In 1783, the Sunni Al-Khalifa family captured Bahrain from the Persians. In order to secure these holdings, it entered into a series of treaties with the UK during the 19th century that made Bahrain a British protectorate. The archipelago attained its independence in 1971. Facing declining oil reserves, Bahrain has turned to petroleum processing and refining and has transformed itself into an international banking center. Bahrain's small size and central location among Persian Gulf countries require it to play a delicate balancing act in foreign affairs among its larger neighbors. In addition, the Sunni-led government has struggled to manage relations with its approximately 70% Shia-majority population. During the mid-to-late 1990s, Shia activists mounted a low-intensity uprising to demand that the Sunni-led government stop systemic economic, social, and political discrimination against Shia Bahrainis. King HAMAD bin Isa Al-Khalifa, after succeeding his late father in 1999, pushed economic and political reforms in part to improve relations with the Shia community. After boycotting the country's first round of democratic elections under the newly-promulgated constitution in 2002, Shia political societies participated in 2006 and 2010 in legislative and municipal elections and Wifaq, the largest Shia political society, won the largest bloc of seats in the elected lower-house of the legislature both times althugh they later resigned amid the unrest in 2011. In early 2011, Shia discontent boiled over into large demonstrations that resulted in a heavy-handed government response and the resignation of 18 Wifaq legislators. The September 2011 byelection - which Wifaq boycotted - was held to fill seats they had vacated and featured low voter turnout and victories for progovernment candidates. The government later commissioned the Bahrain Independent Commission (BICI) of Inquiry report to examine its actions during the unrest of 2011.
NOTE: 1) The information regarding Bahrain on this page is re-published from the 2012 World Fact Book of the United States Central Intelligence Agency. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of Bahrain Introduction 2012 information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about Bahrain Introduction 2012 should be addressed to the CIA.
2) The rank that you see is the CIA reported rank, which may habe the following issues:
a) They assign increasing rank number, alphabetically for countries with the same value of the ranked item, whereas we assign them the same rank.
b) The CIA sometimes assignes counterintuitive ranks. For example, it assigns unemployment rates in increasing order, whereas we rank them in decreasing order
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