December 16 – National Day in Bahrain

Posted on December 16, 2015

Bring on the parades! The concerts! The fireworks!

Today is the first of two days of celebrating Bahrain's independence from Britain.

Actually, Bahrain actually became independent in August of 1971, after a United Nations survey of the Bahraini people showed that a majority of them wanted to be independent. However, December 16 was chosen at some point by Bahraini rulers as a more suitable day to celebrate, because it coincided with coronation day of former emir Isa bin Salman Al Khalifa.

The good news is that Bahrain has a high-income economy and has invested in banking and tourism, so even when petroleum profits dwindle, it should remain strong.

The bad news is that, although Bahrain claims to be a constitutional monarchy, the parliament is not strong, the judicial branch is not independent of other branches, and the king is, essential, a dictator. This type of government is called an absolute monarchy.

What do you know about Bahrain?

Before you read on, ask yourself where Bahrain is located, what language Bahraini's speak, and if there is a state religion – and, if so, which religion it is.

While you think about those questions, scroll through these photos of gorgeous cityscapes and natural landscapes from the nation....

This tree (above and below) is called the Tree of Life.
It is the only speck of plant life visible in miles of sand...
the mystery of how it still lives in such a dry, dusty area
keeps it a popular tourist destination!

Bahrain is an island nation located in the Persian Gulf, east of Saudi Arabia. There is a causeway that connects the island to Saudi Arabia.

There are 83 smaller islands, aside from the largest island (which is called Bahrain).

Arabic is the official language. Because Bahrain used to be a British colony, English is widely used. Some other commonly heard languages in Bahrain include Persian (language of Iran) and Urdu (language of Pakistan).

The state religion of Bahrain is Islam, and about 70% of the population is Muslim.

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