Qatar Travel Guide

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Qatar History

Recent discoveries on the edge of an island in the West of Qatar indicate early human presence in pre-historic Qatar. Discovery of a 6th millennium BC site at Shagra, in the South-east of Qatar revealed the key role the sea played in the lives of Shagra’s inhabitants. Excavation at Al-Khore in the North-east of Qatar, Bir Zekrit and Ras Abaruk, and the discovery there of pottery, flint, flint-scraper tools, and painted ceramic vessels there indicates Qatar’s connection with the Al-Ubaid civilization which flourished in the land between the Tigris and the Euphrates during the period of 5th –4th millennium BC. There had also been a barter-based trading system between the settlements at Qatar and the Ubaid Mesopotamia, in which the exchanged commodities were mainly pottery and dried fish.

Islam swept the entire Arabian region in the 7th century. With the militaristic spread of Islam in Qatar, Muhammad sent his first envoy Al Ala Al-Hadrami to Al-Mundhir Ibn Sawa Al-Tamimi, the ruler of Bahrain, which extended from the coast of Kuwait to the south of Qatar, including al-Hasa and Bahrain Islands, in the year 628, "inviting" him to accept Islam as he had invited other kingdoms and empires of his time such as Byzantium and Persia. Mundhir, responding to the Prophet’s call, announced his conversion to Islam, and all the inhabitants of Qatar became Muslim, heralding the beginning of the Islamic era in Qatar.

In medieval times, Qatar was more often than not independent and a participant in the great Persian Gulf–Indian Ocean commerce. Many races and ideas were introduced into the peninsula from Africa, South and Southeast Asia, as well as the Malay archipelago. Today, the traces of these early interactions with the oceanic world of the Indian Ocean survive in the small minorities of races, peoples, languages and religions, such as the presence of Africans and Shihus.

After centuries-long domination by the Ottoman and British Empires, Qatar became an independent state on September 3, 1971.

Although the peninsular land mass that makes up Qatar has sustained humans for thousands of years, for the bulk of its history the arid climate fostered only short-term settlements by nomadic tribes.

The British initially sought out Qatar and the Persian Gulf as an intermediary vantage point en route to their colonial interests in India, although the discovery of oil and other hydrocarbons in the early twentieth century would re-invigorate their interest. During the nineteenth century, the time of Britain’s formative ventures into the region, the Al Khalifa clan reigned over the Northern Qatari peninsula from the nearby island of Bahrain to the west.

Although Qatar had the legal status of a dependency, resentment festered against the Bahraini Al Khalifas along the eastern seaboard of the Qatari peninsula. In 1867, the Al Khalifas launched a successful effort to squash the Qatari rebels, sending a massive naval force to Al Wakrah. However, the Bahraini aggression was in violation on the 1820 Anglo-Bahraini Treaty. The diplomatic response of the British to this violation set into motion the political forces that would eventuate in the founding of the state of Qatar. In addition to censuring Bahrain for its breach of agreement, the British Protectorate asked to negotiate with a representative from Qatar. The request carried with it a tacit recognition of Qatar’s status as distinct from Bahrain. The Qataris chose as their negotiator the respected entrepreneur and long-time resident of Doha, Muhammed bin Thani. His clan, the Al Thanis, had taken relatively little part in Persian Gulf politics, but the diplomatic foray ensured their participation in the movement towards independence and their hegemony as the future ruling family, a dynasty that continues to this day. The results of the negotiations left Qatar with a new-found sense of political selfhood, although it did not gain official standing as a British protectorate until 1916.

The reach of the British Empire diminished after the Second World War, especially following Indian independence in 1947. Pressure for a British withdrawal from the Arab emirates in the Persian Gulf increased during the 1950s, and the British welcomed Kuwait's declaration of independence in 1961. When Britain officially announced in 1968 that it would disengage politically from the Persian Gulf in three years' time, Qatar joined Bahrain and seven other Trucial States in a federation. Regional disputes, however, quickly compelled Qatar to resign and declare independence from the coalition that would evolve into the seven-emirate United Arab Emirates. On September 3, 1971, Qatar became an independent sovereign state.

In 1991, Qatar played a significant role in the Persian Gulf War, particularly during the Battle of Khafji in which Qatari tanks rolled through the streets of the town providing fire support for Saudi Arabian National Guard units which were fighting against units of the Iraqi Army. Qatar also allowed Coalition troops from Canada to use the country as an airbase to launch aircraft on CAP duty.

Since 1995, Emir Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani has ruled Qatar, seizing control of the country from his father Khalifa bin Hamad Al Thani while the latter vacationed in Switzerland. Under Emir Hamad, Qatar has experienced a notable amount of sociopolitical liberalization, including the endorsement of women's suffrage or right to vote, drafting a new constitution, and the launch of Al Jazeera, a leading English and Arabic news source which operates a website and satellite television news channel.

The International Monetary Fund states that Qatar has the highest GDP per capita in the world, followed by Luxembourg. The World Factbook ranks Qatar at second, following Luxembourg.

Qatar served as the headquarters and one of the main launching sites of the US invasion of Iraq in 2003.

In March 2005, a suicide-bombing killed a British teacher at the Doha Players Theatre, shocking for a country that had not previously experienced acts of terrorism. The bombing was carried out by Omar Ahmed Abdullah Ali, an Egyptian residing in Qatar, who had suspected ties to Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.


Travel Quotes:

The attention of a traveller, should be particularly turned, in the first place, to the various works of Nature, to mark the distinctions of the climates he may explore, and to offer such useful observations on the different productions as may occur. William Bartram

Reminds me of my safari in Africa. Somebody forgot the corkscrew and for several days we had to live on nothing but food and water. W. C. Fields


Qatar Travel Informations and Qatar Travel Guides
Qatar Etymology - Qatar History - Qatar Government and politics - Qatar Administrative divisions - Qatar Economy
Qatar Transportation - Qatar Geography - Qatar Religion - Qatar Population - Qatar Culture - Qatar Qatari Law
Qatar Education - Qatar Health Care - Qatar Communications - Qatar Human Rights

Qatar Tourism
Qatar Tourism: Palm Tree Island - Khor Al Udaid - Madinat Al Shamal - Al Ruwais - Al Zubara - Dukhan - Marroub Fort
Al Ghuwair Castle - Al Zubarah - Al Rakiyat Fort - Barzan Tower - Umm Salal Mohammed Fort - Al Wajbah Fort
Al Jassasiya - Ishat Island - Shrao Island - Haloul Island - Al Saflia Island - Alia Island


Arab Cuisines, Arabic Names, Baghdad, Bahrain, Camels, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman
Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Yemen

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2018-06-18T07:44:41-04:00