General country information

Bahrain has a population of around 720,000, of which about 235,000 are non-Bahrainis.

The island Kingdom became an independent emirate in 1971 and is ruled by the Sunni al-Khalifa family.

In 1999, Shaikh Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa succeeded his father Shaykh Isa bin Salman to the throne.

In 2002, parliamentary elections were held for the first time in the country’s history.

Due to immigration from non-Muslim countries, only 80 percent of the population is now Muslim, of which, according to unofficial estimates, 70 percent are Shia.

Almost 90 percent of the population is literate.

More general information is available at the BBC Country Profile, and Wikipedia in Arabic and English.

The official website of the government of Bahrain provides information in English and Arabic.