State of Qatar
دولة قطر (
|Motto: الله الوطن الأمير|
God, Nation, Emir
|Anthem: السلام الأميري|
|Khalid bin Khalifa|
Qatar National Day
|18 December 1878|
• Declared independence
1 September 1971
• Independence from the United Kingdom
3 September 1971
Qatar has been ruled as a
In early 2017, Qatar's total population was 2.6 million, with 313,000 of them Qatari citizens and 2.3 million
In the 21st century, Qatar emerged as a
Pliny the Elder, a Roman writer, documented the earliest account pertaining to the inhabitants of the peninsula around the mid-first century AD, referring to them as the Catharrei, a designation that may have derived from the name of a prominent local settlement. A century later, Ptolemy produced the first known map to depict the peninsula, referring to it as Catara. The map also referenced a town named "Cadara" to the east of the peninsula. The term "Catara" (inhabitants, Cataraei) was exclusively used until the 18th century, after which "Katara" emerged as the most commonly recognised spelling. Eventually, after several variations — "Katr", "Kattar" and "Guttur" — the modern derivative Qatar was adopted as the country's name.
English speakers use different approximate pronunciations of the name as the Arabic pronunciations use sounds not often used in English.
Human habitation in Qatar dates back to 50,000 years ago. Settlements and tools dating back to the Stone Age have been unearthed in the peninsula. Mesopotamian artifacts originating from the Ubaid period (c. 6500–3800 BC) have been discovered in abandoned coastal settlements. Al Da'asa, a settlement located on the western coast of Qatar, is the most important Ubaid site in the country and is believed to have accommodated a small seasonal encampment.
In 224 AD, the Sasanian Empire gained control over the territories surrounding the Persian Gulf. Qatar played a role in the commercial activity of the Sasanids, contributing at least two commodities: precious pearls and purple dye. Under the Sasanid reign, many of the inhabitants in Eastern Arabia were introduced to Christianity following the eastward dispersal of the religion by Mesopotamian Christians. Monasteries were constructed and further settlements were founded during this era. During the latter part of the Christian era, Qatar comprised a region known as 'Beth Qatraye' (Syriac for "house of the Qataris"). The region was not limited to Qatar; it also included Bahrain, Tarout Island, Al-Khatt, and Al-Hasa.
Early and late Islamic period (661–1783)
Qatar was described as a famous horse and camel breeding centre during the Umayyad period. In the 8th century, it started benefiting from its commercially strategic position in the Persian Gulf and went on to become a centre of pearl trading.
Substantial development in the pearling industry around the Qatari Peninsula occurred during the Abbasid era. Ships voyaging from Basra to India and China would make stops in Qatar's ports during this period. Chinese porcelain, West African coins, and artefacts from Thailand have been discovered in Qatar. Archaeological remains from the 9th century suggest that Qatar's inhabitants used greater wealth to construct higher quality homes and public buildings. Over 100 stone-built houses, two mosques, and an Abbasid fort were constructed in Murwab during this period. When the caliphate's prosperity declined in Iraq, so too did it in Qatar. Qatar is mentioned in 13th-century Muslim scholar
Much of Eastern Arabia was controlled by the Usfurids in 1253, but control of the region was seized by the prince of Ormus in 1320. Qatar's pearls provided the kingdom with one of its main sources of income. In 1515, Manuel I of Portugal vassalised the Kingdom of Ormus. Portugal went on to seize a significant portion of Eastern Arabia in 1521. In 1550, the inhabitants of Al-Hasa voluntarily submitted to the rule of the Ottomans, preferring them to the Portuguese. Having retained a negligible military presence in the area, the Ottomans were expelled by the Bani Khalid tribe and their emirate in 1670.
Bahraini and Saudi rule (1783–1868)
In 1766, members of the
Following his swearing-in as crown prince of
As punishment for piracy, an East India Company vessel bombarded Doha in 1821, destroying the town and forcing hundreds of residents to flee. In 1825, the House of Thani was established with Sheikh Mohammed bin Thani as the first leader.
Although Qatar was considered a dependency of Bahrain, the Al Khalifa faced opposition from the local tribes. In 1867, the Al Khalifa, along with the ruler of Abu Dhabi, sent a massive naval force to Al Wakrah in an effort to crush the Qatari rebels. This resulted in the maritime Qatari–Bahraini War of 1867–1868, in which Bahraini and Abu Dhabi forces sacked and looted Doha and Al Wakrah. The Bahraini hostilities were in violation of the Perpetual Truce of Peace and Friendship of 1861. The joint incursion, in addition to the Qatari counter-attack, prompted British Political Resident, Colonel Lewis Pelly to impose a settlement in 1868. His mission to Bahrain and Qatar and the resulting peace treaty were milestones because they implicitly recognised the distinctness of Qatar from Bahrain and explicitly acknowledged the position of Mohammed bin Thani. In addition to censuring Bahrain for its breach of agreement, Pelly negotiated with Qatari sheikhs, who were represented by Mohammed bin Thani. The negotiations were the first stage in the development of Qatar as a sheikhdom. However, Qatar was not officially recognised as a British protectorate until 1916.
The Ottoman period (1871–1915)
Under military and political pressure from the governor of the
In February 1893, Mehmed Hafiz Pasha arrived in Qatar in the interests of seeking unpaid taxes and accosting Jassim bin Mohammed's opposition to proposed Ottoman administrative reforms. Fearing that he would face death or imprisonment, Jassim retreated to Al Wajbah (16 km or 10 mi west of Doha), accompanied by several tribe members. Mehmed's demand that Jassim disbands his troops and pledge his loyalty to the Ottomans was met with refusal. In March, Mehmed imprisoned Jassim's brother and 13 prominent Qatari tribal leaders on the Ottoman corvette Merrikh as punishment for his insubordination. After Mehmed declined an offer to release the captives for a fee of 10,000 liras, he ordered a column of approximately 200 troops to advance towards Jassim's Al Wajbah Fort under the command of Yusuf Effendi, thus signalling the start of the Battle of Al Wajbah.
Effendi's troops came under heavy gunfire by a sizable troop of Qatari infantry and cavalry shortly after arriving at Al Wajbah. They retreated to Shebaka fortress, where they were again forced to draw back from a Qatari incursion. After they withdrew to Al Bidda fortress, Jassim's advancing column besieged the fortress, resulting in the Ottomans' concession of defeat and agreement to relinquish their captives in return for the safe passage of Mehmed Pasha's cavalry to Hofuf by land. Although Qatar did not gain full independence from the Ottoman Empire, the result of the battle forced a treaty that would later form the basis of Qatar's emerging as an autonomous country within the empire.
British period (1916–1971)
By the Anglo-Turkish Convention of 1913, the Ottomans agreed to renounce their claim to Qatar and withdraw their garrison from Doha. However, with the outbreak of World War I, nothing was done to carry this out and the garrison remained in the fort at Doha, although its numbers dwindled as men deserted. In 1915, with the presence of British gunboats in the harbour, Abdullah bin Jassim Al Thani (who was pro-British) persuaded the remainder to abandon the fort and, when British troops approached the following morning, they found it deserted.
Qatar became a British protectorate on 3 November 1916, when the United Kingdom signed a treaty with Sheikh Abdullah bin Jassim Al Thani to bring Qatar under its Trucial System of Administration. While Abdullah agreed not to enter into any relations with any other power without the prior consent of the British government, the latter guaranteed the protection of Qatar from aggression by sea and provide its 'good offices' in the event of an attack by land – this latter undertaking was left deliberately vague. On 5 May 1935, while agreeing an oil concession with the British oil company, the Anglo-Persian Oil Company, Abdullah signed another treaty with the British government which granted Qatar protection against internal and external threats. Oil reserves were first discovered in 1939. Exploitation and development were, however, delayed by World War II.
The focus of British interests in Qatar changed after the Second World War with the independence of India, the creation of Pakistan in 1947, and the development of oil in Qatar. In 1949, the appointment of the first British political officer in Doha, John Wilton, signified a strengthening of Anglo-Qatari relations. Oil exports began in 1949, and oil revenues became the country's main source of revenue, the pearl trade has gone into decline. These revenues were used to fund the expansion and modernisation of Qatar's infrastructure. When Britain officially announced in 1968 that it would withdraw from the Persian Gulf in three years' time, Qatar joined talks with Bahrain and seven other Trucial States to create a federation. Regional disputes, however, persuaded Qatar and Bahrain to withdraw from the talks and become independent states separate from the Trucial States, which went on to become the United Arab Emirates.
Independence and later (1971–2000)
On 3 November 1916, the sheikh of Qatar entered into treaty relations with the
In 1991, Qatar played a significant role in the
In 1995, Emir
Qatar's economy and status as a regional power rapidly grew in the 2000s. According to the UN, the nation's economic growth, measured by GDP, was the fastest in the world during this decade. The basis of this growth lies in the exploitation of natural gas in the North Field during the 1990s. Concurrently, the population of Qatar tripled between 2001 and 2011, mostly due to an influx of foreigners.
In 2003, Qatar served as the US Central Command headquarters and one of the main launching sites of the invasion of Iraq. In March 2005, a suicide bombing killed a British teacher from Dorset called Jonathan Adams at the Doha Players Theatre, shocking the country, which had not previously experienced acts of terrorism. The bombing was carried out by Omar Ahmed Abdullah Ali, an Egyptian resident in Qatar who had suspected ties to Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.
In 2010, Qatar won the right to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup, making it the first country in the Middle East to be selected to host the tournament. The awarding increased further investment and developments within the nation during the 2010s.
In June 2013, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani became the Emir of Qatar after his father handed over power in a televised speech. Sheikh Tamim has prioritised improving the domestic welfare of citizens, which includes establishing advanced healthcare and education systems, and expanding the country's infrastructure in preparation for the hosting of the 2022 World Cup.
The Emir announced Qatar's plans to hold its first national legislative elections in 2013. They were scheduled to be held in the second half of 2013 but were postponed until October 2021. The legislative council hosted the 140th Inter-Parliamentary Union Assembly for the first time in April 2019.
The increased influence of Qatar and its role during the Arab Spring, especially during the
Qatar is currently hosting the 2022 FIFA World Cup from 21 November to 18 December, becoming the first Arab and Muslim-majority country to do so, and the third Asian country to host it following the 2002 FIFA World Cup in Japan and South Korea.
Qatar is officially a
The eighth Emir of Qatar is
The Consultative Assembly is made up of 30 popularly-elected members and 15 appointed by the emir. It can block legislation with a simple majority and can dismiss ministers, including the prime minister, with a two-thirds vote. The assembly had its first elections in October 2021 after several postponements.
Qatari law does not permit the establishment of political bodies or trade unions.
According to Qatar's Constitution,
Until 2011, restaurants on the Pearl-Qatar (a man-made island near Doha) were allowed to serve alcoholic drinks. In December 2011, however, Pearl restaurants were told to stop selling alcohol. No explanation was given for the ban, though speculation included encouraging a more pious image before a significant election and rumours of a financial dispute between the government and resort developers. The alcohol ban was later lifted.
In 2014, a modesty campaign was launched to remind tourists of the country's restrictive dress code. Female tourists were advised not to wear leggings, miniskirts, sleeveless dresses, or short or tight clothing in public. Men were warned against wearing only shorts and singlets.
Qatar's international profile and active role in international affairs have led some analysts to identify it as a middle power. Qatar was an early member of OPEC and a founding member of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). It is a member of the Arab League. Diplomatic missions to Qatar are based in its capital, Doha.
Qatar's regional relations and foreign policies are characterized by the strategy of balancing and alliance building among regional and great powers. It maintains independent foreign policy and engages in regional balancing to secure its strategic priorities and to have recognition on the regional and international level. As a small state in the gulf, Qatar established an "open-door" foreign policy where Qatar maintains ties to all parties and regional players in the region. The history of Qatar's alliances provides insight into the basis of its foreign relations. Between 1760 and 1971, Qatar sought formal protection from the high transitory powers of the Ottomans, the British, the Al-Khalifas from Bahrain, and from Saudi Arabia.[page needed]
Qatar has particularly strong ties with China,
Since the 2000s, Qatar increasingly emerged on a wider foreign policy stage especially as a mediator, such as for Middle Eastern conflicts;
In June 2017, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, Egypt and Yemen
The Qatar Armed Forces are the military forces of Qatar. The country maintains a modest military force of approximately 11,800 men, including an army (8,500), navy (1,800) and air force (1,500). Qatar's defense expenditures accounted for approximately 4.2% of gross national product in 1993, and 1.5% of gross domestic product in 2010, the most recent year available in the SIPRI statistical database.
The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) found that in 2010–14 Qatar was the 46th-largest arms importer in the world. SIPRI writes that Qatar's plans to transform and significantly enlarge its armed forces have accelerated. Orders in 2013 for 62 tanks and 24 self-propelled guns from Germany were followed in 2014 by a number of other contracts, including 24 combat helicopters and 3 early-warning-and-control aircraft from the US, and 2 tanker aircraft from Spain. In 2015, Qatar was the 16th largest arms importer in the world, and in 2016, it was the 11th largest, according to SIPRI.
Qatar's military participated in the
As of 2014[update], certain provisions of the Qatari Criminal Code allow punishments such as
A 2011 report by the
Under the provisions of Qatar's sponsorship law, sponsors had the unilateral power to cancel workers' residency permits, deny workers' ability to change employers, report a worker as "absconded" to police authorities, and deny permission to leave the country.
Crime and safety
Qatar has been ranked the "world's safest country" by a Numbeo crime index of 142 world countries.[unreliable source?][dubious ] Qatar also ranks first in the MENA region, and 23rd in the world, in the Global Peace Index.
|1||Al Shamal ( الشمال)||8,794||859.8||331.9|
|2||Al Khor (الخور)||202,031||1,613.3||622.8|
|4||Umm Salal (أم صلال)||90,835||318.4||122.9|
|5||Al Daayen (الضعاين)||54,339||290.2||112.0|
|6||Ad Dawhah (Doha) (الدوحة)||956,457||202.7||78.3|
|7||Al Rayyan (الريان)||605,712||2,450||946.0|
|8||Al Wakrah (الوكرة)||299,037||2,577.7||995.2|
|Dawlat Qatar (دولة قطر)||2,404,776||11,621.1||4,486.7|
- Al Jemailiya (until 2004)
- Al Ghuwariyah (until 2004)
- Jariyan al Batnah (until 2004)
- Umm Sa'id) (until 2006)
The highest point in Qatar is Qurayn Abu al Bawl at 103 metres (338 ft)
Qatar signed the Rio
|Climate data for Qatar|
|Average high °C (°F)||22
|Average low °C (°F)||14
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||12.7
|Sea Climate Data For Doha|
|Average sea temperature °C (°F)||21.0
Before the discovery of oil, the economy of the Qatari region focused on fishing and
As of 2016[update], Qatar has the fourth highest GDP per capita in the world, according to the International Monetary Fund. It relies heavily on foreign labor to grow its economy, to the extent that migrant workers compose 86% of the population and 94% of the workforce. Qatar has been criticized by the International Trade Union Confederation. The economic growth of Qatar has been almost exclusively based on its petroleum and natural gas industries, which began in 1940. Qatar is the leading exporter of liquefied natural gas. In 2012, it was estimated that Qatar would invest over $120 billion in the energy sector in the next 10 years. The country was a member state of Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), having joined in 1961, and having left in January 2019.
In 2012, Qatar retained its title of richest country in the world (according to per capita income) for the third time in a row, having first overtaken Luxembourg in 2010. According to the study published by the Washington-based Institute of International Finance, Qatar's per capita GDP at purchasing power parity (PPP) was $106,000 (QR387,000) in 2012, helping the country retain its ranking as the world's wealthiest nation. Luxembourg came a distant second with nearly $80,000 and Singapore third with per capita income of about $61,000. The research put Qatar's GDP at $182bn in 2012 and said it had climbed to an all-time high due to soaring gas exports and high oil prices. Its population stood at 1.8 million in 2012. The same study published that Qatar Investment Authority (QIA), with assets of $115bn, was ranked 12th among the richest sovereign wealth funds in the world.
Established in 2005,
The country has no taxes on non-companies, but authorities have announced plans to levy taxes on junk food and luxury items. The taxes would be implemented on goods that harm the human body – for example, fast food, tobacco products, and soft drinks. The rollout of these initial taxes is believed to be due to the fall in oil prices and a deficit that the country faced in 2016. Additionally, the country saw job cuts in 2016 from its petroleum companies and other sectors in the government.
Qatar is one of the fastest growing countries in the field of tourism. According to the World Tourism rankings, more than 2.3 million international tourists visited Qatar in 2017. Qatar has become one of the most open countries in the Middle East due to its recent visa facilitation improvements, including allowing nationals of 88 countries to enter visa-free and free-of charge.
As of 2012[update], Qatar has proven oil reserves of 15 billion barrels and gas fields that account for more than 13% of the global resource. As a result, it is the richest state per-capita in the world. None of its 2 million residents live below the poverty line and less than 1% are unemployed.
Qatar's economy was in a downturn from 1982 to 1989. OPEC quotas on crude oil production, the lower price for oil, and the generally unpromising outlook on international markets reduced oil earnings. In turn, the Qatari government's spending plans had to be cut to match lower income. The resulting recessionary local business climate caused many firms to lay off expatriate staff. With the economy recovering in the 1990s, expatriate populations, particularly from Egypt and South Asia, have grown again.
Oil production will not remain at the peak level of 500,000 barrels (80,000 m3) per day for long as the national oil fields are projected to be largely depleted by 2023. Large natural gas reserves have, however, been located off Qatar's northeast coast. Qatar's proved reserves of gas are the third-largest in the world, exceeding 250 trillion cubic feet (7,000 km3). The economy was boosted in 1991 by completion of the $1.5-billion Phase I of North Field gas development. In 1996, the Qatargas project began exporting liquefied natural gas (LNG) to Japan. Further phases of North Field gas development costing billions of dollars are in various stages of planning and development.
Qatar's heavy industrial projects, all based in
In 2008 Qatar launched its National Vision 2030 which highlights environmental development as one of the four main goals for Qatar over the next two decades. The National Vision pledges to develop sustainable alternatives to oil-based energy to preserve the local and global environment.
Qatar's National Vision 2030 has made investment in renewable resources a major goal for the country over the next two decades. Qatar pursues a vigorous programme of "Qatarisation", under which all joint venture industries and government departments strive to move Qatari nationals into positions of greater authority. Growing numbers of foreign-educated Qataris, including many educated in the US, are returning home to assume key positions formerly occupied by expatriates. To control the influx of expatriate workers, Qatar has tightened the administration of its foreign manpower programmes over the past several years. Security is the principal basis for Qatar's strict entry and immigration rules and regulations.
With a fast-expanding population and substantial economic growth over the past decade, a reliable and extensive transportation network is becoming increasingly necessary within Qatar. So far the government, the primary transport developer, has done well in terms of keeping up with the demand for new transportation options. In 2008 the Public Works Authority (Ashghal), one of the bodies that oversees infrastructure development, underwent a major reorganisation in order to streamline and modernise the authority in preparation for major project expansions across all segments in the near future. Ashghal works in tandem with the Urban Planning and Development Authority (UPDA), the body that designed the transportation master plan, instituted in March 2006 and running to 2025.
As driving is the primary mode of transport in Qatar, the road network is a major focus of the plan. Project highlights in this segment include the multibillion-dollar Doha Expressway and the
Mass-transit options, such as a
Hamad International Airport is the international airport of Doha. In 2014, it replaced the former Doha International Airport as Qatar's principal airport. In 2016, the airport was named the 50th busiest airport in the world by passenger traffic, serving 37,283,987 passengers, a 20.2% increase from 2015.
Qatar is increasingly activating its logistics and ports in order to participate in trade between Europe and China or Africa. For this purpose, ports such as Hamad Port are rapidly expanded and investments are made in their technology. The country is historically and currently part of the Maritime