Information / History & Culture
The Doha History and Culture
Qatar is the richest country in the world as it has the world’s third-largest reserves of oil and gas. Before the discovery of these important resources, this country was one of the poorest in the world and the people living in Doha were also extremely poor. The history of Doha has its highs and lows and it is just like a story.
Phase 1: Early History
Doha in the earlier years was nothing but a slow fishing village. Pearl-fishing and sea-fishing were the only two sources of income for the people who resided in this village. And during this time it was one of the poorest cities in the world.
Phase 2: Establishment of Al Bidda
Doha is a name given to an early settlement that was known as Al Bidda. The very first mention of this settlement dates back to the 17th century. This area was labeled as “Guttur” on the first map by Carsten Niebuhr, an explorer from Germany. No records of Al Bidda, earlier than the 17th century have been found. In an English record by David Seaton, it was mentioned that Al Bidda was a settlement of the Sudan tribe that, he presumed, were pirates.
Phase 3: Doha Comes into Existence
Al Bidda was an important settlement as it was the only reliable trading port in the peninsula. In the 19th century, John MacLeod recognized the worth of the city and met the chief of Al-Buainain tribe. Even though Doha and Al Biddah were two separate but very close settlements, many regarded these two as a single state. In the early 1820s, the chief of the tribe was imprisoned for murdering a Bahrain native by Al Khalifa Sheikh leaving no ruler over these two cities. Due to this, the pirates and outlaws began to settle here. In the year 1839, when Ghuleta, an Abu Dhabi outlaw settled in the area, the British demanded his arrest and Sudan tribe chief agreed and arrested Ghuleta and Jasim Bin Jabir. British, despite this, fined the chief which the chief refused to pay. British fired on Al Bidda and warned to return if the fine was not paid. Soon, Bin Tarif came to rule on these cities but died in 1847 in a battle against Bahrain.
Phase 4: Period of Al Thani
After the death of Bin Tarif, Al Thani arrived and took charge of both the cities. Qatari–Bahraini War took place during the Al Thani reign. Doha was destroyed and people living here were deported as results of this war. A settlement was imposed by Colonel Lewis Pelly. Battle of Al Wajbah took place when the Ottoman troops occupied a Doha fort but they were defeated by Jassim Al Thani, Doha and Al Bidda were now called Qatar.
Phase 5: Doha Becomes Official Capital of Independent Qatar
In 1971, Qatar declared independence and Doha were established as the capital of the country. Since then, the work of development has begun and today, Doha is one of the well-developed cities in the world.
The Doha Culture
As Islam is the state religion of Qatar, it is obvious that the Doha culture is much influenced by the religion and Muslim practices. The culture is simple and the locals of Doha expect the tourists and traveler to respect their culture, especially when it comes to dressing. If women dress inappropriately, they will get looks of annoyance from the locals. The Bedouin culture is reflected in the daily practices of the people living in Doha. The folklore, poems, and writings are mostly related to the sea and fishing as this has been the primary source of income for the people living in the fishing village.