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Abu Dhabi - History

Arabic Abu Zaby town is the capital of Abu Dhabi emirate, one of the United Arab Emirates and the national capital of that federation. The town occupies most of a small triangular island of the same name, just off the Persian Gulf coast and connected to the mainland by a short bridge. Abu Dhabi was formerly an undeveloped town of only local importance, but the emirate's oil revenues have enabled it to develop into a modern city with a fully developed infrastructure.

No settlement existed at Abu Dhabi town before 1761, when the nomadic tribesmen of the Al bu Falah clan of the Bani Yas, rulers of Abu Dhabi then as now, settled there mostly because of the discovery of water on Abu Dhabi Island. They moved their headquarters to this coastal islet from the inland Liwa oases in 1795. The sheikhdom became a British protectorate in 1892.

Abu Dhabi - History

The first post office was established in Abu Dhabi and Das Island on March 30th, 1963. During this period the same British surcharged stamps, which were used in Dubai, and Muscat used in Abu Dhabi. In fact, the Trucial States issue of 1961 have come to be used in Abu Dhabi but due to the ruler objection to the design of the lower value (seven palm trees of differing size), the British surcharged stamps were used only. The first Abu Dhabi definitive was issued on March 30th, 1964.

Through most of the 19th and early 20th centuries, the town, though capital of one of the chief sheikhdoms of the Trucial Coast, yielded pride of place in trade and economic importance to Dubai town and ash-Shariqah town, capitals of neighbouring Trucial sheikhdoms. The pearling industry that once thrived in Abu Dhabi declined after oil was discovered there in the early 1960's. The abundant oil revenues have been used for development and modernization. The city of Abu Dhabi became the provisional capital of the United Arab Emirates when it was formed in 1971; a new capital on the border between Abu Dhabi and Dubai has been proposed.

Barely 20 years ago, Abu Dhabi was a tiny settlement surrounded by desert. Today, Abu Dhabi is a truly cosmopolitan city where people from almost every country in the world live and work in harmony with the local citizens. A pragmatic Government making judicious use of oil wealth has indeed put Abu Dhabi on the international map.


Dubai - History

Dubai's heritage is buried deep in the history of Arab civilization. Settled at least 3000 years ago, Dubai's harbour is said to be one of the world's oldest seaports. Strong Leadership from the Maktoum Family Dubai became a Shaikhdom in 1833 when the nomadic Bani Yas tribe, led by Maktoum bin Buti migrated from Abu Dhabi to settle there. As Dubai did not have fertile land, fishing, pearling and trading were prevalent. For over a century Britain's strong presence in The Gulf helped quell the piratical Qawasim tribes in 1805.

Britain declared Dubai its main Gulf port in the 1870s. In 1890 a regular ship from Bombay also began. Cheap fares brought merchants, craftsman and pearlers and by the turn of the century Dubai was The City of Merchants. After Teheran introduced taxes on its merchants in 1902, India shifted its trade to Dubai, attracted by the liberal policies of Shaikh Maktoum Bin Hasher. His son, Saeed, succeeded as ruler in 1906, accelerating Dubai's growth.

Dubai - History

The Gulf's prosperity received a setback in the 20s from the Japanese cultured pearl, which wiped the pearling industry. A bleak period in the 30s saw the outbreak of the 2nd World War. Dubai fared better than most Gulf States through its varied economy.

In 1958 Shaikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum, both a visionary and a man of action, well loved and respected focused Dubai's energies on trade. By the time oil was discovered in Dubai in 1966, it was already poised to become the Gulf's busiest trading centre.
Oil wealth was poured into improving the standard of living and the commercial infrastructure, which would secure the future. A flurry of construction during the 60s-70s produced modern hospitals, schools, roads, bridges, transport, communications, office buildings, hotels, parks and recreational facilities. Some of the projects like Port Rashid, were of staggering dimensions. Completed 1972, it is the largest deep-water harbour in the world.

In 1971, Britain withdrew and Gulf Shaikhdoms including Dubai, formed the federation of the United Arab Emirates. Today the UAE has 1.9 million inhabitants, and the wealthier states assist development in the smaller, less oil-rich states. When Shaikh Rashid died in 1990 his four sons took up the reins, led by the eldest, Shaikh Maktoum, also vice-president of the UAE.