This flat archipelago gained its independence from the United Kingdom in 1971, but retains close ties with its former mother country. It fared well as a sovereign nation following its independence, and in 2006, was declared the fastest growing Arab nation in the world, but its financial success wavers with the strength of the oil industry. When Bahrain was first significantly affected by the correlation between crude oil prices and its stability during the Persian Gulf Crisis after petroleum prices plummeted, it began diversifying its economy and now exports aluminum and textiles as well.
This small country on the Persian Gulf has several different ethnic groups—the Bahrainis, Indians, Pakistanis and Filipinos. Close to all citizens identify as Muslim, and the Bahraini constitution is founded on Islamic law, but the area is religiously tolerant. Sizable Christian and Hindu populations can be found on the island chain’s 30 isles. Bahrain’s official language is Arabic.
- According to researchers, the Bible’s Garden of Eden is located on Bahrain.
- Bahrain’s economy is based exclusively off of oil, making it very wealthy and very important in the Arab world as a financial hub.
- ‘Bahrain’ means ‘two seas’ in Arabic and is referring to pure water from Bahrain’s springs and salty water that surrounds the island.
- Bahrain actually consists of 33 islands, the largest of which is called Bahrain.
- Bahrain is known for its pearling fisheries. Bahrain pearls are considered by many to be the highest quality pearls in the world.
- The Tree of Life is a tree in the Bahrain desert that attracts 50,000 tourists a year. It is a lonely 400-year-old tree growing in the area despite no obvious source of water.
- The Bahrain World Trade Center is the world’s first skyscraper to incorporate wind turbines into its structure for energy production.
- Only three percent of the country’s land can sustain agriculture, so Bahrain imports 75 percent of its fruit.
- The five white points on the flag represent the five central ideals of Islam.
- The most popular tourist activities in Bahrain are bird watching and scuba diving.
- Those in nearby countries visit to take advantage of Bahrain’s opulent shopping malls.