The first inhabitants of the region of UAE are said to have settled in the land in 5000BC. Around 3000 BC, the region already had contact with the outside world through the trading of goods.
During the 16th century, the Portuguese came and ruled the Arabian Peninsula for 150 years. Following the Portuguese was the Ottoman empire. During this era, the British called the region the "Pirate Coast" due to the raids that were done on traveling ships on the Gulf. By 1853, the sheiks and the British signed a peace treaty resulting to a maritime truce. By 1892, the bonds between the two nations had deepened, resulting in a treaty giving the region British protection in exchange for not giving any of their territory to other nations.
During the 19th and early 20th centuries, the Persian Gulf had a thriving pearl industry. But the onset of the 1st World War took a toll on the industry, as well as the invention of cultured pearls by the Japanese, leading to the decline and eventual fall of the industry.
By the 1930's surveys commenced in the search for oil in the region. It was 1958 when oil was discovered under a pearling bed in the Umm Shaif area, as well as in the desert of Murban in 1960. The first crude export of Abu Dhabi occurred in 1962.
The discovery of oil led to a massive construction program in the region, which resulted to the building of schools, housing, hospitals, and roads. It was also in the 60's that unification calls in the region started, resulting to the Trucial States Council.
The British eventually announced their decision to end their protection treaty with the Trucial States on January 1971, ending with the treaty's expiration on December 1, 1971. The Trucial States officially became the United Arab Emirates on that day, with Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al Qaiwain, Ras Al Kaimah, and Fujairah comprising the 7 emirates of the country.
The UAE is found in southwest Asia in the southeastern end of the Arabian Peninsula. Its borders are Oman to the east, Saudi Arabia to the south, and shares sea borders with Iran and Qatar.
The largest emirate is Abu Dhabi with a total area of 26,000 square miles, making up 87% of the UAE's total area, while the smallest is Ajman at 100 square miles.
UAE's climate is subtropical with hot summers and warm winters - the average maximum temperature of the hottest months of July and August is 45 degrees Celsius.
UAE is a federation of hereditary absolute monarchs. Each emirate is governed by a hereditary emir. The emirs form the Federal Supreme Council, where one of them is chosen as President of UAE, as well as another emir for the Prime Minister position. The country is ruled by a federal court system.
The UAE is an Islamic country but it is generally tolerant of other religions, which makes it a generally safe and enjoyable country to spend a vacation in. One of the most visited countries in the world, the most popular places to visit are Dubai, with 66% share of the tourist economy, Abu Dhabi with 16%, and Sharjah with 10%.
Enjoying a sunset cruise on the Dubai Creek is one of the best ways to explore the city of Dubai. Tourists can hire dhows, which are Arabic boats, and watch the city lights lit up at sun down.
Another Dubai attraction is the Burj Khalifa - the world's tallest building, which also has the world's highest observation deck, and the elevator with the longest travel distance in the world.
Jumeirah is also found in Dubai, which is referred to as the Beverly Hills of the Middle East. This unique coastal residential area is famous among tourists, for it is one of the most expensive and exclusive residential areas in the state. Tourists can visit the area as it is the site for many global events.
The Khatt Springs Spa in the desert of Ras Al Khaimah is a high-end castle-like luxury spa and lodgings with the Hajar Mountains offering a spectacular backdrop. Luxury experiences like this is quintessentially UAE, as desert experiences are a must for every traveler. Other desert activities include 4-wheel drive trips, dune-buggy journeys, and camel treks. Bedouin-style dinners on an empty desert are also popular with tourists.
Overall adult literacy rate in the UAE is 90% for both men and women. Public education is free for all students until the university level. Expatriates can also enroll in government schools but they would have to pay a fee. The oldest and top ranking university in the country is the United Arab Emirates University in Abu Dhabi.
- Oil reserves in the UAE is the 7th largest in the world.
- Some ATMs in Dubai can dispense gold bars.
- Arabic is the official language but English is also widely used.
- It's common to see the world's best luxury cars on the streets of Abu Dhabi, way before they are made available to the public.
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