History of Qatar | ExpatWoman.com

History of Qatar

Qatar's histroy was not always wealth and money, they were once one of the poorest Gulf States.

Posted on

22 July 2013

Last updated on 14 June 2017
History of Qatar

Qatar is a country rich in history and heritage, a former pearl fishing centre and once one of the poorest Gulf States. Archaeological discoveries, inscriptions and artifacts prove that the land now known as Qatar was populated from around 4000 BC.

The rest is history

During the pre-Islamic era, it was mostly dominated by foreign powers, such as the Persian dynasties, then during the Islamic era Qatar was one of the first areas to convert to Islam.

Qatar remained quite independent during medieval times however races and ideas were introduced into the peninsula from Africa, South and Southeast Asia, as well as the Malay archipelago, as a result of Qatar’s participation in ocean commerce.

The British initially became interested in Qatar due to its location, which was a useful and significant vantage point en route to their colonial interests in India. However the British Empire’s dominance over Qatar diminished after the Second World War, especially following Indian independence in 1947, and on 3rd September 1971, Qatar became an independent sovereign state, refusing to join the United Arab Emirates. The Emir, His Highness, Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani, acceded to power on the 27th June 1995 after seizing control of the country in a bloodless coup whilst his father was on holiday in Switzerland. The Emir and his father are now reconciled.

On 5th August 2003, HH the Emir announced the appointment of his son, His Highness Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani as the Heir Apparent. The ruling Al Thani family was among a tribal group who settled for a long time at the 'Gibrin' oasis in the southern Najd, before their arrival in Qatar during the early 18th century. The name Al Thani is derived from that of the family's ancestor Sheik Thani Bin Mohamed Bin Thani, who was the first Sheikh to rule over modern Qatar during the mid-19th century. The family is a branch of the ancient Arab tribe, the Bani Tameem, whose descent, can be traced back to Mudar Bin Nizar.

Since his rise to power the Emir has introduced many liberal reforms such as press freedom, extended with the launch of the television news channel Al Jazeera, elections in 1999 (where Qatari women voted for the first time) and the drafting of a new constitution.