The Kingdom of Bahrain is an archipelago made up of 33 islands located in the Arabian Gulf between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Qatar. It is distinguished by a rich history that spans more than 5,000 years, being home to famous civilizations like Dilmun, Tylos, and Awal. Known for its fresh water springs and palm tree fields, Bahrain has often been referred to as the ‘Land of Immortality’ or ‘The Great Paradise’.
Situated along popular trade routes between southern Iraq and, India and Pakistan, Dilmun was a renowned centre of business, a tradition that Bahrain continues to carry in its role today as the financial hub of the Middle East.
The word Bahrain means ‘two seas’ in Arabic, indicating the point at which sweet-water under the sea merged with the saline water of the oyster beds, thus nurturing not just the finest of pearls but the reputation of Bahrain in the 16th Century, as the Gulf’s pre-eminent trade hub, and a sea transit point between the East and West.
It was in the mid-18th century that the Al-Khalifa, the family that now rules Bahrain, first arrived in the area becoming involved in the region’s lucrative pearling trade. They drove the Persians out of Bahrain in about 1782 - a time that marks the beginning of the modern era of Bahrain. Shaikh Isa bin Salman Al Khalifa came into power on December 16, 1961 and is considered one of the pioneer Arab leaders that built their countries based on justice and stability. In 1968, an agreement ended its status of being a British protectorate and by 1971, Bahrain earned total independence with its first constitution being issued in 1973.
Coinciding with the collapse of the world pearl market, back in 1932, Bahrain had also become the first Gulf state to have struck oil which was discovered and operated by Bapco. However, the 80’s saw Bahrain also become the first GCC nation to move away from its dependence on oil, paving its way to becoming the region’s most diversified economy.
When HM King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa came into reign in 1999, Bahrain entered a new era of reform and development within a constitutional monarchy. Bahrain has since made pioneering achievements in development, including winning the competition to host the Formula One Grand Prix on the Island. Today, the kingdom continues to move judiciously through the twenty first century, diversifying its economy and nurturing international business relationships to become a model of modernity and stability in the region.