Fast Facts

Population:
731,000
Capital:
Manama; 139,000
Area:
717 square kilometers (277 square miles)
Language:
Arabic, English, Farsi, Urdu
Religion:
Shiite and Sunni Muslim
Currency:
Bahraini dinar
Life Expectancy:
74
GDP per Capita:
U.S. $15,100
Literacy Percent:
89
Flag: Bahrain
Map: Bahrain

Bahrain consists of 33 islands in the Persian Gulf (Arabian Gulf). The islands are mostly desert, and most of the population lives in or near Manama, the capital. Since the 1930s the oil industry has replaced pearl diving, and Bahrain has become a financial and communications hub. It is connected to Saudi Arabia by the 26-kilometer (16-mile) King Fahd Causeway. Since independence from Britain in 1971, there has been conflict between the ruling Sunni tribe and the Shiite majority. A new constitution in 2002 provided for an elected parliament and gave women the right to vote and stand as candidates.

ECONOMY

  • Industry: Petroleum processing and refining, aluminum smelting, offshore banking, ship repairing, tourism
  • Agriculture: Fruit, vegetables; poultry; shrimp
  • Exports: Petroleum and petroleum products, aluminum, textiles

—Text From National Geographic Atlas of the World, Eighth Edition

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