Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa
Short: Hamad 2
Arabic: hamad bni ¢īsā āl khalīfa
(1950-) Ruler of Bahrain since 1999. His title until 2002 was emir, when it was changed to "king" as part of constitutional reforms.
Soon after taking power he carried through vital and necessary changes to the political system of Bahrain: Making the country a constitutional monarchy; establishing a Supreme National Committee; releasing all political prisoners who counted more than 300; granting women the right to vote; and staging elections for parliament.
He is married to Sabika, and has 4 living children. His oldest son, Salman, is the designated crown prince.
1950 December 28: Born in Ar-Rifa as grandson of the ruler of Bahrain, Salman 2. His father, Isa 2, became ruler in 1961.
Receives his secondary education at The Leys School, Cambridge, England.
1964: Is named crown prince. Joins the Mons Officer Cadet School, Aldershot, England.
1968: Returns to Bahrain, to command the newly established Bahrain Defense Force.
1970: Becomes one of the 12 members of the advisory Council of State.
1971 August: Becomes defense minister of the newly independent Bahrain.
1972: Enrolls at military education at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.
1973: Graduates from Fort Leavenworth.
1999: Becomes new ruler of Bahrain, when his father dies.
2001: Referendum is held over Bahrain becoming a constitutional monarchy.
2002: Changes his title from emir to king.
Speaks out against unilateral military action by the USA against Iraq.
Stages general elections for the 40-member National Assembly.