The History of Qatar National Day

With Qatar National Day been and gone and festivities coming to a close, Doha is a buzzing metropolis of unity and national pride. However, despite the population showing unparalleled love for our country, many may not have true insight into why we celebrate National Day or what life was like centuries ago. We’ve teamed up with the cultural experts at Embrace Doha yet again to let you in on all the details – enjoy!

History & Foundation of Qatar

Many people think that we celebrate the independence day of Qatar. What we are actually celebrating is the National Day, also known as Founder’s Day, which is celebrated on December 18th. It’s special day, a celebration of unity and brotherhood by Sheikh Jassim bin Mohammad Al Thani against the colonial powers (Ottomans, British and Portuguese) during late eighteen hundreds.

Who is Sheikh Jassim bin Mohammad Al Thani?

Better known as “the founder of the State of Qatar”. Born in 1825, he was brought up in Fuwayrit. He was the eldest son of Mohammad bin Thani and a descendant of the prestigious Tamim tribe. He was educated by religious scholars, had interest in literature and was very skilfull in hunting and horse riding. From an early age, Sheikh Jassim was interested in politics and served as his father’s deputy where he gained valuable political experience.

How did Sheikh Jassim found Qatar?

Sheikh Jassim was a man with sound knowledge; it is this knowledge and his untiring efforts that were instrumental in laying the foundations of the modern State of Qatar.

He was a wise, just and generous leader and won the hearts of the Qatari people with his good governance.

At the age of 21, he moved to Al Bidda taking his father with him, where he became a leader among his peers. He was instrumental in making a number of changes in the governance and policies of the country and steered the country towards prosperity.

On December 18, 1878, Sheikh Jassim took power of the country, and the modern state of Qatar was born after abolishing the Ottoman occupation in Al Wajba Battle.

Al Wajba Battle

The victory in Al-Wajbah battle resulted in the establishment of modern Qatari state after abolishing the Ottoman occupation. Emir Jasim bin Muhammad Al-Thani rejected the Ottoman influence on his land and worked on combating it by employing the appropriate policies to gain independence.

The Empire retaliated by sending Al-Basra’s military forces to pressure Jasim back under its control. He, however, rejected that. Jasim told Al-Basra’s ruler Hafez Muhammad that he is willing to pay a huge sum of money for his forces to withdraw, but Hafez rejected his offer and Jasim accepted war.

The two armies collided near Al-Wajbah’s castle. Jasim’s army used knowledge of the terrain and area to decimate the Ottoman forces and kill their commander, initiating Qatar’s independence from the Turkish influence. He won the famous Al Wajba Battle in 1893. This battle provided the foundations of the modern state of Qatar.

Qatar National Day 2017

Sheikh Jassim’s sole purpose in life was to preserve the dignity and sanctity of his country and this is exactly what the grandchild Sheikh Tameem bin Hamad Al-Thani is continuing to keep today.

This year’s National Day brought a different spirit of pride and celebration to both Qataris and expatriates. The blockade imposed on Qatar by its neighbouring countries has not only seen an outpouring of support from its people; it has also demonstrated the country’s strength, resilience and gracefulness in facing the false accusations and implementing change. But one thing to stand by is that Qatar will move forward more than ever before, through the empowerment of its citizens and residents, and the building of new and stronger relationships with the world.

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