United Arab Emirates

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United Arab Emirates
الإمارات العربية المتحدة
Al-Imārāt al-‘Arabīya al-Muttaḥida
Motto "God, Nation, President"
Capital Abu Dhabi
Largest city Dubai
Official language Arabic
Government type Federal constitutional monarchy
President Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan
Prime Minister Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum
Area 83,600 km²
32,278 mi²
Population 4,496,000 (113th)
(2005 estimate)
Population density 64/km² (143rd)
139 mi²
HDI 0.868 (high) (39th) (2007)
Currency UAE dirham (AED)
Time zone GMT+4 (UTC+4)
Summer:not observed (UTC+d)
Country codes Internet TLD : .ae
Calling code : +971

The United Arab Emirates is a federation of seven states (Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Dubai, Fujeirah, Ras al-Khaimah, Sharjah, and Umm al-Quwain). Prior to 1971, these Emirates were known as the Trucial states or Trucial Oman. The UAE is a Federal constitutional monarchy, with the Emir of Abu Dhabi being the President and the Emir of Dubai being the vice president as well as Prime minister.

UAE's capital is Abu Dhabi and the largest city is Dubai. The official language is Arabic. The UAE is a founding member of the Gulf Co-operation Council.

The economy of the UAE relies heavily on temporary immigrant labour known as expatriates. In 2008, its total population was recorded as 4.77 million, with 81% consisting of expatriates. Foreign workers in the labour force are an even higher proportion, at about 85% in 2008. Nearly 90% of non-nationals for the last decade or more have been from South Asia (predominantly India and Pakistan) with less than 10% from other Arab countries (Egypt and Jordan) and very small numbers from the U.S., Europe, Iran and Sudan.[1]; [2]


For more information, see: United Arab Emirates, history.

The U.A.E. was formed from the group of tribally organized Arabian Peninsula Sheikhdoms along the southern coast of the Persian Gulf and the northwestern coast of the Gulf of Oman. This area was converted to Islam in the Seventh century; for centuries it was embroiled in dynastic disputes. It became known as the Pirate Coast as raiders based there harassed foreign shipping, although both European and Arab navies patrolled the area from the 17th century into the 19th century. Early British expeditions to protect the India trade from raiders at Ras al-Khaimah led to campaigns against that headquarters and other harbors along the coast in 1819. The next year, a general peace treaty was signed to which all the principal 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.

Primarily in reaction to the ambitions of other European countries, the United Kingdom and the Trucial Sheikhdoms established closer bonds in an 1892 treaty, similar to treaties entered into by the U.K. with other Gulf principalities. The sheikhs agreed not to dispose of any territory except to the United Kingdom and not to enter into relationships with any foreign government other than the United Kingdom without its consent. In return, the British promised to protect the Trucial Coast from all aggression by sea and to help out in case of land attack.

In 1955, the United Kingdom sided with Abu Dhabi in the latter's dispute with Saudi Arabia over the Buraimi Oasis and other territory to the south. 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 U.A.E. Government. The border with Oman also remains officially unsettled, but the two governments agreed to delineate the border in May 1999. Since that time, the U.A.E. has constructed a border fence along the entire length with both Oman and Saudi Arabia. The new fence and checkpoints will likely be finished by 2008-2009.

In 1968, the U.K. 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 unable to agree on terms of union, even though the termination date of the British treaty relationship was the end of 1971. 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. On December 2, 1971, six of them entered into a union called the United Arab Emirates. The seventh, Ras al-Khaimah, joined in early 1972.

The U.A.E. sent forces to help liberate Kuwait during the 1990-91 Gulf War. U.A.E. troops have also participated in peacekeeping missions to Somalia, Lebanon, Bosnia, Albania, Kosovo, and Kuwait.

In 2004, the U.A.E.'s first and only president until that time, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, died. His eldest son Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan succeeded him as Ruler of Abu Dhabi. In accordance with the Constitution, the U.A.E.'s Supreme Council of Rulers elected Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan as U.A.E. Federal President. Mohammed bin Zayed al Nahyan succeeded Khalifa as Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi. In January 2006, Sheikh Makotum bin Rashid Al Maktoum, U.A.E. Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, passed away and was replaced by his brother, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum (MbR), Ruler of Dubai and U.A.E. Minister of Defense. On February 9, 2006, the U.A.E. announced a cabinet reshuffle. Several ministries were eliminated or renamed, while others were created.[3]

Government & politics

Geography & climate

Flora and fauna

Administrative divisions




Each emirate has its own internal taxi service system in place with Dubai and Abu Dhabi having a bus fleet as well in addition to the taxis. In Dubai, the taxi network is operated by both the Dubai Road and Transport Authority as well as several private companies. The emirate is also in the process of implementing a metro rail plan, the first phase of which has been already completed and is functional carrying commuters. Also, almost every emirate has an international airport.


Human rights


Society and culture


As in all gulf states, Islam is the religion followed by the majority including most of the locals. Well built mosques for prayer are present in every locality in addition to prayer rooms in most public buildings. Despite the prevalence of Islam, people of other religions also practice their faith peacefully and lawfully, and for this the rulers of several emirates have even donated places for churches to be built. This is unlike the case in Saudi Arabia, a pure Islamic state, were freedom of religion is withheld and public practice of any other religion other than Islam is unlawful.



The seven emirates have started several public schools in the region. Arabic is the medium of teaching used. In addition to the public schools which use the ministry recommended syllabus there are several schools that teach foreign syllabus. These include the Indian, British, American schools present in the different emirates. The teaching of the Arabic language is mandatory in all schools. The Ministry of Education is responsible for overseeing the policies followed by the school management.


Famous Emiratis and residents

External links


  1. 'International labour migration and employment in the Arab region', Thematic Paper, Arab Employment Forum, Beirut, Lebanon, 19-21 October 2009. International Labour Office.
  2. A. Kapiszewski,'Arabs versus Asian migrant workers in the GCC countries', UN Expert meeting, 15-17 May 2006
  3. U.S. Department of State background note