Qatar History and Culture
Qatar is a State of Southwest Asia (11,525 km²). Capital: Doha. Population: 1,448,000 residents (2008 estimate). Language: Arabic. Religion: Muslims 77.5%, Christians 8.5%, others 14%. Currency unit: Qatari riyal (100 dirhams). Human Development Index: 0.899 (34th place). Borders: Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates (S) and Persian Gulf (N, E and W). Member of: GCC, Arab League, OCI, UN, OPEC and WTO. According to Countryaah, Qatar is the only state that begins with letter Q.
The country is ruled by a dynasty of Utubi Arabs who, partly settled in Kuwait at the beginning of the century. XVIII, in 1766 they occupied the peninsula of Qatar. The state fell under the Turkish protectorate (1871-1914), which recognized the ruling family, el-Thani, which then concluded a protection agreement with Great Britain (1916). In September 1971, Qatar proclaimed independence. The following year, Emir Aḥmed ibn ʽAlī el-Thani was deposed and replaced by his cousin Khalī-fa ibn Ḥamad el-Thani. Qatar is considered one of the most conservative Arab countries; member of the Gulf Cooperation Council (1981), in 1982 signed a bilateral agreement with Saudi Arabia in the field of defense. Supporter of Iraq in the war against Iran (1980-88), between 1990 and 1991 the country participated in the operations of the international coalition intervened against the Iraqi regime for the liberation of Kuwait. The only real shock to Qatar’s political life occurred in 1995, when Crown Prince Ḥamad ibn Khalī-fa el-Thani dethroned his father, Khalifa ibn Ḥamad el-Thani, at that time overseas. But it was a matter entirely internal to the “palace” and which had, as its only repercussion, the denunciation of an alleged attempt at a counter-crime organized by the defenestrated parent and aborted in the bud (February 1996). Ḥamad ibn Khalī-fa el-Thani in October of the same year appointed his half-brother Sheikh Abdallah as prime minister – a position hitherto reserved for the emir. In 2003, a popular referendum was held for the approval of the new Constitution, which for the first time introduced the popular election of two thirds of the members of Parliament and which entered into force in 2005. In 2007, for the second time in the country’s history, elections for the Municipal Advisory Council took place. In 2013 Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa el-Thani became ruler.
Unlike much of the Islamic world in Qatar, the past is not seen as a legacy to be preserved at any cost and a value to be placed before modernity and well-being given by oil. Traditions are respected, Islam is the basis of public and private life, but what remains impressed on the country is an image of development and satisfaction for the widespread high standard of living. However, in addition to the historical social centrality that maintains the family, traditional cultural expressions remain evident in the artistic sphere, for example in music and dances of Bedouin origin (such as al-Ardha, a sort of choreographed poetry) that color the holidays, both religious and civil ones, such as the national holiday celebrated on September 3. The theater also offers sentimental themes of popular origin, with typical dances and costumes. In craftsmanship, the processing of jewels and fabrics are still of moderate importance. The true center of economic and cultural life, as well as the most eloquent showcase of the country’s wealth is Doha. Home to international sporting events (the 15th edition of the Asian Games was held there in 2006) as well as some important tennis tournaments included in the professional circuit, sailing regattas and golf championships, the capital hosts the Qatar National Museum, a Fort dating back to the Turkish occupation of the nineteenth century and the Museum of Weapons, in addition to the inevitable souks, open-air markets where you can find pearl bracelets and necklaces, a true hallmark of the history of Qatar. This is also testified by the Pearl Monument, a symbol of one of the traditional activities carried out by the residents until a few decades ago for a living. In the deserts around the cities, other suggestive forts, towers and archaeological sites are scattered. Qatar is also home to the main television broadcaster in the Arab world, Al Jazeera, an independent satellite network, but also known in the Western world. Al Jazeera however, it represents a happy example of freedom of intellectual and political expression and testifies to the more general process of development of the mass media and information taking place in the country.