Where is it what is the form of government and

Where is it, what is the form of government and what language is spoken in Qatar?

(CNN Spanish) — Now that the World Cup has started, fans from all over the world have begun to ask more questions about the small country on the Persian Gulf that will host the 2022 World Cup this year.

The peculiarities of the host country are various and they anticipate that, beyond sports, the event is an opportunity to discover that side of the world. Where is it, exactly? What is your form of government? What language do Qataris speak? The answers to those and other questions in this article.

Where is Qatar?

Qatar is located on the west coast of the Persian Gulf. Specifically, the country occupies a small, desert peninsula that stretches north from the larger Arabian Peninsula.

The country covers a rectangular area of ​​about 11,586 square kilometers (about 4,473 square miles), making it slightly larger than countries like Cyprus or Puerto Rico.

Qatar shares a border with eastern Saudi Arabia, where the small peninsula connects to the mainland, and lies northwest of the United Arab Emirates. In turn, it is located about 40 kilometers (25 miles) southeast of the island country of Bahrain.

The weather in Qatar is hot and humid from June to September, with daytime temperatures reaching up to 50°C (122°F). For this reason, the World Cup was moved from the traditional boreal summer to the months of November and December, when average temperatures of 63°F (17°C) can be expected. In addition, rainfall is scarce.

History and form of government

The Qatar peninsula had not been inhabited until the rise of Islam, which began in the 17th century AD and resulted in the formation of the Islamic Caliphate throughout the region, according to the Encyclopedia Britannica.

Later, the area passed through the control of various local and foreign dynasties, until it fell into the hands of the Thani (Āl Thānī) dynasty, in the 19th century. Since then, the Thani dynasty relied on both the British Empire and the Ottoman Empire to maintain their control against tribal groups. In exchange for the protection granted, the United Kingdom controlled Qatari foreign policy until its formal independence in 1971.

Today, Qatar is a constitutional emirate ruled by an emir (whose place is hereditary) of the Thani dynasty. Members of the ruling family hold almost all the major ministerial posts, appointed by the emir.

The Emir of Qatar, Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, in Doha on December 7, 2017. (Credit: KARIM JAAFAR/AFP via Getty Images)

However, harmony did not always reign in the family. As oil revenues increased after World War II, disputes increased and there have been several palace coups, albeit without bloodshed.

The only limit to the emir’s power is the need to maintain the support of important relatives, many of whom hold high government positions, according to Britannica. With the passage of time and the modernization of the country, the emir cautiously expanded political participation, until he allowed, in 1999, the holding of the first municipal elections, with an electorate that included both Qatari women and men. . The current Constitution —approved by referendum in 2003 and promulgated in 2005— provides for the popular election of two thirds of the members of the Consultative Council.

Furthermore, there are no political parties in Qatar, Qataris have voted in municipal elections only since 1999, and the first parliamentary election was held in 2021. Voting is restricted to citizens over the age of 18 who have a paternal grandparent born in the country. Women can run for public office.

Qatari language and culture

At present, only a small part of those who live in Qatar (12%) are Qatari citizens. Economic growth that began in the 1970s increased the dependence on foreign workers, mostly from Pakistan, India and Iran, who now far outnumber nationals. Indeed, its net migration rate is the highest of any country in the Persian Gulf region and is the third highest in the world.

A bus with portraits of the Qatari emir is seen as Qataris take to the streets of Doha to welcome the emir back from his first trip abroad during the ongoing Gulf diplomatic crisis on September 24, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / KARIM JAAFAR (Photo credit should read KARIM JAAFAR/AFP via Getty Images)

The official language in Qatar is Arabic, but most Qataris speak a Gulf dialect of Arabic that is similar to that spoken in neighboring countries. In schools children learn the modern standard Arabic language and English is common.

The official religion is Islam, and the majority belongs to the Sunni branch, although there is a Shiite minority in the country. The non-Qatari part of the population has, in turn, a more diverse religious composition, with Muslims, Christians and Hindus as the largest religious groups.

Finally, Qataris are mostly urban dwellers: less than 1% of the country’s population lives in rural areas. Doha, on the east coast, is Qatar’s largest city and commercial hub, containing about half the emirate’s population.