The Kingdom of Bahrain is the ancient home to the Dilmun civilization and one of the earliest areas to convert to Islam. For nearly a thousand years it was under Arab rule. Through the 1500’s the area came under Portuguese rule before going back to Arab rule. In the late 1800’s, Bahrain came under the protectorate of the United Kingdom but pressure from the local Shia people and the Persian government continued to create tension. Ultimately Bahrain declared its independence from England in 1971.

Manama (Capital), Bahrain
Source: Gulf News

Like many areas in the Middle East that were under English influence, Bahrain used Indian Rupee as its circulating banknote. This unusual practice continued until 1959. The practice stopped because there the Indian government was plagued with gold smuggling from the Middle East to Indian where it would be exchanged for Indian Rupee in India. These notes would be shipped to the Middle East. As a result over time, the supply of rupee in India was depleted. The British created the Gulf rupee to replace the Indian rupee in Kuwait, Bahrain, the UAE, Qatar and Oman. The Gulf rupee looks very similar to the Indian rupee. Although they are printed in different colors. The Gulf Rupee was in use in Bahrain until 1965. Afterwards the Bahraini dinar was introduced.

1 Gulf Rupee | 1957 | Used by Bahrain, UAE, Kuwait, Oman and Qatar |
Source: Wikipedia

Early Bahrain Banknotes

The first series of dinar were typical of other regional banknotes of the time period. The 1965 banknotes emphasized sailing ships, industry and its coat of arms. The banknotes did not really evolve in design until 1993 when the banknotes. These banknotes had more colors and security line patterns typically seen in English banknotes. The 2001 20 dinar are beautiful. It is the first time the Emir of Bahrain – Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa was on the banknote. On the reverse is a large mosque.

Bahrain 100 Fils | 1964 P-1a | First generation of banknotes |
Source: Banknote World

A new and spectacular series was released in 2006. During this time, many of the gulf nations improved the designs and security of their banknotes. The 2006 1 dinar (P-26a) is especially attractive. For example, on the reverse are Arabian Horses and the Sail and Pearl Monument. The series shows Bahrain’s transition from an oil based economy to a more broad based economy. The most recent series issued in 2016 was an evolution in design and security. SICPA SPARK Live is in use on many of the denominations. The overall printing also became cleaner.

Bahrain 1 Dinar | Colored in red featuring horses |
Source: Banknote World

The entire Bahrain series are high quality examples of modern banknotes leveraging culture, history, and art of the country.

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