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Flag of the Kingdom of Bahrain
Coat of Arms of the Kingdom of Bahrain
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Bahrain (/bɑːˈrn/ (About this sound listen); Arabic: البحرينal-Baḥrayn IPA: [aɫ baħrajn] (About this sound listen)), officially the Kingdom of Bahrain (Arabic: مملكة البحرينAbout this sound Mamlakat al-Baḥrayn), is an Arab constitutional monarchy in the Persian Gulf. It is an island country consisting of a small archipelago centered around Bahrain Island, situated between the Qatar peninsula and the north eastern coast of Saudi Arabia, to which it is connected by the 25-kilometre (16 mi) King Fahd Causeway. Bahrain's population is 1,234,571 (c. 2010), including 666,172 non-nationals. It is 765.3 square kilometres (295.5 sq mi) in size, making it the third-smallest nation in Asia after the Maldives and Singapore.

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, in 628 CE. 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 dynasty under the Persian Empire. In 1783, the Bani Utbah clan captured Bahrain from 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, Bahrain became a protectorate of the United Kingdom. In 1971, Bahrain declared independence. Formerly an emirate, Bahrain was declared a kingdom in 2002. In 2011, the country experienced protests inspired by the regional Arab Spring. Bahrain's ruling al-Khalifa royal family has been accused and criticized for human rights abuses, including imprisonment, torture and execution of dissents, political opposition figures and its Shia Muslim population.

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. It has a high Human Development Index and is recognised by the World Bank as a high-income economy. Bahrain is a member of the United Nations, Non-Aligned Movement, Arab League, Organisation of Islamic Cooperation and the Gulf Cooperation Council.

Selected article

Road and towers in Manama.jpg

Manama (Arabic: المنامةAl Manāma) is the capital and largest city of Bahrain, with an approximate population of 155,000 people. Long an important trading center in the Persian Gulf, Manama is home to a very diverse population. After periods of Portuguese and Persian control and invasions from the ruling dynasties of Saudi Arabia and Oman, Bahrain established itself as an independent nation during the 19th century period of British hegemony. In the 20th century, Bahrain's oil wealth helped spur fast growth and in the 1990s a concerted diversification effort led to expansion in other industries and helped transform Manama into an important financial hub in the Middle East. Manama was designated as the capital of Arab culture for the year 2012 by the Arab League.

Manama is the focal point of the Bahraini economy. While petroleum has decreased in importance in recent years due to depleting reserves and growth in other industries, it is still the mainstay of the economy. Heavy industry (e.g. aluminium smelting, ship repair), banking and finance, and tourism are among the industries which have experienced recent growth. Several multinationals have facilities and offices in and around Manama. The primary industry in Manama itself is financial services, with over two hundred financial institutions and banks based in the CBD and the Diplomatic Area.

Manama is a financial hub for the Persian Gulf region and a center of Islamic banking. There is also a large retail sector in the shopping malls around Seef, while the center of Manama is dominated by small workshops and traders.

Selected biography


Shaikh Rashid bin Khalifa Al Khalifa (born 1952) is a Bahraini painter, the first president and the current honorary president of the Bahrain Arts Society. He has painted over a period of 40 years, painting artistic genres such as Realism developed to Impressionism, which gradually evolved to Individualism, a notable prelude to his recent work, a dual concept of Abstract and the colour field. He is often considered to be one of the kingdom's important artist.

Rashid bin Khalifa Al Khalifa was born in 1952 into Bahrain’s ruling family. His interest in painting was encouraged by the late Amir, Shaikh Isa bin Salman Al Khalifa, followed and Shaikh Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa, the Prime Minister of Bahrain, when both showed genuine interest in Rashid's works at a local art exhibition at his high school. As a young student, he actively participated in interscholastic painting activities and attended exhibitions of visiting artists. His first painting recorded was in 1966 when he was 14 years old when he had painted an oil painting of the Khamis mosque.

In 1970, he held his first art exhibition at the Dilmun Hotel in Manama, then considered to be the prime location for Bahrain's recreational activities. In 1983, the Bahrain Arts Society was formed, and Shaikh Rashid was named its first president. The society is a non-profit organisation for Bahraini artists to gather and hold their painting exhibitions. To date the Bahrain Art Society has participated in art exhibitions in Europe, the Middle East and Asia with Rashid as the honorary president.

Selected picture

[[File:{{{image}}}|center|250px|Interior of the Sacred Heart Church in 1939.]]

Interior of the Sacred Heart Church in 1939.

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In the news

  • Bahraini teen killed in clashes
  • Bahrain information minister defends sentencing
  • Old Bahrain souq burns down, cause unknown
  • Gulf Air to resume flights to Iran, Iraq after year-long disruption
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