A spectacular history
Qatar is the world’s richest country per capita and has the highest human development in the Arab World; furthermore, it is recognized as a high income economy by the World Bank. Qatar has the world’s third largest natural gas reserves and oil reserves in excess of 25 billion barrels. Following Ottoman rule, Qatar became a British protectorate in the early 20th century until gaining independence in 1971. Qatar has been ruled by the Al Thani family since the mid-19th century.
Qatar occupies a small peninsula that extends into the Arab Gulf from the east side of the Arabian Peninsula. Saudi Arabia is to the west and the United Arab Emirates to the south. The country is mainly barren.
Human habitation of the Qatar Peninsula dates as far as 50,000 years back, when small groups of Stone Age inhabitants built coastal encampments, settlements, and sites for working flint, according to archaeological evidences.