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During the centuries of Greek and Roman domination, the gulf region was of limited interest to the major powers, but the area's importance as a strategic and trading center rose with the emergence of Islam in the seventh century A.D. 

The caliphate's military strength was concentrated at Hormuz (The Strait of Hormuz). Strategically sited at the mouth of the gulf, its authority extended over ports and islands of the Arabian Sea and the Persian Gulf. 

The strategic importance of Hormuz, however, did not survive the appearance of Western powers, initially the Portuguese who came to the gulf in the late fifteenth century after Vasco da Gama's discovery of the route to India via the Cape of Good Hope. The Ottomans and the Iranians also tried to dominate the gulf but faced opposition from local tribes in Bahrain and Muscat, reluctant to cede authority over their territories, which by then were the most important areas on the coast. 

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. Before British intervention, the area was notorious for its pirates and slave trade and was called the Pirate Coast. 

The principal challenge to Britain arose from the 'Al Qawasim' (Qasimi forces) a tribal confederation originating in the area of the present-day United Arab Emirates (UAE). 

The 'Qawasim', 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 'Qawasim' fleet. 

The British defeated the Qawasim' 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 'Qawasim' and other Sheikhs which suppressed the piracy and slave trade in the gulf region. 

In 1820 a peace treaty with the British government, followed by other agreements such as the Perpetual Maritime Truce of May 1853. Under the Exclusive Agreement of March 1892, the Trucial sheikhs agreed not to enter into any agreements or correspondence with other powers, receive foreign agents, or cede, sell, or give any part of their territory to another government and to abstain from piracy. 

In return, the British government assumed responsibility for the foreign relations of the emirates and promised to protect them from all aggression by sea and to lend its support against any land attacks. Before the end of the century, Britain extended protection to Bahrain and Kuwait; Qatar entered the system after it repudiated Ottoman sovereignty in 1916. 

The strategic importance of the Persian Gulf became increasingly apparent as the oil industry developed in the twentieth century. Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and Iran all claimed some of the territory of the gulf states during the years between World War I and World War II, but Britain's firm resistance to these claims enabled the emirates to maintain their territorial integrity without resort to arms. 

Except for a small force of the British Indian Navy to ensure observance of the treaty conditions and maintain maritime peace in the gulf, Britain abstained from direct military involvement. As the wealth of the gulf's oil resources became clear, the size of the British military establishment expanded.

By the end of the 1960s, Britain had about 9,000 men in Oman, Sharjah (an emirate of the UAE), and Bahrain, where British military headquarters was located. The Trucial Oman Scouts, a mobile force of mixed nationality that Britain supported and British officers commanded, became a symbol of public order in the UAE until Britain's withdrawal from the Persian Gulf in 1971. 

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. (Ras al-Khaimah joined a few months later.) 

During 150 years of British rule, (After World War II the British granted internal autonomy to the sheikhdoms. Discussion of federation began in 1968 when Britain announced its intended withdrawal from the Persian Gulf area by 1971.) the sheikhdoms of Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm al-Quwain and Fujairah merged to form the UAE on December 2, 1971, under President Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, ruler of Abu Dhabi, one day after Britain ended its military presence in the area. Ras al-Khaimah joined the federation in 1972.

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, Al 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. 

Today the UAE is composed of Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ras al Khaimah, Fujairah, Umm al-Qaiwan and Ajman.

Abu Dhabi History
Dubai History
Sharjah And Other Emirates
Sheikh Zayed, the 'Anti-Hero'!
Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan 


                 10 Smart Reasons to STOP Port Deal!

This report is an indictment of dishonest UAE authorities, who operate without respect for the rule of law and the inherent dignity of mankind".
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