Government of UAE - History

Government of UAE - History

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Government type: This entry gives the basic form of government. Definitions of the major governmental terms are as follows. (Note that for some countries more than one definition applies.): Absolute monarchy - a form of government where the monarch rules unhindered, i.e., without any laws, constitution, or legally organized opposition. Anarchy - a condition of lawlessness or political disorder brought about by the absence of governmental authority. Authoritarian - a form of government in whic . more Government type field listing
federation of monarchies
Capital: This entry gives the name of the seat of government, its geographic coordinates, the time difference relative to Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) and the time observed in Washington, DC, and, if applicable, information on daylight saving time (DST). Where appropriate, a special note has been added to highlight those countries that have multiple time zones. Capital field listing
name: Abu Dhabi
geographic coordinates: 24 28 N, 54 22 E
time difference: UTC+4 (9 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions: This entry generally gives the numbers, designatory terms, and first-order administrative divisions as approved by the US Board on Geographic Names (BGN). Changes that have been reported but not yet acted on by the BGN are noted. Geographic names conform to spellings approved by the BGN with the exception of the omission of diacritical marks and special characters. Administrative divisions field listing
7 emirates (imarat, singular - imarah); Abu Zaby (Abu Dhabi), 'Ajman, Al Fujayrah, Ash Shariqah (Sharjah), Dubayy (Dubai), Ra's al Khaymah, Umm al Qaywayn
Independence: For most countries, this entry gives the date that sovereignty was achieved and from which nation, empire, or trusteeship. For the other countries, the date given may not represent "independence" in the strict sense, but rather some significant nationhood event such as the traditional founding date or the date of unification, federation, confederation, establishment, fundamental change in the form of government, or state succession. For a number of countries, the establishment of statehood . more Independence field listing
2 December 1971 (from the UK)
National holiday: This entry gives the primary national day of celebration - usually independence day. National holiday field listing
Independence Day (National Day), 2 December (1971)
Constitution: This entry provides information on a country’s constitution and includes two subfields. The history subfield includes the dates of previous constitutions and the main steps and dates in formulating and implementing the latest constitution. For countries with 1-3 previous constitutions, the years are listed; for those with 4-9 previous, the entry is listed as “several previous,” and for those with 10 or more, the entry is “many previous.” The amendments subfield summarizes the process of am . more Constitution field listing
history: previous 1971 (provisional); latest drafted in 1979, became permanent May 1996
amendments: proposed by the Supreme Council and submitted to the Federal National Council; passage requires at least a two-thirds majority vote of Federal National Council members present, and approval by the Supreme Council president; amended 2009 (2016)
Legal system: This entry provides the description of a country's legal system. A statement on judicial review of legislative acts is also included for a number of countries. The legal systems of nearly all countries are generally modeled upon elements of five main types: civil law (including French law, the Napoleonic Code, Roman law, Roman-Dutch law, and Spanish law); common law (including United State law); customary law; mixed or pluralistic law; and religious law (including Islamic law). An addition . more Legal system field listing
mixed legal system of Islamic law and civil law
International law organization participation: This entry includes information on a country's acceptance of jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) and of the International Criminal Court (ICCt); 59 countries have accepted ICJ jurisdiction with reservations and 11 have accepted ICJ jurisdiction without reservations; 122 countries have accepted ICCt jurisdiction. Appendix B: International Organizations and Groups explains the differing mandates of the ICJ and ICCt. International law organization participation field listing
has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt
Citizenship: This entry provides information related to the acquisition and exercise of citizenship; it includes four subfields: citizenship by birth describes the acquisition of citizenship based on place of birth, known as Jus soli, regardless of the citizenship of parents. citizenship by descent only describes the acquisition of citizenship based on the principle of Jus sanguinis, or by descent, where at least one parent is a citizen of the state and being born within the territorial limits of the s . more Citizenship field listing
citizenship by birth: no
citizenship by descent only: the father must be a citizen of the United Arab Emirates; if the father is unknown, the mother must be a citizen
dual citizenship recognized: no
residency requirement for naturalization: 30 years
Suffrage: This entry gives the age at enfranchisement and whether the right to vote is universal or restricted. Suffrage field listing
limited; note - rulers of the seven emirates each select a proportion of voters for the Federal National Council (FNC) that together account for about 12 percent of Emirati citizens
Executive branch: This entry includes five subentries: chief of state; head of government; cabinet; elections/appointments; election results. Chief of state includes the name, title, and beginning date in office of the titular leader of the country who represents the state at official and ceremonial functions but may not be involved with the day-to-day activities of the government. Head of government includes the name, title of the top executive designated to manage the executive branch of the government, a . more Executive branch field listing
chief of state: President KHALIFA bin Zayid Al-Nuhayyan (since 2 November 2004), ruler of Abu Zaby (Abu Dhabi) (since 4 November 2004); Vice President and Prime Minister MUHAMMAD BIN RASHID Al-Maktum (since 5 January 2006)
head of government: Prime Minister Vice President MUHAMMAD BIN RASHID Al-Maktum (since 5 January 2006); Deputy Prime Ministers SAIF bin Zayid Al-Nuhayyan, MANSUR bin Zayid Al-Nuhayyan (both since 11 May 2009)
cabinet: Council of Ministers announced by the prime minister and approved by the president
elections/appointments: president and vice president indirectly elected by the Federal Supreme Council - composed of the rulers of the 7 emirates - for a 5-year term (no term limits); election last held 3 November 2009 (next election NA); prime minister and deputy prime minister appointed by the president
election results: KHALIFA bin Zayid Al-Nuhayyan reelected president; FSC vote NA
note: there is also a Federal Supreme Council (FSC) composed of the 7 emirate rulers; the FSC is the highest constitutional authority in the UAE; establishes general policies and sanctions federal legislation; meets 4 times a year; Abu Zaby (Abu Dhabi) and Dubayy (Dubai) rulers have effective veto power
Legislative branch: This entry has three subfields. The description subfield provides the legislative structure (unicameral – single house; bicameral – an upper and a lower house); formal name(s); number of member seats; types of constituencies or voting districts (single seat, multi-seat, nationwide); electoral voting system(s); and member term of office. The elections subfield includes the dates of the last election and next election. The election results subfield lists percent of vote by party/coalition an . more Legislative branch field listing
description: unicameral Federal National Council (FNC) or Majlis al-Ittihad al-Watani (40 seats; 20 members indirectly elected by an electoral college whose members are selected by each emirate ruler proportional to its FNC membership, and 20 members appointed by the rulers of the 7 constituent states; members serve 4-year terms)
elections: last held on 3 October 2015 (next to be held in 2019); note - the electoral college was expanded from 129,274 electors in the December 2011 election to 224,279 in the October 2015 election; 347 candidates including 78 women ran for 20 contested seats in the 40-member FNC
election results: 19 men and 1 woman were elected; seats by emirate - Abu Dhabi 4, Dubai 4, Sharjah 3, Ras al-Khaimah 3, Ajman 2, Fujairah 2, Umm al-Quwain 2; note - only 1 woman (from Ras Al Khaimah) won an FNC seat
Judicial branch: This entry includes three subfields. The highest court(s) subfield includes the name(s) of a country's highest level court(s), the number and titles of the judges, and the types of cases heard by the court, which commonly are based on civil, criminal, administrative, and constitutional law. A number of countries have separate constitutional courts. The judge selection and term of office subfield includes the organizations and associated officials responsible for nominating and appointing j . more Judicial branch field listing
highest courts: Federal Supreme Court (consists of the court president and 4 judges; jurisdiction limited to federal cases)
judge selection and term of office: judges appointed by the federal president following approval by the Federal Supreme Council, the highest executive and legislative authority consisting of the 7 emirate rulers; judges serve until retirement age or the expiry of their appointment terms
subordinate courts: Federal Court of Cassation (determines the constitutionality of laws promulgated at the federal and emirate level; federal level courts of first instance and appeals courts); the emirates of Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and Ra's al Khaymah have parallel court systems; the other 4 emirates have incorporated their courts into the federal system; note - the Abu Dhabi Global Market Courts and the Dubai International Financial Center Courts, the country’s two largest financial free zones, both adjudicate civil and commercial disputes.
Political parties and leaders: This entry includes a listing of significant political parties, coalitions, and electoral lists as of each country's last legislative election, unless otherwise noted. Political parties and leaders field listing
none; political parties are banned

For centuries the region was mired in rivalries between local emirs on land while pirates scoured the seas and used the states’ shores as their refuge. Britain began attacking pirates to protect its trade with India. That led to British ties with the Trucial States’ emirs. The ties were formalized in 1820 after Britain offered protection in exchange for exclusivity: the emirs, accepting a truce brokered by Britain, pledged not to cede any land to ​any powers or make any treaties with anyone except Britain. They also agreed to settle subsequent disputes through British authorities. The subservient relationship was to last a century and a half, until 1971.​​​

By then, Britain’s imperial overreach was exhausted politically and bankrupt financially. Britain decided in 1971 to abandon Bahrain, Qatar, and the Trucial States, by then made up of seven emirates. Britain’s original aim was to combine all nine entities into a united federation.

Bahrain and Qatar balked, preferring independence on their own. With one exception, the Emirates agreed to the joint venture, risky as it seemed: the Arab world had, until then, never known a successful federation of disparate pieces, let alone bicker-prone emirs with egos enough to enrich the sandy landscape.

UAE's Constitution divides the federal powers into the judicial, legislative and executive branches. Besides, the executive and legislative powers are further divided into emirate and federal jurisdictions. The Constitution also established the role and position of both the President and the Vice President who are elected rulers from the seven emirates. The seven rulers form the Federal Supreme Council comprising of both a chairperson and vice chairman who are elected to serve a term of five years, the cabinet lead by the Prime Minister, and an independent judiciary including the Federal Supreme Court. Other members of the Federal Supreme Council include 40 members of the National Assembly, a supreme council of rulers, members of a consultative body featuring partially elected and appointed members by rulers of the seven emirates.

The UAE government has different responsibilities under the federal authority including, security and defense, public health, foreign affairs, education, nationality and immigration issues, extradition of criminals, labor relations, currency, banking, licensing of aircraft, air traffic control services, telephone, postal, and other communications. However, certain responsibilities are excluded from the Constitution's Article 120 and 121 but are under the jurisdiction of each emirate.

Coup attempt

1987 June - Attempted coup in Sharjah. Sheikh Sultan Bin-Muhammad al-Qasimi abdicates in favour of his brother after admitting financial mismanagement but is reinstated by the Supreme Council of Rulers.

1990 October - Sheikh Rashid Bin-Said Al Maktum dies and is succeeded by his son Sheikh Maktum Bin-Rashid Al Maktum as ruler of Dubai and UAE vice-president.

1991 - UAE forces join the allies against Iraq after the invasion of Kuwait.

1991 July - Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI) collapses. Abu Dhabi's ruling family owns a 77.4% share.

1992 Iran angers the UAE by saying visitors to Abu Musa and Greater and Lesser Tunb must have Iranian visas.

1993 December - Abu Dhabi sues BCCI's executives for damages.

1994 June - 11 of the 12 former BCCI executives accused of fraud are given jail sentences and ordered to pay compensation.

Know the key milestones in UAE history

Since its foundation in 1971, the UAE has been powering ahead with bold ambitions for the future, pushing its boundaries into space exploration and nuclear energy.

A beacon of prosperity, generosity and peace in the region, the UAE has demonstrated its care for all nationalities, at home and abroad, with social programmes and relief efforts continuing through the year. These numbers tell the story:

For the federation, 2015 was defined as the Year of Innovation, in accordance with the vision of its leadership in staying ahead of change. This inspiration will chart the road ahead for the UAE, reaching more milestones, both envisioned and spontaneous.


Sep 30 Shaikh Rashid Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Ruler of Dubai, opens the airport, implements innovative open-skies policy.


Dubai’s first central water supply connects 86,777 households.

Shaikh Rashid Bin Saeed Al Maktoum sets up the first municipal council in the emirate.


Oil is exported for the first time from Abu Dhabi.


Dubai city centre installed first street lights.


Aug 6 Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan becomes Ruler of Abu Dhabi.


Dubai TV station established.

Al Maqta Bridge in Abu Dhabi built.

Al Bateen Airport opens in Abu Dhabi.


Dubai exports oil for the first time.


Shaikh Rashid Bin Saeed Al Maktoum opens Dubai Museum housed in Al Fahidi Fort, one of the oldest structures in Dubai.

December 2 Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Fujairah and Umm Al Quwain sign the founding charter of the UAE.

Dec 9 The Supreme Council forms and has its first meeting in Abu Dhabi.

First UAE Cabinet formed with Shaikh Maktoum Bin Rashid Al Maktoum as Prime Minister.


Port Rashid, first of two man-made ports in Dubai, inaugurated.

February 11 Ras Al Khaimah signs the charter.

February 12 Federal National Council’s first session held.


May 19 The official currency of UAE, the dirham, issued.


His Highness Shaikh Hamad Bin Mohammad Al Sharqi becomes Ruler of Fujairah.


Shindagha tunnel between Deira and Bur Dubai opened.


Umm Al Nar oil refinery in Abu Dhabi opened.

Ras Al Khaimah airport inaugurated.

May 6 UAE Armed Forces formed by uniting each of the emirates.

Aug 30 (Etisalat) Emirates Telecommunications formerly known as Emirtel, established. UAE University established.


Dubai Natural Gas company established.


New Dubai Hospital completed.

Apr 30 Shaikh Rashid Bin Saeed Al Maktoum appointed Prime Minister of the UAE along with post of Vice-President.

Oct Dubai Aluminum Company (Dubal) in Jebel Ali begins operations.


Apr 22 Dugas plant in Dubai inaugurated.


Feb 21 Shaikh Ahmad Bin Rashid Al Mualla, Member of the UAE Supreme Council and Ruler of Umm Al Quwain, dies.

Feb 22 Shaikh Rashid Bin Ahmad Al Mualla becomes Ruler of Umm Al Quwain following the death of his father.

May 25 Gulf Cooperation Council formally launched in Abu Dhabi.

Sep 6 Shaikh Rashid Bin Humaid Al Nuaimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Ajman, dies after prolonged illness.

Sep 7 Shaikh Humaid Bin Rashid Al Nuaimi becomes the new Ruler of Ajman.


Jan 4 The new Abu Dhabi International Airport begins operations.

Jun 19 Shaikh Rashid Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, inaugurates Deira Clock Tower underpass.


March First Gulf Property Exhibition held.

May Fujairah Port, largest of the UAE’s ports, becomes fully operational.

May Dubai Drydocks starts operations.


Apr Construction of Sharjah’s Khalid Lagoon fountain — one of region’s highest — completed.

May 19 Ajman Cement Factory inaugurated.


Apr il Jebel Ali Free Zone (Jafza) established.

Oct 25 Emirates airline launched.


June Sharjah Liquefied Gas Company (Shalco) begins production.


Oct 29 Fujairah International Airport opens.


Jan 29 First Dubai Airshow launched.


Oct 7 Shaikh Rashid Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai, dies.

Oct 8 Shaikh Maktoum Bin Rashid Al Maktoum becomes Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.


Jan Invasion of Kuwait — UAE joins Operation Desert Storm.

Apr 15 Dubai Cargo Village receives first cargo flight marking the soft opening of new cargo terminal.


Feb 14 First International Defence Exhibition and Conference held in Abu Dhabi.


May 20 Dubai Transport Corporation’s taxi service launched.


Feb 15 First Dubai Shopping Festival inaugurated.

Mar 27 Dubai hosts world’s richest horse race, $4 million Dubai World Cup.

Apr 10 UAE becomes member of World Trade Organisation.

Jun 18 Abu Dhabi becomes federal capital after Federal National Council paves way to a permanent constitution.


May 1 Dubai International Airport Terminal 2 opens.


Jul 10 Advance party of UAE troops arrive at Vucitrn, some 30km north of Pristina, in the zone controlled by the French KFOR contingent.

Dec 1

Burj Al Arab hotel opens in Dubai.


Oct Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and UAE Minister of Defence, launches Dubai e-government.


Oct 28 Air Arabia launches operations.

Nov 5 Etihad launched with ceremonial flight from Abu Dhabi to Al Ain.

Nov 30 Shaikh Mohmmad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan appointed Deputy Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi.


Aug Shaikh Ahmad Bin Hasher Al Maktoum becomes First Emirati to win gold medal at the 2004 Olympics.

Nov 2 UAE President Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan dies. Nov 3 His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan becomes President of the UAE.

Nov General Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan becomes Abu Dhabi Crown Prince.


Jan 1 Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed appointed Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.


Jan 4 Shaikh Maktoum Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai, dies.

Jan 5 His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum becomes Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

Jul 10 President Khalifa launches National ID card project.

Dec 16 First ever national elections for Federal National Council held.


Feb Mobile telecommunication services of du launched across UAE.

Dec 21 Shaikh Zayed Grand Mosque opens to public.


Jan 13 US President George W. Bush arrives in Abu Dhabi on an official visit to UAE.

Oct 14 Emirates’ Terminal 3 in Dubai opens.


Jun 29 Abu Dhabi becomes home to International Renewable Energy Agency (Irena).

Sep 9
Dubai Metro opens.

Nov 1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, held at the Yas Marina Circuit.


Jan 4 World’s tallest tower Burj Khalifa opens in Dubai.

Jan 28 Dh10-billion Meydan grandstand and racecourse inaugurated.

Jun 26 Dubai Airports officially opens Dubai World Central (DWC) — Al Maktoum International Airport for cargo operations, welcoming inaugural flights operated by Rus Aviation, Skyline and Aerospace Consortium.

Oct 27 Shaikh Saqr Bin Mohammad Al Qasimi, Member of Supreme Council and Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah, dies and is succeeded by his son, His Highness Shaikh Saud Bin Saqr Bin Mohammad Al Qasimi as the new ruler of Ras Al Khaimah.

Nov 4 Ferrari World, world’s largest theme park, opens to public in Abu Dhabi.


Mar 13 South Korea signs a Memorandum of Agreement (MoU) with UAE to gain access to at least a billion barrels of crude oil reserves in oil deal with Adnoc.

May 16 The RAK Maritime City oficially launched.

Jul 11 Increase of 129, 274 in the electoral college that cast its votes for the 2nd FNC election compared to 6,500 in 2006.

Jul Al Ain becomes part of the Unesco World Heritage list, an honour for Al Ain’s rich history and treasure trove.


Jul 15 Habshan-Fujairah crude oil pipe makes its inaugural 500,000 barrels of crude exported to Pakistan.

Nov 24 Mohammad Bin Rashid City, a new development in Dubai that will feature the world’s largest mall and a park bigger than London’s Hyde Park, launched.

Dec 5 Shaikh Zayed Tunnel, one of the longest tunnels in the Middle East stretching 4.2 kilometres, opened to public in Abu Dhabi.

Dec 12 President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed inaugurates Khalifa Port in Abu Dhabi.


Mar 17 Shams 1, the world’s largest solar power plant located at Madinat Zayed is inaugurated by President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

Apr 8 M Station, UAE’s largest power production and water desalination plant in Jebel Ali. inaugurated.

Oct 22 Phase one of the 280,000 square metre Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Solar Park inaugurated in Dubai.

Oct 27 Al Maktoum International Airport at Dubai World Central inaugurated.


January 19 UAE Cabinet passes the National Service Law which stipulates compulsory military service for Emirati men aged between 18 to 30 and the service will be voluntary for women.

March 27 UAE government launches the first store for Smart Government Applications on the global level through the Android and iOS platforms, which offers more than 100 smart applications developed by UAE federal and local departments linking 700 customer services from one location.

May 5 Dubai’s new brand launched during the opening of Arabian Travel Market.

May 19 Dubai launches The World Free Zones Organisation (World FZO) in Dubai, responsible for implementing industry standardisation and best practices and protecting the interests of economic zones.

June 9 UAE launches UAE Government YouTube channel.

July 16 UAE announces space probe blast offs toward the Red Planet Mars in 2021, marking the first entry into space exploration by an Islamic country first Arab country and one of only nine countries with space programmes to explore Mars.

October 20 UAE Space Agency and EIAST sign agreement to build first Arab Islamic probe to reach Mars.

November 3 UAE celebrates Flag Day to commemorate His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan’s 10th anniversary as the nation’s president.

November 11 Dubai’s newest mode of transport, Dubai Tram, inaugurated.


January 1 UAE named world’s largest donor of official development assistance in 2013, according to Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) report.

January 9 Telethon to raise funds for Syrian refugees raises Dh150 million.

January 30 Shaikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, launches Dubai Innovation Hub.

February 7 UAE sends F16 squadron to Jordan in support of military efforts against Daesh.

February 9 Government Summit begins in Dubai.

February 16 UAE F-16 jets based in Jordan attack oil refineries under Daesh control.

March 4 Plans for Museum of the Future unveiled.

March 9 Solar Impulse 2 takes off from Abu Dhabi.

March 15 US teacher Nancie Atwell awarded $1 million Global Teacher Prize, at Global Education Skills Forum 2015, in Dubai.

March 17 Arab Social Media Influencers Summit held in Dubai.

April 4 Shaikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, inaugurates Makani (My location) initiative for geographic address system.

April 9 UAE ranked world’s largest donor of humanitarian aid in 2014, relative to its national income.

April 18 Dubai sets up Mohammad Bin Rashid Space Centre.

April 19 UAE Cabinet approves establishment of headquarters of a joint GCC Police Force in Abu Dhabi.

April 24 UAE ranked happiest Arab country in UN’s third World Happiness Report.

May 6 Name of first Arab probe to Mars called ‘Hope’ or Al Amal in Arabic announced.

May 6 UAE and European Union sign landmark agreement allowing Emiratis to visit Schengen countries without a visa.

May 7 Sharjah Centre for Space Sciences and Astronomy opens in University City of Sharjah.

May 20 Abu Dhabi named Arab Environment Capital for 2015.

May 25 UAE announces plans to establish first Space Research Centre in the Middle East.

June 14 Her Highness Shaikha Fatima Bint Mubarak named Islamic Personality of the Year 2015, first to be conferred on a woman.

June 16 UAE Ministry of Health bans sale and use of e-cigarettes.

June 19 UAE Initiative for Connection With Orphans and Minors launched by Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

June 29 UAE Federal Supreme Court hands death sentence to Al Reem Island killer, Ala’a Al Hashemi, for killing American kindergarten teacher in Abu Dhabi.

July 7 UAE businessman Abdullah Ahmad Al Ghurair donates one third of his assets to education foundation.

July 11 Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum issues law for establishing Mohammad Bin Rashid Space Centre, which will work to support country’s efforts in the space field.

July 20 UAE launches crackdown on hate speech and bigotry prohibiting any form of discrimination on the basis of religion, caste, creed, doctrine, race, colour or ethnic origin.

August 28 to be commemorated as Emirati Women’s Day..

September 16 Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum launches Arab Reading Challenge, with $3 million in prizes.

September 19 Shaikh Rashid Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum dies of a heart attack. He was 34.

September 21 Hind Abdul Aziz Al Owais becomes first Emirati woman to be posted as senior adviser at United Nations headquarters.

September 30 Sharjah declared first World Health Organisation (WHO) Healthy city in Middle East.

October 24 Dubai launches Mohammad Bin Rashid Smart Majlis.

October 27 UAE retains its top spot in Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region in the World Bank’s ranking of ease of doing business for the third consecutive year.

November 1 Tiny Micra Transcatheter Pacing System pacemaker used in new procedure for an open-heart surgery, performed at Sharjah’s Al Qasimi Hospital for first time in UAE.

November 2 World’s first cloned camel, Injaz, gives birth to calf.

November 3 UAE celebrates Flag Day.

November 7 First batch of Emirati troops return from Yemen after seven months of deployment.

November 13 Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s Twitter followers reach 5 million.

November 15 Qasr Al Muwaiji, birthplace of UAE President Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, officially opens as a museum in Al Ain.

November 18 Dr Amal Al Qubaisi makes history as first woman Federal National Council (FNC) Speaker.

November 24 Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum launches the Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Fund to Finance Innovation, worth Dh2 billion.

November 24 Sharjah becomes the first Arab City to launch Smart Bins.

November 25 UAE signs agreement to set up the GCC police force (GCCPOL), to be headquartered in Abu Dhabi.

November 30 To be observed every year as Commemoration Day in honour of the courageous individuals who scarificed their lives for the UAE, keeping its ideals aloft. A one-minute silence at 11.30am is observed throughout the country as a mark of deep respect for the martyrs.

History and Geography of Dubai UAE

Dubai is one of the seven emirates of United Arab Emirates (UAE). It is considered as one of the best places for vacations and tourism. Most of its economy comes from tourism, real-estate etc. It is located in the Persian Gulf of UAE. Dubai shares its boundaries with Abu Dhabi, Sharjah and other emirates. Primarily being a desert, it has an amazing history. The geography of Dubai is a lot different compared to other emirates. Let us go through the information on its history and geography and increase our knowledge about this emirate of Arab Peninsula.

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History of Dubai:

Today Dubai is seen as an economic hub, an appealing country, a place that everyone wants to see once in their lifetime. While on the other hand, if we go through its history, it shows a complete contrast of what it is today.

Sand dunes, oases, desert shepherds and roaming nomads were common traits of this land. In 1883, a harbor called Ceek was where some fishermen earned their living by fishing. Alongside of the coast was a large market where business thrived. As population grew in 1930 to 20,000, by 1950, the Creek began to silt. Sheikh Makhtoum decided to build a waterway which made Dubai a huge trading hub.

Thus the today’s lavish Dubai has its history originated from those fishermen on the coast.

Geography of Dubai:

As mentioned earlier, Dubai is located in the Persian Gulf Coast of UAE. While it has its borders touching national Emirates like Sharjah and Abu Dhabi but Sultanate of Oman is the only international state that touches its border. The unique geographical location benefits Dubai in a way that it helps link to all of the Gulf States with the inclusion of South Asia and East Africa.

It has an urban area of 3886 sq km. Since Dubai is basically desert area, so the climate there is warm and sunny. However humidity is found near coastal areas. Population of Dubai is about 1.5 million and it has been growing by 7% each year.

Government of UAE - History

A Brief History of Government

The first civilization began in the city states of Egypt, Mesopotamia, India, China, Mexico, and other places where small communities spawned kingdoms. We can trace the history of this culture in the wars fought between kingdoms and between nomadic barbarians and the settled communities. China and India brought forth political dynasties that had little contact with the outside world except when nomadic groups threatened them from the Asian steppe (or when a “civilized” conqueror such as Alexander the Great invaded northern India). The empires formed in Mexico and Peru were also largely self-confined. The Middle East is another story. Here political dynasties arose in Mesopotamia, Turkey, Egypt, Persia, Greece, and Italy which fought other kingdoms for control of the civilized world. The story of this civilization is the story of the rise and fall of kingdoms striving to become an empire which controls a territory containing many different peoples.

Government is the institution which survives from this period. The history of government is largely one of warfare although certain other functions also emerged. The laws of Ur-Nammu and Hammurabi were noteworthy achievements. The extensive system of roads that connected distant parts of the Persian and Roman empires allowed a central government to control far-flung territories. The first Chinese emperor Shih Hwang-ti standardized the Chinese script, replaced the hereditary nobility with appointed officials, and began work on the Great Wall. But a recognized mark of achievement was how large a territory the empire might conquer and maintain. At its height in the 2nd century A.D., there were four political empires which controlled a broad swath of land from China’s Pacific coast to the Atlantic coast of Gaul and Spain. These were the Han Chinese, Kushan, Parthian, and Roman empires. Their societies were under totalitarian rule.

In China this pattern has continued into modern times. In recurring dynasties, the type of government created in the 3rd century B.C. lasted for two millennia. Even though the Ching dynasty ended in 1911, centralized government following the imperial model has been resurrected by the communists. In Europe, on the other hand, no one succeeded in reviving the Roman empire. This empire was split into two parts when Constantine I established a second capital at Constantinople to govern Rome’s eastern territories while the city of Rome remained the capital of territories in the west. Separate lineages of emperors ruled in each place. The last ruler of the west Roman empire, Romulus Augustulus, was deposed in 476 B.C., marking what we in the west call “the fall of the Roman empire”.

Many causes have been ascribed to this “fall”, including the corrosive influence of Christianity and the moral corruption of the Roman people. Considering that the western empire was overthrown by barbarian invaders, a more likely explanation is that the eastern border had become too porous. Germanic peoples had begun to migrate into Roman territories lured by the empire’s wealth and culture and even staff the imperial armies. After the Roman government fell, Gothic, Frankish, and other barbarian kings ruled the western part of Europe. Their domains became the territories of the European nation states. Several political leaders including Charlemagne, Emperor Frederick II, Philip II of Spain, Louis XIV of France, and, more lately, Napoleon and Hitler have tried to reunite the lands once ruled by ancient Rome, but none have succeeded for more than a short time.

In the eastern part of the empire, however, the Roman state continued for almost a thousand years beyond the demise of the western empire. This so-called “Byzantine” Roman empire, ruled from Constantinople, fought the Sasanian Persians, Islamic Arabs, Norman French, Saljuq Turks, and Ottoman Turks, among others, to maintain its sovereignty before Constantinople was besieged and taken by the Ottomans in 1454 A.D. Its cultural identity was related to orthodox Christianity as much as to the Roman state. The metropolitan of Constantinople was the spiritual leader of orthodox Christians. After that great city fell to the Moslems, ecclesiastical power shifted to Moscow.

Prince Vladimir of Kiev became a Christian in 989 A.D. Slavic peoples then converted en masse to the orthodox faith. The grand dukes of Moscow annexed the Ukraine and other lands to create the Russian empire. This Christian empire thereby became a continuation of the Byzantine empire and the Roman empire before that. Its model of empire involved a partnership between church and state, with the church in a subordinate position. The Russian czar (or “Caesar”) ruled a largely totalitarian state which, like that in China, was readily adapted to communist rule.

By this time world history had passed into the second epoch of civilization whose distinguishing institution was religion. We have seen that the Byzantine empire involved a partnership between church and state. In the west, the church continued to exist after the Roman state fell. The bishop of Rome, or Pope, became the spiritual leader of Christians living in the territories once ruled from that city. Barbarian kings converted to Christianity. The church gave its blessing to their rule. Charlemagne, who almost succeeded in reviving the political empire, had himself crowned “Holy Roman Emperor” by the Pope.

Medieval Christian society was ruled by a partnership between the temporal and ecclesiastical authorities. The Pope was the chief ecclesiastical official. The Holy Roman Emperor and lesser princes held temporal power. This was not an empire of the same kind as the pre-Christian Roman Empire. It was one where religion shared the governing power and, indeed, was considered to be a superior power to secular government.

The Islamic religion had also managed to bring a large territory under its control. The ruling caliphs, successors to Mohammed, combined religious and political authority. But, again, the religious was preferred to the secular. The purpose of empire was to convert persons to the Moslem faith and to govern society according to laws and regulations which Mohammed himself had prescribed. The caliphates in Damascus and Baghdad had authority over the entire realm of Islam.

A later Moorish regime was established in Spain. Turkish peoples and others from the Eurasian steppe later created Islamic empires. There were Buwayhid Iranians, Saljuq Turks in Anatolia, Aghlabid Arabs in Tunisia, and Fatimids and Mamluks in Egypt. In a later incarnation of Islamic empire, three great empires extended across from Turkey into south Asia: the Ottoman Turks, Persian Safavis, and Moguls of India. These were not revivals of the type of political empire found in those lands in the 2nd century A.D. but empires infused with religion.

As we enter the third epoch of world history, the institution of government experienced still more changes. In western Europe, the Protestant Reformation took place. Power shifted away from the papacy to the European princes who were able to choose the religion of their subjects. For instance, Henry VIII founded the church of England, a Protestant denomination, after the Pope refused permission to divorce his wife and remarry. Emperor Charles V (grandson of Ferdinand and Isabella) seemed to have most of Europe under his control but, caught in the conflict between Catholics and Protestants, he was unable to build a permanent empire. Pope Alexander VI’s division of American territories between Spain and Portugal proved ineffective in the face of Dutch, French, and English colonization.

How was government affected by these events? The Reformation taught that the Bible, not the Roman church, was the source of religious truth and authority. Every man was authorized to read the Bible and interpret it for himself. So the individual was religiously empowered it was a step leading to democracy. Another important trend was the rise of Parliamentary government, especially in England. Parliaments, originally assembled to help the king collect taxes, took power away from kings. The idea that the people should pick their leaders replaced the principle that royal power was divinely sanctioned.

One 17th century revolution, the Puritan, and two 18th century revolutions, the American and French, were milestones toward the establishment of democratic government. The successful example of democracy in America helped to promote democratic governments in Europe and the rest of the world. In the aftermath of World War I, three major European dynasties fell and were replaced by democracies (if you count the Bolshevist government in Russia as a democracy.) The European “revolutions” gave a shock to government, two epochs after this institution had been created. The idea of beheading a divinely appointed monarch was especially shocking. One might look for a similar event affecting the other institutions somewhere down the line.

In the third epoch of history, we find the European nation state as the basic model of government. Democratic governments were replacing hereditary monarchies. Independent nations arose in South and Central America in the early 19th century. A multitude of new nations arose in Africa and Asia as the European nations divested themselves of their former colonies. An important element in the history of the first civilization came to an end when the military threat from nomadic barbarians was extinguished. Manchu China and Czarist Russia, equipped with firearms, had encircled their homeland by the mid 17th century.

Wars were now fought to advance economic objectives - gain new territories, access to markets, or control of natural resources - rather than to promote a religion. These wars tended to more disciplined and restrained than the religious ones had been. Communism, a new economic “religion” exhibiting certain features of Christianity, later took control of Russia, China, and other nations and, for a time, seemed poised for further conquest. But history took a different turn.

Industrialization now became the key to a nation’s military strength. As religion had been in the second epoch of history, so the influence of commerce was felt upon politics and government in the third epoch. Access to oil was critical. Education was also important as an educated citizenry was thought essential to a successful democracy.

Basic Information About the UAE

The UAE is a country that you may have heard about before. Perhaps you’ve heard about the staggering skyscrapers in Dubai or heard about the oil-wealth of Abu Dhabi. Yet, you may not be familiar with the varied details of the country. In this post, we’ll give you an overview of the UAE and tell you everything you need to know.

What is the UAE?

The UAE is a small country in the Middle East, spanning 83,600 sq km. The abbreviation ‘UAE’ stands for United Arab Emirates. The term ‘Emirate’ refers to a principality. It comes from the term Emir and specifically references principalities that are ruled by a dynastic Islamic monarch. There are seven emirates in the UAE – Abu Dhabi (which serves as the capital), Ajman, Dubai, Fujairah, Ras al-Khaimah, Sharjah and Umm al-Quwain. Each emirate has its own monarch, but Abu Dhabi serves as the capital and the Emir of Abu Dhabi serves as President of the UAE.

Flag of the UAE

The UAE’s flag is made up of a red vertical stripe and three horizontal stripes in green, white and black. These colors are traditionally the Pan-Arab colors. Furthermore, the black stands for defeat of enemies, the white for peace and calm, the green for hope and growth and the red for strength and courage.

History of the UAE

Archaeological findings show that the land of what is now the UAE has been occupied for thousands of years. The people of the region were generally tradesmen, as the UAE has a very strategic location. Because of this, piracy was always a threat. So in the early 19 th century, Britain signed a treaty to help protect the area from pirates (this also gave Britain access to the UAE’s strategic location). The different sheikhdoms in the area became collectively known as the Trucial States (from the word ‘treaty’). However, Britain began to feel stretched thin by the responsibility. At around the same time, the Trucial States began to desire freedom from Britain’s influence. On December 2 nd 1971, the Trucial States signed an agreement for independence and became known as the United Arab Emirates.

Politics in the UAE

The UAE is an absolute monarchy. The various emirates all have their own emirs, but the Emir of Abu Dhabi serves as President and the Emir of Dubai serves as Prime Minister. These titles of President and Prime Minister are hereditary.

The current president of the UAE is Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, Emir of Abu Dhabi. He is the son of Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the country’s founding father who was responsible for uniting the different emirates. After Sheikh Zayed passed away in 2004, Sheikh Khalifa ascended the throne.

The Prime Minister and Vice President of the UAE is Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Emir of Dubai. Sheikh Mohammed is credited with pushing Dubai’s growth to one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world.

The economy of the UAE

With a GDP of $407.2 billion in 2017, the UAE boasts the second-largest economy in the Arab world (right after the economy of Saudi Arabia). Approximately one-third of the GDP is from oil revenues. The UAE actually has the most diversified economy in the Arab World and the non-hydrocarbon sector is actually growing at a faster rate than the hydrocarbon sector.

Aside from energy, the next biggest contributors to the UAE economy are real estate (around 20%), retail (around 12%) and tourism (around 10%). It’s no wonder when you consider the country’s staggering skyscrapers, massive shopping malls, and multiple tourist attractions.

Demographics of the UAE

The UAE has a population of almost 9.5 million people. The native Emirati population only makes up about 11% of the population- the other 89% is made up expatriates who live and work in the country without obtaining Emirati citizenship. Some of the most common foreign nationalities found among UAE residents are Indians (27%), Pakistanis (12%), Bangladeshis (7%), Filipinos (5%), Iranians (5%) and Egyptians (4%).

The official language of the UAE is Arabic. Thanks to the country’s diverse population, however, you will also hear many other languages being spoken. English, Hindi and Urdu are some of the most common secondary languages in the country. Tourists who can speak English will generally have no issue getting around.

The official religion of the UAE is Islam. It is followed by approximately 75% of the population. Christianity is the next most common religion, at around 9%, with all other religions accounting for approximately 15%. Of the other religions, Hinduism, Sikhism, Jainism and Buddhism are the most common. The government follows a policy of tolerance towards other religions, and churches and temples have been built in the UAE. However, people of other religions are strictly expected not to interfere with the Islamic practice of Muslims.

Gender in the UAE

Men far outnumber women in the UAE- there are 2.2 males for every female in the country. This gender imbalance is mainly due to migration – either bachelors looking to earn money in the UAE before settling down, or blue-collar workers who prefer to leave their families in their home country, where the cost of living is often cheaper.

For women who do reside in the region, they still have access to many opportunities. Currently, the UAE is ranked 42 nd out of 188 countries as per the Gender Inequality Index. The government has also introduced the UAE Gender Balance Council, aimed at raising that ranking to top 25.

The UAE also places a high priority on women’s education. Women have a 95% literacy rate and they make up 46% of STEM graduates from UAE universities. In the working world, women make up two-thirds of public sector jobs. The UAE is also the first country in the world to make it compulsory for corporations and government agencies to include women on their board of directors.

National Animal of the UAE

Despite the preponderance of camels you may see in artwork around the country, the UAE’s national animal is actually the Arabian oryx. The oryx is a medium-sized antelope with two long, straight horns and a tufted tail. A picture of the orys is printed on the 50-dirham currency note. It has been suggested the white oryx, which in profile can look like it has only one horn, is the basis for the myth of the unicorn.

The national bird of the UAE is the Peregrine falcon or Falco peregrinus. This is due to the cultural importance of falconry among Emiratis in the UAE.

National Dress of the UAE

The national dress of the UAE has evolved to take into account both the desert climate and the cultural norms of modesty. Emirati men generally wear a kandura (also referred to as a thobe), a white long-sleeved, ankle length garment that resembles a loose-fitting robe or a long shirt. It is topped with a cloth headdress called a ghutra, held in place by a black cord called an agal.

Emirati women traditionally wear an abaya, a thin, black flowing cloak that covers the body. Underneath, they usually wear a dress or jeans in a hue they prefer. They pair the abaya with a hijab, a veil meant to cover their hair, ears and neck. We talk more about traditional Emirati dress here, and also advise tourists on how best to dress.

Currency of the UAE

The UAE currency is called dirhams, abbreviated to AED (for Arab Emirates Dirhams). Unofficially, you may see abbreviations like DH or Dhs. The dirham is subdivided into fils – 100 fils are equivalent to one dirham.

Coins in the UAE are are generally in the denominations of 1 dirham, 25 fils and 50 fils. Although coins of 1,5 or 10 fils exist, they are not often in use as most prices are rounded to the nearest 25 fils. Banknotes are available in a variety of values and colors – 5 dirhams (brown), 10 dirhams(green), 20 dirhams(light blue), 50 dirhams (purple), 100 dirhams (pink), 200 dirhams (yellowish-brown), 500 dirhams (navy blue) and 1000 dirhams (greenish-blue).

The dirham is pegged to the United States dollar, with 1 US dollar being equivalent to about 3.6725 dirhams.

Airports of the UAE

There are 10 airports in the UAE offering commercial service. One of them is Dubai International Airport, which is the world’s busiest airport by international passenger traffic. The other airports in the UAE are Dubai World Central (Al Maktoum International Airport), Abu Dhabi International Airport, Al Bateen Executive Airport, Al Ain International Airport, Fujairah International Airport, Ras Al Khaimah International Airport, Sharjah International Airport, Dalma Airport and Sir Bani Yas Airport. If you’re visiting Dubai, we recommend coming in via Dubai International Airport, as Dubai World Central Airport is a bit out of the way.

There are a lot of interesting facts about the UAE. The country has rich history and exciting present. Furthermore, we hope this overview has given you a good insight into the country. And if you’re looking to learn more, be sure to check out one of our many tours. Our guides will be happy to tell you everything you may wish to know.

Free Tours by Foot is the original pay-what-you-like walking tour. Our guides have given tours to over 3 million guests around the world.

United Arab Emirates

Few countries in history have experienced, in less than four decades, a huge shift in income and development comparable to that of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) during the last part of the twentieth century. The UAE developed a public national educational system in a thirty year period that is similar to what Western countries established in over a hundred year period. Since the early 1960s the UAE has emerged from relative obscurity in global affairs to become one of the wealthiest and most dynamic of the smaller countries of the world. The rapid infrastructure development in virtually every corner of the country provides visual evidence of immense change. Public and private construction and modern consumption patterns are in evidence throughout the country.

Developing a diversified economic base and sophisticated modern cities equipped with advanced telecommunications, electricity, and utilities are among many measures being taken by the UAE federal government to provide a high standard of living and quality of life and to advance the skills and human resources of its citizens. Social development efforts, most particularly the nurturing of the country's citizens or "human capital," have been a priority of the UAE government since the early years of the federation. Immense resources have been applied to provide modern social and economic development infrastructure in education, health, and social welfare.

The United Arab Emirates is a federation of seven independent states located in the southeastern corner of the Arabian Peninsula. It is in a very tough geopolitical neighborhood. The politics of the region includes differences in geographical names. The "Persian" or "Arabian Gulf" borders the region to the north, Saudi Arabia to the south and west, and Oman to the east. Before the discovery of oil in the 1950s, the UAE was a group of low-income emirates under the protection of the British. Oil brought rapid growth and modernization to the area, and these small states became independent as the UAE in 1971.

Most of the country is desert but the UAE's proven oil reserves make up almost one-tenth of the world's total oil, with about ninety percent of the UAE's oil in the emirate of Abu Dhabi. It is quite hot during the summer months (May to October), with temperatures reaching 49C (120F).

Population estimates of the country in 2000 ranged from 2.6 to nearly 3 million. About 85 percent of the country's population is urban. Abu Dhabi is the largest city and is the national capital. It serves as the financial, transportation, and communications center of a major petroleum-producing area. Abu Dhabi also has a large port and is home to federal government ministries and embassies. Dubai is the main trading center of the entire Gulf, has the principal port facilities of the UAE as well as its busiest airport, and has several large commercial enterprises. The UAE has four other international airports.

Several features of the UAE's demography are unusual. The population in 1995 was 15 times larger than it was in 1965, largely due to the immigration of male expatriate workers. Four-fifths of the UAE's inhabitants are foreign workers and their dependents. The UAE also has a very youthful population because of the influx of young foreign workers, a cultural preference for large families, and greatly improved medical care. There is a significant imbalance in the sex ratios, with some national expatriate groups having about ten males for every female.

The native population of the UAE is overwhelmingly Arab. Generally a different tribe dominates each emirate. About two-thirds of the UAE's non-native populations are Asians (largely Indians, Pakistanis, Sri Lankans, Bangladeshis, and Filipinos), and the other third are Iranians or Arabs (primarily Jordanians, Palestinians, and Egyptians). Although the huge population share of expatriates has caused some concern over its possible impact on security and on social and cultural values, the level of tensions between the various ethnic communities is slight. The UAE is noted for a very low level of crime violent behavior is rare. Standards for public conduct are high. Expatriates may be expelled for minor law violations. There are a sizeable number of undocumented residents who have overstayed temporary visas and are casually employed.

Arabic is the official language of the UAE. English is also widely spoken, as are Hindi, Urdu, and Persian. Islam is the official religion of the country and all Emiratis and a majority of the expatriates are Muslims. The constitution guarantees religious freedom and there are some Christian churches in the country. The density of mosques in the urban areas is very high. Two or three mosques may be in sight of one another.

The culture of the UAE is a blend of traditional and modern elements, which is open to many types of influences and change. The religion of Islam and the heritage of a traditional, tribal Arab society form the basis of a stable and conservative social structure. Censorship of media is routine. There is, however, a degree of openness and a tolerant atmosphere that permits expatriates opportunities to enjoy familiar entertainments and leisure activities, including the discreet use of alcohol.

The most conservative arenas of life in the UAE concern women and male-female interaction. For most Emirati women the home remains the basic sphere of activity. Younger women, benefiting from their access to modern education, are playing a wider role in society but, with only about fourteen percent of the small overall Emirati labor force being female, their numbers are few. Arranged marriages are the norm and family members carefully restrict the conduct of young women. Marriage to a cousin or within one's class is a preferred form. The number of Emirati men marrying non-Emirati women has increased in recent years and is considered by the government a threat to national culture that requires intervention. The government is actively involved in promoting marriages among its nationals.

Reflecting a mix of modern and traditional life, clothing styles include Western and indigenous dress and the national dress of several other countries. A great variety of dress is manifest in public places, including that of groups from South and Southeast Asia. Most Emirati men wear the dishdasha, a white, loose-fitting garment that is comfortable in hot weather. Most women wear the black abayah and some also wear a facemask called the burka, although this tradition is less common among younger women.

Most of the population has modern air-conditioned housing, either in apartments or villa-style houses, a great contrast with the simple dwellings of forty or more years ago. The small rural population lives in a more traditional style, and a few Bedouins still live nomadically in tents. Similarly, local foods represent a blend of traditional Arab dishes, such as grilled lamb with spiced rice, with South Asian, Chinese, European and increasingly popular American fast foods readily available in urban areas.

Traditional sports, such as falconry and horse and camel racing, remain popular with newer sports, particularly soccer (football). Tribal identities continue to be expressed through loyalty to some UAE football teams. There are several internationally known and broadcast competitions held each year in the UAE in golf, tennis, horseracing, auto cross, motor-rallying, and powerboat racing. Most Emiratis enjoy family-centered entertainment, including routine visits with a network of friends and relatives and watching video media at home. Cell phones are in common use throughout the country and contribute to daily interaction.

Traditional Islamic rituals remain important, especially the Eid al-Fitr and the Eid al-Adha, the festivals that mark the end of Ramadan (a month of fasting) and the conclusion of the haj (pilgrimage to Mecca) on the Islamic calendar. On special occasions Emiratis perform traditional dances to musical accompaniment. The commitment to preserving traditional arts and culture is evident both at the popular level and in the political leadership. Each emirate devotes considerable resources to maintaining museums and libraries. Sharjah has developed nine museums within extensive arts and culture district and a vast University City complex, which includes the campuses of five institutions of higher learning.

There is a strong commercial tradition in the UAE and trading relationships with other countries are longstanding. Trade with India and China expanded in the early Islamic period, with Julfar (in present-day Ras al Khaymah) one of many areas currently being examined by archaeologists, serving as one of the leading ports.

European intervention in the area began with the Portuguese in the early sixteenth century. From the mid-seventeenth century the British and Dutch competed for domination, with Britain coming out on top. By about 1800, the Qawasim, the ruling clans of Sharjah and Ras al Khaymah today, had become a maritime power in the lower gulf, attacking ships from British-ruled India. Labeling their opponents as "pirates," the British defeated the Qawasim fleet in 1819 and in 1820 imposed the first of several treaties that created and sustained a maritime truce, giving the name "Trucial States" to the emirates. By 1892 the British had taken over the states' foreign relations and external security and the states remained under British protection until 1971.

The British, who were principally concerned with the security of the UK-India trade routes and Gulf maritime commerce, rarely directly intervened in the states' internal affairs. The British drew upon a small but sophisticated group of civil servants to manage political and military relations. The most significant results of British domination were the establishment of an embryonic government bureaucracy, a general peace, the introduction of the Western concept of territorial or nation-states, and the creation in 1952 of the Trucial States Council to promote cooperation among the seven rulers, which provided the basis for the future leadership of the UAE.

UAE History

Here is a timeline of the important dates and events that should be remembered in the history of the United Arab Emirates.

Treaty signed

A General peace treaty was signed with the aim at surpressing piracy along the Gulf Coast. This was signed between the British Government and . the Sheikhs of Ras Al Khaimah, Umm Al Quwain, Ajman, Sharjah this area of the Gulf Coast became known as the Trucial Coast
Britain gains control over the foreign affairs of the country but allows each emirate control over its internal affairs by signing agreements which enforce this.


His Highness Sheikh Saqr Bin Mohammad Al Qasimi is declared the Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah.


In an attempt to bring about more cooperation between the seven emirates a council was formed between them

Buraimi dispute

A dispute was born involving the Trucial Oman Levies, forces of the Sultan of Muscat and Oman and those of the Ruler of Abu Dhabi moving into the Buraimi area. The dispute is due to the breakdown of the borders between Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi.


Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan becomes Ruler of Abu Dhabi. Also within this year certain members of the Ruling family (Al Nahyan) and prominent members of society established a number of new administrative departments.

British withdrawal
A momentous moment for the emirates, the British Prime Minister Harold Wilson announces plans to entirely withdraw British forces from the emirates by the end of 1971. The implications of this would mean independence to the Gulf, and external relations would have to be managed by themselves.

Also, at this time, the beginnings of plans to form a federation of the emirates takes place.

Case of the three islands

Iran lays claim to the islands of Greater and Lesser Tunbs and Abu Mousa, 2 islands that have caused controversy due to their ownership for centuries. The following year, Iran forcibly occupies the three islands. Since then, the UAE has been repeatedly calling for a peaceful resolution or the use of international arbitration to resolve the issue.

Iran occupation

Iran occupies the islands of Greater and Lesser Tunbs and Abu Mousa.

British evacuation
A treaty of friendship is signed between Britain and the UAE by Sir Geoffrey Arthur who was the last British Political Agent in the Gulf and by Sheikh Zayed who was representing the UAE.

Formation of the UAE
This year also saw the beginnings of the formation of the new UAE federation including Dubai, Ajman, Sharjah, Abu Dhabi, Umm al Quwain and Fujairah all under the leadership of Sheikh Zayed. The final emirate of Ras al Khaimah later joined a year later. Each emirate is represented in the national assembly and the Ruler of each emirate is entitled to vote in the Supreme Council of Rulers. Additionally it was agreed that the Federation’s Constitution would only last for a provisional 5 years and then would be replaced by a more permanent one.

Elected President
The UAE is finally established as a federation with aims to establish 4 main objectives which are: solving regional issues by peaceful means, actively participating in international forums and organizations, politically, culturally, and economically strengthening ties between Arab countries and building an educational society.

Arab League
UAE joins the Arab League. The Abu Dhabi National Consultative Council and the Cabinet are formed. Sheikh Zayed inaugurates the 50-member assembly’s first meeting.


A new ruler is elected to rule Sharjah, His Highness Sheikh Sultan Bin Mohammad Al Qasimi.

Council created

The Abu Dhabi Cabinet is replaced by the Executive Council which makes up the Emirates’ government department.

Merger of oil departments
A merger of Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and Sharjahs’ oil departments is approved by the UAE Cabinet creating one single UAE Petroleum Ministry.


Fujairah gets a new ruler, Sheikh Hamad Bin Mohammad Bin Hamad Al Sharqi.

Foreign aid
Sheikh Zayed recognizes the need to help out its neighboring countries by allocating 28 percent of Abu Dhabi’s income towards assisting Arab, Islamic and developing countries.


This year saw the rise of two rulers, his Highness Sheikh Rashid Bin Ahmad Al Mualla of Umm Al Qaiwain, and his Highness Sheikh Humaid Bin Rashid Al Nuaimi of Ajman.

GCC formed
GCC stands for the Gulf Cooperation Council which is a union amongst the states of Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the UAE. The first meeting of this new council was held in Abu Dhabi and the idea behind the council is to form joint projects between all of the states for various fields of life.

Delma oil project
The foundations are laid to develop one of the largest oil fields, a project costing $700 million.

Women’s role in society

A woman’s role in society is officially reinstated with the inauguration of the new headquarters of the Abu Dhabi Women’s Association. It was stated by Sheikh Zayed that according to Islamic and traditional values, a woman’s role is raising children, however she should not be solely confined to this role.

14th National Day celebrations

National day is celebrated every year on the 2 nd December and is to mark the independence the UAE gained from the British Protectorate Treaties. It also marks the unification of the 7 emirates in 1971. Upon this 14 th National Day Sheikh Zayed reinstates his belief that the citizen is the main asset of the country and that the federation’s main aim is to serve its citizens.

Sheikh Zayed Bin-Sultan Al Nuhayyan is re-elected as UAE president – his fourth term

Dubai mourns
Sheikh Rashid Bin Saeed Al Maktoum dies and is succeeded by his son His Highness Sheikh Maktoum Bin Rashid Al Maktoum as Vice-President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

Supports Kuwait
The UAE condemns the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. Sheikh Zayed refuses to compromise with Saddam, declaring it was not “our duty to save his face”.

Foreign bases not welcome
Sheikh Zayed rejects the setting up of permanent foreign bases in the UAE, stating that help from friends was acceptable but bases in the UAE were neither acceptable nor welcome. This is also the same year the UAE forces joined the allies against Iraq after the invasion of Kuwait.

Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI) collapses. Abu Dhabi’s ruling family owns a 77.4% share.

Island controversy
Iran angers the UAE by saying visitors to Abu Musa and Greater and Lesser Tunb must have Iranian visas.

Call for an end to Iraqi embargo
Sheikh Zayed stresses the fact that 18 million Iraqis were unjustly paying the price on Saddam Hussain’s behalf and calls for an immediate lifting of the sanctions imposed on the country after the 1991 Gulf War.

UAE’s Silver Jubilee
The UAE celebrates its 25th National Day and Sheikh Zayed’s 30th anniversary as Ruler of Abu Dhabi.

The Supreme Council agrees to make the UAE’s temporary constitution permanent and names Abu Dhabi as the federal capital. Sheikh Zayed stresses the importance of running the federation through hard work, which he says is the responsibility of the younger generation.

The Island dispute continues
Iran fuels the dispute over Abu Musa and Greater and Lesser Tunb by building an airport on Abu Musa and a power station on Greater Tunb.

Boycotts the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) economic summit being held in Qatar, due to the deadlock in the peace process and the rejection of the event by Arab leaders.

UAE-Iraqi relations
UAE restores diplomatic relations with Iraq after they were severed at the outbreak of the 1991 Gulf War.

Accord signed between Oman and UAE
Sheikh Zayed and His Majesty Sultan Qaboos sign an agreement defining the borders between the two countries. After many efforts of negotiation by Sheikh Zayed an agreement is resolved concerning the border differences between Oman and the UAE.

Row with Saudi Arabia
There is unrest that brews as a result of the rapprochement between Saudi Arabia and Iran, this cause criticism from the UAE as Sheikh Zayed claims that the UAE was treated in a cold and alienating manner. Qatar then intervened to mediate matters, resolving the issue.

UAE Forces in Kosovo
attempts to maintain peace within Kosovo went underway under the instructions of Sheikh Zayed. The UAE forces participated with a contingency with a Nato-led international force called KFOR, which was established under a UN mandate. Interestingly the UAE was the only Arab country to have been involved in the peacekeeping mission.

Support for intifada
This being the second intifada (a period of intensified Israeli-Palestinian violence), Sheikh Zayed supports the side of the Palestinians stating that “We also affirm the continuation of our firm and principled position in support of the Palestinian intifada and the balanced resolutions of the Palestinian National Authority in rejection of such aggressive Israeli policy.”

Celebration of stability
In a message to the UAE people on the UAE Federation’s 30th National Day, Sheikh Zayed states patience, perseverance and continued hard work are the reason behind the security and stability of the country.

Cabinet reshuffled
A great moment for Arab women, Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi is appointed the first female minister as the minister of foreign trade.

Sheikh Zayed passes away
A sad day for the UAE, the ruler Sheikh Zayed passes away. He is succeeded by his eldest son, His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan

General Sheikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan appointed Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi.

Armed forces
General Sheikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan is appointed Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.

Dubai mourns
Sheikh Maktoum Bin Rashid Al Maktoum dies, and is succeeded by his brother, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum as Vice-President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

France gains a military base
France and the UAE sign a deal allowing France to set up a permanent military base in the UAE’s largest emirate, Abu Dhabi.

Debts cancelled
The UAE cancels the entire debt owed to it by Iraq – a sum of almost $7bn.

Largest building opens
Burj Khalifa tower opens in Dubai as the world’s tallest building and man-made structure.
Palestinian militant leader Mahmoud al-Mabhouh is killed in a Dubai hotel, in a hit widely blamed on Israel.

More island controversy
The UAE recalls its ambassador to Iran after the Iranian president visits a Gulf island, Abu Musa, claimed by both countries.

Oil pipelines
The UAE begins operating a key overland oil pipeline which bypasses the Strait of Hormuz. Iran has repeatedly threatened to close the strait at the mouth of the Gulf, a vital oil-trade route.

UAE defends government mockery
Mindful of protests in nearby Bahrain, the UAE outlaws online mockery of its own government or attempts to organize public protests through social media. Since March it has detained more that 60 activists without charge – some of them supporters of the Islah Islamic group, which is aligned with the Muslim Brotherhood elsewhere in Arab countries.

68 jailed in attempt to overthrow the government
Sixty-eight people are jailed on charges of planning to overthrow the government. The trial of 94 supporters of the Islah Islamic group began in January, and human rights groups criticized the court’s failure to investigate allegations that the defendants were tortured. The other suspects were either acquitted or tried in absentia.


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