Qatar in Early History
Evidence of early habitation in Qatar that can be traced as far back as to the 4th century BC appeared in many artifacts such as inscriptions, rock cravings, flint spearheads and examples of pottery, which were all uncovered by the Danish (1965), the British (1973) and the French (1976) expeditions.
In the 5th century BC, the Greek historian Herodotus referred to the seafaring Canaanities as the original inhabitants of Qatar.
The Greeks came to the Gulf with Alexander the Great and settled in Failaka in Kuwait, in Bahrain, in the Emirate of Sharjah and had logged all the ports that could be turned into profitable trading posts. It was in the first century AD that Pliny the Elder, a Roman writer, used the work “Catharrei” to refer to the people who lived in this area.
In the following century, Ptolemy, the famous Greek geographer, added the word “qatara” over the peninsula on his map of the Arab countries, which is believed to refer to the Qatari town of Zubarah.
Qatar in the Islamic History
In the middle of the 7th century AD, the Qatar peninsula and the surrounding region were under the rule of the Al Munzir Arabs. Their king, al-Munzir Ibn Sawi al Tamimi, embraced Islam, making Qatar to enter, ever since, the realm of the Islamic civilization and participate in all its successive stages and eras.
Records of Arabic Islamic history reflect the presence of the skilled seafaring Qataris and acknowledge their valuable contribution towards the formation and provision of the first naval fleet, which was assembled to transport the Islamic army under the leadership of Abu al-Al’a al-Hadrami.
Under the Abbasid state during the 8th century AH, Qatar experienced great economic prosperity and pledged a great deal of financial support towards maintaining the Caliphate in Baghdad.
During the 10th century AH, the Qataris aligned with the Turks to drive out the Portuguese.
Subsequently, Qatar, like the entire Arabian Gulf region, came under the Turkish rule for four successive centuries. Ottoman sovereignty, however, was only minimal as the real power and control were in the hands of the sheikhs and princes of local Arab tribes.
Qatar in the 20th century
In the early 18th century, Al-Thanis who had come from the oasis of Jebrine became the rulers of Qatar. Initially they stayed in the north of the peninsula before moving to Doha in the mid 19th century under the leadership of Sheikh Mohammed Bin Thani.
In 1878, Sheikh Jassim Bin Mohammed al Thani came to power.
In 1913, Sheikh Abdulla Bin Jassim Al Thani reigned. It was during his time when the First World War ended and the Turkish rule in Qatar came to an end. Qatar signed a protection treaty with Britain in 1916. However, the British influence in the country was limited to supervision of some administrative matters. Oil exploration also started during his term.
In 1940, Sheikh Hamad Bin Abdullah Al Thani ruled Qatar.
In 1949, Sheikh Ali Bin Abdullah Al Thani’s term followed. Offshore oil resources opened a whole new era for Qatar, an era of modernization.
Sheikh Ahmed Bin Ali Al Thani succeeded Sheikh Ali Bin Abdulla Al Thani in 1960. Qatar officially became an independent country, the Emirate of Qatar, in September 3, 1971.
In 1972, Sheikh Khalifa Bin Hamad al Thani ruled the country. There was a real economic boom in Qatar. Construction sector grew quickly. Hospitals were built.
Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa al Thani assumed power on the 27th of June 1995, supported by the ruling family and the Qatari people.