The State of Qatar (قطر) is an emirate in the Middle East. Situated on a small peninsula off the larger Arabian Peninsula, it borders Saudi Arabia to the south and is otherwise surrounded by the Persian Gulf.
The pronunciation of Qatar in English varies; see List of words of disputed pronunciation.
Main article: History of Qatar
Qatar is one of many new emirates in the Arabian Peninsula. After being dominated by Persians for thousands of years and recently by Bahrain, the Ottoman Turks, and the British, Qatar became an independent country in 3 September 1971. Unlike most neighboring emirates, Qatar declined to become a part of Saudi Arabia or the United Arab Emirates.
The discovery of oil, beginning in the 1940s, completely transformed the nation's economy. Before, Qatar was a poor fishing and pearling region with widespread poverty. Now, the country has a high standard of living and all the amenities of any modern nation.
Main article: Economy of Qatar
Qatar's national income is primarily derived from oil and natural gas exports. The country's oil reserves are estimated to be 15 billion barrels (2.4 km³). Qataris' wealth and standard of living are comparable to those of Western European nations.
Main article: Geography of Qatar
The Qatari peninsula juts 160 km (100 miles) into the Persian Gulf from Saudi Arabia. Much of the country is a low, barren plain, covered with sand. To the southeast is the spectacular Khor al Adaid or 'Inland Sea', an area of rolling sand dunes surrounding an inlet of the Gulf.
The highest point in Qatar is found in the Jebel Dukhan to the west, a range of low limestone outcrops running north-south from Zikrit through Umm Bab to the southern border, and reaching about 90m asl. This area also contains Qatar's main onshore oil deposits, while the natural gas fields are offshore, to the northwest of the peninsula.
Main article: Demographics of Qatar
Nearly all Qataris are Muslim. Besides ethnic Arabs, much of the population migrated from various nations to work in the country's oil industry. Arabic is the official language, but English is widely understood.
Main article: Culture of Qatar
Last updated: 06-02-2005 13:48:28
Last updated: 09-12-2005 02:39:13