1939 â€“ Oil discovered in Qatar
- Due to World War II instability, oil exploitation is delayed, but in time oil comes to replace the pearling/fishing trade off the coast of Qatar.
- Oil quickly becomes the countryâ€™s main source of revenue.
- Qatar is formally under British protection â€“ mainly from neighboring Bahrain who made historical claims to the small coastal entity, and the Ottoman Empire, which aspired to control the entire Arabian peninsula.
1950â€™s â€“ Oil revenue funds Qatarâ€™s modernization
- Infrastructure and institutions are established and expanded.
- Qatarâ€™s population is around 40,000.
1968 â€“ Britain announces its plans to withdraw from the Gulf
- Qatar negotiates with Great Britain and neighboring Bahrain and present-day United Arab Emirates about forming an independent federation.
1971 â€“ Qatar gains full independence on September 3
- Ahmed Bin Ali declared Emir of independent Qatar â€“ though he had been the de facto ruler for some time.
- Sharia law is declared as the basis of the Qatari penal code.
1972 â€“ Khalifa Bin Hamad Al Thani takes power
- Many Qataris were convinced of the need for regime change when the sitting Emir Ahmed Bin Ali announced the countryâ€™s independence from his Swiss villa, rather than from his palace in Doha.
- While on a hunting trip in Iran, his prime minister Khalifa Bin Hamad Al Thani wrested power from Bin Ali, with the tacit support of Britain and the Wahhabis of Saudi Arabia.
1990 – Invasion of Kuwait
- When Saddam Husseinâ€™s Iraq invades Kuwait, Qatar agrees to allow international troops on its soil.
- Qatari troops later took part in the liberation of Kuwait from Iraqi forces.
1995 â€“ Hamad Bin Khalifa takes power
- Son of the first Emir Khalif Bin Hamad Al Thani, deputy Emir Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani takes power from his father in a bloodless coup.
- An unsuccessful counter-coup was staged the year after.
- The Emir and his father have since reconciled, though some supporters of the counter-coup remain in prison.
1996 â€“ Al Jazeera launches
- Al Jazeera begins broadcasting on satellite TV, as an independent channel funded by the Emir.
- Based in Qatar, it tackled many issues deemed as controversial all over the Arab world.
- The channel has since grown to one of the biggest media outlets in the world â€“ providing a mainstream alternative to coverage on, for example, the Gulf and Iraq War(s).
1999 â€“ Slow start to democratization
- Municipal elections are announced, as well as the first democratic polls since 1971.
- Marks the start of a democratization program.
2000 â€“ A cousin of the Emir and 32 others are jailed for the failed 1996 coup â€“ many of whom are still in prison.
2001 â€“ Qatar settles old and historical border disputes with Bahrain and Saudi Arabia â€“ solidifying interstate stability in the Arabian peninsula.
2002 â€“ The US prepares for Iraqi invasion
- The al-Udeid airbase is developed and expanded.
- US Central Command staff is deployed to Qatar.
- March: Qatar serves as US base
- US Central Command forward base in Qatar serves as the main nerve center for the US-led military campaign in Iraq.
- April: Voters approve a new constitution, establishing a 45-member parliament with 30 elected members and 15 selected by the Emir.
- August: The Emir names his younger son Prince Tamim as crown prince, replacing his other son (and more likely candidate) Prince Jassim.
2004 â€“ Former Chechen president Zelimkhan Yanderbiyev is killed in an explosion in Doha where he had been living.
- Qatar sentences two Russian agents to lifetime in prison.
- Though the pair were eventually extradited to Russia, relations between the countries deteriorate.
- March: A car bomb at a theater near a British school in the capitol, Doha, kills one British national and injures a dozen others.
- June: Qatarâ€™s first written constitution comes into effect. Realizing some democratic reforms like an elected parliament.
- November: Qatar and the US launch a joint project to build the worldâ€™s largest liquefied natural gas plant â€“ worth $14 billion.
2007 â€“ Qatar and Dubai become the two biggest shareholders of the London Stock Exchange â€“ marking Qatarâ€™s shift toward an investment economy.
2009 â€“ Qatar cuts trade ties with Israel following Gaza offensive.
- Qatar was the only Gulf state to have had trade ties with Israel.
2010 â€“ Qatar wins controversial bid to host 2022 Fifa World Cup.
- March: Qatar joins international â€œno-fly zoneâ€ operations against Muammar Ghaddafi in Libya.
- November: The Emir announces election to the advisory council will be slated for 2013 â€“ marking what would be Qatarâ€™s first legislative elections.
2012 â€“ Emir Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani visits Gaza
- The first head of state to do so since Hamas took power.
2013 â€“ Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani takes over as Emir of the country after his father Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani abdicates.
- March: Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and UAE temporarily withdraw ambassadors from the Qatari capitol, following accusations of Qatar having meddled in their internal affairs.
- September: Qatar takes part in US-led airstrikes against IS militants in Syria, along with four other Arab states.
- March: Qatar and four other Gulf states take part in Saudi-led airstrikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen.
- May: Amnesty International publishes a harsh report, criticizing Qatarâ€™s apparent non-effort to improve the rights of migrant workers ahead of the 2022 Fifa World Cup. The government disputes the Amnesty report â€“ which claims the progress is basically non-existent.