Bahrain comprises of 35 islands covering an area of 660 sq. km, its capital is Manama. Bahrain Island (560 sq. km) is the largest whose capital Manama is situated on its northern end.
Manama is connected by a causeway and a bridge to the nearby island and town of Muharraq, site of international airport and also the island of Sitra.
In recent years there has been extensive land reclamation around Manama.
STATE OF BAHRAIN
Bahrain has many natural springs and in the northern part of the island there is quite an extensive cultivation, producing vegetables especially dates.
Bahrain’s earliest major civilization was that of Dilmun mentioned in Babylonian and Sumerian records. The merchants of Dilmun exercised a powerful influence over the sea trade of the Indus Valley Civilization.
Since ancient times, Bahrain has been fought over by rival powers envious of its fresh water springs, lush vegetation, rich pearl beds and its importance as a trading center.
Bahrain was invaded at the end of 8th century BC by the Assyrians and was later visited by the expeditions of Alexander. Islam came to Bahrain in AD 628, and for the next 350 years Bahrain was ruled by governors on behalf of the Caliphs. Among those who fought for control of Bahrain were the Carmathians, the Omanis, the Portuguese and the Persians. In 1782 the Al-Khalifa family who migrated from Kuwait to Qatar, defeated a Persian naval force sent from Bahrain to destroy them and soon after conquered Bahrain thus establishing political stability ever since.
Britain first began her association with Bahrain in the 19th century, and British influence remained paramount for the next 150 years until the declaration of Independence on 15th August 1971 and the state soon became a member of the United Nations, the Arab League and many other bodies.
Bahrain’s main source of revenue is oil. Oil was first found in 1932. Bahrain was the first Gulf country to explore and develop its oil and may probably be the first to run out of it. The Bahrain Petroleum Co. (BAPCO) acquired mining lease in 1934. In 1975 the Bahrain Government assumed direct 60% interest in the related crude oil fields and natural gas production together with related crude oil and gas facilities of BAPCO. The Bahrain oil reserves are limited and production continues to show a steady decline. Crude oil from Dammam field, in Saudi Arabia, is carried via a 34 mile long pipeline to Bahrain refinery. Some 61,000 barrels of crude oil is currently produced daily from Bahrain zones. New discoveries of gas have, however, enhanced the State’s future economic prospects with 250 million cubic feet of natural gas produced daily. The oil refinery is one of the largest in the Middle East.
Economy and Industry
Despite the small average rainfall of only 4″ one twentieth of Bahrain consists of cultivated gardens and groves; the chief crops being dates, citrus, paw paw fruits, almonds, lucerne and vegetables. Bahrain is being developed as a major manufacturing state, the first important enterprise being the Aluminum Bahrain Smelter.
Traditional industries such as pearling, boat building and weaving have tended to decline as the government’s policy of industrial diversification had developed.
Bahrain’s other large non-oil industrial project is the Arab Ship-building and Repairs Yard (Asry) a dry dock for super tankers owned jointly by the seven members of the Organization for Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries (OAPEC) and is operating since 1977.
The Government is firmly committed to a policy of industrial diversification. Recent years have seen an increase in small scale industries and the establishment of service industries for the whole of Gulf area.