The United Arab Emirates (also called the UAE) is a Middle Eastern country situated in the southeast of the Arabian Peninsula in Southwest Asia on the Persian Gulf, comprising seven emirates: Abu Dhabi, Ajmān, Dubai, Fujairah, Ras al-Khaimah, Sharjah, and Umm al-Qaiwain. Before 1971, they were known as the Trucial States or Trucial Oman, in reference of a nineteenth-century truce between the British and some Arab Sheikhs. It borders Oman and Saudi Arabia. The country is rich in oil.





Al-Imārāt al-‘Arabīyah al-Muttahidah

United Arab Emirates











UAE Flag



UAE Coat of Arms




Official language



Abu Dhabi

Largest City

Abu Dhabi


83,600 km˛

 - Total (2004)
 - Density

Ranked 119th
4.3 million

HDI (2003)

0.849 (41st) – high


Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahayan

Prime Minister

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum

Independence declared

2 December 1971


UAE dirham

Time zone

UTC +4

National anthem

Arabic Emirati Tahiat Alalam

Internet TLD


Calling code







The seven Trucial Sheikdom States of the Persian Gulf coast granted the United Kingdom control of their defense and foreign affairs in nineteenth-century treaties. In 1971, six of these states — Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Fujairah, Sharjah, Dubai, and Umm al-Qaiwain — merged to form the United Arab Emirates. They were joined in 1972 by Ras Al Khaimah.





Federal institutions


The Supreme Council consists of the individual rulers of the seven emirates. The President and Vice-President are elected by the Supreme Council every five years. Although unofficial, the Presidency is de facto hereditary to the Al-Nahyan clan of Abu Dhabi and the Premiership is hereditary to the Al-Maktoom clan of Dubai. The Supreme Council also elects the Council of Ministers, while an appointed 40-member Federal National Council, drawn from all the emirates, reviews proposed laws. There is a federal court system; all emirates except Dubai and Ras al-Khaimah have joined the federal system; all emirates have both secular and Islamic law for civil, criminal, and high courts.


Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan was the union's president from the nation's founding until his death on 2 November 2004. His son, Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahayan was elected president the next day.



Economic trend


United Arab Emirates is now the second-richest country in the Muslim world. Though Current GDP per capita contracted 42% in the Eighties, successful diversification helped register positive growth of 48% in the Nineties.



Airlines history


The national airline of the UAE was formerly Gulf Air, operated jointly with Bahrain and Oman. On September 13, 2005, the UAE announced that they were withdrawing from Gulf Air to concentrate on Etihad Airways, their new national carrier established in 2003.


In 1985, Dubai established a local airline called Emirates, which has become one of the most popular in the world.



Migrant workers


Migrant workers, often unskilled or semi-skilled, comprise a large portion of UAE's workforce. A 2003 Human Rights Watch report estimates up to 90 percent of the country's 1.7 million workers are migrants. These migrants, drawn to wages often more than they could make in their home countries, have helped UAE's endless construction projects proceed rapidly.



Map of the United Arab Emirates




The UAE lies in Southwest Asia, bordering the Gulf of Oman and the Persian Gulf, between Oman and Saudi Arabia. It is a flat, barren coastal plain merging into rolling sand dunes of vast desert wasteland; with mountains in the east. Desert land covers over 90% of the country [1]. Its strategic location along southern approaches to the Strait of Hormuz makes it a vital transit point for world crude oil. The UAE is considered to be one of the fifteen states that comprise the so-called "Cradle of Humanity".


The border demarcation treaties of 1974 and 1977 between the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia were never made public. Therefore the exact border of the two countries is only known to their governments.



Exclaves and enclaves


There is an Omani enclave inside UAE territory, known as Wadi Madha. It is located halfway between the Musandam peninsula and the rest of Oman, on the Dubai-Hatta road in the Emirate of Sharjah. It covers approximately 75 km˛ (29 mi˛) and the boundary was settled in 1969. The north-east corner of Madha is closest to the Khor Fakkan-Fujairah road, barely 10 m (33 ft) away. Within the enclave is a UAE exclave called Nahwa, also belonging to the Emirate of Sharjah. It is about 8 km (5 mi) on a dirt track west of the town of New Madha. It consists of about 40 houses with its own clinic and telephone exchange [2].



Technology and telecommunications


Federal Act No. 1[3] of 1976 establishes the Emirates Telecommunications Corporation as the sole telephone and telecommunications provider in the country, however freezones and modern housing developments are exempt from this and utilise a separate telecommunications company.



Dubai Skyline


Dubai Skyline



For the majority of the UAE, Etisalat has a monopoly on business and personal telecommunications services.


The Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) requires Etisalat to actively censor Internet sites. Material deemed offensive is often blocked.


Recently, a new Telephone company and Internet Service Provider (previously called Sahamnet and now a subsidiary of Dubai Internet City) has launched to serve expatriates who have purchased freehold property within the UAE.





About 88% of the population of the United Arab Emirates is urban[4].





Rooted in Islamic culture, the UAE has strong ties with the rest of the Arab world. The government is committed to preserving traditional forms of art and culture, primarily through the Abu Dhabi Cultural Foundation. Change is very apparent in social life however - attitudes toward women are shifting, and new sports are becoming popular alongside traditional camel racing, including golf, with two European Tour events in the country (the Dubai Desert Classic and the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship) and the world's richest horse race, the Dubai World Cup, held annually in March. Due to the predominant Muslim religious beliefs, pork and alcohol are not commonly served in the area. [5]

  • Music of the United Arab Emirates

  • Islam in the United Arab Emirates





English Name

Arabic Transliteration

1 January

New Year's Day

رأس السنة الميلادية


The Day of The Sacrifice

Eid ul-Adha (عيد الأضحى)


Islamic New Year

Ra's Al Sana Al Hijria (رأس السنة الهجرية)  

6 August

Accession of H.H. Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan-al Nahyan



The Night Journey

Isra'a wa al-Miraj (الإسراء و المعراج)  

2 December

National Day

Al-Eid Al Watani (العيد الوطني)  


End of Ramadan

Eid ul-Fitr (عيد الفطر)












General information


UAE communities and forums


Non-governmental organisations

  • Ansar Burney Trust - working on human rights and human trafficking issues in the Middle East; and against the use of children for slavery for camel racing in the UAE

  • MAFIWASTA - working on workers' rights issues












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