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The vast majority are temporary workers and thus constitute a transient population.
Four-fifths of the population lives in cities, the majority in Manama which is the capital and the largest urban center.
The United States military buildup in the area also created a tense relationship between Bahrainis and American troops. They come mainly from other Arab nations but also from India, Pakistan, Southeast Asia, Europe, and America.
While relations are not unfriendly, foreigners generally are not integrated into Bahraini society.
One-third of the people are less than fifteen years old. Arabic is the official language and the language of daily life.
English is understood in many places and Farsi and Urdu also are spoken by the large numbers of Indian and Persian residents. The national flag is red with a white serrated band of eight points along the left side. In the seventh century, Muslims conquered the area and ruled until the sixteenth century.
It is located in the Persian Gulf near the Arabian Peninsula, 120 miles southwest of Iran, 14 miles to the east of Saudi Arabia, and 17 miles to the west of the Qatar Peninsula.
The main island, which accounts for seven-eighths of the country's area, is thirty miles from north to south and ten miles from east to west.
This situation lasted until 1602, when the Persians wrested the country from the Portuguese.
Muharraq is the oldest town, and used to be the capital.
The city has been modernized, but in the old sections one can still see traditional architecture.
This area is surrounded by sandy plains and salt marshes.
Along the north and northwest coast, there are some springs and aquifers that are used for irrigation. The climate is humid for much of the year, but the country suffers from a scarcity of rainfall which averages three inches a year, falling almost entirely in the winter.