Capital and chief port of Qatar
, on the east coast of the peninsula; population (2001 est) 299,300. As well as being the chief commercial and communications centre of Qatar, Doha also has a considerable trade in cargo for other countries of the Gulf, and serves as their centre for vocational training. The exploitation of Qatar's large oil reserves in the second half of the 20th century boosted the prosperity of Doha; industries include oil refining, engineering, refrigeration and construction equipment, as well as shrimp fishing and processing. Over half the population of the country resides in Doha, and the city has an international airport.
Long under Turkish control, Doha was for centuries a small port depending on fishing and pearl harvesting, as well as being a refuge for pirates. Under British control from 1916, it was the centre of government of the Qatar Protectorate, and grew in importance as a major port following the discovery of oil there in 1939. A petroleum export trade developed from 1949 and a large, excavated deepwater port was opened in 1969. Qatar gained independence in 1971, with Doha as its capital.
Doha is home to the University of Qatar and the national museum. Its landmarks include Government House, the market place, the residence of the sultan, and a Turkish fort dating from 1850.
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