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Qatar, nation occupying the Qatar Peninsula, which extends northward from the eastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula into the Persian Gulf. Saudi Arabia shares Qatar’s southern border, and the island nation of Bahrain lies off its western shores. Like most of Arabia, the Qatar Peninsula is a hot and dry desert land with no surface water and few native plants and animals. Most of the people live in cities, particularly Doha, the national capital. The country is rich in oil and natural gas, and the exploitation of these resources dominates its prosperous economy. The al-Thani clan has ruled Qatar as an emirate (a monarchy with an emir as head of state) since the late 19th century. Like several of its neighbors, Qatar came under British protection in the early 20th century. It became fully independent in 1971. The emirate was a relatively poor state until the mid-20th century, when its vast petroleum reserves were discovered and exploited. Qatar is now one of the world’s wealthiest countries per capita.



Anscombe, Frederick F. Ottoman Gulf: The Creation of Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar, 1870-1914. Columbia University Press, 1997. A revisionist history that looks at the role of the Ottoman Empire in the birth of the Gulf States.

Augustin, Rebecca. Qatar. Children's Press, 1997. Describes the geography, history, and culture of the small Arab country. For younger readers.

Ferdinand, Klaus. Bedouins of Qatar. Thames & Hudson, 1993. An invaluable look at the disappearing customs of Bedouin nomadic life.

Peck, Malcolm. Historical Dictionary of the Gulf Arab States. Scarecrow, 1997. Informative introduction followed by alphabetical listings.

Robison, Gordon, and Paul Greenway. Bahrain, Kuwait & Qatar. Lonely Planet, 2000. Advice and recommendations for travelers to the region.

Zahlan, Rosemarie Said. Making of the Modern Gulf States: Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Oman. Routledge, 1989. Ithaca, 1999. Comprehensive discussion of their creation and leadership.


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wealthiest countries, Arabian Peninsula, emirate, Persian Gulf, Doha, monarchy, native plants, surface water, head of state, national capital, southern border, exploitation, natural gas, animals, people, neighbors, oil, century, country, resources, cities

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