Bahrain (i/bɑːˈreɪn/), officially Kingdom of Bahrain (Arabic: مملكة البحرين Mamlakat al-Baḥrayn, English: Kingdom of the Two Seas), is a small island country with approximately 1,234,596 inhabitants (2010), located near the western shores of the Persian Gulf and ruled by the Al Khalifa royal family. While Bahrain is an archipelago of thirty-three islands, the largest (Bahrain Island) is 55 km (34 mi) long by 18 km (11 mi) wide.
Saudi Arabia lies to the west and is connected to Bahrain via the King Fahd Causeway, which was officially opened on 25 November 1986. Qatar is to the southeast across the Gulf of Bahrain. The planned Qatar Bahrain Causeway will link Bahrain and Qatar as the longest fixed link in the world.
Bahrain is known for its oil and pearls. The country is the home of many large structures such as the Bahrain World Trade Center and the Bahrain Financial Harbour and other skyscrapers, and proposes to build the 1,022 m (3,353 ft) high supertall Murjan Tower. The Qal’at al-Bahrain (The Ancient Harbour and Capital of Dilmun) has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Bahrain International Circuit is the race course where the Bahrain Formula One Grand Prix takes place.
Bahrain is the Arabic term for "two seas", referring to the freshwater springs that are found within the salty seas surrounding it. Bahrain has been inhabited since ancient times. Its strategic location in the Persian Gulf has brought rule and influence from the Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, and the Arabs, under whom the island became Islamic. Bahrain may have been associated with Dilmun which is mentioned by Mesopotamian civilizations.
During its history it was called by different names such as Awal, then Mishmahig, when it was a part of the Persian Empire. From the 6th to 3rd century BC, Bahrain was included in Persian Empire by Achaemenian dynasty. From the 3rd century BC to the arrival of Islam in the 7th century AD, Bahrain was controlled by two other Persian dynastie...