As the Safavid power declined in the 1700s the Omanis entered
Bahrain. The Omanis took little time and effort overseeing
their new lands though as it became chaotic, encouraging the Omanis to sell the
land back to the Persians just 19 years later in 1736. This rule was again short
lived though as a group of Arabs retook the land in 1753. The end of this century
moved the island from ruler to ruler until the Al Khalifa rulers finally took power
in 1797, but then the Omanis took it back in 1802.
In 1820 the Sunni Al Khalifa rulers turned to the United
Kingdom to get their lands back. The British obliged and soon the Al Khalifa
had regained power with British support. With British protection,
Bahrain expanded its economy and welcomed foreigners in to work in this
industry, most notably Indians and Persians.
This growth continued into the 1900s as Bahrain welcomed
numerous schools, improved healthcare, and underwent a number of other institutions
suggested by the British. As people protested these
changes and the liberalization of the country many people were pushed into exile;
if a ruler protested, the British simply replaced him with his son.
In 1932 oil was discovered in Bahrain. This led to consequences
in World War II as the Italians tried to bomb the oil fields, while the
British staunchly defended them.
In the 1950s the working class from the oil industry began to protest their rights,
protections, benefits, and pay. They began regular protests and fought British occupation.
Despite arresting these leaders, the protests continued into the 1960s.
In 1968 the British decided to step down from power
in the Persian Gulf, giving Bahrain, Qatar,
and the Trucial States (modern day United Arab Emirates)
independence. These regions joined to form a single county, however after three
years the emirates had not concluded a union so Bahrain became formally independent
Since independence Bahrain has successfully exploited every
opportunity. They welcomed the United States in establishing a military base, they
took control of numerous banking industries when Lebanon struggled in the 1970s,
they gained greater oil prices during the various Middle Eastern wars and have filled
their employment with temporary workers, only giving out as many visas as is needed
to guarantee the local citizens still have jobs.
In the 1970s the government also created a constitution, but it was turned down.
The constitution was in part turned down due to conservative power growth. A conservative
Islamic movement had spread across the region in the 1970s and in 1979 the
Persian government was overthrown in favor of a theocracy. This led to attempts
to overthrow Bahrain's government as well, but these
attempts failed as Bahrain clung to their neighbors for protection.
The 1990s began with Iraq's invasion of nearby
Kuwait and further regional tensions, but again the country survived the
scare. That decade, along with the 2000s has been marred by continued political
battles as the majority Shia population disagrees with numerous policies of the
ruling Sunni Al Khalifa family.
In 2011 and 2012 a number of protests arose against the government and the ruling
family, partially led by the overthrow of Libya's and
Egypt's rulers. These protests have, at times been met
with violence by the military and even deaths. This has escalated the protests and
in March, 2012 nearly a quarter of the country's population marched in protest.
This situation is still unresolved, but most violence from the government has subsided.