At the beginning of the 18th century, many tribes and families trekked from Najd and relocated to Qatar. Qatar’s seaports at the time were the main factors impacting immigration for the people who lived in Arabia’s hinterland, considering the ports’ flourishing and booming trade culture.
History of the Ruling Family
As per the historical sources, forefathers of the Al Thani family migrated from “Eshaiger” in the “Al Washm” region of Najd and settled in the town of “Yibreen”, south-east of the peninsula of Qatar. They moved from there to “Askuk” in the south of the country, and then to Ruwais, Fuwairit, and Zubarah in the north, where the ancestor of the family, Sheik Thani bin Mohammed was born. Later, the family settled in Doha and took control over the process of the establishment of the Emirate of Qatar.
The timeline of Qatar’s modern history starts in the 18th century when all tribes gather under the rule of the Al Thani family. This made a way for more stability in the country, independence from neighboring countries, and the forging of balanced relations with various influential parties in the district. Here is a list of the leaders of the State of Qatar.
The Legacy of Qatar’s Rulers: A Timeline of Achievements
Table of Contents
- History of the Ruling Family
- The Legacy of Qatar’s Rulers: A Timeline of Achievements
- H.H. The Amir Sheik Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani (2013 – present)
- H.H. The Father Amir Sheik Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani (1995 – 2013)
- Sheik Khalifa Bin Hamad Al Thani (1972 – 1995)
- Sheik Ahmad Bin Ali Al Thani (1960 – 1972)
- Sheik Ali Bin Abdullah Al Thani (1949 – 1960)
- Sheik Abdullah Bin Jassim Al Thani (1913 – 1949)
- Sheik Jassim Bin Mohammed Bin Thani (1878 – 1913)
- Sheik Mohammed Bin Thani (1851 – 1878)
H.H. The Amir Sheik Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani (2013 – present)
His Highness Sheik Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani expected his duties as Amir of the State of Qatar on 25th June 2013, after the declaration of His Highness The Father Amir, Sheik Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, in an address to the Qatari people, of his choice to hand over capacity to his Heir Apparent and the promise of allegiance to H.H. Sheik Tamim by the Qatari people as the new Amir.
His Highness was born on June 3rd, 1980 in Doha. Qatar, where he got his primary and secondary schooling. Then he joined Sherborne School in the United Kingdom, where he continued with his secondary schooling and graduated in 1997.
His Highness pursued his higher education in the United Kingdom, where he went to the Royal Military Academy of Sandhurst, graduating in 1998.
After graduating from Sandhurst, His Highness joined Qatar’s Armed Forces, combining both military academic study and on the field experience.
On August 5, 2003. His Highness was selected Heir Apparent and Deputy Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces. During his residency, he led various bodies and supreme councils in various fields, for example the Supreme Education Council, the Supreme Council of Health, the Supreme Council for the Environment and Natural Reserves, the Supreme Council for Information and Communication Technology, Board of Directors of Qatar Investment Authority, Supreme Committee for Development Planning, Board of Trustees of Qatar University, and the Qatar Leadership Center.
H.H. had an extraordinary and constructive contribution to Qatar National Vision 2030, as he was endowed by H.H. The Amir at the time to chair the Supreme Committee for planning the vision of the country until launched in 2008. H.H. The Amir is still following up on the execution of the vision at the present.
Believing in the significance of people in the future to be knowledgeable of the history of Qatar and eternal values of its establishing ancestors, H.H. The Amir oversaw the launch of Qatar National Day. It is viewed as one of the most famous things overseen by H.H. during his residency as the Heir Apparent, pointing that people in the future will incarnate, preserve and continue repeating those qualities.
H.H. The Amir also contributed to the launch of the National Sports Day as he had believed in the significance of health for the individual and society.
With respect to the political and strategic issues, H.H. The Amir played a significant role in bridging views among a few questioning political parties through political dialogues hosted in Doha and carried out under personal protection of H.H. The Amir.
After accepting his duties as Amir of the State of Qatar. His Highness turned into the Head of State and Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, however his chairmanship of the Supreme Council for Economic Affairs and Investment, the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy, and the National Security Council.
During his residency, the state of Qatar got high ranks in the worldwide and regional indicators. It is ranked the first in capital flows, political and legislative regions, GDP per capita and low unemployment rate.
On the regional level, Qatar has ranked first in the Higher education Quality report, helpful affairs, worldwide peace index, and human advancement index.
H.H The Amir got numerous international medals and awards in recognition of his commitments in philanthropic areas and global issues, just as for his endeavors in promoting friendship and cooperation among countries and peoples.
H.H. The Father Amir Sheik Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani (1995 – 2013)
He is the previous Amir of the State of Qatar, and one of its famous leaders, and the architect of its modern revival. During his reign, which saw enormous economic, social and cultural development, the State of Qatar expanded its status among the Arab and global community. The GDP increased more than 24 folds, and per capita GDP by around six-folds, while gross value included the hydrocarbon sector jumped from 11 billion to 403 billion Qatari Riyals.
During his residency the country’s permanent constitution was declared, and “Qatar National Vision 2030”, which looks to promote a drive towards an information based economy, and change Qatar into an advanced country fit for achieving sustainable development and ensuring the continuation of a conventional life for its people, generation after generation, was surrounded.
Sheik Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani was born in January 1952 in Doha, where he was raised and finished his education. Then he joined the British Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst. After his graduation in 1971, he joined the Qatar Armed Forces where he was promoted till he reached the rank of Maj. Gen. He was credited as assuming a significant part in developing the military regarding weapons.
On 31 May 1977, he was appointed the Heir Apparent and Minister of Defense. On 10 May 1989, Sheik Hamad was appointed Chairman of the Supreme Council for Planning, which was assigned to the task of formulating Qatar’s social and economic policies.
After His Highness accepted the reins of power on 27 June 1995 he left on manufacturing development and changed plans and programs. His plans for reproduction were complete, intensive, dimensional and multifarious in approach leading a quantum leap in the development of the country, thus triggering wider development that encompassed education, health, sports, culture, media and infrastructure. During his residency, the country has seen huge improvement in the economy and energy sector. The North Field gas production boomed and liquefied natural gas exports started from it in 1996, resulting in a rapid increase in the country’s profit. In 2006, Qatar turned into the biggest LNG exporter in the world, and in 2010 its LNG production limit reached 77 million tons for every year.
In October 2001 the Supreme Council for Economic Affairs and Investment was established under the chairmanship of His Highness to oversee the economy, energy and venture issues. This was done to differentiate local and foreign ventures to develop Qatar’s financial reserves and diversify public sources of income.
Among the first choices taken by his Highness after taking office was the foundation of “Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development” in August 1995 to help scientific and social drive in the country.
Then censorship of the local press was rejected in October 1995, followed by the abolition of the Ministry of Information in 1998, to open broad possibilities for the opportunity of opinion and expression and launch a media thrive. The foundation and launching of Al Jazeera TV Channel in 1996 introduced another sunrise in the Arab and international media and signified a landmark venture forward for the area.
In 1996 Qatar started to present, at the command of His Highness, democractic steps, for example holding the first election of Qatar Chamber of Commerce and Industry followed by the first elections of the central municipal council in March 1999, where women were allowed to vote and stand for candidacy for the first time in the history of Qatar.
On June 8, 2004, the first permanent constitution of the State of Qatar was declared after a famous historic choice held on 29 April 2003 – to achieve the goal of presenting the methods for majority rule governance of the State by endorsing a permanent constitution that lays down the basic pillars of the society, communicates for the popular participation in dynamic, and ensures the rights and freedoms of citizens.
Under the new Constitution, the people are the source of power, and the governance was established on a system of partition of powers and their coordinated effort.
The country during the rule of His Highness was broadly opened up economically, just as in terms of development, progress and culture, and has become a center for political, economic, social and scientific conferences. Qatari diplomacy also assumed a main role in conflict goal and regulation in various parts of the world.
In December 2010, Qatar turned into the first Arab and Islamic country to win the hosting of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, by virtue of the ambitious and non-traditional investment ventures pursued by the country under the rule of His Highness.
H.H. was granted many decorations by Arab and foreign countries in recognition of his efforts in strengthening bilateral relations and promoting regions of cooperation among countries and peoples.
On 25 June 2013, His Highness Sheik Hamad gave over control of leadership to his Heir Apparent Sheik Tamim Bin Hamad.
Sheik Khalifa Bin Hamad Al Thani (1972 – 1995)
Sheik Khalifa Bin Hamad Al Thani is the Sixth Ruler of the State of Qatar. He was born in Al-Rayyan in 1932. In 1949, he was appointed as a Chairman of Security Affairs in Qatar and in 1957 he turned into the first Minister of Education.
On October 24, 1960, Sheik Khalifa turned into the Heir Apparent and Deputy Ruler. On the 5th November of the exact year, he accepted the arrangement of the Ministry of Finance and became the main Chairman of Qatar National Bank. After it was established in 1964, and led the first Council of Ministers in 1970.
On September 3, 1971, Sheik Khalifa announced the freedom of Qatar and the abrogation of Anglo-Qatari Treaty of 1916 and all related conventions. In the exact year, the law for the foundation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was given with Sheik Khalifa expecting its administration along with his other duties. During that period a few basic measures had been received in the country, for example the process of Arabisation and promotion of the government’s power.
On the global stage, Qatar kept up its sovereign approach through a friendship treaty with Britain on September 3, 1971, joining the League of Arab States, and an increase to the United Nations in September of the same year.
On February 22, 1972, Sheik Khalifa turned into the Emir of Qatar. He before started the process of reorganization of the government, appointing Sheik Suheim Bin Hamad as the first foreign minister and changed the Interim Basic law on 19 April 1972 to enlarge the cabinet.
Political relations were likewise settled with various far off nations at the ambassadorial level. The bureau was reshuffled unexpectedly, supplanting a large portion of the past priests and bringing their number up to fifteen.
According to the development of government activities and services, the education system of the country was also changed. Various schools and other educational foundations were inaugurated and the University of Qatar, the first college in the country, was established in 1973. The first museum in Qatar was also settled in 1975.
Among the key achievements of that period was the issuance of the Amended Interim Basic law on April 19, 1972, replacing the past one issued on April 2, 1970. In that constitution, Qatar is recognized as “part of the Arab country”. The content also accommodated the association of authorities in the country, the establishment of an Advisory Council adding to enact legislation and established the foundations for budget approval and State Audit Bureau.
The state income from the oil sector had increased because of the signing of various production sharing agreements to various foreign oil companies. In 1991, the production of gas in the Qatari North Field, the world’s biggest single non-related gas field, commenced. The North Field has estimated stores more than 900 trillion cubic feet of gas leading to Qatar turning into an energy superpower.
Sheik Khalifa remained the Ruler of the country until June 26, 1995. He died on 23 October 2016 and his body was left in Al Rayyan cemetery.
Sheik Ahmad Bin Ali Al Thani (1960 – 1972)
The Fifth Ruler of Qatar and the first Ruler to bear the title “Amir”. He was born around 1920 in Doha. He became the Ruler of Qatar on October 24, 1960, upon the surrender of his father.
By November of the same year, the Ministry of Finance was made, along with the Financial and Administrative Department that was tasked with managing the financial and authoritative affairs of the government. In 1967, the Department of Civil Service was established.
His rule was described by the rapid economic development because of the result of discovery large number of oil fields in Qatar, for example the Idd al-Sharqi field (1960) – which was the main seaward field to be completely worked with offices and fit-outs–and Maydan Mahzam field (1963). This was joined by the order of laws establishing the Department of Oil Affairs, Department of Legal Affairs, and the Department of Labor and Social Affairs.
In 1965, an oil storage facility was set up in Halul Island north of the country and in the same year operations commenced in the Abu Al haneen field. Accordingly Qatar had changed from a regional economy based on pearl diving and traditional regional trade into a contributor to the world economy through oil production.
In January 1968, the British Government pulled out its troops from the East of the Suez, terminating protection deals with the Arabian Gulf rulers, including the 1916 Treaty with Qatar.
The government of Sheik Ahmad participated in arrangements that were in progress to make a confederation including the nine Gulf Emirates. When arrangements failed to reach an agreement to form a confederation, Qatar moved towards freedom.
On April 2, 1970, the between time Basic law for Qatar was promulgated and the Council of Ministers was assembled on May 28 of the same year under the chairmanship of Sheik Khalifa bin Hamad, the Heir Apparent and Deputy Amir.
On September 3, 1971, Qatar’s freedom was declared, abrogating the Anglo-Qatari Treaty of 1916. Immediately, the people of Qatar owed their devotion to him as the Amir of the State of Qatar.
Sheik Ahmad died on November 25, 1977, in London. His body was moved to Doha and was buried in Al-Rayyan burial cemetery.
Sheik Ali Bin Abdullah Al Thani (1949 – 1960)
Sheik Ali Bin Abdullah Al Thani is the fourth Ruler of the State of Qatar. He was born around 1896. He turned into the Ruler of Qatar following the abdication of his father on August 20, 1949.
On December 29, 1949, the main shipment of coastal Qatari oil was traded from Messaid (Dukhan territory) terminal.
During the period Qatar established close relations with various Arab and foreign countries, helping with raising the profile of the country on the regional and international stage. Similarly the first British political authority in Qatar was named in 1950.
On September 1, 1952, Sheik Ali signed an agreement with the Iraq Petroleum Company (later the Qatar Petroleum Company). On November 29, 1952, Sheik Ali also signed a seaward agreement with the Shell Overseas Exploration Company Ltd to extract oil from the seaward fields. Under the details of this agreement, Qatar gained 50% of the benefit from the export of oil.
During his residency, the health sector was developed and the Rumailah Hospital was launched in 1957.
In the recent decade of his rule, landmark achievements emerged, for example the Clock Tower, the boat harbor, the National Library (Dar al-Kutub), and the airport, however installing water supply networks to provide houses with free water.
In 1953 the first phone trade (focal office) was launched, and in 1954 the first water desalination station was set up, followed by a power generation station to provide citizens with free electricity.
Sheik Ali was credited with building and reestablishing different mosques in Qatar, Arab and European countries he frequently visited. He died on August 31, 1974 in Beirut and was let go in the Al-Rayyan area in Qatar.
Sheik Abdullah Bin Jassim Al Thani (1913 – 1949)
Sheik Abdullah Bin Jassim Al Thani is the third Ruler of the State of Qatar. He was born in 1871 in Al-Bida, and in 1906 his dad Sheik Jassim appointed him as the Governor of Doha, to prepare him for ruling the country after him.
On July 17, 1913, Sheik Abdullah turned into the Ruler of Qatar. On July 29, 1913, the historic Anglo-Ottoman Convention was signed among Turkey and Britain which relinquished all the Ottoman rights to Qatar. The Ottoman military presence in Qatar, which had stayed for more than 43 years, reached a conclusion on August 19, 1915.
Sheik Abdullah’s situation as the most important ruler in the district was perceived by Britain in 1919, when he was awarded the request for Indian Empire Great Commander (CIE), made him the main beneficiary among all the Chiefs of the Trucial Coast.
On May 5, 1935 as Sheik Abdullah reestablished 1916 settlement, Britain agreed to protect Qatar from land assault in addition to the sea assault. Subsequently, Sheik Abdullah’s first Oil Concession Agreement with the Anglo-Persian Oil Company was signed in Qatar on May 17, 1935.
In October 1938 the first oil all around was drilled in Qatar, and oil was found in Dukhan in January of 1940.
On June 30, 1948 Sheik Abdullah appointed his son Sheik Ali as Deputy Ruler, following the demise of his beneficiary and son Sheik Hamad on May 27, 1948.
Sheik Abdullah signed a seabed concession with the American company “Superior Oil”, and the British Mining and Investment Corporation Ltd on August 5, 1949. He died on April 25, 1957.
Sheik Jassim Bin Mohammed Bin Thani (1878 – 1913)
Sheik Jassim Bin Mohammed Bin Thani is the founder of the State of Qatar. He was born around 1827 and was raised in Fuweirat North East of Qatar where he took in the Quran, its sciences, law, Islamic law, the arts of equestrian, along with falconry and hunting skills.
Following the death of his father on 18 December 1878, he succeeded him in running the issues of the country with the help of the Qatari public, consolidating the national rule under the leadership of Al Thani dynasty.
He gave extraordinary consideration to education establishing Quranic schools, improved the harbors and shipbuilding to help the pearl trade, till Qatar turned into the greatest source of pearl in the region and expanded business relations with India and the countries of East Africa. During his reign urbanization expanded and the population increased.
Sheik Jassim was a big fan and defender of the Islamic Caliphate despite the pressure he came through. His relationship with the Ottoman authority became more entrenched, so he was granted the title of “kaimakam”, military and authoritative rank. He was later given another higher honorary title of “Kapuji-bashi”, in recognition of his true power and authority of the Qatari clans.
The Wajbah fight had set a landmark occasion in Qatar’s history with Sheik Jassim developing as a famous character in the gulf, and successful local power in the Qatar politics.
He also was a writer of vernacular poetry known as “Nabati poetry”. He wrote his own book Nabati sonnets in which he chronicled his own exploits.
The date of progression of Sheik Jassim (December 18, 1878) is an epic occasion in the red-letter edge history of Qatar, and the National Day that the State of Qatar celebrates every year. Sheik Jassim spent Thursday evening, 13 Shaban 1331 AH, relating to July 17, 1913.
Sheik Mohammed Bin Thani (1851 – 1878)
Sheik Mohammed Bin Thani is the first Ruler of Qatar and one of its respected leaders. He was born around 1776 in Fuweirat in the upper east of Qatar, where he was raised, and eventually became the Chief of his tribe after his father in 1839.
In 1848, the Sheik moved to Doha (Al Bida) and became its Chief, his predominance extended to all parts of Qatar.
Sheik Mohammed became Ruler of Qatar in 1851 and by his brave character and strong will he achieved a milestone achievement joining all the leading tribes of Qatar under the purple-red banner that became the flag of the country, strengthening the sovereignty of the country while developing political relations with extraordinary powers.
On September 12, 1868, he signed an agreement with the British Political Resident Col. Lewis Pelly, which was considered as the first global recognition of the sovereignty of Qatar under the leadership of Sheik Mohammed.
When the Ottoman armed force arrived in Qatar in 1871, the country got dependent on the Ottoman Empire that had restricted dominance over internal issues of Qatar, as all forces were held by Sheik Mohammed and his son Sheik Jassim Bin Mohammed.
At the regional level, Sheik Mohammed authorized his situation through an alliance with Imam Faisal Bin Turki, the Amir of the second Saudi Arabia State, and received him in Qatar in the early of 1851. He died on December 18, 1878.