Brief History of Qatar:
The area that is now Qatar has been inhabited for thousands of years. The Arabs conquered the area in the 7th century and the Abbasid ruled for 500 years. In the 16th century the Portuguese established some settlements in the area. Then the Al Khalifa family of Bahrain dominated the area until 1868. In 1872 the Ottoman Empire took over and ruled until 1913.
At the start of World War I, Qatar entered into an agreement with Great Britain where Britain would protect Qatar. Sheikh Abdullah Al Thani was made ruler.
In 1940 oil was discovered in Qatar. Qatar became very wealthy as a result of oil exports. In September of 1971 Qatar became a full independent country. In recent years Qatar has moved toward a more free society and a democratic government.
The Geography of Qatar
Total Size: 11,437 square km
Size Comparison: slightly smaller than Connecticut
Geographical Coordinates: 25 30 N, 51 15 E
World Region or Continent: Middle East
General Terrain: mostly flat and barren desert covered with loose sand and gravel
Geographical Low Point: Persian Gulf 0 m
Geographical High Point: Qurayn Abu al Bawl 103 m
Climate: arid; mild, pleasant winters; very hot, humid summers
Major cities: DOHA (capital) 427,000 (2009)
The People of Qatar
Type of Government: traditional emirate
Languages Spoken: Arabic (official), English commonly used as a second language
Independence: 3 September 1971 (from UK)
National Holiday: Independence Day, 3 September (1971)
Religions: Muslim 95%
National Anthem or Song: Al-Salam Al-Amiri (The Peace for the Anthem)
Economy of Qatar
Major Industries: crude oil production and refining, ammonia, fertilizers, petrochemicals, steel reinforcing bars, cement, commercial ship repair
Agricultural Products: fruits, vegetables; poultry, dairy products, beef; fish
Natural Resources: petroleum, natural gas, fish
Major Exports: liquefied natural gas (LNG), petroleum products, fertilizers, steel
Major Imports: machinery and transport equipment, food, chemicals
Currency: Qatari rial (QAR)
National GDP: $174,900,000,000
** Source for population (2012 est.) and GDP (2011 est.) is CIA World Factbook.
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