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Bahrain's History through a Digital Lens

It is of no surprise to people that the internet has changed the way we view things. Changed the way we look at things. But more importantly, it is now a place where the past is stored.

Lets face it, with Google News archive program (and more recently, with the launch of the British Newspaper Archive), the past is now being even more immortalized. Cyber space is the new dimension, it seems.

But a focus of this article I'd like to bring up is digitalizing Bahrain's modern history. Thanks to Google News archives, we can now see articles over 40 (and sometimes 70!) years old, about Bahrain's progressing history. I take an emphasis on Bahrain because it is my home country (But be sure to play around with it, with your own name!).

In this article, we shall look back at some of Bahrain's history in the 20th century. Some forgotten and some immortalized.

1. 542 Escape From Blazing Ship off Bahrain

April 8th 1961 - A British Passenger liner caught fire (an explosion was thought to have caused it) and British naval frigates were deployed to the scene. 542 people were rescued including 119 crew, and 440 passengers, most of them Indians, Pakistanis and some Britons and Americans.

The ship was en route to Bombay (now Mumbai) from the Iraqi port of Basra.

2. 28 Dead on US Frigate hit by Iraqi missile

Perhaps a day of infamy for Americans all over again. In May 17, 1987, the USS Stark (FFG-31) was struck by two Exocet missiles fired from an Iraqi Mirage F1 fighter plane.

This was the first time since the 60s,, where a US naval ship was successfully targeted and fatalities occurred. This happened a few kilometres off Bahrain's coast. 

What was strange was that the frigate did not respond or fire back to the attack. This has been the centre of an ongoing controversy. Still, even nowadays, what happened to the ship is disputed. But whatever happened, it left 37 sailors dead and 21 injured. 

If you'd like to know more, the Wikipedia page provides good information. 

3. 92 on German Plane Hijacked to Bahrain:

Would you believe it! A hijacking and the landing spot ? Bahrain! 

On October 14th, 1977: Gunmen, demanding the "release of all comrades in West German prisons" , hijacked a Lufthansa airliner with 92 passengers on it.

The plane, Lufthansa Flight 181, having refueled in Rome and Cyprus was now to venture to Bahrain. The hijacking was believed to be related to the kidnapping of the prominent West German industrialist, Hanns Martin Schleyer

Lufthansa had said that the plane was filled with mostly West Germans returning from vacation in Mallorca. 11 Beauty queens are also believed to have been on board.

The plane would later travel to Dubai and onwards to Mogadishu where the plane's captain is killed. German special forces soon storm the plane at the airport. 3 Terrorists were killed, the hostages were secured. In retaliation, Hanns Martin was executed. 

4. Bahrain declares independence, cuts ties with Britain

August 14, 1971 - A new country was born! The nation of Bahrain, with a population of 200,000 people, joined the ranks of the United Nations and the Arab League soon after. 

After having trade ties and treaties with the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland since the 19th century, Bahrain cut all ties with the British*

*(It was a rite of passage to cut all agreements made before independence, with the colonial power).

Bahrain decided to go it alone and not join the federation of the Trucial States (Present day United Arab Emirates), and "wanted to form a close relationship" with the much richer and influential state of Kuwait.


  1. Assimilating :) ~ Mariam, again.

  2. OoOooOooO Enjoyment! You know who I am :O :P .

  3. I did not read this. I was too busy om nom noming on my packet of food. I just decided to post a comment. For Teh Lulz.


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