Discoveries have been made that indicates that prehistoric humans have lived in Qatar. Evidences also have been found that the ancient Qataris engaged in barter based trading mostly on pottery and dried fishes. During the 7th century its rulers and people converted to Islam. During the medieval period Qatar is an active participant in the Persian Gulf-Indian ocean commerce.
The British established themselves in Qatar because the territory is a good vantage point in their route to their colony in India. During the 19th century the Al Khalifa clan from Bahrain controls the northern peninsula. The Qataris rose up in revolt against the Al Khalifas who in turn sent a massive naval force against them. The rebels were defeated but the British intervened and a series of negotiations ensued. As a result, the State of Qatar was founded in December 18, 1878.
The Qataris choose an entrepreneur named Muhammed bin Thani as their negotiator with the British and Bahrain. His clan the Al Thanis, would soon become the ruling dynasty in Qatar.
In 1968 when the British officially announced its political disengagement with the Persian Gulf, Qatar joined a federation which includes Bahrain and seven other States. Disagreements with the federation made Qatar leave and declare its independence in September 3 1971.
In 1995 Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani siezed power from his father Khalifa bin Hamad Al Thani while on vacation in Switzerland. Under his rule, the country enjoyed some amount of socio political liberalization like the right to vote.