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Bahrain is an island nation in the Persian Gulf between Dammam in Saudi Arabia and Doha in Qatar. Its land area is 290 square miles, and the main island connects to Saudi Arabia by a causeway. The population of 1,314,000 is about 45% native Bahraini while 55% are immigrants attracted by jobs. The predominant religion is Islam. Sunni Muslims control the government, but Shia Muslims are the majority. The traditional economy was based on local trade and diving for pearls. The current economy relies on oil production, petroleum refineries, trade, and the defense industry. The latter includes a major U.S. presence.

History and Politics

The Sunni Al Khalifa family has ruled Bahrain since gaining independence from the Persian Empire in 1783. To secure continued independence from Persia ...

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