Bahrain has been one of the Gulf’s most important commercial crossroads for over 4,000 years.
The word Bahrain means ‘two seas’ in Arabic, indicating how the country’s geographic position as a collection of islands has been important throughout its history.
As the land of the ancient Dilmun civilisation, Bahrain has long been a trading centre linking east and west. The country has benefited from its position at the centre of the Gulf’s trade routes and rich pearl diving industry.
By the mid-19th century, the country was the Gulf’s pre-eminent trade hub, emerging as a modern state. Merchants from countries across the Gulf and beyond established themselves on the islands.
Bahrain was the first Gulf state to discover oil, in 1932, and in the past 40 years has led the regional transition to a modern economy. Subsequently, as the first Gulf state to move away from dependence on oil, we have become the region’s most diversified economy.
In particular, Bahrain has become the region’s leading financial centre since the 1980s. Since then manufacturing, logistics, communications, professional services and real estate have also become important sectors.
In 2002, Bahrain became a constitutional monarchy, and a democratically elected parliament was established. This marked the beginning of a period of on-going reform. The country also has an established legal framework and respected regulatory system.
Manama is the capital of Bahrain and also its largest city. Manama enjoys a distinct reputation as a tourism and cultural hub regionally and internationally, as shown by its selection as the Capital of Arab Culture in 2012, and Capital of Arab Tourism in 2013, and Capital of Asian Tourism in 2014.