Bahrain History - The discovery of oil

Bahrain History - The discovery of oil Last updated on Wednesday 14th April 2010

In June 1932 oil was discovered in commercial quantities in Bahrain. It was important for two reasons: first, it was the initial discovery of oil on the Arab side of the Gulf and second, it more or less coincided with the collapse of the world pearl market. (The Japanese had been instrumental in this with their manufacture of cultured pearls.)

Because Bahrain was the first Gulf state to discover oil, it was also the first to enjoy the benefits that came with the revenues -- specifically, a marked improvement in the quality of education and health care.

The oil reserves of Bahrain are quite small and, by Gulf standards, it produces only a token quantity of oil. This has proved to be an advantage, however. Without the resources for a boom, Bahrain has moved more slowly and thoughtfully into the technological age. The necessity to diversify their economy as well as their long history as a trading country have proved to be a fortuitous set of circumstances.

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