According to Metz, Egypt's political and economic system "developed around the concept of a god incarnate (the pharaoh) who was believed through his magical powers to control the Nile flood" (8). Rule under the pharaohs generated (especially after the unification of Upper and Lower Egypt) in the third millennium B.C., centralized royal administrative institutions and structures.
Geographical position played a critical role in the political development of both nations. In ancient times, Bahrain lay across the main ocean trading routes between the Romans and Greeks to the West, the Indian subcontinent, and sea trade among nations along the Persian or Arabic Gulf. Nakhleh said that for centuries Bahrain has prided itself "on the urbanity and middle-class pragmatism of its people," the result of its long history as a trading entrepot (96). Like Egypt, Bahrain encountered many alien rulers, but most of them came before the 15th century A.D. from the Middle East, Babylonians, Persians, and in 940 A.D. Arabs from the Arabian Peninsula who converted Bahrain to Islam. The current ruling al-Khalifa family in Bahrain was of Mesopotamian Arab background. When they arrived in Bahrain in the mid-18th century they brought with them elements of Mesopotamian and Persian culture. One reason for their continuation in power for more than 200 years has been their ability to preserve (except for brief pe