The state of Qatar, a peninsula spanning a mere 4,416 square miles (approximately 11,955 square kilometers) located in the Persian Gulf, is arguably the world’s most affluent country, with $100,000 per capita level of gross domestic product (GDP). Qatar was a relatively poor state until the discovery of oil in the early 20th century.

Archaeological evidence including implements dating back to 4000 b.c.e. indicates that Qatar was inhabited in prehistoric times. Until the 18th century, inhabitants of the area lived in ephemeral settlements without a central authority. This was the result of frequent migration due to differences between members of society affiliated with Bedouin tribes and those of Arab descendants whose forebearers settled in Iran and later returned to Qatar. In the 19th century, permanent mud-brick ...

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