Saturday, March 17, 2012

History of The UAE

Ancient History of the UAE
The history of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) dates back to thousands of years. According to archeological evidences found in various parts of the country, the human settlement in UAE had existed as early as 5000 BC. Discovery of pottery from Ubaid dating back to 5000 BC have been found in Ras al-Khaimah. The early inhabitants of the UAE were perhaps nomadic cattle herders, as the region had good pasture grounds untill 3000 BC. According to recent findings in Abu Dhabi, Agriculture in the region started with the cultivation of creals and date palm around 3000 BC. Archeological evidence also suggest that the whole area remained closely assocaited with the Magan civilization untill 2000 BC, when the desertification of the region led to the end of the civilization itself.

Medieval History of the UAE
The area came under the influence of the Sassanian Empire during the 3rd century AD, followed by the Umayyads who intorduced Islam in the region in the 7th century AD. The early Islamic history of UAE, from the 7th to 14th centuries AD, is not documented well. Portuguese were first Europeans who arrived in the region in the early 17th century AD, followed by the Biritish. In the late 18th and early 19th centuries Al-Qawasim tribes dominated the region, and controlled the maritime commerce in the lower Persian Gulf and in much of the Indian Ocean. British and Indian Ships were regularly attacked by the pirates, leading to British naval attack in 1819 and defeat of the Qasimis, which led to the dominance of Banu Yas tribal confederation in the region. The principal sheikhdoms along the gulf coast signed a partial truce with Britain in 1820 and the maritime truce in 1853, which came to be known as Trucial Coast. In 1892, these sheikhdoms became Trucial States accepting British protection.
Modern History of the UAE
After World War II, Britain granted internal autonomy to the Trucial States and a council of the Trucial States was formed in 1952. Following the by the British government that its forces would be withdrawn from the Persian Gulf by late 1971, discussion of federation began in January 1968. The British withdrew from the Persian Gulf in 1971, and the Trucial States became a federation called the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on December 2, 1971. Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan became the President of the UAE and Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum, emir of Dubai, became the UAE Vice President and Prime Minister. In 1981 the UAE joined the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). The UAE also participated with international coalition forces against Iraq during the Gulf War in 1991.

United Arab Emirates


The United Arab Emirates, in the eastern part of the Arabian Peninsula, extends along part of the Gulf of Oman and the southern coast of the Persian Gulf. The nation is the size of Maine. Its neighbors are Saudi Arabia to the west and south, Qatar to the north, and Oman to the east. Most of the land is barren and sandy.


Federation formed in 1971 by seven emirates known as the Trucial States—Abu Dhabi (the largest), Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Fujairah, Ras al-Khaimah, and Umm al-Qaiwain. In addition to a federal president and prime minister, each emirate has a separate ruler who oversees the local government.


Originally the area was inhabited by a seafaring people who were converted to Islam in the 7th century. Later, a dissident sect, the Carmathians, established a powerful sheikdom, and its army conquered Mecca. After the sheikdom disintegrated, its people became pirates. Threatening the Sultanate of Muscat and Oman early in the 19th century, the pirates provoked the intervention of the British, who in 1820 enforced a partial truce and in 1853 a permanent truce. Thus what had been called the Pirate Coast was renamed the Trucial Coast. The British provided the nine Trucial states with protection but did not formally administer them as a colony.
The British withdrew from the Persian Gulf in 1971, and the Trucial states became a federation called the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Two of the Trucial states, Bahrain and Oman , chose not to join the federation, reducing the number of states to seven.
The country signed a military defense agreement with the U.S. in 1994 and one with France in 1995.
After the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the U.S., the UAE was identified as a major financial center used by al-Qaeda in transferring money to the hijackers (two of the 9/11 hijackers were UAE citizens). The nation immediately cooperated with the U.S., freezing accounts tied to suspected terrorists and strongly clamping down on money laundering.
Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the founder of the UAE and ruler of the federation since 1971, died in Nov. 2004. His son succeeded him. In Jan. 2006, Sheik Maktoum bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the prime minister of the UAE and the emir of Dubai, died. Crown Prince Sheikh Muhammad ibn Rashid al-Maktoum assumed both roles.
The Burj Khalifa, in Dubai, was completed in January 2010 and became the world's tallest building at 2,716 feet (828 meters) and 160 stories. It contains the world's fastest elevators, 20.7 acres of glass, and is expected to use about 250,000 gallons of water per day.

Arab Spring

In 2011, the Middle East saw a number of pro-democratic uprisings, popularly known as the Arab Spring. The UAE saw comparatively little unrest, but did face one high-profile case in which five pro-democratic activists were arrested on charges of insulting President Khalifa, Vice President Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.[21] The trial of the UAE Five attracted international publicity and protest from a number of human rights groups,[22] including Amnesty International, which named the five men prisoners of conscience.[21] The defendants were convicted and given two- to three-year prison sentences on 27 November 2011, but were pardoned without comment by President Khalifa the following day.[23]

Sheikh Zayed and the Union

In the early 1960s, oil was discovered in Abu Dhabi, an event that led to quick unification calls made by UAE sheikdoms. Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan became ruler of Abu Dhabi in 1966 and the British started losing their oil investments and contracts to U.S. oil companies.[12]
The British had earlier started a development office that helped in some small developments in the emirates. The sheikhs of the emirates then decided to form a council to coordinate matters between them and took over the development office. They formed the Trucial States Council,[13] and appointed Adi Bitar, Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum's legal advisor, as Secretary General and Legal Advisor to the Council. The council was terminated once the United Arab Emirates was formed.[14]
In 1968, the United Kingdom announced its decision, reaffirmed in March 1971, to end the treaty relationships with the seven Trucial Sheikhdoms which had been, together with Bahrain and Qatar, under British protection. The nine attempted to form a union of Arab emirates, but by mid-1971 they were still unable to agree on terms of union, even though the British treaty relationship was to expire in December of that year.[15]
Bahrain became independent in August, and Qatar in September 1971. When the British – Trucial Sheikhdoms treaty expired on December 1, 1971, they became fully independent.[16]
The rulers of Abu Dhabi and Dubai decided to form a union between their two emirates independently, prepare a constitution, then call the rulers of the other five emirates to a meeting and offer them the opportunity to join. It was also agreed between the two that the constitution be written by December 2, 1971.[17]
On that date, at the Dubai Guesthouse Palace, four other emirates agreed to enter into a union called the United Arab Emirates. Ras al-Khaimah joined later, in early 1972.[18][19]

Border disputes

In 1955, the United Kingdom sided with Abu Dhabi in the latter's dispute with Oman over the Buraimi Oasis, another territory to the south.[10] A 1974 agreement between Abu Dhabi and Saudi Arabia would have settled the Abu Dhabi – Saudi border dispute; however, the agreement has yet to be ratified by the UAE government and is not recognised by the Saudi government. The border with Oman also remains officially unsettled, but the two governments agreed to delineate the border in May 1999.[11]

The beginning of the oil era

In the beginning of the 1960s, the first oil company teams carried out preliminary surveys and the first cargo of crude was exported from Abu Dhabi in 1962. As oil revenues increased, the ruler of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, undertook a massive construction program, building schools, housing, hospitals and roads. When Dubai's oil exports commenced in 1969, Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum, the ruler of Dubai, was also able to use oil revenues to improve the quality of life of his people.[9]

British and Ottoman rule

portions of the nation came under the direct influence of the Ottoman Empire during the 16th century.[4] Thereafter, the region was known to the British as the "Pirate Coast", as raiders based there harassed the shipping industry despite both European and Omani navies patrolling the area from the 17th century into the 19th century.[5] British expeditions to protect the Indian trade from raiders at Ras al-Khaimah led to campaigns against that headquarters and other harbours along the coast in 1819. The next year, a peace treaty was signed to which all the sheikhs of the coast adhered. Raids continued intermittently until 1835, when the sheikhs agreed not to engage in hostilities at sea. In 1853, they signed a treaty with the United Kingdom, under which the sheikhs (the Trucial Sheikhdoms) agreed to a "perpetual maritime truce". It was enforced by the United Kingdom, and disputes among sheikhs were referred to the British for settlement.[6]

Advent of Islam

The arrival of envoys from Muhammad in 630 heralded the conversion of the region to Islam. After Muhammad's death one of the major battles of the Ridda Wars was fought at Dibba, resulting in the defeat of the non-Muslims and the triumph of Islam in the Arabian Peninsula.
In 637, Julfar (today Ras al-Khaimah) was used as a staging post for the conquest of Iran. Over many centuries, Julfar became a wealthy port and pearling center from which dhows traveled throughout the Indian Ocean.