Emirates flies to Doha, capital of Qatar and the country's main city, located towards the north of the Qatari peninsula. Explore this fast-growing and increasingly ambitious nation, famous not only for its reserves of oil and natural gas, but also for its world-renowned Museum of Islamic
Evidence of human settlements in Qatar date back over 8,000 years, but for the majority of its history its arid desert climate was only able to sustain a small number of nomadic tribes.
The tiny peninsula has been ruled by the al-Thani family since the mid 1800s. During this period a series of disputes with neighbouring countries attracted the attention of the British, and their diplomatic response resulted in the eventual foundation of the State of Qatar on 18th December 1878. However, it took until 1916 before Britain granted Qatar the official status of British Protectorate.
At this time Doha's economy depended almost entirely on fishing and pearling: the settlement had 350 pearling boats. After Japan introduced cultured pearls in the 1920s, the capital city was plunged into poverty until oil was discovered in the late 1930s. The anticipated oil boom was delayed by the onset of the Second World War, and exploration and exportation did not reach significant proportions until the 1950s.
In 1971 Britain announced its intentions to withdraw from Qatar. On 3rd September 1971, after an initial attempt to form a federation with Bahrain and the modern-day United Arab Emirates, Qatar declared itself an independent sovereign state. Today, Qatar is able to produce more than 800,000 barrels of oil a day and Doha's arid desert landscape now sustains a population of over one million.