Qatar (Arabic: قطر, Qatar), officially the State of Qatar (Arabic: دولة قطر, Dawlaṫ Qatar), is a sovereign Arab country located in Southwest Asia, occupying the small Qatar Peninsula on the northeastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula. Its sole land border is with 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. In 2013, Qatar's total population was 1.8 million: 278,000 Qatari citizens and 1.5 million expatriates.
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 an absolute monarchy and its head of state is Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani. Qatar is the most conservative society in the GCC as most Qataris adhere to the strict Wahhabi interpretation of Islam. Sharia law is the main source of Qatari legislation according to Qatar's Constitution.
Qatar is the world's richest country per capita and has the highest human development in the Arab World; furthermore, it is recognized as a high income economy by the World Bank. Qatar has the world's third largest natural gas reserves and oil reserves in excess of 25 billion barrels (4.0×109 m3). Qatar has become an influential player in the Arab world.
Although tiny, Qatar wields significant clout, with a rising international profile that has led some analysts to identify it as a middle power.