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Politics: Al-Thanis have ruled since the mid-19th century, reinforced by British recognition of their right to govern. 25 years after independence in 1971, the peninsula gained hugely in power, confidence and wealth with ‘Father Emir’ Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani’s drive to develop gas reserves. The population has boomed, from around 111,000 in 1970 to 2.2m-plus today (85%-90% expatriate), almost exclusively concentrated in Doha. Between 1995 and 2013, Sheikh Hamad and prime minister Sheikh Hamad Bin Jassim remodelled Qatar as an ultra-modern independent-minded city state, funded by extreme wealth.
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