Archaeological sites more than 5,000 years old show that
the original inhabitants of the region made their living by farming, fishing,
copper mining and trade with other areas. Nomadic tribes lived in the desert
and seafaring people inhabited the coast.
In the early 7th century A.D., the Arabs united most of
the Arabian peninsula under the religion of Islam. In the 16th century, the
Portuguese began to trade in the Gulf, and in the early 17th century, the
British East India Company and the Dutch East India Company established
Abu Dhabi (which means "the place of the gazelle") was
founded on an island off the coast in the 18th century by a tribe known as
the Bani Yas. They cultivated date palms and fished for pearls. In the 19th
century, a group left Abu Dhabi to establish a settlement at Dubai. Dubai
became an important port and centre for trade. Near Dubai were two other
ports, Sharjah and Ras Al-Khaimah, which were ruled by a powerful seafaring
family called the Qawasim.
Did you know? |
Pearls have been harvested by Gulf fisheries for more
than 5,000 years.
In the early 19th century, the British, claiming that Qasimi
vessels were engaging in piracy, attacked and sank the Qasimi fleet in the harbour
at Ras al-Khaimah. This established British control of the area. In 1820, Great
Britain signed treaties with six of the sheikhs in the region, giving Britain
control over defence and foreign policy. In 1853, the sheikhs signed a Perpetual
Maritime Truce. The area came to be known as the Trucial States.
Oil exploration started in the area in the 1940s and oil
exports began in the 1960s. The wealth generated from oil revenues paid for rapid
development in the Trucial States. Within two decades, quiet towns turned into
bustling modern cities and country roads became paved highways.
In 1968 the British announced their intention to leave the
Arabian Gulf by 1971. The rulers of the Trucial States decided to form a federation.
The UAE was formally established on December 2, 1971. Since then it has had a stable
government under Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al-Nahayan of Abu Dhabi, who is president
of the Supreme Council.
Did you know? |
The earliest evidence of the domestication of the camel
has been found in Umm an-Nar and dates back more than 4,000 years.