Qatar became an independent state on September 3, 1971. A country’s independence means that it is on a self governance system or self rule. The country rules itself. It has its own government that runs the affairs of the nation. The country ceases to be under the rule of another sovereign state. Prior to its independence, Qatar was a British protectorate. The British Rule was from 1916-1971 when its treaty came to an end. During her rule, the British offered protection to Qatar such that it was secure from any attack on land and from the sea.
The Pre-Independence Era
Before the British rule, the Ottoman Empire had expanded into Eastern Arabia. They came in at a time when the Wahhabi of Najd and Al Khalifa were ruling the Gulf. It is in 916 that the British came into the scene and offered Qatar protection which they had desired for a long time. Abdullahi Al Thani agreed to allow the British to rule over Qatar. However, there was a condition that they would enjoy protection from any wars that came either on Qatar land or through the sea. The British signed a treaty giving their support to the country. However, in 1971 when the termination time for the treaty came, it was not renewed. Qatar declared its independence. Since then, the amirs that have reigned in Qatar are Abdullah Al Thani, Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, and currently the amir is Tamim bin Hamad.
Qatar is commonly known for its economic prosperity due to extraction of high quality petroleum that was discovered in 1940. It also produces natural gas found along the North field which is the largest gas fields in the world. It also takes part in major imports of machinery, manufactured goods, transport equipment, live animals and food products.
Qatar’s independence also brought forth the formation of the Qatar Central Bank commonly known as “masraf Qatar al-Markazi” in 1993.The bank issues Qatari rial which is the National currency of Qatar.The bank also provides aid to foreign Arab and Islamic countries.
Other achievements championed by Hamad are the political reforms which saw the introduction of municipal elections and approval of a new constitution. The new constitution took effect in 2005. Hamad also encouraged media freedom and provided regional leadership. Hamad became part of the teams that mediated peace in the Gulf region such as the border conflict between Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. His son, Tamim went on in his steps to provide improved education, health care, and infrastructure for Qatar. He goes on to invest in infrastructure as the country prepares to host the 2022 World Cup.
Challenges Faced By Qatar Since Independence
The first challenge was the siphoning of petroleum oil revenues in the mid-1900s by Qatar amirs who lived in Europe. Their action led to Qatar’s stunted economic growth and development. The nation mainly depends on production of oil for its revenue. Secondly, Qatar faced an intense regional strife in 2011 which led to the ambassadors of Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, and UAE being recalled in 2014. This conflict led to the signing of the Riyadh Agreement in order to promote peace. The most recent conflict ensued in 2017 when Qatar supposedly violated the Riyadh Agreement. Consequently, Saudi Arabia, UAE, and Bahrain cut off economic and diplomatic ties with Qatar.
All in all, Qatar is one of the fast-developing economies in the world.