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How the Al Khalifas became
Bahrain's First Family

Shaikh Ahmed bin Mohammed Al Khalifa, who conquered Bahrain in 1783, was the first member of the Al Khalifa dynasty, which rules Bahrain till today.

Despite the obvious challenges of uniting a people influenced by so many cultures, Shaikh Ahmed consolidated his position as Bahrain's ruler and began developing trade with other nations.

Subsequent generations were plagued by internal dissensions as well as a continuing external threat, until within the space of eight years, two important events took place.

In 1861, Bahrain signed the Treaty of Perpetual Peace and Friendship with Britain, guaranteeing British intervention in the case of external aggression. And in 1869, Shaikh Isa bin Ali Al Khalifa was named ruler.

Shaikh Isa's accession ushered in over half a century of peace and stability. He abdicated in 1923 in favour of his son Hamad, during whose 19-year reign Bahrain entered the oil era.

When he died in 1942, he was succeeded by Shaikh Salman, who negotiated the transfer of a number of responsibilites held by the British.

The present Ruler's father, Shaikh Isa bin Salman Al Khalifa, assumed power in 1961 on the death of Shaikh Salman.

Full independence came in 1971, when Bahrain terminated its political and military treaties with Britain.

Shaikh Isa died in March 1999 after a long and successful reign during which Bahrain became one of the most stable and modern states in the Middle East.

He was succeeded by his eldest son, Shaikh Hamad, who has quickly become of the region's most popular and forward thinking rulers. He ushered in a series of measures to give the people a greater voice in the running of the country, introduced equal rights for women in the political process and moved to resolve long-standing grievances with neighbouring countries over territorial rights. In 2002, he proclaimed Bahrain a Kingdom, making him the country's first King.





His Majesty King Shaikh Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa is the current Ruler. Right, Jasra House, birthplace of former Ruler Shaikh Isa bin Salman Al Khalifa, is now a heritage museum.

In search of the
Garden of Eden

How Islam came
to Bahrain