Bahrain is an island in the Gulf region. Officially it is known as the kingdom of Bahrain. It is most closely connected to Saudi Arabia via the King Fahad Causeway; however it is seen as one of the more liberal countries in the Gulf. Currently plans are underway to build the Qatar Bahrain Causeway which will be the longest marine causeway in the world.
Bahrain is believed to be the site of the ancient land of the Dilmun civilisation. Bahrain came under the rule of successive Persian empires, the Parthians and Sassanid empires respectively. Bahrain was one of the earliest areas to convert to Islam in 628 AD. Following a successive period of Arab rule, the country was occupied by the Portuguese in 1521. The Portuguese were later expelled, in 1602, by Shah Abbas I of the Safavid Empire. In 1783, the Bani Utbah tribe captured Bahrain from the Persians and was ruled by the Al Khalifa royal family since, with Ahmed al Fateh being the first hakim of Bahrain. In the late 1800s, following successive treaties with the British, Bahrain became a protectorate of the United Kingdom. Following the withdrawal of the British from the region in the late 1960s, Bahrain declared independence in 1971. Formerly a state, Bahrain was declared a kingdom in 2002.
Bahrain today has a high Human Development Index (48th highest in the world) and the World Bank identified it as a high income economy. Oil was discovered in Bahrain in 1932 (the first in the Arabian side of the Gulf). In recent decades, Bahrain has sought to diversify its economy and be less dependent on oil by investing in the banking sector and tourism. The country's capital, Manama, is home to many large financial structures, including the Bahrain World Trade Center and the Bahrain Financial Harbour. The Qal'at al-Bahrain (the harbour and capital of the ancient land of Dilmun) and the Bahrain pearling trail were declared UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 2005 and 2012, respectively. The Bahrain Formula One Grand Prix takes place at the Bahrain International Circuit.
National day in Bahrain is on the 16th of December while they celebrate their independence day on the 15th of August, this is when they gained their independence from the United Kingdom. Currently the population stands at roughly 49% Bahraini Nationals and 51% non-Nationals. The languages used in the Kingdom are Arabic, English, Farsi and Urdu. This can make communication interesting and leeway has to be given for miscommunication.
Winter in Bahrain can be as cold as 10°C and occurs between December and February. Summer sees highs of up to 40°C and it is hottest between the months of July and September. The remaining months of the year are warm and pleasant with the occasional breeze.
Bahrain is divided into five governates namely, Capital, Central, Muharraq, Northern and Southern. Friday and Saturday are considered weekends while Sunday to Thursday signifies the working week. Working hours differ depending on which sector you work in.