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Bahrain is an island country in the Persian Gulf. The sovereign state comprises a small archipelago centered around Bahrain Island, situated between the Qatar peninsula and the north eastern coast of Saudi Arabia, to which it is connected by the King Fahd Causeway. Bahrain's population is 1,234,571, including 666,172 non-nationals. It is 295.5 sq miles in size, making it the third-smallest nation in Asia.
Bahrain was one of the earliest areas to convert to Islam, in 628. Following a period of Arab rule, Bahrain was occupied by the Portuguese in 1521, who in turn were expelled in 1602 by Shah Abbas I of the Safavid dynasty under the Persian Empire. In 1783, the Bani Utbah clan captured Bahrain from Nasr Al-Madhkur and it has since been ruled by the Al Khalifa royal family, with Ahmed al Fateh as Bahrain's first hakim.
In the late 1800s, following successive treaties with the British, Bahrain became a protectorate of the United Kingdom and in 1971, Bahrain declared independence. Formerly an emirate, the Arab constitutional monarchy of Bahrain was declared a kingdom in 2002.
1521 - Portuguese rule lasted for around 80 years and were expelled from the islands in 1602
1602 - The next two centuries, Persian rulers retained control of the archipelago, only interrupted in 1717 and 1738 by invasions
1753 - Iranian rule was restored
1860 - A new treaty was signed placing Bahrain under British rule and protection
1880 and 1892 Agreements were signed and sealed the protectorate status of Bahrain to the British.
1948 - Most members of Bahrain's Jewish community abandoned their properties and evacuated to Bombay, later settling in Israel and the United Kingdom
2001 - As part of the adoption of the National Action Charter, Bahrain changed its formal name from the State of Bahrain to the Kingdom of Bahrain