Qatar

Destination Qatar, officially the State of Qatar, an independent emirate (an Arabic Islamic monarchy) in the Gulf Region.

The country is situated on a peninsula that extends from the Arabian Peninsula approximately 160 km (99 mi) north into the Persian (Arab) Gulf, it is bordered by Saudi Arabia. Qatar shares maritime borders with Bahrain, Iran, and the United Arab Emirates.

The country covers an area of 11,586 km² (4,473 sq mi) making Qatar about 1.25 times larger than Cyprus, or also somewhat larger than Puerto Rico.

The emirate has a population of 2.6 million inhabitants (end 2016), but Qatari nationals represent only a minority. Capital and largest city is Doha (Ad Dawhah, pop 800,000). Spoken language is Arabic (official).

Background:

Ruled by the Al Thani family since the mid-1800s, Qatar transformed itself from a poor British protectorate noted mainly for pearling into an independent state with significant oil and natural gas revenues.

During the late 1980s and early 1990s, the Qatari economy was crippled by a continuous siphoning off of petroleum revenues by the amir who had ruled the country since 1972. He was overthrown by his son, the current Amir HAMAD bin Khalifa Al Thani, in a bloodless coup in 1995.

In 2001, Qatar resolved its longstanding border disputes with both Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.

Oil and natural gas revenues enable Qatar to have a per capita income not far below the leading industrial countries of Western Europe.

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