Where Qatar is on the world map
Map of Qatar with cities. Where Qatar is on the world map. The main geographical facts about Qatar - population, country area, capital, official language, religions, industry and culture.
Qatar Fact File
Official name State of Qatar
Form of government Monarchy with Advisory Consultative Council
Capital Ad Dawhah (Doha)
Area 11,000 sq km (4,247 sq miles)
Time zone GMT + 3 hours
Projected population 2015 1,135,000
Population density 72.2 per sq km (187.0 per sq mile)
Life expectancy 72.9
Infant mortality (per 1,000) 20.7
Official language Arabic
Other language Urdu, Farsi (Persian), English
Literacy rate 79 %
Religions Muslim (Sunni and Wahhabi) 95%, other (among them Hindu, Christian, Baha'i) 5c
Ethnic groups Arab 40%, Pakistani 18%, Indian 18%, Iranian 10%, other 14%
Currency Qatari rial
Economy Services 50%, industry (particularly oil production and refining) 48%, agriculture 2%
GNP per capita US$21,200
Climate Hot and arid; humid in summer Highest point Qurayn Aba al Bawl 103 m (338 ft) Map reference Page 220
Qatar is a small, wealthy emirate in the Persian Gulf. In 1971 it chose not to join the neighboring United Arab Emirates as a member state, but to go it alone. Recently it has continued to act with independence, signing a security pact with the USA in 1995 involving the stationing of 2,000 US troops, while simultaneously challenging the Gulf Cooperation Council's policy on Iraq. During the 2003 war againt Iraq led by the United States, the United Kingdom and their allies, the military headquarter was located in Doha. The peninsula it occupies, projecting north from the southern shore of the Persian Gulf near Bahrain, consists of flat and semiarid desert. Most of its population are guest workers from the Indian subcontinent, Iran, and North Africa.
Qatar was ruled for centuries by the Khalifah dynasty. A rift in dynastic affairs opened in 1783, war with Bahrain followed in 1867, and then the British intervened to set up a separate emirate under the ath Thani family. Qatar became a full British protectorate in 1916. At this time it was occupied by nomadic Bedouin wandering the peninsula with their herds of goats and camels. Oil production, which commenced in 1949, changed everything and now almost ninety percent of the people live in the capital city of Ad Dawhah (Doha) or its suburbs. The northern parts of Qatar are dotted with abandoned villages.
A bloodless palace coup in 1995 saw the present emir displace his father, a move that was accepted without fuss. The emir of Qatar rules as an absolute monarch. He occupies the office of prime minister and he appoints his own cabinet. He is advised by a partially elected thirty-member majlis ash shura (consultative council). From time to time there are calls for democratic reforms from prominent citizens.
The Qatar Peninsula is mainly low-lying except for a few hills in the west of the country at Jabal Dukhan (the Dukhan Heights) and some low cliffs in the northeast. Sandy desert, salt flats, and barren plains cut by shallow wadis (creek beds) occupy 95 percent of its land area. There is little rainfall aside from occasional winter showers. As a result of the shortage of fresh water Qatar is dependent on large-scale desalinization facilities. Summers are usually hot and humid; winter nights can be cool and chilly. Drought-resistant plant life is mainly found in the south. However, by tapping groundwater supplies, Qatar is now able to cultivate most of its own vegetables.
Crude oil production and refining is by far the most important industry. Oil accounts for more than thirty percent of gross domestic product, about 75 percent of export earnings, and seventy percent of government revenues. Reserves of 3.3 billion barrels should ensure continued output at present levels for at least another 25 years. Oil has given Qatar a per capita gross domestic product that is comparable to some of the leading western European industrial economies. Long-term goals include the development of offshore wells and economic diversification.