The United Arab Emirates sometimes simply called the Emirates or the UAE an Arab country in the southeast of the Arabian Peninsula. It is the constitutional federation of seven emirates: Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al Quwain, Ras Al Khaimah, and Fujairah. Each governed by a hereditary emir, who choose one of their members to be the president of the federation. It stretched over 1448 km from the west coast of Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman, where water and land overlap, to the Arabian Peninsula. The capital is Abu Dhabi, which is also the state’s center of commercial and cultural activities. Each emirate is governed by an absolute monarch who jointly form the Federal Supreme Council. One of the monarchs is selected as the President of the United Arab Emirates. Islam is the official religion of the UAE, and Arabic is the official language. English is very widely spoken and most signs are in English too!
The UAE’s economy is the most diversified in the Gulf Cooperation Council, with its most populous city of Dubai emerging into a important center for international trade and transport while it is home to the world’s busiest airport by international passenger traffic and the world’s current tallest man-made structure. Rich of pearls which have been sustaining the UAE population for centuries, the coastline is studded with islands, coral reefs and ridges. Oil wealth was used to develop the UAE into one of the worlds most open and successful economies. The UAE has become an important player in regional and international affairs.
The United Arab Emirates mainland varies from narrow plains surrounded with sand desert throughout the west and the south to highlands stretching in the Far East and southern east to the borders of Oman.
The UAE’s rich history is rooted in trade and tied to Islam, which came to the region in AD 630. Its location between Europe and the Far East attracted merchants from India and China and was prized by Europeans, in particular the Portuguese, the Dutch and the British.
While Europeans sought control of the coasts, inland, the ancestors of the Bedouin made the sandy deserts of Abu Dhabi and Dubai their home. The town of Abu Dhabi became an important center.
In the 19th century, the British signed a series of agreements with the individual emirates that resulted in the area becoming known as “The Trucial States.” They agreed not to have dealings with any territory except the United Kingdom and not to enter into relationships with any other foreign government without the UK’s consent. In return, the British promised to protect the coast from all aggression by sea and to help in case of land attack.
The pearling industry thrived in 19th and early 20th centuries, providing income and employment to the people of the Gulf. Many inhabitants were semi-nomadic, pearling in the summer and tending date gardens in the winter. But the economic depression in the late 1920s and early 1930s, coupled with the Japanese invention of the cultured pearl, irreparably damaged the industry.
In the early 1930s the first oil company teams conducted geological surveys. In 1962, the first cargo of crude was exported from Abu Dhabi. With oil revenues growing year by year, His Highness (H.H.) Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan was chosen as Ruler of Abu Dhabi in 1966. He undertook a massive program of construction of schools, housing, hospitals and roads.
One of Sheikh Zayed’s early steps was to increase contributions to the Trucial States Development Fund. Abu Dhabi soon became its largest donor. In the meantime, H.H. Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum, de facto Ruler of Dubai since 1939, developed shipping to replace pearling revenues. When Dubai’s oil exports started in 1969, Sheikh Rashid was able to use oil revenues to improve the quality of life of his people.
At the beginning of 1968, when the British announced their intention to withdraw from the Arabian Gulf, Sheikh Zayed acted rapidly to establish closer ties with the emirates. With Sheikh Rashid, Sheikh Zayed called for a federation that would include not only the seven Emirates that together made up the Trucial States, but also Qatar and Bahrain.
Agreement was reached between the rulers of six of the Emirates (Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Umm al-Quwain, Fujairah and Ajman), and the Federation to be known as the United Arab Emirates was formally established on December 2, 1971. The seventh Emirate, Ra’s Al-Khaimah, acceded to the new Federation the following year.
Since then, the seven Emirates have forged a distinct national identity. The UAE’s political system combines traditional and modern and enabled the country to develop a modern administrative structure while ensuring that traditions of the past are maintained, adapted and preserved.
In 2004, H.H. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan became president and has since continued to strive towards an ambitious vision for the UAE.
Four-fifths of the UAE is desert but has contrasting landscapes — from the towering red dunes of the Liwa to the rich palm-filled oases of Al Ain, from the precipitous Hajar Mountains to the more fertile stretches of its coastal plains.
Though small in size (comparable to the state of Maine), the UAE has become an important player in regional and international affairs.
In less than four decades, the nation has transformed from a tribal culture reliant on agriculture and fishing to an entrepreneurial success story with world-class infrastructure. The leadership has improved education (effectively eliminating illiteracy), advanced health care and embraced change as the UAE modernizes, consistent with its history and cultural values.
The UAE is also strengthening institutions of government to ensure a transparent legal system with full regard for the quality of life of all citizens and residents. Four members of the Federal Cabinet are women.
The UAE is a member and participates in many international organizations, e.g. the United Nations (UN), the World Trade Organization (WTO), the Arab League, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa (ABEDA), the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development (AFESD), the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the Group of 77 (G-77), the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
Today the UAE is a strong, vibrant and modern nation that is open to the world.
The Seven Emirates
The United Arab Emirates is comprised of seven emirates, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Fujairah, Ras Al Khaimah and Umm Al Quwain. A modern and dynamic country which occupies the southeastern corner of the Arabian Peninsula. Each emirate, unique and rich in tradition, is an essential component necessary for making up the whole.
The largest of these by far is Abu Dhabi, while probably the most well known is Dubai.
Emirate of Abu Dhabi
Emirate of Abu Dhabi is the largest emirate and is ruled by the Al Nahyan family. It occupies 67,340 square kilometres or 86.7% of the total area of this great nation. The emirate is primarily a vast desert area with about two dozen islands in the coastal waters, including the island where the city of Abu Dhabi is situated, plus six sizeable islands further out in the Arabian Gulf. The population of this emirate is concentrated in three areas: the capital city, Abu Dhabi; Al Ain, an oasis city situated close to the Hajar Mountains; and the villages of the Liwa oases. Traditionally, the population along the coast relied on fishing and pearling for their livelihood, whilst those in the hinterland relied on date plantations and camel herding. Through remarkable leadership and personal commitment, His Highness Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan has developed Abu Dhabi into an influential, fully modernised state.
Emirate of Dubai
Dubai, the second largest of the seven emirates and probably the most well known, is ruled by the Al Maktoum family. Occupying an area of approximately 3,900 km, which includes a small enclave called Hatta, located near Oman, amongst the Hajar Mountains. Dubai, is situated along the creek, a natural harbour, which traditionally provided the basis of the trading industry. Pearling and fishing were the main sources of income for the people if the city. Under the wise leadership of its rulers, Dubai’s focus on trade and industry transformed it into the leading trading port along the southern Gulf.
Emirates of Sharjah
Sharjah, which shares its southern border with Dubai, is ruled by the Al Qasimi family. It is approximately 2,600 square kilometres and is the only emirate to have coastlines on both the Arabian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman. In the nineteenth century the town of Sharjah was the leading port in the lower Gulf. Produce from the interior of Oman, India and Persia arrived there. Sharjah’s salt mines meant that salt constituted an important part of its export business, along with pearls. In the 1930s when the pearling industry declined and trade decreased due to the creek silting up, Imperial Airways’ flying boats set up a staging post for flights en route to India, which benefited Sharjah residents. Today, under the wise leadership of Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Sharjah is the cultural and educational centre of the UAE and takes pride in preserving the nation’s cultural heritage as well as promoting Arab culture and traditions.
Emirate of Ajman
Ajman is the smallest emirate, comprising only 260 square kilometres. It is ruled by the Al Nuami family. Surrounded mostly by the emirate of Sharjah, Ajman also has small enclaves of Manama and Musfut in the Hajar Mountains. Along the creek dhow building was the specialised trade. Fishing and date-trees provided the local population with their primary means of sustenance. Ajman benefited greatly from the union of the emirates, a fact that is reflected today in their stately buildings and infrastructure.
Emirate of Fujairah
Fujairah is the only emirate that doesn’t have a coastline on the Arabian Gulf, which is ruled by the Al Sharqi family. Located along the coast of the Gulf of Oman, Fujairah covers about 1,300 square kilometres. Unlike other emirates, where the desert forms a large part of the terrain, mountains and plains are its predominant features. Fujairah’s economy is based on fishing and agriculture. Like Ras Al Khaimah, the land in Fujairah is irrigated by rainwater from the Hajar Mountains, making it ideal for farming.
Emirate of Ras Al Khaimah
Ras Al Khaimah, situated on the far north, is ruled by another branch of the Al Qasimi family. It covers an area of 1,700 square kilometres. Thanks to the run-off water from the Hajar Mountains, Ras Al Khaimah has a unique abundance of flora, so it is no surprise that agriculture is important to the local economy. Ras Al Khaimah also benefits from its stone quarries, and fishing, which is abundant in the rich waters of the Gulf. The city of Ras Al Khaimah, located on an inlet, has a rich history. It was renowned for its prosperous port and for its marvelous pearls, which were famous as being the whitest and roundest available anywhere.
Emirate of Umm Al Qaiwain
Umm Al Qaiwain is ruled by the Al Mualla family and is the second smallest emirate, with a total area of approximately 770 square kilometres. Located between the emirates of Sharjah and Ajman to the south and Ras Al Khaimah to the north, Umm Al Qaiwain has the smallest population. Fishing is the local population’s primary source of income. Date farming also plays an important role in the economy. After the union of the emirates in 1971 Umm Al Qaiwain turned into a modern state, and continues to progress under its present ruler.
UAE Major Cities
• Abu Dhabi – The capital of the UAE
• Ajman – The smallest emirate, One of the budget destinations.
• Al Ain – Inland and close to the Omani border town of Buraimi, Al Ain comprises a triangle between the proper cities of Abu Dhabi and Dubai.
• Dubai – The most popular entry point for tourist, it is the transport and commerce center of the United Arab Emirates.
• Fujairah – An ideal place for weekend breaks for residents with beautiful coastal stretches, white sandy beaches, hot springs and more.
• Ras Al Khaimah – Another ideal place for weekend breaks for residents with beautiful coastal stretches, white sandy beaches, hot springs etc.
• Khor Fakkan – is a town located along the Gulf of Oman on the east coast of the United Arab Emirates.
• Sharjah – A cheaper destination, with its own unique charm.
• Umm al Quwain – The most peaceful Emirate of UAE, free from the hussle and bussle of city-life.
Weather and Climate in UAE
United Arab Emirates Climate: This is a destination with almost year-round sunshine, little rainfall and near perfect winter temperatures.
Moderate climate is found between:
October and March, days are Sunny and Pleasant (Average Temperature – 26*C). Nights are Cool (Average Temperature – 15*C)
Summer is between :
April and September temperatures peaking at 50*C and high humidity levels. In the Southerly and Northerly winds blow over the UAE with occasional sand storms.
Weather in United Arab Emirates
Scroll down to view a list of all cities.
Abu Dhabi Climate
Al Ain Climate
Ras Al Khaimah Climate