Bahrain Travel Information

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Facts About Bahrain

Background: 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. Possessing minimal oil reserves, Bahrain has turned to petroleum processing and refining, and has transformed itself into an international banking center. The new amir is pushing economic and political reforms, and has worked to improve relations with the Shi'a community. In 2001, the International Court of Justice awarded the Hawar Islands, long disputed with Qatar, to Bahrain.
Government type: traditional monarchy
Capital: Manama
Currency: 1 Bahraini dinar (BD) = 1,000 fils

Geography of Bahrain

Location: Middle East, archipelago in the Persian Gulf, east of Saudi Arabia
Geographic coordinates: 26 00 N, 50 33 E
Area:
total: 620 sq km
land: 620 sq km
water: 0 sq km
Land boundaries: 0 km
Coastline: 161 km
Maritime claims:
contiguous zone: 24 nm
continental shelf: extending to boundaries to be determined
territorial sea: 12 nm
Climate: arid; mild, pleasant winters; very hot, humid summers
Terrain: mostly low desert plain rising gently to low central escarpment
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Persian Gulf 0 m
highest point: Jabal ad Dukhan 122 m
Natural resources: oil, associated and nonassociated natural gas, fish
Land use:
arable land: 1%
permanent crops: 1%
permanent pastures: 6%
forests and woodland: 0%
other: 92% (1993 est.)
Irrigated land: 10 sq km (1993 est.)
Natural hazards: periodic droughts; dust storms
Environment - current 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; no natural fresh water resources so that groundwater and sea water are the only sources for all water needs.
Environment - international agreements:
party to:  Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - note: close to primary Middle Eastern petroleum sources; strategic location in Persian Gulf which much of Western world's petroleum must transit to reach open ocean.

More Geography

People of Bahrain

Most of the population of Bahrain is concentrated in the two principal cities, Manama and Al Muharraq. The indigenous people--66% of the population--are from the Arabian Peninsula and Iran. The most numerous minorities are Europeans and South and East Asians.

Islam is the official religion. Though Shi'a Muslims make up more than two-thirds of the population, Sunni Islam is the prevailing belief held by those in the government, military, and corporate sectors. Roman Catholic and Protestant churches, as well as a tiny indigenous Jewish community, also exist in Bahrain.

Bahrain has traditionally boasted an advanced educational system. Schooling and related costs are entirely paid for by the government, and, although not compulsory, primary and secondary attendance rates are high. Bahrain also encourages institutions of higher learning, drawing on expatriate talent and the increasing pool of Bahrainis returning from abroad with advanced degrees. Bahrain University has been established for standard undergraduate and graduate study, and the College of Health Sciences--operating under the direction of the Ministry of Health--trains physicians, nurses, pharmacists, and paramedics.

Population: 688,345 (July 2005 est.)
note: includes 235,108 non-nationals 
Age structure:
0-14 years:  29.6% 
15-64 years:  67.43%
65 years and over:  2.97% 
Population growth rate: 1.73% 
Birth rate: 20.07 births/1,000 population 
Death rate: 3.92 deaths/1,000 population 
Net migration rate: 1.1 migrant(s)/1,000 population 
Infant mortality rate: 19.77 deaths/1,000 live births 
Life expectancy at birth:
total population:  73.2 years
male:  70.81 years
female:  75.67 years 
Total fertility rate: 2.79 children born/woman 
Nationality:
noun: Bahraini(s)
adjective: Bahraini
Ethnic groups: Bahraini 63%, Asian 19%, other Arab 10%, Iranian 8%
Religions: Shi'a Muslim 70%, Sunni Muslim 30%
Languages: Arabic, English, Farsi, Urdu
Literacy:
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 85.2%
male: 89.1%
female: 79.4% (1995 est.)

SOURCE: The World Factbook, U.S. Department of State

Mother Earth Travel > Country Index > Bahrain Map Economy History