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Isa Bin Salman Al Khalifah
Emir of Bahrain
Hakim of Bahrain
Shaikh Isa bin Salman Al Khalifa
Reign November 1961 - 6 March 1999
Coronation 16 December 1961
Born June 3, 1933(1933-06-03)
Birthplace Jasra, Bahrain
Died 6 March 1999 (aged 65)
Place of death Manama
Predecessor Salman ibn Hamad Al Khalifa
Heir-Apparent Hamad ibn Isa Al Khalifah
Successor Hamad ibn Isa Al Khalifah
Consort Hessa bint Salman Al Khalifa
Royal House Al Khalifa
Father Salman ibn Hamad Al Khalifa
Religious beliefs Sunni Islam

Emir Isa bin Salman Al Khalifah, GCB, GCMG (June 3, 1933 – March 6, 1999) (Arabic: عيسى بن سلمان آل خليفة‎) was emir of Bahrain from 1961 until his death. Born in the town of Jasra, he became emir upon the death of his father, Salman bin Hamad

Isa bin Salman's reign saw Bahrain gain its independence from the United Kingdom in 1971. While the government initially considered joining the United Arab Emirates, Isa had his country withdraw (along with Qatar) over his dissatisfaction with the proposed constitution. He then attempted to introduce a moderate form of parliamentary democracy, and men (though not women) were given the vote in parliamentary elections in 1973. In 1975, however, he dissolved Parliament because it refused to pass the notorious government-sponsored State Security Law of 1974. The parliamentary system was never restored the parliament, forcing the emir to contend with occasional protests from the leftist and Islamist camps, which reached their peak in 1995. (see: History of Bahrain).

Isa was noted for his opposition to the use of the death penalty, and routinely refused to sign death warrants. One exception occurred in 1996, when he succumbed to pressure from the security forces to execute a man convicted of the murder of a soldier.

Throughout his reign, Isa dedicated himself to bolstering his country's economy. He believed that his greatest achievement was the construction of a causeway connecting his island nation with Saudi Arabia.

Legacy and Death

During his 38 years as emir, he had transformed his tiny island state into a modern nation and a key financial center in the Persian Gulf. Nevertheless, critics note that he also dissolved Parliament, giving absolute power to the royal family.

Shaikh Isa bin Salman Al Khalifa died suddenly on March 6, 1999. US President Bill Clinton expressed "deep sadness" at the news of the emir's death calling him "a good friend of peace." UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan also expressed "great sadness," and described the emir as "a force for stability" in the region.

He was succeeded by his eldest son, Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifah.


  • 1933-1961: Sheikh Isa II ibn Salman II al-Khalifa
  • 1961-1964: His Highness Sheikh Isa II bin Salman II al-Khalifa, Ruler of Bahrain
  • 1964-1971: His Highness Sheikh Sir Isa II bin Salman II al-Khalifa, Ruler of Bahrain, KCMG
  • 1971-1979: His Highness Sheikh Sir Isa II bin Salman II al-Khalifa, Emir of Bahrain, KCMG
  • 1979-1984: His Highness Sheikh Sir Isa II bin Salman II al-Khalifa, Emir of Bahrain, GCMG
  • 1984-1999: His Highness Sheikh Sir Isa II bin Salman II al-Khalifa, Emir of Bahrain, GCB, GCMG

See also

Preceded by
Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa
Amir of Bahrain
Formerly Hakim of Bahrain
Succeeded by
Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa


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