Bahrain was controlled by the Portuguese from 1521 until 1602. The Khalifa family gained control in 1783 and has ruled since that date, rejecting claims of suzerainty from Persia (Iran) and the Ottoman Empire. British assistance was sought to retain independence and in 1861 Bahrain and Britain signed a treaty of peace and friendship. From 1861 until 1971 Bahrain was in all but name a British protectorate. Treaties signed in 1882 and in 1892 gave Britain responsibility for defence and foreign policy. In 1970 a Council of State was established, so that the ruling family was no longer the sole executive power.
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