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A map of BahrainA map of Bahrain This tiny island country is made up of a main island—Bahrain—and a number of smaller ones, including Muharraq, Sitrah, Umm an Nasan and the Hawar Islands, close to the coast of Qatar. Causeways (embankments built across expanses of water) run between the main islands, linking them to each other and to neighbouring Saudi Arabia. Nearly all of Bahrain’s land consists of flat, sandy plains and salt marshes. It has an extremely hot, humid climate for much of the year, but temperatures are cooler in winter. In the 1930s, Bahrain was one of the first Arab states to discover oil. Wealth from oil has transformed it into a modern, well-developed country.

Bahraini uprising, February 2011Bahraini uprising, February 2011


Bahrain’s population is almost evenly split between native Bahrainis and foreign workers from Southern Asia. As oil production took off, Bahrain suddenly needed a large number of extra people to work in the industry, and many came from India, Sri Lanka and the Philippines. Today, many of these workers are temporary, living in Bahrain for just a few months or years at a time. Bahrain is one of the most densely-populated states in the world: on average, there are over 1600 people for every square kilometre. Most of the population lives in the north of the main island. The souk, or marketplace, forms the centre of a Bahraini town or village, where people gather to shop, get their clothes made, drink coffee and socialize.

The first Bahrain Grand Prix, which took place on 4th April 2004, was the first Formula One race to be held in the Middle East.

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