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Qatar is a small peninsular country in the Arab Gulf (also known as the Persian Gulf), with an estimated population of 2,194,817 in 2015. The Qatari peninsula, which borders Saudi Arabia, is 105 miles long and 40–50 miles wide. Doha, formerly a small backwater fishing village, is the nation’s capital. Doha’s transformation from a simple settlement to the center of Qatar’s economy and trade has occurred in fewer than 40 years.

Having been a British protectorate from the late 1800s until 1968 when Britain withdrew from the Arab Gulf as a protecting power, Qatar declared formal independence in September 1971. The process of independence was long and not without conflict. Qatar fought the neighboring island nation of Bahrain for independence for nearly 200 years, with much ...

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