Archaeologists have uncovered evidence that the Qatar Peninsula, jutting north into the Persian Gulf from Saudi Arabia, was initially inhabited during the Middle East Stone Age.
The Islamic history of this strategic land was influenced over many centuries by the British, Ottomans and Portuguese, as well as by a long series of nomadic Arab tribes.
In the early 20th century, it was a relatively poor Middle East sheikhdom, with pearl production and fishing being its major revenue sources.
Then, in 1939, the discovery of oil and gas transformed it into an influential and rich land for both its current ruling clan (the Al Thani family), and for all of its people.
In 1995, the ruling Amir, Sheikh Khalifa, was removed by his son, the current Amir Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani. This event helped move Qatar into the most desirable position of having one of the highest per capita incomes in the world, and helped propel Qatar into a progressive Middle East state.
As a by-product, jobs are guaranteed in Qatar, and college education is free. There is no income tax here; all public services are gratis, and all health care is provided by the government. Wow! When does the next plane leave?
And speaking of planes, tourism in Qatar (mostly to Doha) has increased rather dramatically; sparkling new hotels (Las Vegas-like) stand along the lengthy waterfront, and the traveling world has finally learned about Qatar’s beautiful beaches, and of course, the duty-free shopping.
Facts and Figures
- Name Qatar
- (long form) State of Qatar
- Population 863,100
- Population & Density (all countries)
- Capital City Doha (721,000)
- Currency Qatari Rial (QAR)
- Currency Converter
- Languages Arabic (official), English commonly used
- National Day September 3
- Religions Muslim (95%)
- Latitude/Longitude (Capital City)
25� 15′ N, 51� 36′ E
- Relative Location Qatar is in both the northern and eastern hemispheres. It’s positioned in the Middle East, a recognized geographical region of southwestern Asia. This country (peninsula) extends north from the Saudi Arabian landmass into the Persian Gulf, and is directly bordered only by Saudi Arabia.
Coastline 350 miles (563 km)
(land) 4,416 sq miles (11,437 sq km)
(water) 0 sq miles (0 sq km)
(TOTAL) 4,416 sq miles (11,437 sq km)
Land Area (all countries)
Landforms Most of Qatar is a flat and rocky, sandy plain. Low hills punctuate the landscape, west and central, with massive sand dunes in the southeast.
A few salt pans (shining white in the desert sun) line the western coastal areas, and within Qatar there are no perennial rivers or lakes. The Hawar islands serve as a loading terminal for oil from the western oil fields.
Highest Point Qurayn Abu al Bawl – 338 ft (103 m)
Lowest Point Persian Gulf – (0 ft.) (0 m)
Land Divisions 10 municipalities, including: Ad Dawhah, Al Ghuwayriyah, Al Jumayliyah, Al Khawr, Al Wakrah, Ar Rayyan, Jarayan al Batinah, Madinat ash Shamal, Umm Sa’id and Umm Salal