Manama was mentioned in Islamic chronicles at least as far back as 1345. It was taken by the Portuguese in 1521 and then by the Persians in 1602. It has been held, with brief interruptions, by the ruling Al Khalifah dynasty since 1783. Manama was declared a free port in 1958, and in 1971 became the capital of independent Bahrain.
The economical base for Manama is identical to Bahrain as a whole - petroleum, oil refining, dhow building, fishing and pearl diving. Manama has an international airport on the island of Al Muharraq, to which it is connected with a causeway. Manama also is home to the University of Bahrain, which was founded in 1986.