Doha is now one of the richest and fastest-growing cities in the world, but only 80 years ago it was a small pearl-fishing town.
Located on the coast of the Persian Gulf in the Middle Eastern state of Qatar, Doha began as a fishing village that was founded in 1825.
Until the early 20th century, Doha’s economy was almost entirely dependent on fishing and pearling; at its height, 350 pearling boats operated from Doha’s harbour.
However, the combination of the global depression with a rise in Japanese pearling in the 1930s hit the city’s main industry hard.
At this time, Qatar was under the protection of the British, who had earmarked Qatar and the Persian Gulf as an intermediary vantage point between Britain and colonial India.
Having stepped in to help overthrow the ruling Ottoman Empire from Qatar in 1913, the British supported the new state in electing a ruler, whose family still head the state today.
Despite being a British protectorate, the state was largely left to its own devices as the British stayed out of economic and military activity in the region.
Qatar’s fortunes changed when, in the midst of the Depression, oil was discovered off the coast of Doha.
British interest in the state was suddenly piqued and exploration and exportation of this precious resource began in earnest.
After World War II, a vast natural gas field was also discovered off the north coast, which secured the state’s rise to riches.
By the end of the 1960s, Qatar was economically and politically stable and in 1971 it was able to declare itself an independent nation.
Today, it is the richest country in the world by per capita income and produces more than 800,000 barrels of oil every day, with the world’s third-largest natural gas fields.