Increasing British involvement in India beginning
in the late eighteenth century quickened British interest in the gulf region as
a means of protecting the sea routes to India.
The 'Qasimis', who amassed a
fleet of about 900 vessels, demanded tribute for the passage of merchant vessels
and were regarded as pirates by the Europeans.
Between 1809 and 1820, British sea power gradually brought about the destruction
of the 'Qasimis' fleet. The British defeated the 'Qasimis' in 1819, burning
their ships and the town of Ras al Khaimah. This in turn led to the signing of
agreements with Britain by the 'Qasimis' and other Sheikhs. (More information
When Britain announced that it would withdraw from the
Persian Gulf, the Foreign Office assumed that the UAE would include the Trucial
Coast as well as Qatar and Bahrain. Those later two emirates, however, refused to join the UAE and became
independent states when Britain left in 1971.
Ras al-Khaimah also sought
independence, but it lacked the resources and the international support to
survive on its own. (It joined the federation in 1972.)
The UAE was formed out by its member emirates in 02 December 1971, under President Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, ruler of Abu Dhabi (06 August
1966 - 02 Nov. 2004).
Today the UAE is composed of Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ras al Khaimah, Fujairah,
Umm al-Qaiwan and Ajman. (Link
To The Supreme Council - Ruling Members)
Unlike any other Middle Eastern
state, the United Arab Emirates is a federation, consisting of seven
tribally-based (The UAE has six principal tribes spread throughout the federation: the Bani Yas, the
Manasir, the Qasimi, the Al Ali, the
Sharqi-yin and the Nu'aim.) emirates that controls the southeastern portion of the Arabian
peninsula south of Bahrain and Qatar.
The federation covers 82,880 square kilometers and is bordered on the north by
the Persian Gulf and Iran, on the east by Oman, and on the south and west by
The UAE also separates Oman from its territory on the Musandam peninsula and
extends 90 kilometers along the Gulf of Oman, an area known as the al-Batinah
Most of the federation is arid desert and salt flats, but there are mountains in
the northeast that rise to 1,200 meters. Rainfall is very low and there are few
fertile areas except in the north and among the oasis.
Middle East, bordering the Gulf of Oman and the Persian Gulf, between
Oman and Saudi Arabia.
Area: 82,880 sq km (Federation consisting of Abu
Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ras al-Khaimah, Umm al-Qaiwain, Ajman, and Fujairah -
former Trucial States).
Population: 2,369,153 (July 2000 Estimate.),
(Includes 1,576,472 Non-Nationals)
Head of Government: President H.H. Shaikh Zayed Bin
Sultan Al-Nahyan, Ruler of Abu Dhabi.
Legal System: Federal court system introduced in 1971; all emirates except
Dubai and Ras al Khaimah have joined the federal system; all emirates have secular and Islamic law for civil, criminal, and high courts. More
Judicial System in the UAE
Capital: Abu Dhabi
Independence: 2 December 1971 (from UK)
Languages: Arabic (official), Persian, English
Ethnic Groups: Emiri, Iranian, South Asian
Land boundaries: Total: 867 km
Border Countries: Oman 410 km, Saudi Arabia 457 km
Coastline: 1,318 km
Elevation: highest point: Jabal Yibir 1,527 m
Natural resources: Petroleum, Natural Gas
Literacy: Total population: 79.2%, Male:
78.9%, Female: 79.8% (1995 est.)
Currency: 1 UAE Dirham (Dh)=100 fils
Exchange Rate: 3.6725 Dh = US$1
Total GDP: $41.5 billion (1999 est.)
Per Capita PPP: $17,700
Exports: $38 billion
Crude oil 45%, natural gas, re-exports, dried fish, and dates
Japan 30%, South Korea 10%, India 6%, Singapore 4.5%, Oman 3%, Iran (1998)
Imports: $29.7 billion
Machinery and Transport equipment, Chemicals, Food
US 10%, Japan 9%, UK 9%, Germany 6%, South Korea 5%, Italy (1998)
Climate: The months from May to October are hot and humid with temperatures reaching up to 48 degrees centigrade and humidity up to 90% November to April are pleasant months with temperatures ranging from 14-25 degrees centigrade.
Abu Dhabi International Airport - 30 kms from the city
Dubai International Airport - 3 miles south-east of the city
Fujairah - International Airport
Ras Al Khaimah International Airport - 15 miles from city centre
Sharjah International Airport - 10 kms from Sharjah
The largest commercial port in the UAE is Dubai’s Port Rashid. Mina Jebel Ali is the nucleus of the huge Jebel Ali Industrial Complex. Port Zayed in Abu Dhabi, Dubai Dry Dock, Mina Saqr at Ras Al Khaimah and Port Khalid at Sharjah, Sharjah’s second new port at Khor Fakkan & Port of Fujairah are all modern well equipped seaports.
Flag description: three equal horizontal bands of
green (top), white, and black with a thicker vertical red band on the hoist side.