History of Qatar
Archaeological evidence show human habitation of Qatar dating back to the Stone Age, and that there was a healthy seagoing community in the peninsula as early as 5000 BC. Hunting, gathering and fishing supported these early communities.
In medieval times, Qatar was an important trading post in the Gulf-Indian Ocean commerce. It was dominated by the Ottomans in the 19th century and then became a British protectorate in 1916. The arrival of oil prospectors and the establishment in 1935 of Petroleum Development Qatar signaled the beginning of a new era. Since gaining independence in 1971, the sovereign state has transformed itself into an economic powerhouse.
The ruling Al Thani family, a branch of an ancient Arab tribe, settled in Qatar during the early 18th century. The current Emir is His Highness, Sheikh Tamin Bin Hamad Al Thani.
Despite ongoing 21st century advancements, Qatar places great value on its most important possession, its rich cultural heritage. Customs and traditions are still widely observed and historical sites are well-preserved.