Doha is the capital city of Qatar, with a population of 400,051 (2005). It is located on a shallow bay of the Persian Gulf, and is an important port in Qatar. Three fifths of the population of Qatar lives within Doha's city limits.

Being in the desert, the city receives practically no precipitation during the summer months. Temperatures average over 100 degrees Fahrenheit from May to September. Its water supply comes from the distillation of seawater.

The area was a regular center of pirate activity prior to, and after the founding of the city in 1850. It was destroyed in 1867 as part of the war with Bahrain. Following this, Muhammad ibn Thani Al Thani, sheikh of Doha, was installed by the British as "premier ruler" of Qatar. al Rayyan built the Al Wajab fortress in 1882 in the southwestern part of the city. Doha became the capital of the British protectorate of Qatar in 1916.

Doha began exporting oil in 1949, which led to a major economic transformation and modernization of the city. In 1969 the Government House was built on reclaimed waterfront property, and is the city's most significant landmark. Doha became the capital of the newly independent Qatar in 1971. Qatar University was opened in 1973. The headquarters and broadcast center of the Al-Jazeera satellite news station are in Doha. It began operating in 1996.

The Qatar National Fishing Company is headquatered in Doha, and the city was host to an annual conference of the World Trade Organization beginning in 2001, known as the Doha Development Round. Preparation is underway for the 15th Asian Games, which is set to take place in Doha in December 2006.


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