Qatar (/, / ( listen), / or / ( listen); Arabic: قطر Qatar [ˈqɑtˤɑr]; local vernacular pronunciation: [ˈɡɪtˤɑr]), officially the State of Qatar (Arabic: دولة قطر Dawlat Qatar), is a sovereign state located in Western Asia, occupying the small Qatar Peninsula on the northeastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula. Whether it should be regarded as a constitutional or an absolute monarchy is disputed. Its sole land border is with neighboring Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) monarchy Saudi Arabia to the south, with the rest of its territory surrounded by the Persian Gulf. An arm of the Persian Gulf separates Qatar from the nearby island monarchy of Bahrain.
In early 2017, Qatar's total population was 2.6 million: 313,000 Qatari citizens and 2.3 million expatriates. Islam is the official religion of Qatar. The country has the highest per capita income in the world. Qatar is classified by the UN as a country of very high human development and is widely regarded as the most advanced Arab state for human development. Qatar is a high-income economy, backed by the world's third-largest natural-gas reserves and oil reserves.
Qatar has been ruled by the House of Thani since Sheikh Jassim bin Mohammed Al Thani founded the state in the early 19th century. Following Ottoman rule, Qatar became a British protectorate in the early 20th century until gaining independence in 1971. In 2003, the constitution was overwhelmingly approved in a referendum, with almost 98% in favour. In the 21st century, Qatar emerged as a significant power in the Arab world, reportedly supporting several rebel groups during the Arab Spring both financially and through its globally expanding media group, Al Jazeera Media Network. For its size, Qatar wields disproportionate influence in the world, and has been identified as a middle power. This increased influence of Qatar and its role during the Arab Spring, especially during the Bahraini uprising in 2011, worsened longstanding tensions with Saudi Arabia, the neighboring United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Bahrain. In June 2017, those three countries and Egypt cut off diplomatic relations with the country, accusing it of supporting and funding terrorism and manipulating internal affairs of its neighboring states. Qatar will host the 2022 FIFA World Cup from 21 November – 18 December, becoming the first Arab country to do so.
Pliny the Elder, a Roman writer, documented the earliest account pertaining to the inhabitants of the Peninsula around the mid-first century AD, referring to them as the Catharrei, a designation which may have derived from the name of a prominent local settlement. A century later, Ptolemy produced the first known map to depict the peninsula, referring to it as Catara. The map also referenced a town named "Cadara" to the east of the peninsula. The term 'Catara' (inhabitants, Cataraei) was exclusively used until the 18th century, after which 'Katara' emerged as the most commonly recognised spelling. Eventually, the modern derivative Qatar was adopted as the country's name.
In Standard Arabic, the name is pronounced [ˈqɑtˤɑr], while in the local dialect it is [ˈɡitˤar].