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maanantai 31. elokuuta 2015

France, Cool Facts #63

<= 62. Western Sahara                                                                                                   64. Canada =>

1. French Tricolour

The French tricolor flag was used in the revolution of 1789 and it has influenced several flags of other countries since then. The French were influenced by the Dutch flag which they just flipped from the Dutch horizontal level to vertical level. Before the French tricolor flag most of the flags were ornamental and decorative containing many details. The tricolour changed that custom and nowadays most of the national flags are very simplistic.

2. French Revolution

The French Revolution is seen as one of the most important events in world history. The revolution started in 1789 and the outcome was that the monarchy was abolished, the church wasn't the highest authority anymore, it was now part of the state. The revolution accelerated the rise of republics and democracies and the institution of many human rights.

Despite the fact that the revolution brought revolutionary reforms, France was in chaos. In 1794 the radical Jacobins rose in power with Maximilian de Robespierre as their leader. This was a time of authoritarian rule which led to the overthrow and execution of Robespierre in 1799. After executing Robespierre Napoleon Bonaparte rose in power and crowned himself the emperor in 1804, so the First Republic didn't last that long. Napoleon then started wars with other European nations and that didn't end well. Napoleon lost in Waterloo in 1815 and monarchy was restored in France as the Bourbons rose in power.

French Revolution

3. Hundred-Years War

The Hundred-Years War was actually a collection of many different conflicts between 1328 and 1453. So it lasted 125 years and the war was between England and France. The war was initiated by a succession crisis after the French ruling family House of Capet fell in the lack of direct male heirs.

In the beginning of the war England had some land possessions in France, but as a result of all the conflicts England lost all of its lands in the continent. One of the turning points in the war was when Jeanne d'Arc, the young French girl motivated the French troops defeat the English in Orleans in 1429. 

Jeanne d'Arc

4. French Colonies

The colonial history of France is divided into two periods. The first colonial empire lasted from 1534 until 1814. The second colonial empire began with the conquest of Algiers in 1830 and lasted until 1980.

France had its most notable colonies in North America, Indochina and West Africa. France had also land possessions in the Caribbean, Indian Ocean and the Pacific which comprised of small islands. Many of these islands are still French territories.

After the Second World War the French colonial system started falling apart. There were uprisings and conflicts in many colonies like Algeria and Indochina for example. After the Fourth French Republic fell in 1958, France started disassembling peacefully their colonial system. In 1980 Vanuatu was the last French colony to gain independence.

5. Five French Republics

First Republic 1792-1804
Started in 1792 when monarchy was abolished in the French Revolution, ended when Napoleon overtook the power and crowned himself as the emperor in 1804.

Second Republic 1848-1852
Monarchy is abolished again and France got its second republic. Napoleon's nephew Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte was elected as the president. In 1852 the history repeated itself when Louis-Napoleon crowned himself as the emperor Napoleon III.

Third Republic 1870-1940
Started when France lost the war in the Franco-Prussian war and when Louis-Napoleon was overthrown. Ended when Nazi Germany defeated France in the World War II in 1940 and established the Vichy France government.

Fourth Republic 1946-1958
Resembled the third republic and the new constitution was adopted after the end of World War II in 1946. This period was an era of economic growth and the establishment of comprehensive social security systems. The fourth republic collapsed after the Algerian crisis in 1958.

Fifth Republic 1958-Present
Emerged after the fall of the fourth republic. The decolonization of Africa started already in the end of the fourth republic but during the first decades of the Fifth Republic, France disassembled their entire colonial system.


1200 BC A Celtic tribe called the Gauls inhabit France
600 BC The Greeks establish the colony of Massilia which evolves into Marseille in the future
100 BC The Romans established Provincia Romana at the current Provence area
51 BC Julius Caesar beats the Gauls
486 King Klodovig beats the Romans and makes Paris the capital
768 Charlemagne takes the Frankish throne
800 Charlemagne is crowned as the first Holy Roman Emperor
843 Charlemagne's grandsons divide the kingdom into three parts 
1066 Part of the western France moves under England's possession as William the Conqueror rises in power in England
1180 Paris develops into Europe's leading university city and culture center after Philip II from the House of Capet is crowned the king
1328 The House of Capet dies out, which creates a bitter succession dispute between the French and the English, starting the Hundred Years' War
1589 Henry IV of France rises in power being the first Bourbon king
1643 The 5-year old Ludvig XIV "Sun King" starts his 72 years lasting rule 1789 The French revolution starts
1799 Napoleon Bonaparte seizes power
1803 Napoleon crowns himself the Emperor
1815 Napoleon loses in Waterloo and France returns to a monarchy again
1830 The Bourbons are overthrown and Ludvig Philip from the House of Orleans becomes the king
1848 Monarchy ends and France gets its second Republic, Napoleon's nephew Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte is elected the president
1852 Louis-Napoleon crowns himself Emperor Napoleon III
1870 Lost war against Germany, France loses Elsass and a part of Lothringen
1940 The Germans occupy France in WW II and establish the government of Vichy
1945 Charles de Gaulle leads the interim regime after the war but resigns in 1946
1958 The Algerian War led to the fall of the Fourth Republic, Charles de Gaulle becomes the president of the Fifth Republic
1960s France dismantled their colonial system 
1981 The new president, socialist Francois Miterrand nationalized banks, raised minimum wages and developed welfare services
1995 Jacques Chirac is elected as president


keskiviikko 26. elokuuta 2015

Western Sahara, Cool Facts #62

<= 61. Comoros                                                                                                               63. France =>

1. Undisputed State

Western Sahara is an undisputed state which is currently recognized by 45 UN member states and South Ossetia. 

39 UN member states have withdraw or suspended the recognition. 

Currently the Western Sahara, or Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic like it is called, is a part of Morocco. 

Red = supports Morocco, Green = recognizes Western Sahara

2. Partition of Western Sahara

1973 The Polisario liberation front started the fight for independence against Spain.

1976 Spain made a partition plan together with Morocco and Mauritania. As Morocco and Mauritania split Western Sahara, Polisario declared the country as the independent Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic and started the guerrilla war against Morocco. Polisario got support from Algeria.

1979 Mauritania withdrew from the southern parts of Western Sahara and thereupon Morocco occupied the whole territory of Western Sahara. Morocco isolated the population centers of the northern parts from the mining areas and the coastal cities with a barriers. The rest of the country, which is practically dead desert, was left to Polisario's control.

1991 cease-fire between Polisario and Morocco. A referendum considering the independence of Western Sahara was scheduled but up to this day, it has never happened. The main dispute concerning the referendum, is how is eligible to participate the referendum.

Polisario troops

3. Morocco and Polisario controlled areas

Western Sahara is divided into two areas, which are divided by a 2720 kilometers long wall. The western part is controlled by Morocco and the most important cities and phosphate mines are there. The rest of the country is just deserted deserts and no-mans land, which is controlled by Polisario.

4. Western Sahara Economy

Western Sahara became a Spanish province called Spanish Sahara in 1958 and in 1965 vast phosphate deposits were found in Bou Craa, in Spanish Sahara. These findings transformed the dead land valuable and Spanish Sahara started even competing with Morocco, which was the biggest producer of phosphate in the world. Later Western Sahara became part of Morocco and currently Morocco controls these phosphate mines being overwhelmingly the number one country in the world with the biggest phosphate deposits. 

Otherwise Western Sahara is more of an economic burden for Morocco as it has to subsidy Western Sahara with a huge 800 million dollar subsidy program. The subsidies are used to support life in this territory with scarce natural resources like water and it's extremely costly. Fuel is also sold at half the price and basic goods are heavily subsidized. Without Morocco's support it's believed that Western Sahara would be economically unviable and therefore unable to support the life of the Western Saharan people. 

Bou Craa phosphate mine

5. People of Western Sahara

The population of Western Sahara is estimated to be around 550,000 people. The indigenous people are called Sahrawis, who are of Berber origin. The Sahrawis speak either Hassaniya Arabic or Berber languages. Many of them are mixed Berber-Arab heritage. The census is hard to carry out in Western Sahara because of political issues but also because the Sahrawis are nomadic Bedouins constantly moving from place to place. Their lifestyle resembles to that of the Tuareg Berbers, from whom the Sahrawis most likely have descended.

The people of Western Sahara speak Spanish (because of the colonial past), Berber and Hassaniya dialect of Arabic.


1000s Moroccon Almoravids conquer northwestern Africa
1400s The Portuguese visit Western Sahara
1500s The Spanish establish settlements and trade posts
1524 Moroccon Sultans banish the Spanish
1860 The Spanish return and declare the coastal area of Rio de Oro as their protectorate
1958 Western Sahara becomes a Spanish province
1965 Large phosphate deposits are found in Bou Craa
1973 Polisario liberation front starts the fight for independence against Spain
1976 Western Sahara was partitioned between Morocco and Mauritania, Polisario starts the guerrilla war against Morocco and declares Western Sahara independent getting support from Algeria
1979 Mauritania abandoned all claims on Western Sahara
1991 War ends with a cease-fire between Polisario and Morocco

"Maailman maat liput ja historia" by Kimmo Kiljunen

torstai 13. elokuuta 2015

Comoros, Cool Facts #61

<= 60. Bahrain                                                                                                 62. Western Sahara => 

1. Geography

The Comoros islands is geographically constituted of four islands, which are Grande Comore, Moheli, Anjouan and Mayotte. Although Mayotte doesn't belong to the state of Comoros, it's a part of France in fact. Comoros lies in the Indian Ocean between northern Mozambique and Madagascar. In 1997 Anjouan and Moheli islands rebelled as they demanded for independence or restoring the French rule. France rejected which resulted the islands to declare independence. This led to fights between the federal government and the rebels. So from the four islands, one is part of France, three belong to the independent state of Comoros but two of them want independence.

2. Languages

Three languages are spoken in Comoros. Arabi, French and Comorian. Shikomor is the name of the Comorian language and it's related to Swahili. 

Shikomor is the most common language and it's spoken on all four islands. 

Arabic is a second language, being the language of Quaring teaching because the majority of the population are Muslims. 

French is the administrate language and the language of formal education. 

Kibushi, is a Malagasy language spoken by about a third of the population of Mayotte. 

The variety of languages spoken in Comoros demonstrate how different population groups have arrived to Comoros along the centuries. People from Southeast Asia, Middle East, Africa and Europe have come to Comoros and influenced how it is currently. The Comorian are a mixture of these different races. 

Comoran wedding guests

3. Mayotte 

Mayotte is the outermost region of the European Union. Comoros has claimed the island of Mayotte for itself, but the people of Mayotte don't want to join Comoros. Mayotte enjoys the support of France and it's the wealthiest island in the region. Comoros as an unstable country with about 20 coups during its independence has resulted in people moving from the unstable and poor Comoros to Mayotte, both legally and illegally.

The historical reasons for Comoros to reclaim Mayotte are that the four islands were governed as a single administration since 1908. In 1912 they became a province of the Madagascar colony. When Comoros became independent in 1975 Mayotte stayed with France and in the following referendums it has always voted for staying under French rule.


4. Volcanoes

There is volcanic activity in Comoros and the islands were actually formed by volcanic activity. 

In the biggest island Grande Comore there are two volcanoes, Karthala and La Grille. Karthala is the active volcano and it has erupted over 20 times since the 1800s. The last eruptions where in 2005 and 2006. Mount Karthala is a shield volcano forming the country's highest point at 2,361 meters. The crater lake was 3 by 4 km in size before it was destroyed in 2005 eruptions. Over 40,000 citizens had to be evacuated. 

Mount Karthala

5. Ylang-Ylang

Comoros is the world's biggest producer of ylang-ylang. Ylang-ylang is a tropical tree valued for its perfume. The oil from the flowers is used in aromatherapy. The plant is originally from the Philippines and Indonesia. The name is derived from Tagalog word "ilang" meaning wilderness. Perfume distillation is the only considerable industry in Comoros. 

Ylang-ylang flower


1503 The Portuguese visited the archipelago for the first time
1793 Malagasy warriors from Madagascar started raiding the islands for slaves
1841 France established colonial rule in the Comoros
1886 All the Comoros Sultanates are under French rule
1912 Comoros is attached as a part of the French Madagascar
1961 Comoros gets autonomy
1975 Comoros becomes independent
1997 Anjouan and Mohel islands want to restore the French colony rule or become independent
1999 Comoros experienced the 18th coup since the independence president Massounde was overthrown by Colonel Azali Assoumani
2002 Azali wins the democratic elections
2006 First peaceful and democratic exchange of power in Comoros
2008 Crisis in Anjouan
2009 Mayotte referendum, people voted for gaining the status of a French department

Maailman maat liput ja historia by Kimmo Kiljunen

keskiviikko 12. elokuuta 2015

Bahrain, Cool Facts #60

<= 59. Djibouti                                                                                                              61. Comoros => 

1. Geography of Bahrain 

Bahrain is a small island in the Persian Gulf. The main island is 55 km long and 18 km wide. The total area is only 765 square kilometers. Bahrain is connected to Saudi-Arabia with a 25 km long bridge and there are plans to construct a 40 km long bridge to Qatar. The sea is important for Bahrain, because of the trade Bahrain has been for centuries an important trade base in the Persian Gulf. Even the name of the country comes from the sea, "Bahr" means sea in Arabic and "Bahrayn" is the dual form of sea, meaning "the two seas".

King Fahd Causeway, the bridge between Bahrain and Saudi Arabia

2. Ancient Bahrain

Before Islam Bahrain was a center of Nestorian Christianity. The Byzantine Empire considered them as heretics though, but Bahrain was outside of the Empire's reach luckily. Bahrain was influenced mostly by Persia and the Hellenistic world in the antiquity. The upper class spoke Greek while the common people Aramaic. Even some Greek athletic contests were held in Bahrain. Some Greek historians believed that the Phoenicians originated from Bahrain, but these claims haven't been confirmed by modern historians. Also Persian Zoroastrians and Jews inhabited the pre-Islamic Bahrain.

Nestorian Christian missions in Asia

3. UK rule in Bahrain 

1820 The Al-Khalifa family was recognized as the rulers of Bahrain by the UK
1860 Bahrain got the status of a UK protectorate
1892 Bahrain became a UK colony

The British Charles Belgrave was an adviser to the ruler from the 1920s until 1957. He brought great reforms in Bahrain like the establishment of the first modern school in 1919 and the first school for girls in the Persian Gulf in 1928. Slavery was also abolished in 1937. Bahrain was also the first Arab country to start oil drilling in 1932. Slowly pearl fishing had to move aside and oil production started to transform Bahrain wealthy.

1971 Bahrain becomes independent

Salman bin Hamad Al-Khalifa and Charles Belgrave

4. Al-Khalifa Dynasty 

Originally the Al-Khalifa family lived in Umm Qasr, Iraq, where they robbed caravans of Basra and pirated ships until the Turks expelled them to Kuwait. The Al-Khalifa family moved to Bahrain in 1797 and in 1820 the Al-Khalifa tribe was recognized as the rulers of Bahrain by Great Britain. 

The Al-Khalifa family is still ruling Bahrain and more than a half of the Bahraini ministers belong to the Al-Khalifa family. The current prime minister Khalifa bin Salman al-Khalifa has been the prime minister of Bahrain since 1970, which is a world record in duration. He is the uncle of the current king Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa. 

Hamad was coronated in 2002 as a king and he replaced his father Isa bin Salman Al-Khalifa in 1999.  His father's rule was quite oppressive and Hamad modernized the country in terms of human rights, which still remain a problem like the Arab Spring demonstrated in 2011. 

Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa, current king of Bahrain

5. Bahraini Flag 

1820 Bahrain until this a red flag as their symbol, but as a request from the British they added a white stripe to demonstrate that it's not a pirate ship because piracy was a huge problem at the time in the Persian Gulf.

1932 The flag was modified to distinguish it from the similar flags of Dubai and Ajman. Twenty eight sawteeth were added.

1972 The amount of sawteeth was diminished to 9 from 28. Bahrain had just become independent and refused to join the federation with Qatar and the seven Emirates which became the current United Arab Emirates. The nine sawteeth represent the seven Emirates, Qatar and Bahrain, Bahrain representing the eighth Emirate Qatar the ninth.
2002 The amount of sawteeth was decreased from 9 to 5. These five sawteeth represent the five holy pillars of Islam, which are the faith, prayer, alms-giving, fasting and the pilgrimage to Mecca. The reason to this symbolism was to decrease the confrontation between the Shia and Sunni population of Bahrain.


628 Bahrain was among the first areas to convert into Islam 
899-976 The Qarmatians ruled in Bahrain trying to create a utopian society 
1076-1235 The Uyunids ruled Bahrain 
1253 Bedouin Usfurids gained control over eastern Arabia 
1330 Bahrain became a tributary state of the rulers of Hormuz 
1400s The Jabrids ruled Bahrain 
1521 The Portuguese started ruling the area allying with Hormuz against the Jabrids
1602 The Portuguese are expelled by the Safavid dynasty of Persia 
1753-1783 Iran's rule is restored 
1797 Al Khalifa family moves to Bahrain 
1820 Al Khalifa dynasty was recognized as the rulers by the United Kingdom after signing a treaty
1860 To diminish the influence of the Saudis and Persia, United Kingdom transformed Bahrain into a protectorate
1868 Qatari-Bahraini War
1892 Bahrain is supressed to a colony of the United Kingdom after a coup 
1932 The flag of Bahrain was changed to distinguish it from the flags of Dubai and Ajman
1971 Bahrain becomes independent
1972 Bahrain joins the UN and the Arab League
1981 Shia fundamentalists try to overthrow the Sunna Emir 
1999 Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa becomes the new ruler modernizing the country 
2002 Flag reform, the amount of sawteeth in the flag is diminished from 9 to 5
2011 Arab Spring, USA fears for its military base and comes to support king Khalifa, who requested troops from Saudi-Arabia and the UAE to help, the demonstrations for democracy were violent 

Maailman maat liput ja historia by Kimmo Kiljunen 

tiistai 11. elokuuta 2015

Djibouti, Cool Facts #59

<= 58. Qatar                                                                                                                60. Bahrain =>  

1. Djibouti Population  

60% of the population are Somali Issa people
35% of the population are Afars
5% of the population are Arabs, Ethiopians and Europeans, predominantly French and Italians
French and Arabic are the official languages
Somali and Afar are the most common mother languages in Djibouti

Afar man in nomadic clothes

2. Suez Canal and Djibouti 

The Suez Canal was under construction in the 1860s and finished in 1869. The canal was designed by French engineers and to ensure the smooth ship traffic in the Red Sea the French acquired the harbor of Obock on the coast of the Red Sea.

The Italians acquired Massawa from Eritrea as their trade base and the British had a base in Yemen, on the Gulf of Aden. After a while the French found a natural harbor which was better than Obock and they established the city of Djibouti there.

From there the French monitored the ship traffic in the Red Sea. In 1896 Obock and Djibouti were united as the French Somaliland. The whole purpose for the establishment of Djibouti was to monitor the traffic in the Red Sea.


3. Djibouti Independence 

Djibouti became independent in 1977 from France after the third referendum about Djibouti's status. The first two referendums were held in 1958 and 1967.

1958 - First Referendum, 75% of the people voted for staying a French territory and not joining Somalia
1967 - Second Referendum, 61% of the people wanted to stay part of France and not become independent
1977 Third Referendum, 99,8% of the people voted for independence

After the 1967 referendum Djibouti's name was changed from French Somaliland to "French Territory of the Afars and the Issas". After 1977 referendum when the country got independence they changed their name as Djibouti. Hassan Gouled Aptidon was the first president of the country, ruling until 1999.

Hassan Gouled Aptidon, Djiboutian president 1977-1999

4. Djiboutian Civil War 

In 1991 the Afar rebel group called FRUD invaded from Ethiopia and started fighting against the Issa led government. They demanded for a multiparty system and a better distribution of power. The French military involvement in the civil war saved the regime of Aptidon. 

In 1999 president Aptidon stepped aside and his nephew Ismail Omer Guelleh became the new president. In 2001 the final peace treaty was signed and FRUD was allowed to participate the elections. It merged with RPP because the law says that the winner of the elections gets all the parliament seats. 

Djiboutian soldiers

5. Economy of Djibouti 

Djibouti is a tiny country of only 23,200 square kilometers, it's mostly desert so Djibouti has to import a lot of food because the land isn't arable. There are also no natural reserves so the economy is largely concentrated on the service sector.

Proportion of different sectors of the GDP 

Service sector 79,7%
Industry 17,3%
Agriculture 3%

The port of Djibouti is the most important source of income for Djibouti with the railway road which leads to Djibouti from Ethiopian capital Addis Abeba. Especially now when Eritrea closed their harbors for Ethiopia, Djibouti is the only export harbor for Ethiopia.

Port of Djibouti
Djibouti's product export, 2009


800s Afari and Issa tribes convert into Islam
1200s The Somali clans establish the Sultanate of Ifat
1415 The Sultanate of Adal replaces Ifat
1527 Adal's Sultan Ahmad al-Ghazi tried to conquer the Kingdom of Abyssinia but failed after some victories when the Portuguese came to help the Coptic Christian Abyssinia, after al-Ghazi's death Adal broke down into small separate city-states
1860s Suez Canal is built by the French engineers
1862 The French buy the Obock harbor from the Afar Sultan to monitor the ship traffic in the Red Sea, near Obock they found an even better natural harbor and established the city of Djibouti
1896 Obock and Djibouti are united into the French Somaliland
1897 Railway connection from Ethiopia to Djibouti is opened
1958 A referendum to decide if Djibouti wants to join the Somali Republic or remain with France
1967 The name of the country is changed to French Territory of the Afars and the Issas and a second referendum about the country's status
1977 Third referendum which resulted into the independence of Djibouti, Hassan Gouled Aptidon becomes the first president
1991 The civil war between the Issa led government and Afar rebels begin
1999 Aptidon moves aside and his nephew Ismail Omer Guelleh becomes the new president
2001 Civil war ends with a peace treaty
2002 USA establishes a military base in Djibouti from which it has attacked Somalia and Iraq
2003 To restrain the amount of refugees the government expels 15% of the population

Maailman maat liput ja historia by Kimmo Kiljunen

maanantai 10. elokuuta 2015

Qatar, Cool Facts #58

<= 57. Oman                                                                                                             59. Djibouti =>

1. Al-Thani Family 

The Al-Thani family has been in power since 1868 when the Qatari-Bahraini War ended. That war ended Bahrain's Al-Khalifa family's control in Qatar, against which the Qatari had fought for a long time. The Al-Thani family regards the oil deposits as their personal income although they have used the profits to develop the whole country. Three times the leadership has been transitioned forcefully but the power has remained in the Al-Thani family, all these forced abdications were forced by a son or nephew. The current leader Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani has been in power since 2013.

1949 Ali Al-Thani seizes power from his uncle
1960 Ahmad Al-Thani seizes power from his father
1995 Hamad Al-Thani seizes power from his father

Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani

2. World's Richest Country 

Qatar is the world's richest country per capita. Their wealth comes from the vast oil deposits. Oil was discovered in Qatar in 1940, in Dukhan Field. Qatar has huge natural gas and oil deposits, their oil deposits will last at least the next 40 years. Qatar has diversified their economy by developing the banking, financial and other industries.

Effects of the oil profits: 

High standard of living
Free healthcare, education and social services but only for native Qataris
Native Qataris are provided with free apartments
No income taxes
Low gross taxes
Unemployment rate in 6/2013 was 0,1%
None of the 2 million residents live below poverty level

3. Pearl hunting 

Before Qatar experienced a rapid development thanks to the oil profits it was a poor country which got income from fishing and pearl hunting. Qatar was a remote corner in the Arabian Peninsula with few inhabitants who were fishers, pearl hunters and nomads who herded camels. The pearl markets shrunk when the Japanese introduced the cultured pearl in the 1920s.

A report by the Ottoman Empire states that Qatar's total income from pearls in 1892 was 2,45 million kran.

Pearl diving

4. Qataris and immigrants 

About 20% of the 2 million strong population are native Qataris, the rest are migrant workers from other Arab countries, Iran, Southern Asia and the Philippines. The immigrants constitute 90% of the work-force. These immigrants are treated really badly while they have really few rights to fight against the unjust acts. They aren't always paid in time, their passports are confiscated and they might experience beatings and sexual assault. The expatriate workers don't get Qatari citizenship nor can they bring their family with them.

5. Qatari Law

Qatar's legislation is mainly based on sharia law. Here are some facts about law in Qatar:

- A female's testimony is worth half a man's, in some cases female witness is not accepted at all
- Flogging is used as a punishment for alcohol consumption or illegal sexual relations
- Punishment for adultery is 100 lashes
- Adultery punishable by death if a Muslim woman and a non-Muslim man are involved
- Stoning is a legal punishment
- Apostasy is a crime punishable by the death penalty. So if you abandon Islam you have committed apostasy
- Blasphemy is punishable up to 7 years in prison (mocking or ridiculing the principles of a religion)
- Proselytizing can be punished up to 10 years in prison (converting people from one religion to another)
- Muslims who consume alcohol are liable to flogging or expulsion from the country

Countries which use still stoning as punishment

Countries which consider blasphemy as a crime
Where converting people from Islam is illegal


600s Islam spreads to the area
1253 The Usfurids control much of Eastern Arabia
1320 The prince of Ormus seizes the control
1515 Kingdom of Ormus visualized by Portugal 
1550 The inhabitants of Al-Hasa voluntarily submitted to the rule of the Ottomans, preferring them to the Portuguese
1670 The Ottomans were expelled by the Bani Khalid tribe
1800s Qatar belongs to the Al-Khalifa dynasty
1867 Qatari people rise to demand for their rights with Mohammed bin Thani's lead
1867-1868 Qatari-Bahraini War, The Al-Thani family has ruled Qatar since the end of this war 
1871 The Ottomans conquer Qatar and keep it until the WW I 
1916 As the Ottoman Empire fell, Qatar becomes an Al-Thani led British protectorate 
1930s Oil findings in Qatar
1932 Qatar gets a flag which distinguishes it from Dubai, Ajman and Bahrain 
1949 Sheikh Ali al-Thani is crowned 
1968 Qatar and Bahrain join a federation with 7 Emirates 
1971 Qatar resigned the federation which was to become the current United Arab Emirates 
1972 Khalifa al-Thani seizes power in a palace coup taking power from his cousin Ahmed al-Thani
1974 Qatar General Petroleum Company takes control of all oil production 
1995 Emir Hamad al-Thani seizes control from his father Ahmed al-Thani with the support of the armed forces and neighboring countries

Maailman maat liput ja historia by Kimmo Kiljunen

lauantai 8. elokuuta 2015

Oman, Cool Facts #57

<= 56. Mauritania                                                                                                       58. Qatar =>

1. Powerful Oman

In 1698 the Imam of Oman, Saif bin Sultan conquered Mombasa and Sansibar from the Portuguese. In the 1800s Oman had strengthened and they became a regional power. Oman possessed land areas in Persia, Baluchistan, Pakistan and on the East African coast including the Comoros islands.
In 1837 the Sultan of Oman even moved their capital to Sansibar, which belongs to the current Tanzania.
Sansibar was the economic and power center of East Africa which was led by the Arabs who also used it as a slave trade post.

2. Paranoid Ruler Sa'id ibn Taimur

In 1959 the Sultan of Oman, Sa'id ibn Taimur united the country which had split into two. The inlands were ruled by the Imam and the coast was under the Sultan's power. In 1966 ibn Taimur survived a murder attempt after which he became really paranoid. He banned the usage of glasses and  grounded his son Qaboos bin Said al-Said.

In 1970 Qaboos superseded then his father with the help of the British. The following year Oman declared itself fully independent, changing the flag at the same time. Sultan Qaboos has been the ruler of Oman since the overthrow of his father.

Said ibn Taimur

3. Strait of Hormuz

The Americans got the license to use the military base on the Masirah island when the British had dismantled their base in the late 1970s. From the Masirah island, USA monitors the Strait of Hormuz, through which a huge part of the world's crude oil is transported. About 20% of the world's petroleum passes through the strait which is the reason why the Strait of Hormuz is a major strategic location for international trade.

4. Stable Arab country

Oman is one of the rare stable Arab countries, the Sultan Qaboos bin Said al-Said has modernized the country and used the oil profits to develop the country. Oman has free healthcare, compulsory education for both boys and girls, which have improved the living conditions.

The human rights situation isn't good in Oman and the remote country is still quite closed from the outside world but otherwise there are no political risks which would threat the ruling Albusaid Dynasty's power.

Qaboos bin Said (right) meeting Queen Elizabeth

5. Donkeys and the Freedom of Speech in Oman

How are donkeys and the freedom of speech interconnected ? Well in Oman donkeys are used to express people's anti-regime views. Oman is an absolute monarchy and the Sultan doesn't tolerate any criticism. Criticism against the Sultan and the government is even prohibited by the law. People who violate this law will be fined or put into jail. This is the reason why donkeys carry billboards expressing the discontent of the people against the regime.


600s Arabs spread Islam in the area
1000s Sultan Bani Nabhad's dynasty ruled the area for the following 500 years
1507 The Portuguese conquer Masqat on the coast
1650 Portugal withdraws from the area as the Ottoman Empire supports the Al Ya'arub dynasty
1698 Imam of Oman, Saif bin Sultan conquered Mombasa and Sansibar from the Portuguese
1741 Ahmed bin Said conquers Masqat and ends the Ottoman rule by establishing the Sultanate which has been in power until these days
1800s In the beginning of the century Oman occupied areas in Persia, current Pakistan and on the East African coast
1837 The Sultan of Oman moved the capital to Sandbar
1900s The tribes rose against the Sultan of Masqat with the Imam of Oman
1920 The Imam who had proclaimed himself the leader was murdered
1954 Sultan Said bin Timur ended the autonomy of the inner parts of Oman
1960s The Sultan gets help from the British and Iran defeating the leftist guerrilla movement in Dhofar in the south 
1970 Qaboos bin Said al-Said overthrows his father from power
2003 The Consultative Counsil is elected the first time in public elections
2005 Islamist group coup attempt which is prevented
2011 Arab Spring spread to Oman, the Sultan promised to create jobs and raise the salaries