Home : Home : RMC : FDRMC : Bahrain Tours : Why Bahrain : Learn About Bahrain : Bahrain Fun Facts
Bahrain Fun Facts

In 1783, the Sunni Al-Khalifa family took power in Bahrain. In order to secure these holdings, it entered into a series of treaties with the UK during the 19th century that made Bahrain a British protectorate. The archipelago attained its independence in 1971. A steady decline in oil production and reserves since 1970 prompted Bahrain to take steps to diversify its economy, in the process developing petroleum processing and refining, aluminum production, and hospitality and retail sectors. It has also endeavored to become a leading regional banking center, especially with respect to 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.

Total: 760 sq km
Land: 760 sq km
Water: 0 sq km
Country comparison to the world: 188

Arid; mild, pleasant winters; very hot, humid summers

Mostly low desert plain rising gently to low central escarpmen

161 km

Natural Hazards
Periodic droughts; dust storms

1,410,942 (July 2017 est.)
Note: immigrants make up approximately 48% of the total population, according to UN data (2017)
**Country comparison to the world: 155

Muslim 70.3%, Christian 14.5%, Hindu 9.8%, Buddhist 2.5%, Jewish 0.6%, folk religion <.1, unaffiliated 1.9%, other 0.2% (2010 est.)

National Holiday
National Day, 16 December (1971); note - 15 August 1971 was the date of independence from the UK, 16 December 1971 was the date of independence from British protection

Economy Overview
Oil comprises 85% of Bahraini budget revenues. 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.

Other major economic activities are production of aluminum (Bahrain's second biggest export after oil), 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.

GDP (purchasing power parity)
$70.33 billion (2017 est.)
$68.08 billion (2016 est.)
$66.12 billion (2015 est.)
Note: data are in 2017 dollars
Country comparison to the world: 99

Exchange rates
Bahraini Dinar (BHD) per US dollar
2.659 (2018 est.)
2.658 (2017 est.)
2.652 (2016 est.)
2.652 (2015 est.)
2.652 (2014 est.)
2.651 (2013 est.)

Country Name
Conventional long form: Kingdom of Bahrain
Conventional short form: Bahrain
Local long form: Mamlakat al Bahrayn
Local short form: Al Bahrayn
Former: Dilmun, Tylos, Awal, Mishmahig, Bahrayn, State of Bahrain
Etymology: the name means “the two seas” in Arabic

Government Type
Constitutional Monarchy


Time difference
UTC+3 (8 hours ahead of Washington DC, during Standard Time)

Administrative divisions
4 governorates (muhafazat, singular - muhafazah); Asimah (Capital), Janubiyah (Southern), Muharraq, Shamaliyah (Northern)
Note: each governorate administered by an appointed governor

August 15, 1971 (from the UK)

Executive branch:
Chief of State: King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa (since 6 March 1999); Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al-Khalifa (son of the monarch, born 21 October 1969)
Head of Government: Prime Minister Khalifa bin Salman Al-Khalifa (since 1971); First Deputy Prime Minister Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa (since 11 March 2013); Deputy Prime Ministers Muhammad bin Mubarak Al-Khalifa (since September 2005), Jawad bin Salim al-Araidh, Ali bin Khalifa bin Salman Al-Khalifa (since 11 December 2006), Khalid bin Abdallah Al Khalifa (since November 2010)
Cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the monarch
Elections/Appointments: Elections/appointments: the monarchy is hereditary; prime minister appointed by the monarch

PSC 451, Box 660
FPO AE 09834-5100

American Embassy
Box 26431

Consulates (general): New York

To learn more, please visit: CIA World Factbook

Helpful Links

Note: This page contains one or more external links. See the External Links Disclaimer.