A Modern History

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Allen J. Fromherz

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What role does Qatar play in the Middle East, and how does it differ from the other Gulf states? How has the ruling Al-Thani family shaped Qatar from a traditional tribal society and British protectorate to a modern state? How has Qatar become an economic superpower with one of the highest per-capita incomes in the world? What are the social, political, and economic consequences of Qatar’s extremely rapid development?

In this groundbreaking history of modern Qatar, Allen J. Fromherz analyzes the country’s crucial role in the Middle East and its growing regional influence within a broader historical context. Drawing on original sources in Arabic, English, and French as well as his own fieldwork in the Middle East, the author deftly traces the influence of the Ottoman and British Empires and Qatar’s Gulf neighbors prior to Qatar’s meteoric rise in the post-independence era.

Fromherz gives particular weight to the nation’s economic and social history, from its modest origins in the pearling and fishing industries to the considerable economic clout it exerts today, a clout that comes from having the region’s second-highest natural gas reserves. He also looks at what the future holds for Qatar’s economy as the country tries to diversify beyond oil and gas. The book further examines the paradox of Qatar where monarchy, traditional tribal culture, and conservative Islamic values appear to coexist with ultramodern development and a large population of foreign workers who outnumber Qatari citizens.

This book is as unique as the country it documents—a multifaceted picture of the political, cultural, religious, social, and economic makeup of modern Qatar and its significance within the Gulf Cooperation Council and the wider region.

Table of Contents

Al-Thani Rulers and Princes
Maps of the Persian Gulf and Qatar

1. Qatar – A New Model of Modernity?

2. Qatar – Geography of a Near Frontier

3. The Origins of Qatar – between ‘Emergence’ and ‘Creation’

4. Creating Social Realities – Qatar and the British in the Twentieth Century

5. Sheikh Khalifa and the Enigma of Independence

6. Sheikh Hamad, Sheikh Tamim and the Future of Qatar

7. Qatar’s Political Economy – A Classic Rentier State?

8. The Emir and the Exercise of Authority in Qatar

9. Conclusions – Change or Continuity?




Allen J. Fromherz

Supplemental Materials


About the Author

Allen J. Fromherz is Professor of History at Georgia State University, and previously Assistant Professor of Middle Eastern History at Qatar University. He received his PhD from the University of St Andrews in Scotland after graduating from Dartmouth College in New Hampshire and was awarded a Fulbright Research Scholarship to Morocco. In 2010 he was awarded the Gerda Henkel Stiftung fellowship to pursue research on the history of nationalism in the Middle East. In 2016 he was a senior fellow at the New York University Abu Dhabi Humanities Institute. He is also the author of The Almohads: The Rise of an Islamic Empire (I.B.Tauris, 2012) and Ibn Khaldun: Life and Times (2010) and The Near West: Medieval North Africa, Latin Europe and the Mediterranean in the Second Axial Age (2016).

226 pp., 6 x 9
2 maps, 1 figure, 2 tables

Only for sale in the U.S. and its dependencies, Canada, and the Philippines

226 pp., 6 x 9
2 maps, 1 figure, 2 tables
ISBN: 978-1-62616-203-7

Only for sale in the U.S. and its dependencies, Canada, and the Philippines

226 pp.
2 maps, 1 figure, 2 tables
ISBN: 978-1-62616-490-1

Only for sale in the U.S. and its dependencies, Canada, and the Philippines

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