Qatar (/ˈkæˌtɑr/, /ˈkɑːtɑr/, /ˈkɑːtər/ or /kəˈtɑr/; Arabic: قطر Qaṭar [ˈqɑtˤɑr]; local vernacular pronunciation: [ɡɪtˤɑr]), officially the State of Qatar (Arabic: دولة قطر Dawlat Qaṭar), is a sovereign country located in Southwest Asia, occupying the small Qatar Peninsula on the northeastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula. Its sole land border is with Saudi Arabia to the south, with the rest of its territory surrounded by the Persian Gulf. A strait in the Persian Gulf separates Qatar from the nearby island kingdom of Bahrain.
Following Ottoman rule, Qatar became a British protectorate in the early 20th century until gaining independence in 1971. Qatar has been ruled by the Al Thani family since the mid-19th century. Qatar is a hereditary constitutional monarchy and its head of state is Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani. The constitution was overwhelmingly approved in a constitutional referendum, with almost 98% in favour. In 2013, Qatar's total population was 1.8 million: 278,000 Qatari citizens and 1.5 million expatriates. After Saudi Arabia and Oman, Qatar is the most conservative society in the Gulf Cooperation Council.
Qatar is a high income economy backed by the world's third largest natural gas reserves and oil reserves. The country has the highest per capita income in the world. Qatar is classified by the UN as being a state with very high human development and is the most advanced Arab state for human development. Qatar is an influential player in the Arab world, supporting several rebel groups during the Arab Spring both financially and through its globally expanding media group, Al Jazeera Media Network. Qatar will host the 2022 FIFA World Cup, becoming the first Arab country to do so. For its size, Qatar wields disproportionate influence in the world, and has been identified as a middle power.
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