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Bahrain

Land and People

The islands are flat and sandy, with a few low hills. The climate is hot and humid during the summer, mild and pleasant in the winter. The largely urban population is about 60% Bahraini; the balance of the inhabitants consist of nonnationals who are mainly other Arabs, Iranians, and South Asians. Islam (75% Shiite and 25% Sunni) is the religion of most of the population, and there are Christian and other minorities. Modern Bahrain has been marked by recurring tension between the Shiite majority and the Sunni minortiy, who include the ruling family and have dominated the government. Languages spoken other than Arabic (the official language) include English, Farsi, and Urdu.

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The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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