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Introduction: In 1783, the Sunni Al-Khalifa family captured Bahrain from the Persians. 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. Facing declining oil reserves, Bahrain has turned to petroleum processing and refining and has transformed itself into an international banking center. Bahrain's small size and central location among Persian Gulf countries require it to play a delicate balancing act in foreign affairs among its larger neighbors. In addition, the Sunni-led government has struggled to manage...

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History: The site of the ancient Bronze Age civilization of Dilmun, Bahrain was an important center linking trade routes between Mesopotamia and the Indus Valley as early as 5,000 years ago. The Dilmun civilization began to decline about 2,000 B.C. as trade from India was cut off. From 750 B.C. on, Assyrian kings repeatedly claimed sovereignty over the islands. Shortly after 600 B.C., Dilmun was formally ...

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International Relations: Bahrain’s key relationships are with its neighbours in the Gulf Co-operation Council (Qatar, Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE), the US and the UK. It also has close relations with a number of other Arab states.

On 16 March 2001, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) announced its judgement on the long-standing maritime delimitation and territorial dispute between Bahrain and Qatar. The judgement redrew the international maritime border and awarded sovereignty over the Hawar Islands and Qit'at Jaradah to Bahrain. Sovereignty over Zubarah (which forms part of the Qatar peninsula), Janan Island and Fasht ad Dibal ...

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The Persian Gulf lies between two of the major breadbaskets of the ancient world, the Tigris-Euphrates area (Mesopotamia, meaning "between the rivers") in present-day Iraq and the Nile Valley in Egypt. Mesopotamia, a part of the area known as the Fertile Crescent, was important not only for food production but also for connecting East to West.

Rivers provided the water that ...

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Area Handbook Series
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