Qatar is an absolute monarchy, its ruler is the Emir. Qatar has been ruled as an absolute and hereditary emirate by the Al Thani family since the mid-19th century.

Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani (Arabic: الشيخ حمد بن خليفة آل ثاني‎, born 1 January 1952) is the ruling Emir of the State of Qatar since 1995. On 27 June 1995, after deposing his father in a palace coup, Sheikh Hamad became Emir of Qatar and was crowned on 20 June 2000.

In the early 1980s, Hamad led the Supreme Planning Council, which sets the Qatar’s basic economic and social policies. Starting in 1992, Hamad’s father handed over responsibility for the day-to-day running of the country, including the development of Qatar’s oil and natural gas resources. With the support of his family, Sheikh Hamad took control of the country in 1995 while his father was on vacation abroad. While his father Khalifa bin Hamad Al Thani was in Geneva, Switzerland, Hamad bin Khalifa deposed him in a bloodless 1995 coup d’état. Hamad bin Khalifa engaged an American law firm to freeze his father’s bank accounts abroad, thereby defeating a possible countercoup. Thereafter, his father lived in exile in France and Abu Dhabi until he returned to Qatar in 2004.

The Emir is considered to be progressive among leaders of Muslim countries. He has his official website (best viewed with Internet Explorer).

Qatar has proven reserves of oil and natural gas. Qatar tops the list of the world’s richest countries by Forbes. Its population is less than 2.5 million people.

Fun Trivia (source: http://www.funtrivia.com/en/subtopics/About-Qatar-153400.html)

Where is Qatar?
in the Arabian Gulf. Qatar is a peninsula, located to the east of Saudi Arabia, in the Arabian Gulf.

What is the capital of Qatar?
Doha. Doha became famous at the time of the invasion of Iraq in 2003, as it was the location of the US central command.

How large is Qatar?
4,400 square miles. 2,400 square miles is 11,400 square kilometers. This makes it slightly smaller than the US state of Connecticut.

Which country ruled Qatar from the 1700’s to the mid 1800’s?
Bahrain. Bahrain ruled Qatar during this time. The country became a British Protectorate from 1916-1971.

In what year did Qatar become independent?
1971. Qatar became independent from Britain in 1971 and Independence Day is celebrated on 3rd September each year.

About what percentage of export income is from sales of oil and natural gas?
Between 70% and 85%. There has been an effort to develop other exports, which now include chemicals, steel, cement and fertilizers. Banking also plays a part in export income.

The currency used in Qatar is the rupee.
False. The rupee was used in the past, as was the Qatar and Dubai riyal. The currency now is the Qatari Riyal, which is fixed to the dollar at a rate of QR1=$3.65.

Which well known satellite channel is broadcast from Qatar?
Al Jazeera. Al Jazeera was launched in 1997 and has become famous across the world for its controversial reporting.

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