Independence Year : 1971
Population : 670000
Life Expectancy : 73.0
Capital : 149
GNP : 6366.00
GNP Old : 6097.00
Local Name : Al-Bahrayn
Government Form : Monarchy (Emirate)
Location : an archipelago of 33 islands in the Persian Gulf located off the eastern coast of Saudi Arabia
Terrain : Low desert plain
Climate : Arid; mild, pleasant winters with maximum temperatures average 20-30C (68-86F); very hot and humid from May-September, with average highs ranging from 30-40 C (86-104 F).
Ethnic Group : Bahraini 63%, Asian 19%, other Arab 10%, Iranian 8%
Religions : 98% Muslim (Shi'a 70%, Sunni 30%), small Christian, Jewish and Hindu communities.
Official Website : www.bahrain.bh/
Genral Information - Bahrain
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. Facing declining oil reserves, Bahrain has turned to petroleum processing and refining and has transformed itself into an international banking center. The new amir, installed in 1999, has pushed economic and political reforms and has worked to improve relations with the Shi'a community. In February 2001, Bahraini voters approved a referendum on the National Action Charter - the centerpiece of the amir's political liberalization program. In February 2002, Amir HAMAD bin Isa Al Khalifa proclaimed himself king. In October 2002, Bahrainis elected members of the lower house of Bahrain's reconstituted bicameral legislature, the National Assembly.