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Asian Games-Doha at a glance

Qatar has one of the fastest-growing economies in the world, with annual growth rate of nearly 20 percent.

india Updated: Nov 28, 2006 17:57 IST

Location: on a peninsula that juts out for 160 kilometers (100 miles) into the Persian Gulf, with Saudi Arabia to the west and the United Arab Emirates to the southeast.

Size: 11,400 square kilometers (4,400 square miles), about the size of Belgium.

Population: Doha - 400,000; Qatar - 744,000. More than 60 percent of Qatar's population are foreign expatriates.

History: Dates back 4,000 years, with several Stone Age sites discovered on the country's west coast. For four centuries, was under Turkish rule. Under British rule from 1868, but received full independence on September 3, 1971, a date now celebrated as its National Day holiday.

Language: Arabic is the official language, but English is widely spoken.

Religion: Islam is the official religion, and about 90 percent of Qataris are Sunni Muslims.

Government: Qatar is a constitutional monarchy. Ruling over the country is the Emir Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani, a descendant of the family that began its rule over Qatar in the mid-1800s. Following the ratification of a new constitution in 2005, the country will soon have a two-thirds elected Parliament, with first elections expected in 2007.

Economy: Qatar has one of the fastest-growing economies in the world, with annual growth rates of nearly 20 percent between 1999 and 2004. It is rich in oil and natural gas reserves and has one of the world's highest per capital incomes, $43,000 (euro32,700) in 2005.