Archaeological finds indicate that the islands off the coast of what is now the UAE are populated as early as the 3rd millennium BC. there. Nomadic tribes probably lived on the mainland. The first major settlements in the coastal region only emerged from the 8th century AD. as trading bases. At the beginning of the 16th century, Portuguese also established branches in the coastal area of what is now the UAE, trading mainly with pearls, later also with slaves. The settlements of Dubai and Abu Dhabi were founded by Bedouins in the 18th century. The coast was also called the “pirate coast”, the existing islands, sandbars and coral reefs, which still make the passage of these waters difficult today, served as a base for numerous pirates.
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In order to secure the sea route to India and to defend itself against the constant attacks on their ships, a conflict arose between the trade and colonial power Great Britain and the sheikdoms (Emirates), which were active on the “Pirate Coast”. After a series of military disputes, contracts were signed between Great Britain and the various emirates at the end of the 18th century, guaranteeing free movement for British ships and, in return, economic support and weapon aid for the sheikdoms against rival peoples. The Emirates officially became protectorates under British sovereignty. In 1853, the so-called “Treaty of Eternal Peace” was concluded between European power and the seven sheikdoms united in the UAE today.which reaffirmed the patronage of the British, while the Emirs committed to end the slave trade and piracy.
According to AbbreviationFinder, pearl fishing became the most important trade in the region. When cultured pearls came onto the market from the beginning of the 1930s, the demand for real pearls fell sharply. The sheikdoms’ economic and financial dependence on Britain continued to grow.
The first oil fields were discovered in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi in the 1950s. Funding started in 1962 and seven years later in Dubai. With the proceeds from the sale of the “black gold”, the region suddenly achieved great prosperity. Desalination plants were built and ended the constant lack of drinking water. The irrigation now possible made it possible to cultivate agricultural crops. From 1966, Sheikh Said ibn Sultan Al-Nahayan tried to expand the social network in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, which included free medical care for the population and provision for old age. The surrounding neighboring emirates should also benefit from its development program.
At the end of the 1960s, Great Britain withdrew from the Persian Gulf region. Instead of the protectorate areas, a merger of the Emirates from Bahrain to Oman was planned, but this did not materialize.
In December 1971, the six emirates of Abu Dhabi (Abu Zaby), Dubai (Dubayy), Sharjah (Ash Sharqah), Ajman (Ajman), Fujairah (Al Fujairah) and Umm al-Quaiwan united to form a federal federation with the name “United Arab Emirates” (Al-Imarat al-Arabiyah al-Muttahidah). The small sheikhdom of Ras al-Khaimah joined in 1972 as the seventh emirate. The seat of government became the city of Abu Dhabi in the largest and richest of the Emirates. Said Ibn Sultan Al-Nahayan (Emir of Abu Dhabi since 1966) was elected President of the Federation by the “Supreme Council of Rulers”, which is made up of the seven Emirates.
In the same year the UAE joined the “Arab League” (this organization of Arab states was founded in Cairo in 1945 with the aim of economic, political and military cooperation). In 1974, the state was officially recognized by neighboring Saudi Arabia after the border line between the two countries had been redefined (the border between the two countries has not yet been precisely defined).
In the 1st Gulf War (1980-1988), the UAE joined the Gulf Council under the leadership of Saudi Arabia and supported Iraq against fundamentalist Iran. In 1990 and 1992 (2nd Gulf War), the UAE primarily supported the anti-Iraqi coalition led by the United States with financial means. In the 1990s, the UAE made several defense alliances with western countries (1994 USA, 1995 France, 1997 Germany). In 1996 Abu Dhabi was finally defined as the capital and the previously provisional constitution was adopted as permanent.
President Said Ibn Sultan Al-Nahayan died in November 2004. His eldest son, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayid Al Nahayan, succeeded him on the throne of Abu Dhabi; he was also elected President of the UAE by the Supreme Ruling Council under the Constitution
In 2006, 20 of the 40 members of the Federation Assembly were elected by citizens for the first time. However, the right to vote was limited to just under 7,000 citizens selected by the Emirates and excluded Islamist groups.