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Bahrain History

Bahrain - national flagBahrain - national flag

The flag originates in its current form from 1932. Previously, the dividing line could also be straight. With the most recent change of flag in 2002, the dividing line now has only five thanks, one for each of Islam's five pillars. A serrated division also occurs in the state coat of arms. Red and white have been the colors of the region since the 1800's.

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Bahrain - archeology and prehistory

Bahrain has since the 1800's. been known for its 100,000 burial mounds. Several of these were investigated at the time, but it was not until 1953 that a thorough exploration of the island's prehistory began, when a Danish expedition led by PV Glob and TG Bibby from the Prehistoric Museum in Aarhus initiated systematic excavations and reconnaissances.

In many places in Bahrain, you can collect arrowheads, knives and scrapers of flint, which date from 4000-3000 BC, when you subsisted on hunting, fishing and towards the end of the period also by goat keeping. A 20-hectare elevation on the north coast covers the ruins of Bahrain's ancient capital, which has been examined by extensive Danish excavations as well as in recent years by some French. The oldest finds from here are a trading post with a large copper casting workshop from approximately 2100 BC At this time, written sources from Mesopotamia mention the ancient kingdom of Dilmun, of which Bahrain was an important part, as engaged in trade in copper, ivory and semi-precious stones from Oman and India.

The first, small burial mounds are built along wadis (river beds) in the interior of the island. The population subsisted on the cultivation of date palms, wheat and barley on irrigated fields, on sheep, goat and cattle farming, and on extensive fishing. This business composition remained in Bahrain until modern times - supplemented by pearl fishing, which probably began as early as 2000 BC, when real pearls were called "fish eyes".

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Around 2000 BC. Bahrain almost gained a monopoly on trade through the Persian Gulf, and a kingdom emerged on the island. The capital was fortified, large warehouses were built, and temples were erected at several of the freshwater springs that make the island fertile. at the village of Barbar. Here is excavated a stone-built temple, which consists of an underground chamber around the source itself, a burnt offering site and a central sanctuary. Among the finds may be mentioned a harp fitting in the form of a bull's head with magnificently curved horns, which is known in a similar form from the royal tombs in Ur. Most of Bahrain's burial mounds date from this period and lie in demarcated groups on the northern, fertile and then inhabited part of the island. A centrally located group of 27 huge burial mounds has been erected for the rulers. The mounds cover one or more chambers, where the deceased is laid on his side, provided with clay vessels with food and drink and with weapons and other equipment. The far-flung Dilmunk merchants make themselves known in the finds by round seal stones, with which they signed their trade agreements. The picture pages of the seals reveal glimpses of a rich ritual world.

Bahrain History

In the middle of 1000-tkKr. Bahrain lost its political independence and was incorporated as a province in Mesopotamia; one knows the name of a Mesopotamian viceroy of the island. Culturally, there is a marked break in the development, eg the construction of the traditional burial mounds ceased, the temples fell into disuse, and everyday objects such as household utensils of ceramics were now increasingly made according to Mesopotamian models. Around 700 BC. the written sources again report that Bahrain was a hub for trade between Mesopotamia, Oman and India, and the island was ruled by kings who were often under political influence from Mesopotamia. In the capital are excavated palace-like buildings in Mesopotamian style, a temple in block stone and an industrial plant for bronze processing.

Around 500 BC. the island was incorporated into the Achaemenid Empire and possibly became an important support point for the incense trade from southern Arabia. From this period, rich finds from the capital are known, a treasure of bracelets, finger rings and earrings in silver and a bathtub-shaped coffin with a skeleton, richly equipped with seal stones, weapons and a complete drinking set consisting of sieve, ladle, bottle and bowl of copper. Under the floor of the temple are numerous sacrificial bowls with a serpent skeleton and one or two pearls in each bowl.

Alexander the Great sent several expeditions through the Persian Gulf, but his plans to conquer Arabia were thwarted by his early death in 323 BC. His successors, the Seleucid kings, however, had about 300 BC. great influence along the coasts of especially the northern part of the Gulf, and the Hellenistic culture prevailed strongly in Bahrain, which during this period was called Tylos. Later in 200-tfKr. the Seleucids lost power in the eastern part of the empire, and at the same time several small states emerged in northeastern Arabia, including Bahrain, which struck its own silver coins after the Greek model. A tax consisting of approximately 300 such silver coins were found dug down outside the capital city wall.

Bahrain - recent history

Bahrain was incorporated into the Sasanian Empire, and during the 700-t. it became part of the Islamic caliphate. In the 1500's. the Portuguese had control of Bahrain for a short period. 1602-1782 the area was under Persian rule, but since 1783 it has been under the control of the Khalifa family. During the 1800's. Britain repeatedly supported the Caliphate against the conquest of other Arab countries; they sought to curb piracy and had a major impact on Bahrain's conditions.

Bahrain was named Britain's most important naval base in the Gulf in the mid-1960's. Plans for this were abandoned, however, and Britain made it clear in 1968 that it would abandon the Protectorate of Bahrain by 1971 and withdraw completely from the Gulf. The Shah of Iran then claimed supremacy over the islands. The Khalifa family objected, and under the auspices of the UN, a referendum was held in April 1970 on Bahrain's future political status, showing a clear desire for independence.

Bahrain became formally independent in August 1971. A 1973 constitution stipulated that Bahrain should be governed by the Khalifa family, but at the same time provided for a national assembly to assist in the legislation. It was elected in 1973, but repatriated in 1975, and since then the Khalifa family has ruled Bahrain without the participation of elected representatives. Since the country's current regent, Hamad ibn Isa al-Khalifa, replaced his father in 1999, Bahrain has opened up for a higher degree of democracy. In 2001, a "National Action Program" was sent to a referendum, and both men and women could vote on the principles that, according to the program, should apply to the establishment of a new political system in the country. In 2002, the emirate was transformed into a constitutional monarchy, and elections to one of two chambers of the new parliament were held in October 2002 with the right to vote for both men and women. Political liberalization was put on hold when large demonstrations prior to the war against Iraq in March 2003 and subsequently showed that significant sections of the population were highly critical of the United States.

Following the upheavals in Tunisia and Egypt in early 2011, there were also extensive demonstrations in Bahrain in February 2011. Initially, democratic reforms were demanded, but after the military cracked down and several protesters were killed, demands began to be made for the departure of the Khalifa family. The opposition was particularly strong among the Shia Muslim majority, leading to fears of Iranian interference. For that reason, and because they did not want the protests to inspire opposition forces in the other countries in the region, in March 2011 Saudi Arabia sent troops to Bahrain just as the United Arab Emirates contributed police forces to help beat the widespread protests. down.

 

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