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In 1253, the Bedouin Usfurids brought down the Uyunid dynasty, thereby gaining control over eastern Arabia, including the islands of Bahrain.In 1330, the archipelago became a tributary state of the rulers of Hormuz, In 1521, the Portuguese allied with Hormuz and seized Bahrain from the Jabrid ruler Migrin ibn Zamil, who was killed during the takeover.An alternate theory with regard to Bahrain's toponymy is offered by the al-Ahsa region, which suggests that the two seas were the Great Green Ocean (the Persian Gulf) and a peaceful lake on the Arabian mainland.Another supposition by al-Jawahari suggests that the more formal name Bahri (lit. Following a period of Arab rule, Bahrain was occupied by the Portuguese in 1521, who in turn were expelled in 1602 by Shah Abbas I of the Safavid dynasty under the Persian Empire.In 2011, the country experienced protests inspired by the regional Arab Spring.Alexander had planned to settle Greek colonists on Bahrain, and although it is not clear that this happened on the scale he envisaged, Bahrain became very much part of the Hellenised world: the language of the upper classes was Greek (although Aramaic was in everyday use), while Zeus was worshipped in the form of the Arabian sun-god Shams.This theory was accepted by the 19th-century German classicist Arnold Heeren who said that: "In the Greek geographers, for instance, we read of two islands, named Tyrus or Tylos, and Aradus, which boasted that they were the mother country of the Phoenicians, and exhibited relics of Phoenician temples." Bahrain was also the site of worship of an ox deity called Awal.

In 899 CE, the Qarmatians, a millenarian Ismaili Muslim sect seized Bahrain, seeking to create a utopian society based on reason and redistribution of property among initiates.

By about 250 BC, Parthia brought the Persian Gulf under its control and extended its influence as far as Oman.

The Parthians established garrisons along the southern coast of the Persian Gulf to control trade routes.

Nearchus is believed to have been the first of Alexander's commanders to visit the island, and he found a verdant land that was part of a wide trading network; he recorded: "That on the island of Tylos, situated in the Persian Gulf, are large plantations of cotton trees, from which are manufactured clothes called sindones, of strongly differing degrees of value, some being costly, others less expensive.

The use of these is not confined to India, but extends to Arabia." The Greek historian Theophrastus states that much of Bahrain was covered by these cotton trees and that Bahrain was famous for exporting walking canes engraved with emblems that were customarily carried in Babylon.Muhammad ordered a surprise attack on the Banu Salim tribe for allegedly plotting to attack Medina.