Manama appears in Islamic chronicles as far back as 1345 AD but, in all probability, there were settlements on and around the best springs on the island for centuries.
Invaded by the Portuguese in 1521 and then by the Persians in 1602, Manama then passed into the hands of the Al-Khalifa, the current ruling family, in 1783. It became a free port in 1958 and the capital of independent Bahrain in 1971. With a third of Bahrain’s population living in the city, modern Manama continues to grow at a cracking pace, thanks to oil revenues and a vibrant banking sector. Some fine new buildings, like the Bahrain World Trade Centre and the developments in the Bahrain Financial Harbour, all built on reclaimed land, are helping to bring the city into line with its more modern regional counterparts.