Bahrain (GPS: 26 00 N, 50 33 E) is located in the Middle East, an archipelago in the Persian Gulf, east of Saudi Arabia. The country’s area measurements are total: 760 sq km; land: 760 sq km, water: 0 sq km. This sovereign state is 3.5 times the size of Washington, DC. The total irrigated land is 40 sq km (2012).
One of the essential features of Bahrain: Close to primary Middle Eastern petroleum sources. Strategic location in the Persian Gulf, through which much of the Western world’s petroleum must transit to reach the open ocean.
It’s significant, and simultaneously, the principal city, Manama’s GPS coordinates are 26 14 N 50 34 E. Manama’s local time is 8 hours ahead of Washington DC during Standard Time. The capital’s time difference: UTC+3.
In 1783, the Sunni Al-Khalifa family took power in Bahrain. It entered into a series of treaties with the UK during the 19th century that made Bahrain a British protectorate to secure these holdings. The archipelago attained its independence in 1971. A steady decline in oil production and reserves since 1970 prompted Bahrain to diversify its economy, in the process of developing petroleum processing and refining, aluminum production, and hospitality and retail sectors. It has also endeavored to become a leading regional banking center, especially concerning Islamic finance. Bahrain’s small size, central location among Gulf countries, economic dependence on Saudi Arabia, and proximity to Iran require it to play a delicate balancing act in foreign affairs among its larger neighbors. Its foreign policy activities usually fall in line with Saudi Arabia and the UAE. The Sunni royal family has long struggled to manage relations with its large Shia-majority population.
In early 2011, amid Arab uprisings elsewhere in the region, the Bahraini Government confronted similar pro-democracy and reform protests at home with police and military action, including deploying Gulf Cooperation Council security forces to Bahrain. Failed political talks prompted opposition political societies to boycott 2014 legislative and municipal council elections. In 2018, a law preventing members of political associations dissolved by the courts from participating in elections effectively sidelined most opposition figures from taking part in national elections. As a result, most members of parliament are independents. Ongoing dissatisfaction with the political status quo continues to factor into sporadic clashes between demonstrators and security forces.
Bahrain’s names conventional long form: the Kingdom of Bahrain, traditional short form: Bahrain, local long way: Mamlakat al Bahrayn, local short form: Al Bahrayn, former: Dilmun, State of Bahrain, etymology: the name means “the two seas” in Arabic and refers to the water bodies surrounding the archipelago. The name means “the two seas” in Arabic and refers to the archipelago’s water bodies.
Bahrain’s terrain is typically mostly low desert plain rising gently to the low central escarpment. The country’s mean elevation: N/A, elevation extremes; lowest point: Persian Gulf 0 m, highest point: Jabal ad Dukhan 122 m.
The country’s general climate is arid: mild, pleasant winters: sweltering, humid summers.
The total number of border countries is 0; none are the neighboring nations with the indicated border lengths. Bahrain’s coastline is 161 km, while its marital claims are: territorial sea: 12 nautical miles, contiguous zone: 24 nautical miles, continental shelf: extending to boundaries to be determined. Waterways: N/A. Land use: agricultural land: 11.3%; arable land 2.1%; permanent crops 3.9%; permanent pasture 5.3%; forest: 0.7%; other: 88% (2011 estimate).
The population in Bahrain 1,442,659 (July 2018 estimate), urban population: 88.8% of total population (2015), major urban area’s population: MANAMA (capital) 411,000 (2015), while Bahrain has the smallest population of the Gulf States, but urbanization rate exceeds 90%; largest settlement concentration is found on the far northern end of the island in and around Manamah and Al Muharraq. Their spoken languages are Arabic (official language), English, Farsi, Urdu. Main religions in Bahrain are Muslim 70.3%, Christian 14.5%, Hindu 9.8%, Buddhist 2.5%, Jewish 0.6%, folk religion. The nation uses a mixed legal system of Islamic law, English common law, Egyptian civil, criminal, commercial codes, and customary law. It is a(n) constitutional monarchy, National holiday(s) National Day, 16 December (1971).
Economic overview for the country: Oil and natural gas play a dominant role in Bahrain’s economy. Despite the Government’s past efforts to diversify the economy, oil still comprises 85% of Bahraini budget revenues. In the last few years, lower world energy prices have generated sizable budget deficits – about 10% of GDP in 2017 alone. Bahrain has few options for covering these deficits, with low foreign assets and fewer oil resources than its GCC neighbors. The three major US credit agencies downgraded Bahrain’s sovereign debt rating to “junk” status in 2016, citing persistently low oil prices and the government’s high debt levels. Nevertheless, Bahrain raised about $4 billion by issuing foreign currency-denominated debt in 2017.
Other significant economic activities are aluminum production – Bahrain’s second-biggest export after oil and gas –finance and construction. Bahrain continues to seek new natural gas supplies as feedstock to support its expanding petrochemical and aluminum industries. In April 2018, Bahrain announced it had found a significant oil field off the country’s west coast but is still assessing how much of the oil can be extracted profitably. In addition to addressing its current fiscal woes, Bahraini authorities face the long-term challenge of boosting Bahrain’s regional competitiveness, especially regarding the industry, finance, and tourism, and reconciling revenue constraints with popular pressure to maintain generous state subsidies and a large public sector. Since 2015, the government lifted subsidies on meat, diesel, kerosene, and gasoline and has begun to phase in higher electricity and water prices. As part of its diversification plans, Bahrain implemented a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the US in August 2006, the first FTA between the US and a Gulf state. It plans to introduce a Value Added Tax (VAT) by the end of 2018.
Natural resources of Bahrain: oil, associated and nonassociated natural gas, fish, pearls.
Main export partners for Bahrain, Middle East are Saudi Arabia 3.6%, UAE 2.4%, US 2.2% (2015) for petroleum and petroleum products, aluminum, textiles, while the main import partners for the country are: Saudi Arabia 29.1%, US 9.5%, China 7.6%, Japan 6.6%, Australia 5.1%, India 4.9% (2015) for crude oil, machinery, chemicals.
When you visit this country in the Middle East, consider the natural hazards in Bahrain: Periodic droughts, dust storms, while infectious diseases are N/A. Also, note that Bahrain faces the following environmental issues: Desertification resulting from the degradation of limited arable land, periods of drought and dust storms, Coastal degradation (damage to coastlines, coral reefs, and sea vegetation) resulting from oil spills and other discharges from large tankers, oil refineries, and distribution stations, Lack of freshwater resources (groundwater and seawater are the only sources for all water needs), Lowered water table leaves aquifers vulnerable to saline contamination, Desalinization provides some 90% of the country’s freshwater.
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