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A country of Arabia. It is bounded by Saudi Arabia inland and by Bahrain to its west.


Qatar is a hot arid country occupying a peninsula of desert on the southwest of the Persian Gulf.


The economy and exports of Qatar are dominated by crude oil, which is present both on-shore and off-shore. Industries include oil-refining, gas liquefaction, fertilizers, cement, and steel. Due to its oil wealth the country has one of the highest per capita incomes in the world. In 1987, native Qataris constituted less than a quarter of the total population, the remainder being immigrant workers.


Historically linked with Bahrain, Qatar was under Bahraini suzerainty for much of the 19th century. In 1872 it came under Ottoman suzerainty, but the Ottomans renounced their rights in 1913. In 1916 Qatar made an agreement with Britain which created a de facto British protectorate. Oil was discovered in 1939 and exploited from 1949. The agreement with Britain was terminated in 1968 and Qatar became fully independent in 1971, under a constitution by which the Emir, Shaikh Khalifa bin Hamad al-Thani would govern as Prime Minister. Qatar provided bases for UN forces in the Gulf War, after which it strengthened its links with Iran. In 1995 the Emir was overthrown in a bloodless coup by his son, Shaikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, who embarked on a programme of liberal reforms. This caused mounting tension with Bahrain and Saudi Arabia and led to an attempted coup in 1996. A new constitution in 2005 provided for an elected majority in the Advisory Council, whose members had previously been appointed by the Emir.

Source: MAPS IN MINUTES™ © RH Publications (1997)




11,337 sq km (4377 sq miles)


773,000 (2005)


1 Qatar riyal = 100 dirhams


Muslim (mainly Sunni) 83.0%; Christian 10.0%; Hindu 3.0%

Ethnic Groups:

Iranian 16.5%; Indo-Pakistani 15.2%; Palestinian 13.4%; Qatari Arab 13.3%; other Arab 25.8%


Arabic (official); South Asian languages; Persian

International Organizations:

UN; Arab League; OAPEC; OPEC; GCC; Non-Aligned Movement; WTO

Subjects: History

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