This chapter provides a brief historical background and a description of major events in Bahrain. It also provides basic political, economic, and social data arranged in the following categories: polity, economy, population, purchasing power parities, life expectancy, ethnic groups, capital, political rights, civil liberties, and status. The chapter discusses the progress and decline of political rights and civil liberties in Bahrain. Bahrain has been ruled by the al-Khalifa family since 1782. The country was a British protectorate from 1861 to 1971, when British forces withdrew after years of Arab nationalist disturbances. With the Iranian revolution in 1979 and its efforts to spread Islamic fundamentalism, resentment among Bahrain's majority Shiite population against its Sunni rulers intensified. Bahrain's bright new outlook extended to its foreign relations. In March, the International Court of Justice resolved a long-standing territorial dispute between Bahrain and Qatar over the Hawar Islands and several other territories on the Qatari peninsula.