Discover the Only Country in the World That Starts With Q

Qatar Flag
Tatohra/Shutterstock.com

Written by Sandy Porter

Updated: September 21, 2023

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Qatar is the only independent country that starts with the letter Q. Qatar rests in the Arabian peninsula. Its capital is Doha which is bordered by Doha Bay.

Let’s learn a little about this country and see what makes Qatar so unique and where the name comes from.

What Does Qatar Mean?

Qatar Flag

The Qatar flag

symbolizes the nation’s heritage, aspirations, and culture. The maroon color signifies sacrifice and courage, while the white represents peace and harmony. The serrated edge represents its inclusion as the ninth member state of the Emirates or Trucial Oman.

The official name of the country, the State of Qatar, squarely places this nation as the only with “Q” as its starting letter. Qatar (pronounced with a strong “q” and guttural “t”) is, according to various dictionaries, probably named for the Arabic word katran meaning tar or resin, referencing the petroleum of the region. The sovereign, independent state in the Middle East has emerged as one of the world’s top oil and gas producers since its independence from Britain in 1971.

Where is Qatar?

The Flag of Qatar is flown prominently in many public places, including on boats.

The Flag of Qatar is flown prominently in many public places, including on boats. The nation celebrates its history and place in the world, leading the way in oil production and its once central status for pearl trading.

The State of Qatar resides in the Middle East, occupying a peninsula in the Arabian Gulf, known simply as the Arabian peninsula. The small nation is bordered by Saudi Arabia land-side, with Bahrain slightly northwest, Iran directly north, and the United Arab Emirates a bit southeast on maritime borders only. Most of the country is surrounded by the Persian Gulf. Qatar includes several islands nearby, as well, including Halul, Shraouh, and Al-Asshat.

Demographics of Qatar

  • Time Zone GMT +3
  • Population 2.5 million
  • Capital city Doha
  • Official language Arabic
  • Religion Islam
  • Major cities Doha, Al-Wakrah, Al-Khor, Al-Shamal, Msajeed, Dukhan, Ras Lafan
  • Government Hereditary monarchy
  • Currency Riyal (QR or QAR)

What’s the Climate of Qatar Like?

Qatar exists as a desert climate nation with year-round sunshine, mild winters, and hot summers. Mean temperatures in the country range from 62.6 degrees F in January to 96.8 degrees F in July, occasionally reaching 104 degrees F and higher. They rarely see rainfall, with mainly brief showers in winter.

A Brief History of Qatar

Countries with No Rivers - Qatar

Though Qatar is a desert nation, more than three-quarters of its borders are surrounded by water from the Persian Gulf.

The first known humans to occupy the region took up residence around 50,000 years ago during the Stone Age. Since then, Qatar’s land has had many governments from many empires, including the Seleucids, Parthians, and Sasanians. In 628 AD, the people of the region were introduced to the Islamic religion and the nation has remained an Islamic country since.

For a time, the Ottomans expanded their empire into the area, but by 1916, Qatar found itself under British protection. By 1935, oil rights were granted, and the nation became known for this production. In the 1950s and 60s, oil production increased, drawing in rapid immigration numbers and “beginning” the country’s modern history.

In 1968, the country joined the other eight states in the region under British protection to form a treaty, though terms could not be agreed upon by 1971. Finally, on September 3, 1971, Qatar declared its independence. For the majority of the nation’s history, the leadership has come via hereditary monarchy, even under British protection and other empires.

Wildlife of Qatar

A host of desert-adept animals live in Qatar, including:

  • Hamsters
  • Hedgehogs
  • Tigers
  • Buffaloes
  • Wild boars
  • Antelopes
  • Elephants
  • Arsinoitherium
  • Barn owls
  • Barn swallows
  • Bats
  • Bears
  • Camels
  • Cats
  • Chameleons
  • Cormorants
  • Cranes
  • Cuckoos
  • Deer
  • Donkeys
  • Eagles
  • Falcons
  • Foxes
  • Fire-bellied Toads
  • Gazelles
  • Geckos
  • Gerbils
  • Horses
  • Hyenas
  • Jerboas
  • Otters
  • Rabbits
  • Stoats

Other Letters of the Alphabet with Few Country Names

Yemen flag

This is the national flag of Yemen. Yemen and Oman are the other countries of the world that have the sole claim to the first letter of their names.

Several other letters have limited countries that use them to start their name.

  • Another letter with just one country is “O.” That nation is Oman, a country in the Arabian Peninsula.
  • “F” has only three nations: Fiji, Finland, and France.
  • “H” has just four countries: Haiti, Holy See (Vatican), Honduras, and Hungary.
  • Only three countries use “J” as their starting letter: Jamaica, Japan, and Jordan.
  • Though “R” is one of the letters most folks start guessing games with, it has only three countries: Romania, Russia, and Rwanda.
  • “Y”, too, only has one country: Yemen, a nation in western Asia.
  • “Z” has two nations: Zambia and Zimbabwe, both countries in southern Africa.


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About the Author

Sandy Porter is a writer at A-Z Animals primarily covering house garden plants, mammals, reptiles, and birds. Sandy has been writing professionally since 2017, has a Bachelor’s degree and is currently seeking her Masters. She has had lifelong experience with home gardens, cats, dogs, horses, lizards, frogs, and turtles and has written about these plants and animals professionally since 2017. She spent many years volunteering with horses and looks forward to extending that volunteer work into equine therapy in the near future. Sandy lives in Chicago, where she enjoys spotting wildlife such as foxes, rabbits, owls, hawks, and skunks on her patio and micro-garden.

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