Ruling family of Qatar belonging to the Bani Tamim tribe of Wahhabi persuasion. They settled in the Qatari peninsula in the 18th century and were under the authority of the Al-Khalifa residing in Manama (main city in the Bahrain archipelago) until the 1860s when the British recognized them as the ruling family in the peninsula which was at the time part of the Ottoman Empire.

In 1916, after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, a formal treaty was signed between the second Al-Thani ruler, Sheikh Abdullah, and the British by which the latters took control of the defence and external relations of Qatar.

Qatar was ruled by his grandson and 4th Al-Thani ruler, Sheikh Ahmad ibn Ali, when it became totally independent in 1971. His title was then changed from Sheikh to Amir.

The next year, in February, the Amir Ahmad was replaced in a bloodless coup by his first cousin Khalifa ibn Ahmad Al-Thani.

In another bloodless coup, the Amir Khalifa was himself replaced in June 1995 by his son Hamad ibn Khalifa Al-Thani.

In 2013, Tammam al-Thani replaced his father following his resignation.