Reigning Monarch: His Highness Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, Emir of Qatar
Reigning Family: Al Thani dynasty
Status: The small Gulf State of Qatar is ruled by a family descended from the Tamim tribe originally from the interior of the Arabian peninsula. Previously a protectorate of the British Empire the State of Qatar became independent in 1971 when extensive mineral wealth was discovered in the country. Qatar is an absolute monarchy and the emir is the chief of state and head of government. There is Islamic and civil law codes with Islamic law usually prevailing. However, Qatar has modernized a great deal recently with press censorship being reduced recently. Commercial ties are maintained with Israel and Iran and women in Qatar are able to vote and hold public office since 2003. The reigning family is extremely wealthy and Qatar is known for having the population with the highest per capita income in the world. Only municipal officials are elected, the national assembly is appointed and political parties are banned.