Rulers of Qatar

Rulers of Qatar Last updated on Thursday 22nd April 2010

The name of the ruling family of Qatar is Al-Thani. It was part of a tribal group which was long settled around the Jibrin oasis in what is now Saudi Arabia. The oasis, a well-known one, is south of the Saudi capital, Riyadh.

The Al-Thani are a branch of the Arab tribe Tamim, which lived in the eastern part of the Arabian peninsula. The name Al-Thani comes from the family's ancestor, Thani bin Mohammed, who was the father of the first Al-Thani sheikh to rule over the entire Qatar peninsula in the mid-19th century.

The Al-Thani arrived in Qatar in the early years of the 18th century and initially settled in the northern part of the peninsula. In the mid-19th century, however, under the leadership of Mohammed bin Thani, they moved to present-day Doha.

The following is a list of Qatar's rulers:

Sheikh Mohammed bin Thani (1850 -- 1878)
Sheikh Mohammed was the first Al-Thani to settle in Doha and by his courage and piety he drew other tribes and people to the area which he controlled.

Sheikh Qassim bin Mohammed Al-Thani (1878 -- 1913)
The son of Sheikh Mohammed, Sheikh Qassim is considered the founder of the Emirate of Qatar and is referred to as such in the Ottoman archives in Istanbul.

Sheikh Abdullah bin Qassim Al-Thani (1913 -- 1949)
The son of Sheikh Qassim, Sheikh Abdullah assumed leadership during the last years of his father's life. During his reign, the Turks left Qatar, a treaty of protection was signed with Britain, and oil was first discovered and exported.

Sheikh Hamad bin Abdullah Al-Thani (1940 -- 1948)
The son of Sheikh Abdullah, Sheikh Hamad was designated Heir Apparent during his father's reign and often represented his father as ruler of Qatar. He died during his father's lifetime and, one year after his death, his father abdicated in favour of another son who ruled from 1949 to 1960.
Sheikh Hamad was the father of Sheikh Khalifa (1972-1995) and the grandfather of the present ruler, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa.

Sheikh Ali bin Abdullah Al-Thani (1949 -- 1960)
Another son of Sheikh Abdullah, Sheikh Ali became Emir after the deaths of his father and brother, Sheikh Hamad. During his reign, oil production increased greatly and the country moved inexorably into the modern world. Sheikh Ali abdicated in 1960 and handed over to his son, Sheikh Ahmed.

Sheikh Ahmed bin Ali bin Abdullah Al-Thani (1960 -- 1972)
The son of Sheikh Ali, Sheikh Ahmed took over when his father abdicated in 1960. He ruled until 1972 when his cousin, Sheikh Khalifa bin Hamad, assumed the Emirship with the full support of the ruling family, the people of Qatar and the armed forces.

Sheikh Khalifa bin Hamad Al-Thani (1972 -- 1995)
The son of Sheikh Hamad (1940-1948) and the grandson of Sheikh Abdullah (1913-1949), Sheikh Khalifa became the first Qatari Minister of Education in 1957. In 1971 Sheikh Khalifa declared Qatar an independent state and on 22 February 1972, supported by the ruling family, the people and the armed forces, he became Emir of Qatar. It was during his reign that the modern state of Qatar took its place in the world.

Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani (1995 -- )
The son of Sheikh Khalifa, Sheikh Hamad quietly took power from his father in early 1995. He is a relatively young man in terms of Gulf rulers. The transfer of power took place with the support and approval of the ruling family, the Qatari people and the armed forces.

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