The State of Qatar lies halfway along the West Coast of the Arabian Gulf, east of the Arabian Peninsula between 24 degrees 27 minutes and 26 degrees 10 minutes north – and at 50 degrees 45 minutes to 51 degrees 40 minutes east. Its territory comprises a number of islands including Halul, Al Shat, Shira’wa and others.
Qatar has been ruled as an absolute and hereditary Emirate by the Al Thani family since the dynasty was founded by Muhammed Al Thani in 1868. The non-elected executive branch of the government comprises a Council of Ministers and an Advisory Council (Majlis al-Shura).
Formerly one of the poorest Gulf States, the country was noted mainly for pearl diving. It was a British protectorate until it gained independence in 1971. Qatar has large oil reserves and the world’s third largest natural gas reserves. Oil and gas revenue has, since 2007, made Qatar’s citizens the world’s richest per capita.
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