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Important milestones in Qatar’s history amid Gulf rift

FILE- In this Jan. 7, 2005 file photo, Qatari men of the Bani Yafe Tribe perform the traditional sword dance as they celebrate the wedding ceremony of the Qatar Crown Prince in Doha, capital of Qatar. Qatar, now facing a diplomatic crisis with other Arab nations, is a small country with a big history of turmoil and coups as it became one of the world's top suppliers of natural gas and now plans to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup. (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili, File)

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Qatar, now embroiled in a diplomatic crisis with other Arab nations, is a small country with a history of turmoil and coups.

Its massive natural gas reserves and tiny population have made it one of the richest per capita countries in the world, and its popular Al-Jazeera news network has contributed to its outsized influence in the region.

Qatar is home to hundreds of thousands of expatriates and migrant workers, who far outnumber its own citizens, and is set to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

Here are some of the most important moments in the young country’s history:

1867 — Britain intervenes in the Bahraini-Qatari War to install the Al Thani family as the peninsular country’s rulers.

1871 — Qatar becomes part of the Ottoman Empire.

1916 — Qatar becomes a British protectorate as the Ottoman Empire collapses during World War I.

1939 — Oil is discovered in Qatar, whose economy until then largely depended on pearling and fishing. Development does not begin in earnest until the end of World War II.

1971 — Qatar becomes an independent nation as the British withdraw from the Gulf.

1972 — Sheikh Khalifa bin Hamad Al Thani seizes power from his cousin in a palace coup.

1991 — Qatar takes part in the U.S.-led war to drive Iraqi forces from Kuwait.

1995 — Qatari Crown Prince Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani seizes power from his father, Sheikh Khalifa, in a palace coup. Sheikh Hamad briefly establishes low-level ties to Israel that are later dropped, surprising the rest of the Arab world. Qatar also supports the Islamic militant group Hamas and the Lebanese Shiite group Hezbollah.

1996 — The Qatar-funded Al-Jazeera satellite news network is launched under Sheikh Hamad and soon becomes a top voice in the Arab world. Its publication of tapes from al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden sparked criticism from the U.S., while its coverage of the 2011 Arab Spring unsettled Mideast leaders.

2002 — Qatar’s vast al-Udeid Air Base becomes a major hub for U.S. forces fighting in Afghanistan and the later U.S.-led invasion of Iraq. It becomes the forward headquarters of the U.S. military’s Central Command, hosting some 10,000 American troops.

2010 — International soccer body FIFA selects Qatar to host the 2022 World Cup despite concerns over the conditions of laborers in the country. The tournament is moved to the winter months amid concerns over the country’s severe desert heat.

2013 — Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani becomes Qatar’s emir as Sheikh Hamad steps down. The Afghan Taliban briefly open an office in Qatar and later hold talks in the country.

2014 — Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain recall their ambassadors from Qatar in a rift over the country’s backing of the Muslim Brotherhood, a Sunni Islamist group. Eight months later, they return their ambassadors as Qatar forces some Brotherhood members to leave the country and quiets others following mediation by Kuwait.

2015 — Ruling family members are among dozens kidnapped on a hunting trip in Iraq, presumably by Shiite militias. They are freed after 16 months and a cash payment rumored to be in the tens of millions of dollars, as well as a population transfer in Syria’s civil war.

June 5, 2017 — Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates cut diplomatic ties to Qatar and try to isolate the country, alleging it funds terror groups and values ties to Iran over relations with its neighbors. Qatar denies the allegations, though Western officials long have accused it of allowing or even encouraging funding of Sunni extremists.

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