Bahrain is a country of the Persian Gulf which is an archipelago consisting of thirty small islands, east of Saudi Arabia. The archipelago is located to the west of the coast of Qatar and to the east and north of the coast of Saudi Arabia. The islands as a whole cover an area of 665 km 2 . The most important cities are Manama, the capital, with 165 900 residents (2004), Al-Rifá (86 500 inhab.) (2004), Al-Muharraq (95 200 inhab.) (2004) and Madinat Isa (39 800 inhab.) .) (2004).
The climate is characterized by high humidity throughout the year. In summer, from May to October, average temperatures are around 31 oC. In winter, rainfall is sparse and average temperatures approach 20 oC.
Bahrain has an economy based on the exploitation of oil and natural gas. The industrial sector has undergone a great development, with an emphasis on aluminum production and shipbuilding and repair. With increasing importance, the financial sector is also mentioned. Bahrain’s main trading partners are Saudi Arabia, the USA, the United Kingdom and Japan.
The population is 1 314 562 residents, of which more than half will be immigrants, according to 2014 estimates. The birth and death rates are, respectively, 13.66% o and 2.69% o (2015). Average life expectancy is 78.73 years. Muslims are the most representative religious group (70.3%), followed by Christians (14.5%). The official language is Arabic.
The Portuguese occupied Bahrain from 1521 to 1602. After the Persians, the Khalifah family took power in 1783. In 1832, the territory became a British protectorate, until its complete independence in 1971. In political terms, the country is a constitutional emirate, ruled by the Khalifah family. The emir is the head of state who governs with the prime minister and an advisory council.
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