Bahrain by Carol Ann Gillespie, Manufactured by Chelsea House

By Carol Ann Gillespie, Manufactured by Chelsea House

Discusses the geography, heritage, humans, tradition, financial system, and way forward for Bahrain.

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By 1985 there were 74 offshore banks operating out of Bahrain. Also, very significantly, Saudi Arabia gave the banks concessions to operate in Saudi Arabia—giving them a distinct advantage over other banks. Bahrain was rapidly becoming a service center for wealthy Saudi Arabia. q 4/15/02 1:27 PM Page 51 Bahrain Through Time Saudi Arabia has helped Bahrain in other ways, too. The offshore oil field, Abu Safa, which is shared by Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, provides a large part of Bahrain’s income, because Saudi Arabia has ensured the production level of the field.

They also were able to continue living by traditional Arab tribal customs. Even after oil was discovered, they remained relatively isolated and were able to hold on to many of their cultural traditions. Neither Bahrain nor any other gulf state, however, could act in an official capacity with any other country. The British conducted all foreign relations on their behalf. Also, all movement into or out of Bahrain and the gulf region was subject to British permission. All of this was accomplished by a very small group of four or five British officers who managed to protect British interests and keep the Persian Gulf a peaceful body of water.

Two important developments did occur during this period. The Bahrain, the first newspaper to be produced in the Persian Gulf region, was published in 1939. Also, the British Ministry of Information established the Bahrain broadcasting station in 1940. The newspaper appealed to literate Bahrainis— those few who were able to read; radio broadcasts appealed mainly to the largely illiterate Bahrain population. British slogans promoting freedom and democracy became very popular with the people of Bahrain, who sought to grasp the same principles for themselves.

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