Qatar History and Demographics

By | December 28, 2022

Qatar (Arabic: قطر Qatar), officially the State of Qatar (Arabic: دولة قطر, transliterated as Dawlat Qatar), is a country located in Western Asia, occupying the small Qatar peninsula on the northeastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula. Its only land border is with Saudi Arabia (the neighboring monarchy and partner in the Gulf Cooperation Council, GCC) to the south, with the rest of its territory surrounded by the Persian Gulf. Gulf of Bahrain, a wheatof the Persian Gulf, separates Qatar from nearby Bahrain.

As of early 2017, the total population of Qatar was 2.6 million: 313,000 Qatari citizens and 2.3 million expatriates. Islam is the official religion of Qatar. In terms of income, the country has the third highest GDP (PPC) per capita in the world and the sixth highest GNI per capita (Atlas method). Qatar is classified by the UN as a country with a very high human development index, having the third highest HDI in the Arab world after the United Arab Emirates andSaudi Arabia. Qatar is a high-income economy according to the World Bank, supported by the world’s third largest natural gas reserves and oil reserves.

According to Clothesbliss, Qatar has been ruled by the House of Thani since Mohammed bin Thani signed a treaty with the British in 1868 recognizing its separate status. Following Ottoman rule, Qatar became a British protectorate in the early 20th century until gaining independence in 1971. In 2003, the constitution was overwhelmingly approved in a referendum, with nearly 98% in favor. In the 21st century, Qatar has emerged as a significant power in the Arab World, both through its expanding global media group, Al Jazeera Media Network, and through its financial support of several rebel groups duringThe Arab Springs. Relative to its size, Qatar wields disproportionate influence in the world and has been identified as a middle power.

The 2022 FIFA World Cup will be held in Qatar, becoming the first Muslim and Arab country to host the event. The 2030 Asian Games will be held in Qatar.


Qatar was once controlled by the sheikhs of Bahrain, but in 1867, a war broke out between the people and their rulers. To keep the peace in the Persian Gulf, the British installed Muhammad ibn Thani al-Thani, a member of a Qatari noble family, in charge. In 1893, the Ottoman Turks entered Qatar, but the emirate successfully resisted. In 1916, the Emir agreed to the whole of Qatar becoming a British protectorate.

Crude oil was discovered in Qatar in 1940, bringing wealth to the country in the 1950s and 1960s. About 85% of Qatar’s revenue comes from crude oil exports. Qataris have the highest per capita income in the world. In 1971 Qatar was close to becoming part of the United Arab Emirates, but both Qatar and Bahrain opposed the merger and formed independent states.

Qatar allowed international forces to use the region as a military base during the 1991 Persian Gulf War. In 1994, Qatar signed a defense pact with the United States, becoming the third Gulf state to do so.

In June 1995, Prince Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani deposed his father, the main reason being that the king had lagged behind in the country’s economic reforms. The new emir abolished press censorship and instituted other liberal reforms, including democratic elections and women’s suffrage (1999).

Qatar is home to Al Jazeera Arab Television, the hugely popular and controversial satellite television.

Qatar presented its first constitution on 9 June 2005; it guarantees freedom of speech, assembly and religion and establishes a 45-seat parliament. Thirty of these seats will be filled through democratic elections, and the emir will appoint deputies for the remaining seats.

Administrative divisions

Since 2014, Qatar has been divided into eight municipalities (Arabic: baladiyah).

  1. Al Shamal
  2. Al Khor
  3. Al-Shahaniya
  4. Umm Salal
  5. Al Daayen
  6. Doha
  7. Al Rayyan
  8. Al Wakrah

For statistical purposes, municipalities are further subdivided into 98 areas (as of 2015), which are in turn subdivided into blocks.

Former municipalities

  • Al Jemailiya(until 2004)
  • Al Ghuwariyah(until 2004)
  • Jariyan al Batnah(until 2004)
  • Mesaieed(Umm Sa’id) (until 2006)


The population of Qatar, in 2010, was 1,853,563 inhabitants, so a rather large population compared to its surface (11,437 square km).

The country’s capital, Doha, had a population of 998,651 in 2008.

Ethnic composition:

  • Arabs 40%;
  • Indians 20%;
  • Nepalese 13%;
  • Filipinos 10%;
  • Pakistanis 7%;
  • Sri Lankans 5%;
  • others 5%.

Religious cults: Muslim, Hinduism (minority).

Qatar History