|Unearthing Bahrain's buried secrets|
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Although the discovery of oil took a few years to bring financial security to Bahrain, it saved the nation from an economic downturn caused by a decline in the pearl trade and World War II.
By the early 1970s Bahrain was replacing Lebanon as the financial centre of the Middle East and in 1973, the Bahrain Monetary Agency (BMA) was established to implement the country's fiscal policy and ensure a secure and well regulated investment market that operates within world class standards. The Central Bank of Bahrain has recently replaced the BMA as the kingdom's official financial services regulator.
Political history: Bahrain was conquered by the Al Khalifa dynasty in 1783 when Shaikh Ahmed Al Fatih became the first Ruler of Bahrain. Ten generations later his descendant, HM King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa transformed the Emirate of Bahrain into a Kingdom in 2002 with a constitutional monarch as its head. He also introduced elections for parliament. HH Shaikh Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa is Prime Minister and HH Shaikh Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa is Crown Prince and Commander in Chief of the Bahrain Defence Force.
Bahrain has a population of approximately 700,000, about half of whom are its own citizens and the remainder composed of other Arab nationals and expatriates from all corners of the world. Bahrain is a melting pot of nationalities, renowned for its friendly people and relaxed lifestyle, tax free environment and large investment potential.