Qatar has been inhabited for millennia. The Al Khalifa family of Bahrain dominated the area until 1868 when, at the request of Qatari nobles, the British negotiated the termination of the Bahraini claim, except for the payment of tribute. The tribute ended when the Ottoman Empire occupied Qatar in 1872.
When the Ottomans left at the beginning of World War I, the British recognized the Al Thani family as the ruler. The Al Thani family had lived in Qatar for 200 years. The 1916 treaty between the United Kingdom and the royal family was similar to those entered into by the British with other Gulf principalities.
In 1935, a 75-year oil concession was granted to the Qatar Petroleum Company, a subsidiary of the Iraq Petroleum Company, which was owned by Anglo-Dutch, French, and U.S. interests. High-quality oil was discovered in 1940 at Dukhan, on the western side of the Qatari peninsula. However, the start of WWII delayed exploitation of Qatar's oil resources, and oil exports did not begin until 1949.
During the 1950s and 1960s gradually increasing oil revenues brought prosperity, rapid immigration, substantial social progress, and the beginnings of Qatar's modern history. When the U.K. announced a policy in 1968 (reaffirmed in March 1971) of ending the treaty relationships with the Gulf sheikdoms, Qatar joined the other eight states then under British protection (the seven trucial sheikdoms--the present United Arab Emirates--and Bahrain) in a plan to form a union of Arab emirates. However, Qatar declared independence as a separate entity and became the fully independent State of Qatar on September 3, 1971.
On June 27, 1995, HH the Amir, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani ascended as the Amir. The Amir announced his intention for Qatar to move toward democracy, has a freer and open press and municipal elections as a precursor to expected parliamentary elections.
Qatari citizens approved a new constitution via public referendum in April 2003, which came into force in June 2005.
His Highness Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, the Emir of Qatar’s vision is to reach Qatar's production of liquefied natural gas 77 million tons per year as the first country in the world in this industry, and the launch of at least ten strategic installations in the areas of oil and gas and petrochemical industries, aluminum and power generation projects at a total cost of more than 65 billion riyals (17.8 billion dollars) during the same year except for the cost of natural gas (LNG) production lines.