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Free «The Country of Qatar: Past and Present» Essay Sample


Qatar is located in Middle East. It is an Arab sovereign state, which gained its independence on 3 September 1971. The peninsula of Qatar is 11,000 square kilometers and is surrounded by beautiful water. On the southern side, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates borders Qatar. Qatar land was once under the control of the Ottoman Empire. Immediately after the fall of the Empire, Qatar was declared a British Protectorate. The weather is hot and humid in the middle of the summer, and fair during the rest of the year with little rainfalls. This makes the country unsuitable for agriculture. The economy of Qatar depends almost entirely on natural resources, which include petroleum and natural gas. The economy of Qatar has grown largely due to natural gas and petrol industry that started in the year 1940. Oil prices have remained high, which has boosted the state’s rapid growth.


The population of Qatar has increased tremendously during the last decade. In 1996, the population was estimated at 500,000, while today, the population is about 1.5 million. Most Qataris descended from different tribes that migrated in the 17th and 18th century from the Arabian Peninsula. Based on 2009 statistics produced by the World Bank for financial and technical information, Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is ($98,313,183,980), and literacy rate is about 95%. Little statistical data can be found regarding the peoples of Qatar. However, rough estimates show that 25% of Qatar population represents Qataris. This is the number of people in the country who have Qatar citizenship. However, most people in Qatar came from Saudi Arabia. This group is of Najdi ancestry. Another group of people is the Persian comprising of 110, 000 people. Foreign workers represent the majority of Qatar population. Minority groups are people from Pakistan, India, Syria, Palestine, Lebanon, Egypt, and Jordan. Other smaller communities include countries from the west and the United Kingdom.



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Qatar Economy

Agriculture accounts for less than 1% of Qatar’s economy. Qatar imports food for its citizens, because the land cannot support agriculture. This helps maintain enough supply for the significantly increasing population. The economy of Qatar has grown largely due to natural gas and petrol industry that started in the year 1940. Oil prices have remained high, which has boosted the state’s rapid growth. The state posted a budget surplus in the year 2008.

The economic policy in Qatar states that the state should focus on increasing non-energy sectors through encouraging foreign as well as private investment. However, natural gas and oil comprise more than half of the country’s GDP. Approximate values indicate that 85% of the country’s export comes from these two products. The products also earn the government 70% in terms of revenue. The highest per capita income, in the world, has been marked in Qatar. It is also one of the fastest growing economies. The country also has oil reserves of approximately fifteen billion barrels, which could take the country for the next 37 years. Natural gas reserves amount to twenty six trillion. Before oil discovery, the country’s economy relied on fishing. Pearl hunting was also an economic activity, an industry that crashed later. High standards of living prevail in Qatar. Social services are readily available to Qatar citizens (Wildcat, 2010).

 Foreign labor accounts for 94% of the country’s labor. The country allows labor unions. Compared to other countries in the world, Qatar charges the lowest tax rates. The country does not charge income tax to its citizens. The country’s GDP per capita stands at 88,222 dollars. Qatar promotes the private sector because it wants to promote science and technology. The country has an education city and a sports city. In 2016, Qatar shall hold Summer Olympics. The country plans to build an entertainment city in the future. The financial sector in the country seems quite friendly, offering excellent services such as capital support and loans without interest. The country has invested in infrastructure, real estate, housing, roads, medical, and other projects.

Early History

For several years now, Qatar has sustained several lives despite the fact that the state has arid climate. History shows that nomadic tribes would settle in the region. Islam spread throughout the Arabian region, including Qatar, in the 7th century. A military envoy, sent by Prophet Muhammad, followed. This led to conversion of the people living in Qatar. However, not all people converted, and some churches remained in the region. The state participated in commerce, which led to introduction of new ideas by the sailors. Traces of such interactions can be reflected through the minority religions, peoples, languages, and races that remain to-date. For example, some Africans can be found in Qatar. Portuguese ruled Qatar between 1517 and 1538 when the Ottomans took over.

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French archaeologists presented strong proof of inhabitants during the 5th century. Some evidence came from Alkhor city while other evidence came from Aljasasia area. Trade between India and Europe took place around the Arabian Gulf around 140 BC. This trade, referred to as Greco-Roman Trade, affected the land’s inhabitants. Archaeologists provide evidence that shows how the Romans and the Greek influenced Ras Abaruk at the Peninsula (Walker & Butler 2010).

Political History

The country is currently politically stable. There may be no democracy, but the people exercise freedom of speech. They can ask questions during public forums. For several years, tribal groupings marked Qatar. The simple people of Qatar gambled with their lives moving across the desert to the land of Qatar, and remained there until they established the first state. They have survived one war after the other in defense of their homeland. Qataris built castles made of stones in the corners of their nation. When the enemies came from every direction, the people of Qatar fought for their land with basic weapons against some of the biggest superpowers in the 17th and 18th centuries. The superpowers include Portuguese Empire, Autumn Empire and British Empire. The battles continued for decades, and the people of the small peninsula of Qatar won the wars but lost many loved ones.

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The Qatar land was once under the control of the Ottoman Empire. World War 1 marked the end of the Ottoman Empire. Immediately, Qatar became declared a British Protectorate following Ottoman withdrawal from the region. The country became a sovereign state in the year 1971. This happened when the British Protectorates proved that they could not form a political association. Since then, the country came under the rule of Al-Thani family whose policies guided treaties and political associations with certain Arab countries. Full power rests upon Kalifath-Thani. He chooses the fifteen cabinet ministers, but he issues the country’s laws. He is, however, answerable to the Ath-Thani family. An informal and a semi-formal consultation system, called Majlis, exist in the country (McCoy, 2010).

The People of Qatar

Qatar people speak Arabic. Qatar people, festivals, and culture represent a significant part of the people’s lifestyle. Most people in the country came from Saudi Arabia. They, therefore, practice Arabic culture from the Peninsula. The country is remarkable for its rich traditional and cultural heritage, which the people keep on carrying forward. Most people in Qatar reside in Doha, the capital city of the country. Several cities and villages can be seen in Qatar. Despite the fact that most people are of Arabic origin, people from Persia are also many in the country. The country reflects Arabic traditions, as well as customs. The religion that is dominant in Qatar is Islam. Several cultural activities take place in Qatar to mark the country’s cultural heritage. Qatar people like cultural festivals. People base the festivals on Islam. The country marks several religious and public holidays. The commonly celebrated festivals include Eid Al Adha and Eid Al Fitri. Festivals, which are not Islamic also, take place in the country. A combination of these factors makes the cultural heritage of the nation glorious.

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In the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries, Qatar people engaged in science, literature, and poetry. Even with the simplicity of their lifestyle, the people of Qatar continued their search for knowledge and science. They became familiar with the science of astronomy, used by navigators today. Some of the Qataris have become experts in marine science and deep water, including identifying geology of the bottom of the sea, and meteorology. Qataris have also learned the science of medicine using plants and wild herbs for food and medicine. They gained the knowledge of religion, poetry, literature, trade, export and import and shipbuilding (Cavendish, 2006).

Pearl Diving, Trading and Development in Qatar

Qatar does not only boast of the natural resources, which include natural gas and oil. The country’s coast used to produce oyster pearls. These were highly on demand in the 18th, 19th, and 20th century. Many people engaged themselves in Pearling industry since the industry appeared quite profitable because the pearls were demanded both nationally, and internationally. This trade led to the development of new towns since the economy had become an export and import economy. One example of such a town includes Al Zubarah, which has been abandoned. Pearl fishers and traders worked in this town.

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Pearl Diving and Pearl Trading continued until the discovery of oil. The season for the Pearl Diving journey lasted between 2 to 6 months. After locating the Oyster Beds and checking the depth of the water, the divers began to jump into the water, and they started collecting the oysters in a small basket. The divers spent between 2 to 4 minutes under the water and handed their basket to another diver on the boat. The divers gathered in the evening, to open the oysters by separating the shells. They would then separate the pearls into sizes and place them on small pieces of cloth. The process continued for few months and then the divers returned back home (Dumper & Stanley, 2007).

Qatar Today

Al-Thani family rules Qatar. The country is the richest country in the Middle East, based on par capita income. The largest amounts of gas come from Qatar. The people of Qatar have advanced from traditional tribes to a military, economic, social powerhouse. The country takes care of its citizens economically. U.S supplies military forces in Qatar in order to ensure citizens’ safety, and the country’s sovereignty. Qatar nation spends millions of dollars on modern art. The country is doing well financially because of the vast gas and oil reserves. Several developments include housing, business, and sports facilities. These projects attract many people from different parts of the world. In fact, 75% of the country’s workforce comprises of expatriate workers. Today, Qatar offers several job opportunities, improved system of education, better health services, and better wages. The income in the country per capita increase consequently led to the population increased and establishment of many companies.

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Maersk for Qatar

Maersk oil implements the Field Development Plan (FDP), which started in 2005. The plan aimed at exploring and exploiting Al Shaheen field. All facilities that included new platforms were installed in the year 2010. At least, the company drilled one hundred and sixty wells in the year 2010 as part of the plan. The company is carrying out studies aimed at oil recovery. Additional facilities in Qatar have been built by Maersk Oil, which will be used on the onshore plants. The current oil production stands at three hundred thousand barrels a day. Maersk Oil started oil exploration in Qatar in the year 1992. This followed an agreement with Qatar Petroleum, which represented the Qatar government. Maersk Oil can explore and exploit oil in Qatar, in an area measuring three thousand five hundred square kilometers. The company can also explore several other areas in Qatar.

In the year 2011, Maersk Oil, in collaboration with Qatar Petroleum, produced the billionth oil barrel at a field named Al Shaheen. This was quite remarkable especially, at a time when leading oil companies thought that the area was not viable for oil exploration. Maersk Oil spent billions in that oil investment, in Qatar. The well was noted to be the longest ever drilled well in the world. Qatar’s deputy prime minister, Abdullah Hamad, admitted that the area appeared difficult to produce oil, following the previous fruitless efforts by oil companies. Initial estimates showed that the area had a capacity of producing less than 50,000 barrels a day, regardless of the conditions.

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Maersk Oil, however, used expertise knowledge to develop reservoirs that produce 300,000 barrels in a day. These marginal reservoirs constitute a third of oil production in Qatar. The accomplishment of oil exploration and exploitation in the region showed efficient operation of the field. The success followed the join work of a national, and an international oil company. The billionth barrel came at a time when at least the plan was ending. This was the fifth year of oil exploration in the region. The company continues to produce oil without safety compromise. Production remains at 99%. Gas flaring has also been brought to the minimum. In order to develop Al Shaheen, Maersk Oil installed fifteen platforms, one hundred and sixty three water injection, and production injection wells. Maersk Oil also developed A hundred and forty tonnes of facilities in conjunction with Qatar Petroleum. The project was finished up to the budget and on time. This showed the company’s ability to come up with projects and to manage projects. Maersk Oil also participated in Science and Technology Park, which showed the company’s commitment to develop Qatar nation as a whole. This proved that the company’s interest was not on oil production that would benefit the company directly.

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As an international organization, Maersk Oil does not only engage in development of the Qatari economy, but also in community development. Maersk develops a number of researches and studies, to support the Qatari society and environment. Maersk Oil invests in developing new ideas, to serve the Qatar community. The company contributes in researches and studies concerned with wild species. Maersk Oil has developed researches and studies on birds of Qatar. Maersk Qatarization process is one of the most advanced and effective projects compared to similar projects in other companies within Qatar. Maersk Oil looks for opportunities to get involved in research and development, in the different sectors, within Qatar. In coordination with the Ministry of Environment, Maersk developed a Shark-Wale farm project in the hope to study sea-life and environment in Qatar. Maersk Oil works closely with universities, such as Texas and schools to develop a national curriculum that supports future needs. Al Shaheen field is now the world’s largest UN-approved clean development project (Walker, & Butler, 2010).


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