The Middle Eastern island nation of Bahrain is located on an archipelago in the Persian Gulf east of Saudi Arabia and south of Iran. The largest island in the archipelago is Bahrain Island, which is 11 miles wide by 34 miles long. The total land mass of the nation of Bahrain is more than three times the size of Washington, D.C.
To the southeast of Bahrain, and separated from it by the Gulf of Bahrain, lies the peninsula of Qatar. Bahrain is connected to Saudi Arabia by the King Fahd Causeway, which was completed in December of 1986. The 15-mile causeway, which was financed by Saudi Arabia, transported more than 7.5 million passengers between the two nations in 2008. The four main islands of Bahrain, along with the nation's villages and towns, are all connected by well-constructed roads.
Bahrain's capital and largest city is Manama, and the country's official language is Arabic. A former British protectorate, Bahrain declared independence in 1971. The country was declared a kingdom in 2002. Its government is a unitary parliamentary constitutional monarchy.
Because the economy of Bahrain does not rely upon oil, it is considered the first post-oil economy in the Persian Gulf region. The country has invested heavily in the tourism and banking sectors. Many large banking structures are located in the capital city, Manama. Bahrain was recognized as a high-income economy by the World Bank and received a high rating, 48th worldwide, in the Human Development Index.