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A chronology of key events:

1700s - Migrants establish pearling and trading settlements along the coast of present-day Qatar.

Asian Games

Closing ceremony of 2006 Asian Games in the Khalifah International Stadium, Doha, Qatar

Qatar became the first Arab country to host the Asian Games in 2006

  • Biggest event in the 55-year history of the Games
  • 45 countries, regions took part

1867 - Conflict with neighbouring Bahrain over territorial claims; Doha is all but destroyed.

Seeds of independence are sown when Britain signs a treaty which recognises Qatar as a separate entity, rather than a dependency of Bahrain.

1871-1913 - Turkish Ottoman forces establish a garrison at the emir's invitation.

1916 - Deal signed under which Britain controls Qatar's external affairs in return for guaranteeing its protection.

Oil discovered

1939 - Oil reserves discovered. Exploitation is delayed by World War II, but oil comes to replace pearling and fishing as Qatar's main source of revenue.

1950s - Oil revenues fund the expansion and modernisation of Qatar's infrastructure.

1968 - Britain announces that it will withdraw its forces from the Gulf; Qatar negotiates with Bahrain and present-day United Arab Emirates on forming a federation.

Independence

1971 - Qatar becomes independent on 3 September.

1972 - Khalifa bin Hamad Al Thani takes power in a palace coup after infighting in the ruling family.

Oil refinery, Qatar Oil replaced pearl-diving as Qatar's money-generator

1990 August - After Iraq invades Kuwait, Qatar says it will allow foreign forces on its soil. Qatari troops later take part in the liberation of Kuwait.

1995 - Sheikh Khalifa deposed by his son, Hamad, in a bloodless coup.

1996 - Al-Jazeera satellite TV launches, as an independent channel funded by the emir. Based in Qatar but broadcasting to much of the Arab world, it establishes a reputation for its news coverage and willingness to tackle controversial issues.

1999 - Municipal elections, the first democratic polls since 1971, mark the start of a democratisation programme.

2000 February - A cousin of the emir and 32 other people are jailed for life for planning a foiled coup in 1996.

2001 March - Qatar settles long-running border disputes with Saudi Arabia and Bahrain.

Iraq war

2002 - Qatar looms large in US plans for a possible war against Iraq. Its al-Udeid air base is developed and expanded. Washington says it will deploy US Central Command staff to Qatar.

2003 March-April - Qatar-based US Central Command forward base serves as the nerve centre in the US-led military campaign in Iraq.

2003 April - Voters approve a new constitution, which provides for a 45-member parliament with 30 elected members and the rest selected by the emir.

2003 August - In a surprise move, the emir names his younger son Prince Tamim as crown prince, replacing his other son Prince Jassim.

Chechen killed

Capital: Doha

Qatari women in front of skyline of Doha

Doha was transformed by oil money

  • Originally a pearling and fishing village
  • Destroyed in 1867 war with Bahrain
  • Population: 264,000

2004 February - Former Chechen president Zelimkhan Yanderbiyev is killed in an explosion in Doha, where he had been living. Qatar hands life sentences to two Russian agents over the killing; relations with Russia deteriorate. The pair are extradited to Russia in late 2004.

2005 March - A car bomb at a theatre near a British school in Doha kills one Briton and injures 12 other people.

2005 June - Qatar's first written constitution comes into effect, providing for some democratic reforms.

2005 November - Qatar and the US launch a $14 billion joint project to build the world's largest liquefied natural gas plant. Most of the gas will be exported to the US.

2007 September - Qatar and Dubai become the two biggest shareholders of the London Stock Exchange, the world's third largest stock exchange.

2008 March - St Mary's Roman Catholic Church becomes the first official Christian church inaugurated in Qatar. Christians were previously not permitted to worship openly.

2008 December - Saudi Arabia and Qatar agree final delineation of borders and pledge to boost co-operation after diplomatic relations restored in March.

2009 January - Qatar cuts trade ties with Israel over Gaza offensive. Was sole Gulf state to have trade ties with Israel.

2010 December - Qatar wins bid to host 2022 Fifa World Cup.

2011 March - Qatar joins international military operations in Libya.

2011 April - Qatar hosts meeting of international "contact group" on Libya, which calls on Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi to quit.

Qatar reportedly arms Libyan opposition.

2011 November - Emir Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani says elections to the advisory council will be held in 2013, in what would be Qatar's first legislative elections.

2012 January - The Afghan Taliban say they are setting up a political office in Qatar to facilitate talks.

2012 October - Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al Thani visits Gaza, the first head of state to do so since Hamas took power there five years previously.

2013 June - Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani takes over as emir after his father abdicates.

2013 October - Court upholds 15-year jail sentence for poet Mohammed al-Ajami who was convicted of inciting people to overthrow government.

2014 March - Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the UAE withdraw their ambassadors from Qatar after alleging that it has been meddling in their internal affairs.

2014 September - Qatar and four other Arab states take part in US-led air strikes on Islamic State militants in Syria.

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