History of the Country and Establishment of the Union
Archeological excavations and antiques found in many areas of the country have proved that a great civilisation used to be prosperous in the area known today as the United Arab Emirates. The civilisation dates back to 4000 BC, and was connected to the neighbouring civilisations.Pieces of coloured pottery that have been uncovered were imported from Mesopotamia. They date back to 3000 BC, which indicate the links between these areas and the people of South Iraq.
Various stone tools, sharp sword blades and metal sheets were found. Excavations show forts at Hilly site, Bidya, Tell Abraq and Kalbaa that date back 2500-2000 B.C. Recent discoveries show a square citadel with square towers at its corners, in addition to an external wall of 55m long, and a stone mould to make metal coins inside the citadel.
With the coming of Islam, a new phase of the country's history had begun, as Islam reached this country thanks to the Arab leader Amr bin Al-As. The Gulf area under the rule of Islam witnessed a prosperous period, and the Gulf became an international hub of marine trade and navigation during the Umayyad age when the vessel industry prospered.
An archeological site at Jumeirah area in Dubai has been identified as the remainder of an Islamic city of the Umayyad age, which was controlling the trade routes at that time. One of the known Islamic cities is Julphar north of the city of Ras Al Khaimah, where houses were found and four mosques dating back to the Hijri fourth century.
H. H. Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, Founder of the Union
His Highness Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan (may Allah bless his Soul),
was born in 1918. In 1946, he was elected ruler of Al Ain and in 1966, he became ruler of Abu Dhabi. In 1968, Britain announced that it would withdraw from the area. Immediately Sheikh Zayed took the lead in calling for a federation of the emirates. The rulers of the emirates moved quickly and on the 2nd December, 1971, the United Arab Emirates formally emerged onto the international stage.
On November 2, 2004, Sheikh Zayed passed away, after a long journey of giving and achievements. In line of the his vision, the nation keeps going under the leadership of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of United Arab Emirates and the members of the Supreme Council of Rulers and their crown princes.
Important Meetings That Led to the Federation
1. The meeting held between His Highness Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan and Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum, early February 1968, which was the first unity meeting that led to achieving what the people of this area always hoped for.
2. The meeting of the rulers of the emirates in Dubai between 25 and 27 February 1968 based on an invitation made by the rulers of Abu Dhabi and Dubai. At this meeting, they agreed on forming the Federation of the United Arab Emirates.
3. The meeting of the rulers of the emirates in December 1971 - In response to the will and wishes of the people of the emirates, this meeting made the following historical declaration: The Supreme Council felicitates the people of the United Arab Emirates, as well as the Arab people, and our friends around the world, and declares the United Arab Emirates as an independent sovereign state being a part of the Arab World.
The Emirate of Ras Al Khaimah joined the federation on 10 February 1972. His Highness Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan was elected the President of the country and His Highness Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum became the Vice President.
Geography and Population of the UAE
The United Arab Emirates is bordered by the Arab Gulf from the North, Gulf of Oman and the Sultanate of Oman from the East, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Sultanate of Oman from the South, and the State of Qatar and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia from the West. The country is located between 22-26.5 N latitude, and 51-56.51 E longitude.
The United Arab Emirates has a 644 kilometre long coast at the southern Arab Gulf, where the Emirates of Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al Quwain and Ras Al Khaimah are located, while the 90 kilometre long coast of the Emirate of Fujairah is located at the Gulf of Oman.
The area of the country is 83,600 square kilometres, with the desert dominating most of this area with many popular oases. Most of the country’s coast is dominated by sand except for the northern area at Ras Al Khaimah which constitutes the Hajer mountain cape.
The country has hundreds of islands within the Gulf, of which 200 are in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, importantly Sir Bani Yas which has evolved into an oasis and a conservation area for rare birds and animals. Other important islands include Das island, Abu Al Abyadh island, Abu Mousa island and Sir Bu Nair at Sharjah, Greater Tunb, Lesser Tunb and Al Hamra at Ras Al Khaimah, and Al Jazira Al Syniyah at Umm Al Quwain.
The UAE has a population of 8.19 million and is continuing to grow at a rapid rate despite the global downturn; according to a comprehensive report on the country's economy, unveiled in May 2010.