Viggy here bringing you another look into the various countries that have graced my hit counter. This week we’ll be taking a microscope to Qatar, and I mean a literal microscope.
Here’s the part where I quickly gloss over my disturbing lack of knowledge about other countries around the world and link to Wikipedia as my knowledge base.
So, let’s start with some fun facts! Everybody loves fun facts right? Or am I the only one that would actually flip the Snapple caps over? Did you know Qatar only shares one land border with its neighbors? That would be Saudia Arabia to its south. That’s because Qatar is actually located on a peninsula. Another interesting fact is that of its population of 2.6 million only a small fraction are actual citizens. There’s also evidence to show that Qatar is the earliest known producer of shellfish based dyes.
There are a few things that made me rather sad as I learned more about Qatar. This mainly comes from the judicial system. Things like alcohol consumption, homosexuality, and even trying to sway another’s religious views are all considered illegal. It’s unfortunate that punishment for some of these things can be as harsh as the death penalty. However, for the sake of our Qatari visitor, I’ll refrain from speaking more on this.
Let’s take a look at some of the history of the region. Evidence suggests Homosapien have been inhabiting the peninsula for around 50,000 years. Which makes sense considering the timelines surrounding modern man’s migration out of Africa. Interestingly around 200 A.D much of Eastern Arabia was actually Christian, however this change around 600 A.D when the prophet Muhammad requested the various tribes to convert to Islam.
This led to the fall of the Sasanian empire as the now Islamic tribes rebelled and took control of Persia. The region known as Qatar would shift hands only a few times over the next few hundred years, ultimately staying under the control of Muslim powers. However, there was a period when Portugal gained control of much of Eastern Arabia which led to the region choosing to willingly join the Ottoman Empire instead. After a hundred years or so of Ottoman rule, they were actually tossed out as the Arabic states sought to unify themselves.
This would not last forever however, and in the late 19th century the leadership of Qatar would again submit to Ottoman rule. This resubmission was very brief though, and within 25 years a small scale war would be fought between the two nations leading to Qatar gaining some level of independence once again from the empire. This led up until WWI where Qatar joined several other Arabic countries in rebelling against the Ottomans. By the end of the war, the Ottoman empire had conceded much of its territories leaving Qatar as a state under the command of British forces. it would remain under British control until 1971 when it gained full independence.
The region had benefitted substantially from its historic position within the Persian Gulf. And for many years carried a reputation as a premier source of pearls and dyes. This evidence shows the region has always been an economic powerhouse. This was furthered by the discovery of its oil and gas deposits which account for 13% of the world’s supply! This has lead to Qatar being one of the richest countries in the world, as well as one of the most developed with the nation having the fourth highest GDP in the world.
That’s all I’ve got to say for now regarding Qatar. I have always loved learning about this region through history because as such a central location for most of the world so much has happened in this area! I’m not sure if I’d ever visit however, due to my fondness for alcohol.
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