Bahrain - Country history and economic development

1820. Bahrain becomes a British protectorate with the signing of the General Treaty of Peace but is ruled by the al-Khalifa family. Treaties of protection with Britain are re-signed in 1861, 1892, and 1951.

1928. Iran claims ownership of Bahrain. The dispute is not resolved until 1970 when Iran accepts a United Nations report stating that the vast majority of Bahrainis want to retain complete independence.

1932. Oil is first discovered in Bahrain, to be followed shortly thereafter by discoveries in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.

1968. Bahrain joins Qatar and the Trucial States (now the United Arab Emirates) in the Federation of Arab Emirates. These countries had all enjoyed the protection of Great Britain up until this point.

1971. Bahrain gains complete independence on August 15, leaving the Federation of Arab Emirates.

1973. A constitution is adopted and elections held for the National Assembly. The Assembly is disbanded in 1975 and indefinitely suspended in 1976.

1981. Bahrain is one of the six founding members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).

1990. Bahrain actively supports the allied forces against Iraq in the Gulf military conflict, and is the target of an Iraqi missile attack.

1994-97. Civil unrest breaks out following the decline of the economy and expectations of more political rights for the mainly Shiite population after the Gulf war.

1999. Sheikh Isa Bin-Sulman al-Khalifa dies and is succeeded by his son Sheikh Hamad Bin Isa al-Khalifa in March.

2001. In February Bahrainis vote to approve a new constitution that would institute a partially elected parliament and grant political rights to women.

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