudi Arabia and northwest of Qatar. It consists of a group of islands, the largest of which is Bahrain Island. The strategic location of Bahrain has historically made it a center of trade and commerce in the region.

Geography

Climate

Bahrain has a desert climate, with hot and dry summers and mild winters. Summer temperatures often exceed 40°C (104°F), while winter temperatures range from 10°C to 20°C (50°F to 68°F). The country experiences minimal rainfall, with most precipitation occurring between November and March.

Fauna

Bahrain’s desert landscape supports a variety of wildlife, including Arabian gazelles, desert foxes, and various species of birds such as falcons and herons. Marine life is also abundant in the surrounding waters of the Persian Gulf, with dolphins, dugongs, and numerous fish species.

Longest Rivers

Bahrain does not have any permanent rivers due to its arid climate and lack of significant rainfall. However, the country does have seasonal wadis, or dry riverbeds, which fill with water during periods of heavy rain.

Highest Mountains

Bahrain is a relatively flat and low-lying country, with its highest point being Jebel Dukhan, or the Mountain of Smoke, which rises to just 134 meters (440 feet) above sea level. Despite its lack of towering peaks, Jebel Dukhan is an important landmark and offers panoramic views of the surrounding area.

History

Prehistory

Bahrain has a rich archaeological heritage dating back over 5,000 years. The island was inhabited by the ancient Dilmun civilization, which flourished as a trading hub between Mesopotamia and the Indus Valley. Bahrain’s archaeological sites, such as the ancient capital of Qal’at al-Bahrain, provide insight into this ancient civilization.

Ancient Empires

Throughout history, Bahrain has been ruled by various empires, including the Assyrians, Babylonians, and Persians. The island’s strategic location made it a coveted prize for regional powers seeking control of trade routes and maritime commerce.

Islamic Period

Bahrain converted to Islam in the 7th century CE and became part of the Islamic caliphate. The island prospered under Islamic rule, with its economy centered around trade, pearl diving, and agriculture. Bahrain was ruled by various dynasties, including the Abbasids, Umayyads, and Safavids, before coming under the control of the Portuguese in the 16th century.

Modern Era

In the 19th century, Bahrain became a British protectorate, providing protection against regional threats in exchange for control over its foreign affairs. Bahrain gained independence in 1971 and became a constitutional monarchy, with a ruling family led by the Al Khalifa dynasty. The country has since developed into a modern and cosmopolitan society, with a thriving economy based on oil, finance, and tourism.

Demographics

Bahrain has a population of approximately 1.7 million people, with a diverse mix of ethnicities and cultures. The majority of the population is Bahraini, with significant expatriate communities from countries such as India, Pakistan, and the Philippines. Arabic is the official language, and Islam is the predominant religion, with Sunni and Shia Muslims coexisting peacefully.

Administrative Divisions

Bahrain is divided into four governorates, each with its own administrative authority:

Administrative Divisions and Population (2022 estimate)

  1. Capital Governorate – Population: 688,345
  2. Northern Governorate – Population: 370,867
  3. Southern Governorate – Population: 314,603
  4. Muharraq Governorate – Population: 280,252

10 Largest Cities by Population

  1. Manama
  2. Al Muharraq
  3. Riffa
  4. Isa Town
  5. Hamad Town
  6. A’ali
  7. Sitra
  8. Budaiya
  9. Jidhafs
  10. Al Hidd

Education Systems

Education in Bahrain is free and compulsory for children aged 6 to 14, with a strong emphasis on literacy and numeracy. The government operates a system of public schools, supplemented by private and international schools. Bahrain is also home to several top universities, including the University of Bahrain and the Arabian Gulf University, known for their research and academic programs.

Transportation

Airports

Bahrain has one major international airport, Bahrain International Airport, located on the island of Muharraq. The airport serves as a hub for both domestic and international flights, connecting Bahrain to destinations around the world.

Ports

Bahrain has several major ports, including Khalifa Bin Salman Port and Mina Salman Port, which handle cargo and passenger traffic. The country’s ports play a vital role in facilitating trade and commerce in the region.

Country Facts

  • Population: 1.7 million
  • Capital: Manama
  • Language: Arabic
  • Religion: Islam (predominantly Sunni and Shia)
  • Race: Bahraini, expatriate communities
  • Currency: Bahraini dinar (BHD)
  • ISO Country Code: BH
  • International Calling Code: +973
  • Top-level Domain: .bh