According to Countryaah data, Qatar is a small desert country with no rivers, where 400 farms produce almost all the food the population needs. The basis for this transformation of the desert into an orchard is the oil. Half a million barrels of oil are picked up daily from the underground and these, together with emir Khalifa Al-Thani’s regime, are the basis for the progress.
Like the island and neighboring Bahrain, the peninsula of Qatar has actively participated in the Gulf trade between Mesopotamia and India since ancient times. The country was Islamized in the 7th century (see Saudi Arabia) during the Caliphate in Baghdad. Qatar had already achieved its autonomy by this time, which it retained until 1076, when it was conquered by the emir of Bahrain. After being briefly occupied by the Portuguese, the country in the 16th century underwent a period of vigorous flourishing. This was due to the development of pearl fishing, which attracted several tribes from Arabia. In the 18th century, they managed to unite these tribes politically under the leadership of the Al-Thani family – albeit still paying taxes to Bahrain. The detachment process was initiated in 1851 by sheik Mohamed and his son Jassim. It culminated in 1868 with an agreement reached after English mediation, according to which the Al-Thani family was to renounce war against, in return, guarantee the territorial integrity of the country.
The Turkish sultans had formally controlled the Arabian Peninsula since the 16th century, and did not look with gentle eyes on the continued British penetration of the Gulf. They therefore responded again by appointing the ruling sheik Jassim Al-Thani as governor of the “province” of Qatar, and created a small military garrison in Dawhah. According to thesciencetutor, neither Qatari nor the English were particularly concerned about this formal affirmation of Turkish supremacy. The garrison remained in the city until World War I, without in any way hampering the British’s continued conduct in the region.
In 1930, the world market price of pearls fell as the Japanese went out on the market with much cheaper cultural pearls. It forced Sheikh Abdullah’s government to sell the oil exploration and extraction rights in the country and its territorial waters for a 75-year period at a cost of £ 400,000. In 1939, the Anglo-Iranian Oil Co. discovered oil, but the extraction began only after World War II, and attracted other oil companies that bought parts of the original concession. The huge profits that Royal Dutch Shell reaped from the extraction did not seem to worry Sheikh Ahmad ibn Alí al-Thani, but he also got £ 15 million into his personal bank account in oil tax and duty.
Shortly thereafter, Ahmad was overthrown by his own family, who deployed his cousin Khalifa as a new emir, entrusted to him the task of “removing all the elements that went against progress and modernization”.
Sheik Khalifa set up a Council of Ministers and an Advisory Council to delegate his sole power and promised “a new era of government characterized by enlightenment, social justice and stability”. He distributed the oil revenue, removed the taxation of the population and introduced free tuition and health services. His biggest project, however, was the subsidization and development of new non-oil oriented productions, which was symbolically reflected in the country’s first export of tomatoes.
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In order to reduce the dependence on a single product, he encouraged the development of fisheries and industrialization was promoted with the construction of cement and fertilizer factories. New metal industries were built and the country’s strategic location was utilized to provide commercial and financial services to the other countries in the region. Furthermore, a large part of the oil revenues was invested abroad – especially Europe and the United States. In 1980, it was estimated that the income from this “capital export” was equal to the income from the oil. The purpose was to secure the future of Qatar once the oil was used up.