Christians constitute about half of the remaining one-fifth of the population, with the rest consisting of Jews, Hindus, and Bahāʾīs.
Its name is from the Arabic term Located in one of the world’s chief oil-producing regions, Bahrain itself has only small stores of petroleum.
Instead, its economy has long relied on processing crude oil from neighbouring countries, and more recently the financial, commercial services, and communications sectors have grown markedly, as has tourism.
Geologically, the island consists of gently folded layers of sedimentary rocks: limestones, sandstones, and marls (loose clay, sand, or silt) formed during the Cretaceous, Paleogene, and Neogene periods (i.e., from about 145 to 2.6 million years ago).
The central region is rocky and barren, rising to 440 feet (134 metres) above sea level at Al-Dukhān Hill (Jabal Al-Dukhān), the country’s highest point.
Bahrain Island is widely believed to be the site of the ancient kingdom of Dilmun, a commercial centre that traded with ancient Sumer.
It has been settled and colonized by various groups, including the Khalīfah family (Āl Khalīfah), a native Arab dynasty that has ruled Bahrain since the late 18th century.
The country’s chief city, port, and capital, Manama (Al-Manāmah), is located on the northeastern tip of Bahrain Island.
A strikingly modern city, Manama is relaxed and cosmopolitan and is a favourite destination for visitors from neighbouring Saudi Arabia; on weekends, crowds of Saudis converge on the city to enjoy its restaurants and bars.
The southern and western lowlands consist of a bleak sandy plain with some salt marshes, while the northern and northwestern coasts afford a striking contrast, forming a narrow belt of date palms and vegetable gardens irrigated from prolific springs and wells that tap artesian water.
The source of this water is precipitation on the western mountains of Saudi Arabia.
The abundance of fresh water has provided Bahrain with fertile land, from which it gained importance historically as a harbour and trading centre in the Persian Gulf.