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History of Qatar from Past to Present

Old fort of al-Zubara
Old fort of al-Zubara

At the end of the 19th century, Qatar became an intermediary vantage point for the British fleet. The region gained significance with the discovery and ensuing exploitation of oil and gas fields in the first half of the 20th century. Today, though a small state on the Persian Gulf, Qatar takes in a prominent position in the region as a major oil and gas producing country.

The United States Central Command (USCENTCOM) forward headquarters are also based in Qatar, from where operations are commanded by the US forces in the Middle East and neighbouring regions. In addition, Qatar is home to the high-profile news organization al-Jazeera, located in the capital Doha, and famed for its critical reports on the United States, Israel and the rest of the Arab world.

Further Reading

The first evidence of human presence on the small peninsula of Qatar dates from the beginning of the 6th millennium BCE. At that time the climate in eastern Arabia was much wetter than it is nowadays. There were inland wells in ab...
The Islamic history of Qatar begins after Muslim armies conquered the small peninsula in the 7th century CE. The people of Qatar seem to have followed their tribal leaders in embracing the new religion.
Ali bin Khalifa's first tenure was short-lived. He fled from Doha in 1850 when Saudi-Wahhabi forces once again invaded Qatar. After Ali's forced departure, the tribes of Qatar struck an alliance with the conquering Saudis...
From 1850, the history of Qatar is characterized by the slow but gradual rise to power of Mohammed bin Thani and his descendants, the Thani family. Mohammed was a relatively affluent pearl and date trader, who in addition to his w...
In November 1916, Abdullah and the British signed a new treaty. Thus Qatar independently entered the British 'trucial system' in the Gulf. In desperate need of cash, Abdullah subsequently granted an oil exploration option to a sub...
If it wasn't for oil, the Al Thani might have been left with little more than bleached desert plains and some destitute fishing settlements. But oil revenues did not come quick and easy.
In 1968, Britain announced its intention to withdraw from the Gulf and on 1 September 1971 Qatar became an independent state. Rising oil prices and the nationalization of the oil industry in 1976 allowed Khalifa bin Hamad to inve...
The Emir of Qatar's freedom of action is also restricted by foreign powers. Qatar is a small country with a very small national population. It has never been able to stand on its own against more formidable outside aggressors.
Qatar is repositioning itself as a new regional player, maintaining ties with opposing parties such as the US, Iran, and Hezbollah.
On 25 June 2013, Emir Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani announced that he would hand over power to his son and Crown Prince Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani. At first glance, this unusual step came unexpectedly, as the Emir, at 61, was at the he...

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