Although the Dilmun Empire grew wealthy from trade, Bahrain's economy declined after the trans-Atlantic trade routes diminished the importance of inter-Asian trade. Before oil was first discovered in 1932, Bahrain's most valuable export commodities were pearls and dates. It remained, however, of great strategic importance to the rival European naval powers that operated in the Indian Ocean and the Gulf. In the 19th century, the British Royal Navy became the predominant naval power in the region. Through a series of treaties, Britain obtained control of Bahrain's foreign and military policy in the 19th century, reinstalled in power the al-Khalifa family in the 1860s and generally helped Bahrain to remain independent of Saudi Arabia and Persia. Bahrain remained a British Protectorate until 1971.
Egypt had a much less satisfactory experience with the European powers. The first efforts to modernize the Egyptian economy were undertaken by Muhammad Ali (r. 1805-1849) who further centralized administration, constructed roads and other transportation arteries and improved agriculture by borrowing Western techniques. Ali's successors, however, overextended themselves financially, which led to the British takeover in 1882. Egypt benefited from British rule due largely to the construction of the Suez Canal and the development of long-staple cotton as a major export crop. However, the rising Egyptian professional and middle classes organized mass protests against British rule which finally succeeded in the Free Officers' coup d'etat of July 1952 and an ending to British colonialism.
II. Post-World War II Political Development and Modernization
Bahrain and Egypt (1945-1971). Before independence in 1971, Bahrain's amir ruled with an iron hand. Power then and since has been handed down peacefully from father to son. Robison & Greenway said Bahrain is "the only Gulf country with a strict rule of primogeniture" (71). No political opposition o...
Historical Evolution of Politics. (2000, January 01). In LotsofEssays.com. Retrieved 05:05, October 31, 2014, from http://www.collegetermpapers.com/viewpaper/1303985042.html