There was once a time when all that many Brits knew about Qatar was that it is the only country with a name in English that begins with ‘Q’. But the nation has, of course, been steadily growing as a massive economic and increasingly very significant political power. The Persian Gulf was an area of great trading interest for us in the nineteenth century and we made frequent efforts to ensure things in the region were run the way we wanted. Thus in 1820, the East India Company ship Vestal ended up bombarding Doha in Qatar in 1821, destroying much of the town and forcing hundreds to flee.
In 1841 we were back shelling Doha again. Then in 1868 we imposed a settlement on Bahrain and Qatar after conflict in the area, which became an important point in establishing Qatar as an entity separate from Bahrain.
After that, Ottoman influence became significant in Qatar and it wasn’t until 1916, during the First World War, that British troops marched into Qatar. In November of that year Qatar, signed a treaty giving us control over its foreign affairs in return for our protection of the state.
Qatar became fully free of our control in 1971.