Happy Birthday Bahrain! The kingdom is celebrating its Golden Jubilee on Thursday and UAE leaders have already sent their congratulations.
President Sheikh Khalifa sent a message of goodwill to King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa of Bahrain.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, and Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, also sent messages to King Hamad and Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, crown prince and prime minister of Bahrain.
Bahrain is a place with a rich history. Archaeologists believe the island may have been the heart of the Dilmun Empire, which dominated the Persian Gulf at least 4,000 years ago.
But the modern kingdom declared its sovereignty on August 15, 1971. The celebration of this month marks the accession of King Isa bin Salman Al Khalifa on December 16, 1961, and under whose reign the country became independent.
As with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain marks the occasion with a public holiday, fireworks and many illuminations. With the opening of the new Cathedral of Our Lady of Arabia, the largest Catholic church in the Gulf, the current ruler, King Hamad bin Isa, also received a message of goodwill from Pope Francis I.
The history of modern Bahrain begins at the end of the 19th century, when the island became a protectorate of the British Empire, controlled, like Abu Dhabi, by a treaty that linked its external affairs to London.
After 1947, the island became the seat of the Gulf Residency, and the seat of the highest British official in the region, who in turn controlled a network of political agents, equivalent to ambassadors, for other countries under British influence. , including Qatar. and what is now the United Arab Emirates.
In the early years of aviation, visitors from the Gulf arrived in Manama by plane before traveling to other areas by passenger boat.
It all ended in 1971.
But the road to independence has not been easy. At first, a larger union of nine Arab Emirates was proposed, to include Bahrain, Qatar and the seven emirates of the United Arab Emirates.
However, Bahrain said it would go it alone in October 1970.
A bigger issue was Iran, which claimed sovereignty over the island on the grounds that it was part of the Persian Empire several centuries earlier.
After negotiations, Iran agreed to let the people of Bahrain choose their future. A UN-led referendum offered a choice between independence and Iranian control.
The March 1970 poll rejected Iran. The representative of the UN Secretary General declared that “the overwhelming majority of the people of Bahrain wish to have their identity recognized in a fully independent and sovereign State, free to decide for itself its relations with other States”.
The vote was recognized by the UN by resolution 278 of May 11, 1970 and accepted by the Shah of Iran Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, who declared: “Our policy and our philosophy is to oppose the occupation of others. territories by force. His country launched a military invasion of the Great and Small Tunbs off the coast of the United Arab Emirates the following year.
King Hamad became ruler in March 1999, following the death of his father, King Isa, and requested the support of the CCG’s Peninsula Shield Force during the Arab uprisings of 2011.
In September 2020, Bahrain became the second Gulf country, after the United Arab Emirates, to normalize its relations with Israel.
Bahrain’s long history was recognized in 2019, when Unesco, the United Nations scientific and cultural organization, awarded the Dilmun burial mounds World Heritage status.
Bahrain looks to the future – in pictures
Update: December 16, 2021, 7:27 a.m.