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QUx: Qatari History and Heritage

This course provides a broad knowledge of and an in-depth insight into the history of Qatar from its days as a society based on pearl diving and maritime trade to its development into a traditional Arabian Gulf emirate and then a modern state. Included in the curriculum is an extensive discussion of Qatar’s cultures and traditions stemming from its pre-modern maritime and desert societies. The last aspect covered is contemporary Qatar and its global role as the world’s wealthiest country.

Qatari History and Heritage
5 weeks
5–8 hours per week
Progress at your own speed
Optional upgrade available

There is one session available:

After a course session ends, it will be archivedOpens in a new tab.
Starts Apr 17
Ends Dec 31

About this course

Skip About this course

This course aims to familiarize its audience with the evolution of life, culture, society, and politics in the Qatari peninsula from ancient to contemporary times. In this regard, it will focus on history, geography, archaeology, and culture. Its audience will gain an extensive understanding of the unique aspects of the evolution of social life in Qatar over centuries, as well as of Qatar’s interaction with the surrounding regions, such as the Gulf, the Arabian Peninsula, the Indian Ocean region, Africa, Persia, the wider Islamic and Arab worlds, and Europe. This course also provides an extensive insight into the traditional Qatari society, culture, religion, and economy during the pre-modern era of pearl diving and following the discovery of oil. Of particular focus here will be the intersection of geography and economy with regards to the making of traditional society and culture inside the Qatari desert heartland and within the coastal towns and villages.

History forms the core aspect of this course. The major topics of discussion here will be on the Qatari peninsula during the pre-Islamic and early Islamic eras. In the later centuries, extensive attention is given to politics and society in Qatar as a major part of the Arabian coastal region, often referred to as Al-Bahrain (The Two Seas) and the region of Al-Ahsa from the 16th to the 19th century. An important part of the course curriculum will be devoted to examining the influence of major European and Islamic empires on Qatar and its surrounding region, in particular the British and the Ottomans. Another major topic of concern will be the impact of Great Britain and the British Empire in India on Qatar’s political development from around 1820 to 1971. In similar respects, extensive focus will be given to the history of Qatar as a district of the Ottoman Empire during 1871–1913 and how it laid the foundation for its emergence as a sovereign state.

With regard to the latter, the course aims to highlight the struggle of Qataris in developing their traditional sheikhdom and later an independent modern state. Of key importance to this course is also the discovery of oil and gas and its impact on society and politics. The last modules of this course will focus on contemporary Qatar, its society, and its role as a key player in the Gulf, the Arab, and Islamic worlds, and Qatar’s larger international arena in areas such as politics, economy, culture, religion, and sport.

At a glance

  • Institution: QUx
  • Subject: History
  • Level: Introductory
  • Prerequisites:


  • Language: English
  • Video Transcript: English
  • Associated skills:Oil And Gas, Legal Discovery, Archaeology, Influencing Skills

What you'll learn

Skip What you'll learn

1. Understand Qatar’s history and the various challenges it faced from ancient and pre-modern, times when it was a society of limited size, whose economy depended on the sea and desert, to the modern and independent Qatar of today.

2. Understand how Qatar was able to face and overcome security and economic problems.

3. Learn about the evolution of life, culture, society, and politics on the Qatari peninsula from ancient to contemporary times.

4. Understand modern Qatar's role in regional and global politics.

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