|This page is copied from Wikipedia (original • authors). Both the Aaqib Wiki and Wikipedia are licensed under the GFDL.|
Qatar is a sovereign Arab state, located in Western Asia, occupying the small Qatar Peninsula on the northeasterly coast of the much larger Arabian Peninsula. Its sole land border is with Saudi Arabia to the south, with the rest of its territory surrounded by the Persian Gulf. A strait in the Persian Gulf separates Qatar from the nearby island state of Bahrain.
Qatar has been ruled as an absolute and hereditary emirate by the Al Thani family since the mid-19th century. Qatar was was noted mainly for pearl hunting and sea trade before the discovery of oil. It was a British protectorate until it gained independence in 1971. Since then, it has become one of the region's wealthiest states due to its oil and natural gas revenues. In 1995, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani became Emir when he deposed his father, Khalifa bin Hamad Al Thani, in a peaceful coup d'état. The most important positions in Qatar are held by the members of the Al Thani family, or close confidants of the al-Thani family. Beginning in 1992, Qatar has built intimate military ties with the United States, and is now the location of U.S. Central Command’s Forward Headquarters and the Combined Air Operations Center.
Qatar has proven reserves of oil and natural gas. Qatar tops the list of the world's richest countries by Forbes. Qatar has the highest human development in the Arab World. In 2009, Qatar was the United States’ fifth-largest export market in the Middle East (after the UAE, Israel, Saudi Arabia and Egypt).
With a small citizen population of fewer than 250,000 people, foreign workers by far outnumber native Qataris. Foreign expatriates come mainly from other Arab nations (13% of population), the Indian subcontinent (India 24%, Nepal 16%, Bangladesh 5%, Pakistan 4%, Sri Lanka 2%), Southeast Asia (Philippines 11%), and other countries (7%).