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The United Arab Emirates (UAE; ar, اَلْإِمَارَات الْعَرَبِيَة الْمُتَحِدَة ), or simply the Emirates ( ar, الِْإمَارَات ), is a country in
Western Asia Western Asia, West Asia, or Southwest Asia, is the westernmost subregion of the larger geographical region of Asia, as defined by some academics, UN bodies and other institutions. It is almost entirely a part of the Middle East, and includes Anat ...

Western Asia
(
The Middle East
The Middle East
). It is located at the eastern end of the
Arabian Peninsula The Arabian Peninsula, (; ar, شِبْهُ الْجَزِيرَةِ الْعَرَبِيَّة, , "Arabian Peninsula" or , , "Island of the Arabs") or Arabia, is a peninsula of Western Asia, situated northeast of Africa Africa is t ...
and shares borders with
Oman Oman ( ; ar, عُمَان ' ), officially the Sultanate of Oman ( ar, سلْطنةُ عُمان ), is an Arabian country located in southwestern Asia. It is situated on the southeastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula, and spans the mouth of t ...

Oman
and
Saudi Arabia Saudi Arabia, officially the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), is a country in Western Asia. It covers the bulk of the Arabian Peninsula, and has a land area of about , making it the List of Asian countries by area, fifth-largest country in Asia ...

Saudi Arabia
, while having maritime borders in the
Persian Gulf The Persian Gulf ( fa, خلیج فارس, translit=xalij-e fârs, lit=Gulf of Persis, Fars, ), sometimes called the ( ar, اَلْخَلِيْجُ ٱلْعَرَبِيُّ, Al-Khalīj al-ˁArabī), is a Mediterranean sea (oceanography), me ...

Persian Gulf
with
Qatar Qatar (, ; ar, قطر, Qaṭar ; local vernacular pronunciation: ), officially the State of Qatar,) is a country in Western Asia. It occupies the Qatar Peninsula on the northeastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula in the Middle East; it sha ...

Qatar
and
Iran Iran, officially the Islamic Republic of Iran, and also called Persia, is a country located in Western Asia. It is bordered by Iraq and Turkey to the west, by Azerbaijan and Armenia to the northwest, by the Caspian Sea and Turkmeni ...

Iran
.
Abu Dhabi Abu Dhabi (, ; ar, أَبُو ظَبِي ' ) is the Capital city, capital and List of cities in the United Arab Emirates, second-most populous city (after Dubai) of the United Arab Emirates. It is also the capital of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi ...

Abu Dhabi
is the nation's capital, while
Dubai Dubai (, ; ar, wikt:دبي, دبي, translit=Dubayy, , ) is the List of cities in the United Arab Emirates#Major cities, most populous city in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the capital of the Emirate of Dubai, the most populated of the 7 ...

Dubai
, the most populous city, is an international hub. The United Arab Emirates is an
elective monarchy An elective monarchy is a monarchy ruled by an election, elected monarch, in contrast to a hereditary monarchy in which the office is automatically passed down as a family inheritance. The manner of election, the nature of candidate qualification ...

elective monarchy
formed from a
federation A federation (also known as a federal state) is a political entity characterized by a union of partially self-governing provinces, states, or other regions under a central federal government (federalism). In a federation, the self-govern ...
of seven emirates, consisting of
Abu Dhabi Abu Dhabi (, ; ar, أَبُو ظَبِي ' ) is the Capital city, capital and List of cities in the United Arab Emirates, second-most populous city (after Dubai) of the United Arab Emirates. It is also the capital of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi ...
(the capital), Ajman,
Dubai Dubai (, ; ar, wikt:دبي, دبي, translit=Dubayy, , ) is the List of cities in the United Arab Emirates#Major cities, most populous city in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the capital of the Emirate of Dubai, the most populated of the 7 ...
, Fujairah, Ras Al Khaimah,
Sharjah Sharjah (; ar, ٱلشَّارقَة ', Gulf Arabic: ''aš-Šārja'') is the List of cities in the United Arab Emirates, third-most populous city in the United Arab Emirates, after Dubai and Abu Dhabi, forming part of the Dubai-Sharjah-Ajman me ...
and Umm Al Quwain. Each emirate is governed by an
emir Emir (; ar, أمير ' ), sometimes Romanization of Arabic, transliterated amir, amier, or ameer, is a word of Arabic language, Arabic origin that can refer to a male monarch, aristocratic, aristocrat, holder of high-ranking military or politi ...

emir
and together the emirs form the Federal Supreme Council. The members of the Federal Supreme Council elect a
president President most commonly refers to: *President (corporate title) *President (education), a leader of a college or university *President (government title) President may also refer to: Automobiles * Nissan President, a 1966–2010 Japanese ful ...
and
vice president A vice president, also director in British English, is an Corporate officer, officer in government or business who is below the President (corporate title), president (chief executive officer) in rank. It can also refer to executive vice presid ...
from among their members. In practice, the emir of Abu Dhabi serves as president while the ruler of Dubai is vice president and also prime minister. In 2013, the country had a population of 9.2 million, of which 1.4 million were Emirati citizens and 7.8 million were
expatriates An expatriate (often shortened to expat) is a person who domicile (law), resides outside their native country. In common usage, the term often refers to educated professionals, skilled workers, or artists taking positions outside their home c ...
.Habboush, Mahmoud. (10 October 2013
Call to naturalise some expats stirs anxiety in the UAE
Uk.reuters.com. Retrieved 10 October 2015
, the United Arab Emirates has an estimated population of roughly 9.9 million. The area which is today the United Arab Emirates has been inhabited for over 125,000 years. It has been the crossroads of trading for many civilizations, including
Mesopotamia Mesopotamia ''Mesopotamíā''; ar, بِلَاد ٱلرَّافِدَيْن or ; syc, ܐܪܡ ܢܗܪ̈ܝܢ, or , ) is a historical region of Western Asia situated within the Tigris–Euphrates river system, in the northern part of the F ...

Mesopotamia
,
Persia Iran, officially the Islamic Republic of Iran, and also called Persia, is a country located in Western Asia. It is bordered by Iraq and Turkey to the west, by Azerbaijan and Armenia to the northwest, by the Caspian Sea and Turkmeni ...

Persia
, and
India India, officially the Republic of India (Hindi: ), is a country in South Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by area, seventh-largest country by area, the List of countries and dependencies by population, second-most populous ...

India
.
Islam Islam (; ar, ۘالِإسلَام, , ) is an Abrahamic monotheistic religion centred primarily around the Quran, a religious text considered by Muslims to be the direct word of God in Islam, God (or ''Allah'') as it was revealed to Muh ...
is the
official religion A state religion (also called religious state or official religion) is a religion or creed officially endorsed by a sovereign state. A state with an official religion (also known as confessional state), while not secular state, secular, is not n ...
and
Arabic Arabic (, ' ; , ' or ) is a Semitic languages, Semitic language spoken primarily across the Arab world.Semitic languages: an international handbook / edited by Stefan Weninger; in collaboration with Geoffrey Khan, Michael P. Streck, Janet C ...

Arabic
the official language. The United Arab Emirates' oil and natural gas reserves are the world's sixth and seventh-largest, respectively.
Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan ( ar, زَايِد بِن سُلْطَان آل نَهْيَان, Zāyed bin Sulṭān Āl Nahyān; 6 May 1918 – 2 November 2004) was an Emirati politician, statesman, and philanthropist who served as ...

Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan
, ruler of Abu Dhabi and the country's first president, oversaw the development of the Emirates by investing oil revenues into healthcare, education, and infrastructure. The United Arab Emirates has the most diversified economy among the members of the
Gulf Cooperation Council The Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf ( ar, مجلس التعاون لدول العربية الخليج ), also known as the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC; ar, مجلس التعاون الخليجي), is a regional, inter ...

Gulf Cooperation Council
. In the 21st century, the country has become less reliant on oil and gas and is economically focusing on tourism and business. The government does not levy income tax, although there is a corporate tax in place and a 5%
value-added tax A value-added tax (VAT), known in some countries as a goods and services tax (GST), is a type of tax that is assessed incrementally. It is levied on the price of a product or service at each stage of production, distribution, or sale to the end ...
was established in 2018.
Human rights Human rights are Morality, moral principles or Social norm, normsJames Nickel, with assistance from Thomas Pogge, M.B.E. Smith, and Leif Wenar, 13 December 2013, Stanford Encyclopedia of PhilosophyHuman Rights Retrieved 14 August 2014 for ce ...
groups, such as
Amnesty International Amnesty International (also referred to as Amnesty or AI) is an international non-governmental organization focused on human rights, with its headquarters in the United Kingdom. The organization says it has more than ten million members and s ...

Amnesty International
,
Freedom House Freedom House is a non-profit, majority U.S. government funded organization in Washington, D.C., that conducts research and advocacy on democracy, Freedom (political), political freedom, and human rights. Freedom House was founded in October 19 ...
and
Human Rights Watch Human Rights Watch (HRW) is an international non-governmental organization, headquartered in New York City, that conducts research and advocacy on human rights. The group pressures governments, policy makers, companies, and individual human ri ...
, regard UAE as generally substandard on human rights, with citizens criticising the regime imprisoned and tortured, families harassed by the state security apparatus, and cases of
forced disappearance An enforced disappearance (or forced disappearance) is the secret abduction or imprisonment of a person by a State (polity), state or political organization, or by a third party with the authorization, support, or acquiescence of a state or po ...
s. Individual rights such as the freedoms of assembly, association, the press, expression, and
religion Religion is usually defined as a social- cultural system of designated behaviors and practices, morals, beliefs, worldviews, texts, sanctified places, prophecies, ethics, or religious organization, organizations, that generally relates hu ...
are also severely repressed. The UAE is considered a
middle power In international relations, a middle power is a sovereign state A sovereign state or sovereign country, is a polity, political entity represented by one central government that has supreme legitimate authority over territory. Internationa ...
. It is a member of the
United Nations The United Nations (UN) is an intergovernmental organization whose stated purposes are to maintain international peace and international security, security, develop friendly relations among nations, achieve international cooperation, and be ...

United Nations
,
Arab League The Arab League ( ar, الجامعة العربية, ' ), formally the League of Arab States ( ar, جامعة الدول العربية, '), is a regional organization in the Arab world The Arab world ( ar, اَلْعَالَمُ ال ...

Arab League
,
Organisation of Islamic Cooperation An organization or organisation (English in the Commonwealth of Nations, Commonwealth English; American and British English spelling differences#-ise, -ize (-isation, -ization), see spelling differences), is an legal entity, entity—such as ...
,
OPEC The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC, ) is a cartel of countries. Founded on 14 September 1960 in Baghdad by the first five members (Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Venezuela), it has, since 1965, been headquart ...

OPEC
,
Non-Aligned Movement The Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) is a forum of 120 countries that Non-belligerent, are not formally aligned with or against any major power bloc. After the United Nations, it is the largest grouping of states worldwide. The movement originated in ...
, and
Gulf Cooperation Council The Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf ( ar, مجلس التعاون لدول العربية الخليج ), also known as the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC; ar, مجلس التعاون الخليجي), is a regional, inter ...

Gulf Cooperation Council
(GCC).


History

Human occupation in the region has been traced back to the emergence of anatomically modern humans from
Africa Africa is the world's second-largest and second-most populous continent, after Asia in both cases. At about 30.3 million km2 (11.7 million square miles) including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of Earth's total surface area ...

Africa
circa 124,000 BCE through finds at the Faya-2 site in
Mleiha Mleiha, also Mileiha or Malaihah ( ar, ملَيْحَة), is a town in the Emirate of Sharjah, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) with a population of 4,768 (2015), located some south of the inland Sharjah town of Dhaid. It is the location of archaeo ...
,
Sharjah Sharjah (; ar, ٱلشَّارقَة ', Gulf Arabic: ''aš-Šārja'') is the List of cities in the United Arab Emirates, third-most populous city in the United Arab Emirates, after Dubai and Abu Dhabi, forming part of the Dubai-Sharjah-Ajman me ...
. Burial sites dating back to the
Neolithic The Neolithic period, or New Stone Age, is an Old World archaeological period and the final division of the Stone Age. It saw the Neolithic Revolution, a wide-ranging set of developments that appear to have arisen independently in several pa ...
Age and the
Bronze Age The Bronze Age is a historic period, lasting approximately from 3300 BC to 1200 BC, characterized by the use of bronze Bronze is an alloy consisting primarily of copper, commonly with about 12–12.5% tin and often with the addition of ...
include the oldest known such inland site at Jebel Buhais. Known as Magan to the
Sumer Sumer () is the earliest known civilization in the historical region of southern Mesopotamia (south-central Iraq), emerging during the Chalcolithic and Early Bronze Age, early Bronze Ages between the sixth and fifth millennium BC. It is one of ...

Sumer
ians, the area was home to a prosperous Bronze Age trading culture during the Umm Al Nar period which traded between the
Indus Valley The Indus ( ) is a transboundary river of Asia and a trans-Himalayan river of South and Central Asia Central Asia, also known as Middle Asia, is a region of Asia Asia (, ) is one of the world's most notable geographical reg ...
,
Bahrain Bahrain ( ; ; ar, البحرين, al-Bahrayn, locally ), officially the Kingdom of Bahrain, ' is an island country in Western Asia. It is situated on the Arab states of the Persian Gulf, Persian Gulf, and comprises a small archipelago made u ...
and
Mesopotamia Mesopotamia ''Mesopotamíā''; ar, بِلَاد ٱلرَّافِدَيْن or ; syc, ܐܪܡ ܢܗܪ̈ܝܢ, or , ) is a historical region of Western Asia situated within the Tigris–Euphrates river system, in the northern part of the F ...

Mesopotamia
as well as
Iran Iran, officially the Islamic Republic of Iran, and also called Persia, is a country located in Western Asia. It is bordered by Iraq and Turkey to the west, by Azerbaijan and Armenia to the northwest, by the Caspian Sea and Turkmeni ...

Iran
,
Bactria Bactria (; Bactrian: , ), or Bactriana, was an ancient region in Central Asia Central Asia, also known as Middle Asia, is a region of Asia Asia (, ) is one of the world's most notable geographical regions, which is either conside ...
and the
Levant The Levant () is an approximation, approximate historical geography, historical geographical term referring to a large area in the Eastern Mediterranean region of Western Asia. In its narrowest sense, which is in use today in archaeology an ...
. The ensuing Wadi Suq period and three Iron Ages saw the emergence of nomadism as well as the development of water management and irrigation systems supporting human settlement in both the coast and interior. The Islamic Age began with the expulsion of the
Sasanians The Sasanian () or Sassanid Empire, officially known as the Empire of Iranians (, ) and also referred to by historians as the Neo-Persian Empire, was the last Iranian empire before the early Muslim conquests The early Muslim conquests o ...
and the subsequent Battle of Dibba. The region's history of trade led to the emergence of Julfar, in the present-day emirate of Ras Al Khaimah, as a regional trading and maritime hub in the area. The maritime dominance of the Persian Gulf by Arab traders led to conflicts with European powers, including the
Portuguese Empire The Portuguese Empire ( pt, Império Português), also known as the Portuguese Overseas (''Ultramar Português'') or the Portuguese Colonial Empire (''Império Colonial Português''), was composed of the overseas Colonialism, colonies, Factory ...
and the
British Empire The British Empire was composed of the dominions, Crown colony, colonies, protectorates, League of Nations mandate, mandates, and other Dependent territory, territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom and its predecessor states. I ...
. Following decades of maritime conflict, the coastal emirates became known as the
Trucial States The Trucial States ( '), also known as the Trucial Coast ( '), the Trucial Sheikhdoms ( '), Trucial Arabia or Trucial Oman, was the name the British government gave to a group of tribal confederations in southeastern Arabian Peninsula, Arabia ...
with the signing of the General Maritime Treaty with the British in 1820 (ratified in 1853 and again in 1892), which established the Trucial States as a British protectorate. This arrangement ended with independence and the establishment of the United Arab Emirates on 2 December 1971 following the British withdrawal from its treaty obligations. Six emirates joined the UAE in 1971; the seventh, Ras Al Khaimah, joined the federation on 10 February 1972.


Antiquity

Stone tools recovered reveal a settlement of people from Africa some 127,000 years ago and a stone tool used for butchering animals discovered on the Arabian coast suggests an even older habitation from 130,000 years ago. There is no proof of contact with the outside world at that stage, although in time lively trading links developed with civilisations in
Mesopotamia Mesopotamia ''Mesopotamíā''; ar, بِلَاد ٱلرَّافِدَيْن or ; syc, ܐܪܡ ܢܗܪ̈ܝܢ, or , ) is a historical region of Western Asia situated within the Tigris–Euphrates river system, in the northern part of the F ...

Mesopotamia
, Iran and the Harappan culture of the Indus Valley. This contact persisted and became wider, probably motivated by the trade in copper from the Hajar Mountains, which commenced around 3,000 BCE. Sumerian sources talk of the Magan civilisation, which has been identified as encompassing the modern UAE and Oman. There are six periods of human settlement with distinctive behaviours in the region before Islam, which include the
Hafit period The Hafit period defines early Bronze Age human settlement in the United Arab Emirates and Oman in the period from 3200 to 2600 BC. It is named after the distinctive beehive burials first found on Jebel Hafeet, Jebel Hafit, a rocky mountain near ...
from 3,200 to 2,600 BCE, the Umm Al Nar culture from 2,600 to 2,000 BCE, and the Wadi Suq culture from 2,000 to 1,300 BCE. From 1,200 BCE to the advent of Islam in Eastern Arabia, through three distinctive Iron Ages and the Mleiha period, the area was variously occupied by the
Achaemenids The Achaemenid Empire or Achaemenian Empire (; peo, 𐎧𐏁𐏂, , ), also called the First Persian Empire, was an ancient Iranian empire founded by Cyrus the Great Cyrus II of Persia (; peo, wikt:𐎤𐎢𐎽𐎢𐏁, 𐎤𐎢𐎽 ...
and other forces, and saw the construction of fortified settlements and extensive husbandry thanks to the development of the ''falaj'' irrigation system. In ancient times, Al Hasa (today's Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia) was part of Al Bahreyn and adjoined Greater Oman (today's UAE and Oman). From the second century CE, there was a movement of tribes from Al Bahreyn towards the lower Gulf, together with a migration among the Azdite Qahtani (or Yamani) and Quda'ah tribal groups from south-west Arabia towards central Oman.


Islam

The spread of
Islam Islam (; ar, ۘالِإسلَام, , ) is an Abrahamic monotheistic religion centred primarily around the Quran, a religious text considered by Muslims to be the direct word of God in Islam, God (or ''Allah'') as it was revealed to Muh ...
to the northeastern tip of the
Arabian Peninsula The Arabian Peninsula, (; ar, شِبْهُ الْجَزِيرَةِ الْعَرَبِيَّة, , "Arabian Peninsula" or , , "Island of the Arabs") or Arabia, is a peninsula of Western Asia, situated northeast of Africa Africa is t ...
is thought to have followed directly from a letter sent by the
Islamic prophet Prophets in Islam ( ar, الأنبياء في الإسلام, translit=al-ʾAnbiyāʾ fī al-ʾIslām) are individuals in Islam who are believed to spread God in Islam, God's message on Earth and to serve as models of ideal human behaviour. So ...
,
Muhammad Muhammad ( ar, مُحَمَّد;  570 – 8 June 632 Common Era, CE) was an Arab religious, social, and political leader and the founder of Islam. According to Muhammad in Islam, Islamic doctrine, he was a prophet Divine inspiration, di ...
, to the rulers of
Oman Oman ( ; ar, عُمَان ' ), officially the Sultanate of Oman ( ar, سلْطنةُ عُمان ), is an Arabian country located in southwestern Asia. It is situated on the southeastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula, and spans the mouth of t ...

Oman
in 630 CE, nine years after the
hijrah The Hijrah or Hijra () was the journey of the prophets and messengers in Islam, Islamic prophet Muhammad and his followers from Mecca to Medina. The year in which the Hijrah took place is also identified as the epoch of the Islamic calendar, ...
. This led to a group of rulers travelling to
Medina Medina,, ', "the radiant city"; or , ', (), "the city" officially Al Madinah Al Munawwarah (, , Turkish: Medine-i Münevvere) and also commonly simplified as Madīnah or Madinah (, ), is the second-holiest city in Islam Islam (; ar, ...
, converting to Islam and subsequently driving a successful uprising against the unpopular
Sassanids The Sasanian () or Sassanid Empire, officially known as the Empire of Iranians (, ) and also referred to by historians as the Neo-Persian Empire, was the History of Iran, last Iranian empire before the early Muslim conquests of the 7th-8th cen ...
, who dominated the coast at the time. Following the death of Muhammad, the new Islamic communities south of the
Persian Gulf The Persian Gulf ( fa, خلیج فارس, translit=xalij-e fârs, lit=Gulf of Persis, Fars, ), sometimes called the ( ar, اَلْخَلِيْجُ ٱلْعَرَبِيُّ, Al-Khalīj al-ˁArabī), is a Mediterranean sea (oceanography), me ...

Persian Gulf
threatened to disintegrate, with insurrections against the Muslim leaders. Caliph
Abu Bakr Abu Bakr Abdallah ibn Uthman Abi Quhafa (; – 23 August 634) was the senior Companions of the Prophet, companion and was, through his daughter Aisha, a father-in-law of the Prophets and messengers in Islam, Islamic prophet Muhammad in Isla ...
sent an army from the capital
Medina Medina,, ', "the radiant city"; or , ', (), "the city" officially Al Madinah Al Munawwarah (, , Turkish: Medine-i Münevvere) and also commonly simplified as Madīnah or Madinah (, ), is the second-holiest city in Islam Islam (; ar, ...
which completed its reconquest of the territory ( the Ridda Wars) with the Battle of Dibba in which 10,000 lives are thought to have been lost. This assured the integrity of the
Caliphate A caliphate or khilāfah ( ar, خِلَافَة, ) is an institution or public office under the leadership of an Islamic steward with the title of caliph (; ar, خَلِيفَة , ), a person considered a political-religious successor to th ...
and the unification of the Arabian Peninsula under the newly emerging
Rashidun Caliphate The Rashidun Caliphate ( ar, اَلْخِلَافَةُ ٱلرَّاشِدَةُ, al-Khilāfah ar-Rāšidah) was the first caliphate A caliphate or khilāfah ( ar, خِلَافَة, ) is an institution or public office under the leadersh ...
. In 637, Julfar (in the area of today's
Ras Al Khaimah Ras Al Khaimah (RAK) ( ar, رَأْس ٱلْخَيْمَة, historically Julfar) is the largest city and capital of the Emirate of Ras Al Khaimah Ras Al Khaimah (RAK) ( ar, رأس الخيمة; ) is one of the Emirates of the United Arab E ...
) was an important port that was used as a staging post for the Islamic invasion of the
Sasanian Empire The Sasanian () or Sassanid Empire, officially known as the Empire of Iranians (, ) and also referred to by historians as the Neo-Persian Empire, was the History of Iran, last Iranian empire before the early Muslim conquests of the 7th-8th cen ...
. The area of the
Al Ain Al Ain ( ar, ٱلْعَيْن, , ) is a city in the western side of Tawam (region), Tuwwam region and the seat of the administrative division of its namesake, Al-Ain Region, Abu Dhabi, Al Ain in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. ...
/ Buraimi Oasis was known as Tu'am and was an important trading post for camel routes between the coast and the Arabian interior. The earliest
Christian Christians () are people who follow or adhere to Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic Monotheism, monotheistic religion based on the Life of Jesus in the New Testament, life and Teachings of Jesus, teachings of ...
site in the UAE was first discovered in the 1990s, an extensive monastic complex on what is now known as Sir Bani Yas Island and which dates back to the seventh century. Thought to be
Nestorian Nestorianism is a term used in Christian theology Christian theology is the theology of Christianity, Christian belief and practice. Such study concentrates primarily upon the texts of the Old Testament and of the New Testament, as well as ...
and built in 600 CE, the church appears to have been abandoned peacefully in 750 CE. It forms a rare physical link to a legacy of Christianity, which is thought to have spread across the peninsula from 50 to 350 CE following trade routes. Certainly, by the fifth century, Oman had a bishop named John – the last bishop of Oman being Etienne, in 676 CE.


Portuguese era

The harsh desert environment led to the emergence of the "versatile tribesman", nomadic groups who subsisted due to a variety of economic activities, including animal husbandry, agriculture and hunting. The seasonal movements of these groups led not only to frequent clashes between groups but also to the establishment of seasonal and semi-seasonal settlements and centres. These formed tribal groupings whose names are still carried by modern Emiratis, including the Bani Yas and Al Bu Falah of
Abu Dhabi Abu Dhabi (, ; ar, أَبُو ظَبِي ' ) is the Capital city, capital and List of cities in the United Arab Emirates, second-most populous city (after Dubai) of the United Arab Emirates. It is also the capital of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi ...

Abu Dhabi
, Al Ain, Liwa and the west coast, the Dhawahir, Awamir, Al Ali and Manasir of the interior, the
Sharqiyin The Sharqiyin ( ar, الشرقيون, singular Al Sharqi ar, الشرقي) is a tribe of the United Arab Emirates, United Arab Emirates (UAE).   The Sharqiyin were long the dominant tribe along the East coast of the Trucial States (and the seco ...
of the east coast and the Qawasim to the North. With the expansion of European
colonial empire A colonial empire is a collective of territories (often called colonies), either contiguous with the imperial center or located overseas, settled by the population of a certain state and governed by that state. Before the expansion of early mo ...
s, Portuguese, English and Dutch forces appeared in the Persian Gulf region. By the 18th century, the Bani Yas confederation was the dominant force in most of the area now known as Abu Dhabi, while the Northern Al Qawasim (Al Qasimi) dominated maritime commerce. The Portuguese maintained an influence over the coastal settlements, building
forts A fortification is a military A military, also known collectively as armed forces, is a heavily armed, highly organized force primarily intended for warfare. It is typically authorized and maintained by a sovereign state, with its ...
in the wake of the bloody 16th-century conquests of coastal communities by
Albuquerque Albuquerque ( ; ), ; kee, Arawageeki; tow, Vakêêke; zun, Alo:ke:k'ya; apj, Gołgéeki'yé. abbreviated ABQ, is the most populous city in the U.S. state of New Mexico. Its nicknames, The Duke City and Burque, both reference its founding in ...
and the Portuguese commanders who followed him – particularly on the east coast at
Muscat Muscat ( ar, مَسْقَط, ) is the Capital (political), capital and most populated city in Oman. It is the seat of the Muscat (governorate), Governorate of Muscat. According to the National Centre for Statistics and Information (NCSI), the t ...
, Sohar and
Khor Fakkan Khor Fakkan ( ar, خَوْر فَكَّان, Khawr Fakkān) is a city and exclave of the Emirate of Sharjah, located on the east coast of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), facing the Gulf of Oman, and geographically surrounded by the Emirate of Fuja ...
. The southern coast of the Persian Gulf was known to the British as the " Pirate Coast", as boats of the Al Qawasim federation harassed British-flagged shipping from the 17th century into the 19th. The charge of piracy is disputed by modern Emirati historians, including the current Ruler of Sharjah, Sheikh Sultan Al Qasimi, in his 1986 book ''The Myth of Arab Piracy in the Gulf''. British expeditions to protect their Indian trade routes led to campaigns against Ras Al Khaimah and other harbours along the coast, including the Persian Gulf campaign of 1809 and the more successful campaign of 1819. The following year, Britain and a number of local rulers signed a maritime truce, giving rise to the term
Trucial States The Trucial States ( '), also known as the Trucial Coast ( '), the Trucial Sheikhdoms ( '), Trucial Arabia or Trucial Oman, was the name the British government gave to a group of tribal confederations in southeastern Arabian Peninsula, Arabia ...
, which came to define the status of the coastal emirates. A further treaty was signed in 1843 and, in 1853 the Perpetual Maritime Truce was agreed. To this was added the 'Exclusive Agreements', signed in 1892, which made the
Trucial States The Trucial States ( '), also known as the Trucial Coast ( '), the Trucial Sheikhdoms ( '), Trucial Arabia or Trucial Oman, was the name the British government gave to a group of tribal confederations in southeastern Arabian Peninsula, Arabia ...
a British protectorate. Under the 1892 treaty, the trucial sheikhs agreed not to dispose of any territory except to the British and not to enter into relationships with any foreign government other than the British without their consent. In return, the British promised to protect the Trucial Coast from all aggression by sea and to help in case of land attack. The Exclusive Agreement was signed by the Rulers of Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Ras Al Khaimah and
Umm Al Quwain Umm Al Quwain is the capital and largest city of the Emirate of Umm Al Quwain in the United Arab Emirates. The city is located on the peninsula of Khor Al Bidiyah, with the nearest major cities being Sharjah to the southwest and Ras Al Khaimah ...
between 6 and 8 March 1892. It was subsequently ratified by the
Governor-General of India The Governor-General of India (1773–1950, from 1858 to 1947 the Viceroy and Governor-General of India, commonly shortened to Viceroy of India) was the representative of the Monarchy of the United Kingdom, monarch of the United Kingdom and ...
and the British Government in London. British maritime policing meant that pearling fleets could operate in relative security. However, the British prohibition of the
slave trade Slavery and enslavement are both the state and the condition of being a slave—someone forbidden to quit one's service for an enslaver, and who is treated by the enslaver as property. Slavery typically involves slaves being made to perf ...
meant an important source of income was lost to some sheikhs and merchants. In 1869, the Qubaisat tribe settled at Khawr al Udayd and tried to enlist the support of the Ottomans, whose flag was occasionally seen flying there. Khawr al Udayd was claimed by Abu Dhabi at that time, a claim supported by the British. In 1906, the British Political Resident, Percy Cox, confirmed in writing to the ruler of Abu Dhabi,
Zayed bin Khalifa Al Nahyan Sheikh Zayed bin Khalifa Al Nahyan ( ar, زايد بن خليفة آل نهيان; 1835 – 18 May 1909), also known as Zayed the Great or Zayed the First was the Sheikh of Abu Dhabi from 1855 to his death in 1909. He was the grandfather and nam ...
('Zayed the Great') that Khawr al Udayd belonged to his sheikhdom.


British era and discovery of oil

During the 19th and early 20th centuries, the pearling industry thrived, providing both income and employment to the people of the Persian Gulf. The
First World War World War I (28 July 1914 11 November 1918), often abbreviated as WWI, was List of wars and anthropogenic disasters by death toll, one of the deadliest global conflicts in history. Belligerents included much of Europe, the Russian Empire, ...
had a severe impact on the industry, but it was the
economic depression An economic depression is a period of carried long-term economical downturn that is result of lowered economic activity in one major or more national economies. Economic depression maybe related to one specific country were there is some economic ...
of the late 1920s and early 1930s, coupled with the invention of the
cultured pearl Cultured pearls are formed within a cultured pearl sac with human intervention in the interior of productive living molluscs in a variety of conditions depending upon the mollusc and the goals. Just as the same as natural pearls, cultured pearls ...
, that wiped out the trade. The remnants of the trade eventually faded away shortly after the
Second World War World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a world war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. It involved the World War II by country, vast majority of the world's countries—including all of the great power ...
, when the newly independent
Government of India The Government of India (ISO 15919, ISO: ; often abbreviated as GoI), known as the Union Government or Central Government but often simply as the Centre, is the Government, national government of the Republic of India, a federal democracy lo ...
imposed heavy taxation on pearls imported from the
Arab states of the Persian Gulf The Arab states of the Persian Gulf refers to a group of Arab states which border the Persian Gulf The Persian Gulf ( fa, خلیج فارس, translit=xalij-e fârs, lit=Gulf of Persis, Fars, ), sometimes called the ( ar, اَلْخَ ...
. The decline of pearling resulted in extreme economic hardship in the Trucial States. In 1922, the British government secured undertakings from the rulers of the Trucial States not to sign concessions with foreign companies without their consent. Aware of the potential for the development of natural resources such as oil, following finds in Persia (from 1908) and Mesopotamia (from 1927), a British-led oil company, the
Iraq Petroleum Company The Iraq Petroleum Company (IPC), formerly known as the Turkish Petroleum Company (TPC), is an Petroleum, oil company that had a virtual monopoly on all oil exploration and Oil production, production in Iraq between 1925 and 1961. It is jointly o ...
(IPC), showed an interest in the region. The
Anglo-Persian Oil Company The Anglo-Persian Oil Company (APOC) was a United Kingdom, British company founded in 1909 following the discovery of a large oil field in Masjed Soleiman, Persia (Name of Iran, Iran). The Government of the United Kingdom#History, British governme ...
(APOC, later to become British Petroleum, or BP) had a 23.75% share in IPC. From 1935, onshore concessions to explore for oil were granted by local rulers, with APOC signing the first one on behalf of Petroleum Concessions Ltd (PCL), an associate company of IPC. APOC was prevented from developing the region alone because of the restrictions of the Red Line Agreement, which required it to operate through IPC. A number of options between PCL and the trucial rulers were signed, providing useful revenue for communities experiencing poverty following the collapse of the pearl trade. However, the wealth of oil which the rulers could see from the revenues accruing to surrounding countries such as Iran, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and Saudi Arabia remained elusive. The first bore holes in Abu Dhabi were drilled by IPC's operating company, Petroleum Development (Trucial Coast) Ltd (PDTC) at Ras Sadr in 1950, with a bore hole taking a year to drill and turning out dry, at the tremendous cost at the time of £1 million. The British set up a development office that helped in some small developments in the emirates. The seven
sheikh Sheikh (pronounced or ; ar, شيخ ' , mostly pronounced , plural ' )—also transliteration of Arabic, transliterated sheekh, sheyikh, shaykh, shayk, shekh, shaik and Shaikh, shak—is an honorific title in the Arabic language. It commonl ...
s of the emirates then decided to form a council to coordinate matters between them and took over the development office. In 1952, they formed the Trucial States Council, and appointed Adi Bitar, Dubai's Sheikh Rashid's legal advisor, as Secretary General and Legal Advisor to the council. The council was terminated once the United Arab Emirates was formed. The tribal nature of society and the lack of definition of borders between emirates frequently led to disputes, settled either through mediation or, more rarely, force. The
Trucial Oman Scouts The Trucial Oman Scouts was a paramilitary force that the British raised in 1951 as the Trucial Oman Levies, to serve in the Trucial States The Trucial States ( '), also known as the Trucial Coast ( '), the Trucial Sheikhdoms ( '), Trucial A ...
was a small military force used by the British to keep the peace. In 1953, a subsidiary of BP, D'Arcy Exploration Ltd, obtained an offshore concession from the ruler of Abu Dhabi. BP joined with Compagnie Française des Pétroles (later Total) to form operating companies, Abu Dhabi Marine Areas Ltd (ADMA) and Dubai Marine Areas Ltd (DUMA). A number of undersea oil surveys were carried out, including one led by the famous marine explorer
Jacques Cousteau Jacques-Yves Cousteau, (, also , ; 11 June 191025 June 1997) was a French naval officer, oceanographer, filmmaker and author. He co-invented the first successful Aqua-Lung, open-circuit SCUBA ( self-contained underwater breathing apparatus). ...
. In 1958, a floating platform rig was towed from Hamburg, Germany, and positioned over the Umm Shaif pearl bed, in Abu Dhabi waters, where drilling began. In March, it struck oil in the Upper Thamama, a rock formation that would provide many valuable oil finds. This was the first commercial discovery of the Trucial Coast, leading to the first exports of oil in 1962. ADMA made further offshore discoveries at Zakum and elsewhere, and other companies made commercial finds such as the Fateh oilfield off Dubai and the Mubarak field off Sharjah (shared with Iran). Meanwhile, onshore exploration was hindered by territorial disputes. In 1955, the United Kingdom represented Abu Dhabi and Oman in their dispute with Saudi Arabia over the Buraimi Oasis. A 1974 agreement between Abu Dhabi and Saudi Arabia seemed to have settled the Abu Dhabi-Saudi
border dispute A territorial dispute or boundary dispute is a disagreement over the possession (law), possession or control of land between two or more political entities. Context and definitions Territorial disputes are often related to the possession of na ...
, but this has not been ratified. The UAE's border with Oman was ratified in 2008. PDTC continued its onshore exploration away from the disputed area, drilling five more bore holes that were also dry. However, on 27 October 1960, the company discovered oil in commercial quantities at the Murban No. 3 well on the coast near Tarif. In 1962, PDTC became the Abu Dhabi Petroleum Company. As oil revenues increased, the ruler of Abu Dhabi,
Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan ( ar, زَايِد بِن سُلْطَان آل نَهْيَان, Zāyed bin Sulṭān Āl Nahyān; 6 May 1918 – 2 November 2004) was an Emirati politician, statesman, and philanthropist who served as ...

Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan
, undertook a massive construction program, building schools, housing, hospitals and roads. When Dubai's oil exports commenced in 1969, Sheikh
Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum ( ar, ٱلـشَّـيْـخ رَاشِـد بِـن سَـعِـيْـد آل مَـكْـتُـوْم, Ash-Shaykh Rāshid bin Sa`īd Āl Maktūm; 11 June 1912 – 7 October 1990) was the vice president ...
, the ruler of Dubai, was able to invest the revenues from the limited reserves found to spark the diversification drive that would create the modern global city of Dubai.


Independence

By 1966, it had become clear the British government could no longer afford to administer and protect what is now the United Arab Emirates. British
Members of Parliament A member of parliament (MP) is the representative in parliament of the people who live in their electoral district. In many countries with Bicameralism, bicameral parliaments, this term refers only to members of the lower house since upper house ...
(MPs) debated the preparedness of the
Royal Navy The Royal Navy (RN) is the United Kingdom's naval warfare force. Although warships were used by Kingdom of England, English and Kingdom of Scotland, Scottish kings from the early medieval period, the first major maritime engagements were foug ...
to defend the sheikhdoms.
Secretary of State for Defence The secretary of state for defence, also referred to as the defence secretary, is a Secretary of State (United Kingdom), secretary of state in the Government of the United Kingdom, with overall responsibility for the business of the Ministry o ...
Denis Healey Denis Winston Healey, Baron Healey, (30 August 1917 – 3 October 2015) was a British Labour Party (UK), Labour politician who served as Chancellor of the Exchequer from 1974 to 1979 and as Secretary of State for Defence from 1964 to 1970; he ...
reported that the
British Armed Forces The British Armed Forces, also known as His Majesty's Armed Forces, are the military, military forces responsible for the defence of the United Kingdom, its British Overseas Territories, Overseas Territories and the Crown Dependencies. They al ...
were seriously overstretched and in some respects dangerously under-equipped to defend the sheikhdoms. On 24 January 1968, British Prime Minister
Harold Wilson James Harold Wilson, Baron Wilson of Rievaulx, (11 March 1916 – 24 May 1995) was a British politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom twice, from October 1964 to June 1970, and again from March 1974 to April 1976. He ...
announced the government's decision, reaffirmed in March 1971 by Prime Minister
Edward Heath Sir Edward Richard George Heath (9 July 191617 July 2005), often known as Ted Heath, was a British politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1970 to 1974 and Leader of the Conservative Party (UK), Leader of the Conserv ...
, to end the treaty relationships with the seven Trucial Sheikhdoms, that had been, together with Bahrain and Qatar, under British protection. Days after the announcement, the ruler of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh
Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan ( ar, زَايِد بِن سُلْطَان آل نَهْيَان, Zāyed bin Sulṭān Āl Nahyān; 6 May 1918 – 2 November 2004) was an Emirati politician, statesman, and philanthropist who served as ...

Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan
, fearing vulnerability, tried to persuade the British to honour the protection treaties by offering to pay the full costs of keeping the
British Armed Forces The British Armed Forces, also known as His Majesty's Armed Forces, are the military, military forces responsible for the defence of the United Kingdom, its British Overseas Territories, Overseas Territories and the Crown Dependencies. They al ...
in the Emirates. The British Labour government rejected the offer. After Labour MP Goronwy Roberts informed Sheikh Zayed of the news of British withdrawal, the nine Persian Gulf sheikhdoms attempted to form a union of Arab emirates, but by mid-1971 they were still unable to agree on terms of union even though the British treaty relationship was to expire in December of that year. Fears of vulnerability were realised the day before independence. An Iranian destroyer group broke formation from an exercise in the lower Gulf, sailing to the Tunb islands. The islands were taken by force, civilians and Arab defenders alike allowed to flee. A British warship stood idle during the course of the invasion. A destroyer group approached the island
Abu Musa Abu Musa ( fa, ابوموسی , , ar, أبو موسى) is a island in the eastern Persian Gulf near the entrance to the Strait of Hormuz. Due to the depth of sea, oil tankers and big ships have to pass between Abu Musa and Greater and Lesser T ...
as well. But there, Sheikh Khalid bin Mohammed Al Qasimi had already negotiated with the Iranian Shah, and the island was quickly leased to Iran for $3 million a year. Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia laid claim to swathes of Abu Dhabi. Originally intended to be part of the proposed Federation of Arab Emirates, Bahrain became independent in August, and Qatar in September 1971. When the British-Trucial Sheikhdoms treaty expired on 1 December 1971, both emirates became fully independent. On 2 December 1971, at the Dubai Guesthouse (now known as Union House) six of the emirates (Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Dubai, Fujairah, Sharjah and Umm Al Quwain) agreed to enter into a union called the United Arab Emirates. Ras al-Khaimah joined it later, on 10 January 1972. In February 1972, the Federal National Council (FNC) was created; it was a 40-member consultative body appointed by the seven rulers. The UAE joined the Arab League on 6 December 1971 and the United Nations on 9 December. It was a founding member of the
Gulf Cooperation Council The Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf ( ar, مجلس التعاون لدول العربية الخليج ), also known as the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC; ar, مجلس التعاون الخليجي), is a regional, inter ...

Gulf Cooperation Council
in May 1981, with Abu Dhabi hosting the first GCC summit. A 19-year-old Emirati from Abu Dhabi, Abdullah Mohammed Al Maainah, designed the UAE flag in 1971. The four colours of the flag are the
Pan-Arab colours The Pan-Arab colors are black Black is a color which results from the absence or complete Absorption (electromagnetic radiation), absorption of visible spectrum, visible light. It is an achromatic color, without hue, like white and grey. I ...
of red, green, white, and black, and represent the unity of the Arab nations. It was adopted on 2 December 1971. Al Maainah went on to serve as the UAE ambassador to Chile and currently serves as the UAE ambassador to the Czech Republic.


Post-Independence period

The UAE supported military operations by the US and other coalition nations engaged in the war against the
Taliban The Taliban (; ps, طالبان, ṭālibān, lit=students or 'seekers'), which also refers to itself by its state (polity), state name, the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, is a Deobandi Islamic fundamentalism, Islamic fundamentalist, m ...
in Afghanistan (2001) and
Saddam Hussein Saddam Hussein ( ; ar, صدام حسين, Ṣaddām Ḥusayn; 28 April 1937 – 30 December 2006) was an Iraqi politician who served as the fifth president of Iraq from 16 July 1979 until 9 April 2003. A leading member of the revolution ...
in
Ba'athist Iraq Ba'athist Iraq, formally the Iraqi Republic until 6 January 1992 and the Republic of Iraq thereafter, covers the History of Iraq, national history of Iraq between 1968 and 2003 under the rule of the Ba'ath Party (Iraqi-dominated faction), Arab S ...
(2003) as well as operations supporting the Global
War on Terror The war on terror, officially the Global War on Terrorism (GWOT), is an ongoing international Counterterrorism, counterterrorism military campaign initiated by the United States following the September 11 attacks. The main targets of the campa ...
for the
Horn of Africa The Horn of Africa (HoA), also known as the Somali Peninsula, is a large peninsula and Geopolitics, geopolitical region in East Africa.Robert Stock, ''Africa South of the Sahara, Second Edition: A Geographical Interpretation'', (The Guilford P ...
at Al Dhafra Air Base located outside of Abu Dhabi. The air base also supported Allied operations during the 1991 Persian
Gulf War The Gulf War was a 1990–1991 armed campaign waged by a Coalition of the Gulf War, 35-country military coalition in response to the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. Spearheaded by the United States, the coalition's efforts against Ba'athist Iraq, ...
and
Operation Northern Watch Operation Northern Watch (ONW), the successor to Operation Provide Comfort Operation Provide Comfort and Provide Comfort II were military operations initiated by the United States and other Coalition of the Gulf War, Coalition nations of th ...
. The country had already signed a military defence agreement with the U.S. in 1994 and one with France in 1995. In January 2008, France and the UAE signed a deal allowing France to set up a permanent military base in the emirate of Abu Dhabi. The UAE joined international military operations in Libya in March 2011. On 2 November 2004, the UAE's first president, Sheikh
Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan ( ar, زَايِد بِن سُلْطَان آل نَهْيَان, Zāyed bin Sulṭān Āl Nahyān; 6 May 1918 – 2 November 2004) was an Emirati politician, statesman, and philanthropist who served as ...

Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan
, died. Sheikh
Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan ( ar,  خليفة بن زايد بن سلطان آل نهيان‎; 7 September 1948 – 13 May 2022) was the second president of the United Arab Emirates and the ruler of Emirate of Abu Dhabi, A ...
was elected as the President of the UAE. In accordance with the constitution, the UAE's Supreme Council of Rulers elected Khalifa as president. Sheikh
Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan ( ar, مُحَمّد بِن زَايد آل نَهيَان, Moḥamed bin Zāyed Āl Nahyān; born 11 March 1961), colloquially known by his initials as MBZ, is the third president of the United Arab Emirates ...
succeeded Khalifa as Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi. In January 2006, Sheikh
Maktoum bin Rashid Al Maktoum Sheikh Maktoum bin Rashid Al Maktoum ( ar, مكتوم بن راشد آل مكتوم, Maktūm bin Rāshid Āl Maktūm; 15 August 1943 – 4 January 2006) was an Emirati politician who served as the List of prime ministers of the United Arab Emir ...
, the prime minister of the UAE and the ruler of Dubai, died, and Sheikh
Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum ( ar, محمد بن راشد آل مكتوم, links=no; ; born 15 July 1949) is the Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates, vice president, prime minister, and minister of defence of the United Arab Emir ...
assumed both roles. The first ever national elections were held in the UAE on 16 December 2006. A number of voters chose half of the members of the Federal National Council. The UAE has largely escaped the
Arab Spring The Arab Spring ( ar, الربيع العربي) was a series of anti-government protests, uprisings and armed rebellions that spread across much of the Arab world in the early 2010s. It began in Tunisia in response to corruption and econ ...
, which other countries have experienced; however, 60 Emirati activists from Al Islah were apprehended for an alleged coup attempt and the attempt of the establishment of an Islamist state in the UAE. Mindful of the protests in nearby Bahrain, in November 2012 the UAE outlawed online mockery of its own government or attempts to organise public protests through social media. On 29 January 2020, the
COVID-19 pandemic The COVID-19 pandemic, also known as the coronavirus pandemic, is an ongoing global pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The novel virus was first identif ...
was confirmed to have reached the UAE, as a 73-year-old Chinese woman had tested positive for the disease. Two months later, in March, the government announced the closure of shopping malls, schools, and places of worship, in addition to imposing a 24-hour curfew, and suspending all Emirates passenger flights. This resulted in a major economic downturn, which eventually led to the merger of more than 50% of the UAE's federal agencies. On 29 August 2020, the UAE established normal diplomatic relations with Israel and with the help of the United States, they signed the Abraham Accords with
Bahrain Bahrain ( ; ; ar, البحرين, al-Bahrayn, locally ), officially the Kingdom of Bahrain, ' is an island country in Western Asia. It is situated on the Arab states of the Persian Gulf, Persian Gulf, and comprises a small archipelago made u ...
. On 9 February 2021, the UAE achieved a historic milestone when its probe, named
Hope Hope is an Optimism, optimistic state of mind that is based on an wikt:expectation, expectation of positive outcomes with respect to events and circumstances in one's life or the world at large. As a verb, its definitions include: "expect with ...
, successfully reached
Mars Mars is the fourth planet from the Sun and the second-smallest planet in the Solar System, only being larger than Mercury. In the English language, Mars is named for the Roman god of war. Mars is a terrestrial planet with a thin atmosph ...
' orbit. The UAE became the first country in the
Arab world The Arab world ( ar, اَلْعَالَمُ الْعَرَبِيُّ '), formally the Arab homeland ( '), also known as the Arab nation ( '), the Arabsphere, or the Arab states, refers to a vast group of countries, mainly located in Western A ...
to reach Mars, the fifth country to successfully reach Mars, and the second country, after an Indian probe, to orbit Mars on its maiden attempt. On 14 May 2022, Sheikh
Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan ( ar, مُحَمّد بِن زَايد آل نَهيَان, Moḥamed bin Zāyed Āl Nahyān; born 11 March 1961), colloquially known by his initials as MBZ, is the third president of the United Arab Emirates ...
was elected as the UAE's new president after the death of Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.


Geography

The United Arab Emirates is situated in Middle East, bordering the
Gulf of Oman The Gulf of Oman or Sea of Oman ( ar, خليج عمان ''khalīj ʿumān''; fa, دریای عمان ''daryâ-ye omân''), also known as Gulf of Makran or Sea of Makran ( ar, خلیج مکران ''khalīj makrān''; fa, دریای مکرا ...
and the
Persian Gulf The Persian Gulf ( fa, خلیج فارس, translit=xalij-e fârs, lit=Gulf of Persis, Fars, ), sometimes called the ( ar, اَلْخَلِيْجُ ٱلْعَرَبِيُّ, Al-Khalīj al-ˁArabī), is a Mediterranean sea (oceanography), me ...

Persian Gulf
, between Oman and Saudi Arabia; it is in a strategic location slightly south of the
Strait of Hormuz The Strait of Hormuz ( fa, تنگه هرمز ''Tangeh-ye Hormoz'' ar, مَضيق هُرمُز ''Maḍīq Hurmuz'') is a strait between the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman. It provides the only sea passage from the Persian Gulf to the o ...
, a vital transit point for world
crude oil Petroleum, also known as crude oil, or simply oil, is a naturally occurring yellowish-black liquid mixture of mainly hydrocarbons, and is found in geological formations. The name ''petroleum'' covers both naturally occurring unprocessed crude ...
. The UAE lies between 22°30' and 26°10' north latitude and between 51° and 56°25′ east longitude. It shares a border with Saudi Arabia on the west, south, and southeast, and a border with Oman on the southeast and northeast. The land border with Qatar in the Khawr al Udayd area is about in the northwest; however, it is a source of ongoing dispute. Following Britain's military departure from the UAE in 1971, and its establishment as a new state, the UAE laid claim to islands resulting in disputes with Iran that remain unresolved. The UAE also disputes claim on other islands against the neighboring state of Qatar. The largest emirate,
Abu Dhabi Abu Dhabi (, ; ar, أَبُو ظَبِي ' ) is the Capital city, capital and List of cities in the United Arab Emirates, second-most populous city (after Dubai) of the United Arab Emirates. It is also the capital of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi ...
, accounts for 87% of the UAE's total area (). The smallest emirate, Ajman, encompasses only (see figure). The UAE coast stretches for nearly along the southern shore of the
Persian Gulf The Persian Gulf ( fa, خلیج فارس, translit=xalij-e fârs, lit=Gulf of Persis, Fars, ), sometimes called the ( ar, اَلْخَلِيْجُ ٱلْعَرَبِيُّ, Al-Khalīj al-ˁArabī), is a Mediterranean sea (oceanography), me ...

Persian Gulf
, briefly interrupted by an isolated outcrop of the Sultanate of Oman. Six of the emirates are situated along the Persian Gulf, and the seventh, Fujairah is on the eastern coast of the peninsula with direct access to the Gulf of Oman. Most of the coast consists of salt pans that extend 8–10 km inland. The largest natural harbor is at Dubai, although other ports have been dredged at Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, and elsewhere. Numerous islands are found in the Persian Gulf, and the ownership of some of them has been the subject of international disputes with both Iran and Qatar. The smaller islands, as well as many
coral reef A coral reef is an underwater ecosystem characterized by reef-building corals. Reefs are formed of Colony (biology), colonies of coral polyp (zoology), polyps held together by calcium carbonate. Most coral reefs are built from stony corals, wh ...
s and shifting sandbars, are a menace to navigation. Strong tides and occasional windstorms further complicate ship movements near the shore. The UAE also has a stretch of the Al Bāţinah coast of the Gulf of Oman. The
Musandam Peninsula The Musandam Peninsula ( ar, جَزِيْرَة مُسَنْدَم \ رَأْس مُسَنْدَم, Jazīrat Musandam / Raʾs Musandam), locally known as Ruus Al Jibal ( ar, رُؤُوْس ٱلْجِبَال, ''Ruʾūs al-Jibāl'' Heads of the Mou ...
, the very tip of Arabia by the Strait of Hormuz, and
Madha The Omani territory of Madha ( ar, مَدْحَاء, madḥāʾ) or ''Wādī Madḥāʾ'' ( ar, وَادِي مَدْحَاء) is an exclave of the Musandam Governorate, enclaved by the United Arab Emirates (UAE); inside it, there is a Enclave an ...
are
exclave An enclave is a territory (or a small territory apart of a larger one) that is entirely surrounded by the territory of one other state or entity. Enclaves may also exist within territorial waters. ''Enclave'' is sometimes used improperly to deno ...
s of Oman separated by the UAE. South and west of Abu Dhabi, vast, rolling
sand dunes A dune is a landform composed of wind- or water-driven sand. It typically takes the form of a mound, ridge, or hill. An area with dunes is called a dune system or a dune complex. A large dune complex is called a dune field, while broad, fl ...
merge into the Rub al-Khali (Empty Quarter) of Saudi Arabia. The desert area of Abu Dhabi includes two important oases with adequate underground water for permanent settlements and cultivation. The extensive Liwa Oasis is in the south near the undefined border with Saudi Arabia. About to the northeast of Liwa is the
Al-Buraimi Al-Buraimi ( ar, ٱلْبُرَيْمِي, Al-Buraymī) is an oasis city and a wilayah (Provinces of Oman, province) in northern Oman, on the Oman–United Arab Emirates border, border between Oman and the United Arab Emirates. It is the capital o ...
oasis, which extends on both sides of the Abu Dhabi-Oman border. Lake Zakher in Al Ain is a human-made lake near the border with Oman that was created from treated waste water. Prior to withdrawing from the area in 1971, Britain delineated the internal borders among the seven emirates in order to preempt territorial disputes that might hamper formation of the federation. In general, the rulers of the emirates accepted the British interventions, but in the case of boundary disputes between Abu Dhabi and Dubai, and also between Dubai and Sharjah, conflicting claims were not resolved until after the UAE became independent. The most complicated borders were in the Al-Hajar al-Gharbi Mountains, where five of the emirates contested jurisdiction over more than a dozen enclaves.


Biodiversity

The UAE contains four terrestrial ecoregions: Al Hajar montane woodlands, Gulf of Oman desert and semi-desert, Al-Hajar foothill xeric woodlands and shrublands, and Al-Hajar montane woodlands and shrublands. The oases grow date palms,
acacia ''Acacia'', commonly known as the wattles or acacias, is a large genus Genus ( plural genera ) is a taxonomic rank used in the biological classification of extant taxon, living and fossil organisms as well as Virus classification#ICTV class ...
and
eucalyptus ''Eucalyptus'' () is a genus of over seven hundred species of Flowering plant, flowering trees, shrubs or Mallee (habit), mallees in the Myrtaceae, myrtle Family (biology), family, Myrtaceae. Along with several other genera in the Tribe (biology) ...
trees. In the desert, the flora is very sparse and consists of
grasses Poaceae () or Gramineae () is a large and nearly ubiquitous Family (biology), family of monocotyledonous flowering plants commonly known as grasses. It includes the cereal grasses, bamboos and the grasses of natural grassland and species culti ...
and thorn bushes. The indigenous fauna had come close to extinction because of intensive hunting, which has led to a conservation program on Sir Bani Yas Island initiated by Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan in the 1970s, resulting in the survival of, for example,
Arabian Oryx The Arabian oryx (''Oryx leucoryx'') or white oryx is a medium-sized antelope with a distinct shoulder bump, long, straight horns, and a tufted tail. It is a bovid, and the smallest member of the genus ''Oryx'', native to desert and steppe areas o ...
, Arabian camel and
leopard The leopard (''Panthera pardus'') is one of the five extant species in the Genus (biology), genus ''Panthera'', a member of the cat family (biology), family, Felidae. It occurs in a wide range in sub-Saharan Africa, in some parts of Western As ...
s. Coastal fish and
mammals Mammals () are a group of vertebrate animals constituting the class (biology), class Mammalia (), characterized by the presence of mammary glands which in Female#Mammalian female, females produce milk for feeding (nursing) their young, a ...
consist mainly of
mackerel Mackerel is a common name applied to a number of different species of pelagic fish, mostly from the family Scombridae. They are found in both temperate and tropical seas, mostly living along the coast or offshore in the oceanic environment. ...
,
perch Perch is a common name for fish of the genus ''Perca'', freshwater gamefish belonging to the family Percidae. The perch, of which three species occur in different geographical areas, lend their name to a large order of vertebrates: the Percif ...
, and
tuna A tuna is a saltwater fish that belongs to the Tribe (biology), tribe Thunnini, a subgrouping of the Scombridae (mackerel) family. The Thunnini comprise 15 species across five genera, the sizes of which vary greatly, ranging from the bullet ...
, as well as
shark Sharks are a group of elasmobranch fish characterized by a Chondrichthyes#Skeleton, cartilaginous skeleton, five to seven gill slits on the sides of the head, and pectoral fins that are not fused to the head. Modern sharks are classified with ...
s and whales.


Climate

The climate of the UAE is subtropical-arid with hot summers and warm winters. The climate is categorized as desert climate. The hottest months are July and August, when average maximum temperatures reach above on the
coastal plain A coastal plain is flat, low-lying land adjacent to a sea coast. A fall line commonly marks the border between a coastal plain and a piedmont area. Some of the largest coastal plains are in Alaska and the southeastern United States. The Gulf Coa ...
. In the
Al Hajar Mountains The Hajar Mountains ( ar, جِبَال ٱلْحَجَر, Jibāl al-Ḥajar, ''The Rocky Mountain A mountain is an elevated portion of the Earth's crust, generally with steep sides that show significant exposed bedrock. Although definition ...
, temperatures are considerably lower, a result of increased elevation. Average minimum temperatures in January and February are between . During the late summer months, a humid southeastern wind known as Sharqi (i.e. "Easterner") makes the coastal region especially unpleasant. The average annual rainfall in the coastal area is less than , but in some mountainous areas annual rainfall often reaches . Rain in the coastal region falls in short, torrential bursts during the winter months, sometimes resulting in floods in ordinarily dry
wadi Wadi ( ar, وَادِي, wādī), alternatively ''wād'' ( ar, وَاد), North African Arabic Oued, is the Arabic term traditionally referring to a valley. In some instances, it may refer to a wet ( ephemeral) riverbed that contains water ...
beds. The region is prone to occasional, violent
dust storm A dust storm, also called a sandstorm, is a meteorological phenomenon common in arid and semi-arid regions. Dust storms arise when a Outflow boundary, gust front or other strong wind blows loose sand and dirt from a dry surface. Fine partic ...
s, which can severely reduce visibility. On 28 December 2004, there was snow recorded in the UAE for the first time, in the Jebel Jais mountain cluster in Ras al-Khaimah. A few years later, there were more sightings of snow and hail. The Jebel Jais mountain cluster has experienced snow only twice since records began.


Government and politics

The UAE is an authoritarian state. According to ''
The New York Times ''The New York Times'' (''the Times'', ''NYT'', or the Gray Lady) is a daily newspaper based in New York City with a worldwide readership reported in 2020 to comprise a declining 840,000 paid print subscribers, and a growing 6 million paid d ...
'', the UAE is "an autocracy with the sheen of a progressive, modern state". The UAE has been described as a "tribal autocracy" where the seven constituent monarchies are led by tribal rulers in an autocratic fashion. There are no democratically elected institutions, and there is no formal commitment to free speech. According to human rights organizations, there are systematic human rights violations, including the torture and forced disappearance of government critics. The UAE ranks poorly in freedom indices measuring
civil liberties Civil liberties are guarantees and freedoms that governments commit not to abridge, either by constitution, legislation, or judicial interpretation, without due process. Though the scope of the term differs between countries, civil liberties may ...
and
political rights Civil and political rights are a class of rights Rights are law, legal, social, or ethics, ethical principles of Liberty, freedom or entitlement; that is, rights are the fundamental normative rules about what is allowed of people or owed to ...
. The UAE is annually ranked as "Not Free" in
Freedom House Freedom House is a non-profit, majority U.S. government funded organization in Washington, D.C., that conducts research and advocacy on democracy, Freedom (political), political freedom, and human rights. Freedom House was founded in October 19 ...
's annual ''
Freedom in the World ''Freedom in the World'' is a yearly survey and report by the U.S.-based non-governmental organization Freedom House that measures the degree of civil liberties and political rights in every nation and significant related and disputed territori ...
'' report, which measures civil liberties and political rights. The UAE also ranks poorly in the annual
Reporters without Borders Reporters Without Borders (RWB; french: Reporters sans frontières; RSF) is an international non-profit and non-governmental organization with the stated aim of safeguarding the right to freedom of information. It describes its advocacy as found ...
'
Press Freedom Index The Press Freedom Index is an annual ranking of countries compiled and published by Reporters Without Borders since 2002 based upon the organisation's own assessment of the countries' Freedom of the press, press freedom records in the previous ...
.


Government

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a federal
constitutional monarchy A constitutional monarchy, parliamentary monarchy, or democratic monarchy is a form of monarchy in which the monarch exercises their authority in accordance with a constitution and is not alone in decision making. Constitutional monarchies dif ...
made up from a federation of seven
hereditary Heredity, also called inheritance or biological inheritance, is the passing on of traits from parents to their offspring; either through asexual reproduction Asexual reproduction is a type of reproduction that does not involve the fusion ...
tribal
monarchy A monarchy is a government#Forms, form of government in which a person, the monarch, is head of state for life or until abdication. The legitimacy (political)#monarchy, political legitimacy and authority of the monarch may vary from restric ...
-styled political system called Sheikhdoms. It is governed by a Federal Supreme Council made up of the ruling Sheikhs of
Abu Dhabi Abu Dhabi (, ; ar, أَبُو ظَبِي ' ) is the Capital city, capital and List of cities in the United Arab Emirates, second-most populous city (after Dubai) of the United Arab Emirates. It is also the capital of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi ...
, Ajman, Fujairah,
Sharjah Sharjah (; ar, ٱلشَّارقَة ', Gulf Arabic: ''aš-Šārja'') is the List of cities in the United Arab Emirates, third-most populous city in the United Arab Emirates, after Dubai and Abu Dhabi, forming part of the Dubai-Sharjah-Ajman me ...
,
Dubai Dubai (, ; ar, wikt:دبي, دبي, translit=Dubayy, , ) is the List of cities in the United Arab Emirates#Major cities, most populous city in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the capital of the Emirate of Dubai, the most populated of the 7 ...
,
Ras al-Khaimah Ras Al Khaimah (RAK) ( ar, رَأْس ٱلْخَيْمَة, historically Julfar) is the largest city and capital of the Emirate of Ras Al Khaimah, United Arab Emirates. It is the List of cities in the United Arab Emirates, sixth-largest city in ...
and Umm al-Quwain. All responsibilities not granted to the national government are reserved to the individual emirate. A percentage of revenues from each emirate is allocated to the UAE's central budget. The United Arab Emirates uses the title
Sheikh Sheikh (pronounced or ; ar, شيخ ' , mostly pronounced , plural ' )—also transliteration of Arabic, transliterated sheekh, sheyikh, shaykh, shayk, shekh, shaik and Shaikh, shak—is an honorific title in the Arabic language. It commonl ...
instead of
Emir Emir (; ar, أمير ' ), sometimes Romanization of Arabic, transliterated amir, amier, or ameer, is a word of Arabic language, Arabic origin that can refer to a male monarch, aristocratic, aristocrat, holder of high-ranking military or politi ...
to refer to the rulers of individual emirates. The title is used due to the sheikhdom styled governing system in adherence to the culture of
tribes of Arabia The Tribes of Arabia () or Arab tribes () are the ethnic Arab tribes and clans that originated in the Arabian Peninsula The Arabian Peninsula, (; ar, شِبْهُ الْجَزِيرَةِ الْعَرَبِيَّة, , "Arabian Peninsula ...
, where Sheikh means leader, elder, or the tribal chief of the clan who partakes in shared decision making with his followers. The
President President most commonly refers to: *President (corporate title) *President (education), a leader of a college or university *President (government title) President may also refer to: Automobiles * Nissan President, a 1966–2010 Japanese ful ...
and
Vice President A vice president, also director in British English, is an Corporate officer, officer in government or business who is below the President (corporate title), president (chief executive officer) in rank. It can also refer to executive vice presid ...
are elected by the Federal Supreme Council. Usually, a sheikh from Abu Dhabi holds the presidency and a sheikh from Dubai the prime ministership. All prime ministers but one have served concurrently as vice president. Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan is the UAE founding father and widely credited for unifying the seven emirates into one country. He was the UAE's first president from the nation's founding until his death on 2 November 2004. On the following day the Federal Supreme Council elected his son, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, to the post. The federal government is composed of three branches: *
Legislative A legislature is an deliberative assembly, assembly with the authority to make laws for a Polity, political entity such as a Sovereign state, country or city. They are often contrasted with the Executive (government), executive and Judiciary, ...
: A
unicameral Unicameralism (from ''uni''- "one" + Latin ''camera'' "chamber") is a type of legislature, which consists of one house or assembly, that legislates and votes as one. Unicameral legislatures exist when there is no widely perceived need for multic ...
Federal Supreme Council and the advisory
Federal National Council The Federal National Council (FNC) ( ar, المجلس الوطني الإتحادي, ''al-Majlis al-Watani al-Ittihadi'') of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is an advisory quasi-parliamentary body in the UAE. The FNC consists of 40 members. Twen ...
(FNC). *
Executive Executive ( exe., exec., execu.) may refer to: Role or title * Executive, a senior management Senior management, executive management, upper management, or a management is generally individuals at the highest level of management of an organizat ...
: The
President President most commonly refers to: *President (corporate title) *President (education), a leader of a college or university *President (government title) President may also refer to: Automobiles * Nissan President, a 1966–2010 Japanese ful ...
, who is also commander-in-chief of the military, the
Prime Minister A prime minister, premier or chief of cabinet is the head of the Cabinet (government), cabinet and the leader of the Minister (government), ministers in the Executive (government), executive branch of government, often in a parliamentary syst ...
and the
Council of Ministers A council is a group of people who come together to consult, deliberate, or make decisions. A council may function as a legislature, especially at a town, city A city is a human settlement of notable size.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin ...
. *
Judicial The judiciary (also known as the judicial system, judicature, judicial branch, judiciative branch, and court or judiciary system) is the system of courts that adjudication, adjudicates legal disputes/disagreements and interprets, defends, and app ...
: The
Supreme Court A supreme court is the highest court A court is any person or institution, often as a government institution, with the authority to Adjudication, adjudicate legal disputes between Party (law), parties and carry out the administration of ju ...
and lower federal courts. The UAE e-Government is the extension of the UAE Federal Government in its electronic form. The UAE's
Council of Ministers A council is a group of people who come together to consult, deliberate, or make decisions. A council may function as a legislature, especially at a town, city A city is a human settlement of notable size.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin ...
( ar, مجلس الوزراء) is the chief executive branch of the government presided over by the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister, who is appointed by the Federal Supreme Council, appoints the ministers. The Council of Ministers is made up of 22 members and manages all internal and foreign affairs of the federation under its constitutional and federal law. In December 2019, the EAU became the only Arab country, and one of only five countries in the world, to attain
gender parity Gender parity is a statistical measure used to describe ratios between men and women, or boys and girls, in a given population. Gender parity may refer to the proportionate representation of men and women in a given group, also referred to as Huma ...
in a national legislative body, with its lower house 50 per cent women. The UAE is the only country in the world that has a Ministry of Tolerance, a Ministry of Happiness, and a Ministry of Artificial Intelligence. The UAE also has a virtual ministry called the Ministry of Possibilities, designed to find solutions to challenges and improve quality of life. The UAE also has a National Youth Council, which is represented in the UAE cabinet by the Minister of Youth. The UAE legislative is the
Federal National Council The Federal National Council (FNC) ( ar, المجلس الوطني الإتحادي, ''al-Majlis al-Watani al-Ittihadi'') of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is an advisory quasi-parliamentary body in the UAE. The FNC consists of 40 members. Twen ...
which convenes nationwide elections every 4 years. The FNC consists of 40 members drawn from all the emirates. Each emirate is allocated specific seats to ensure full representation. Half are appointed by the rulers of the constituent emirates, and the other half are elected. By law, the council members have to be equally divided between males and females. The FNC is restricted to a largely consultative role.


Foreign relations

The UAE has broad diplomatic and commercial relations with most countries and members of the United Nations. It plays a significant role in
OPEC The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC, ) is a cartel of countries. Founded on 14 September 1960 in Baghdad by the first five members (Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Venezuela), it has, since 1965, been headquart ...

OPEC
, and is one of the founding members of the
Gulf Cooperation Council The Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf ( ar, مجلس التعاون لدول العربية الخليج ), also known as the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC; ar, مجلس التعاون الخليجي), is a regional, inter ...
(GCC). The UAE is a member of the
United Nations The United Nations (UN) is an intergovernmental organization whose stated purposes are to maintain international peace and international security, security, develop friendly relations among nations, achieve international cooperation, and be ...

United Nations
and several of its specialized agencies (
ICAO The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO, ) is a specialized agency of the United Nations The United Nations (UN) is an intergovernmental organization whose stated purposes are to maintain international peace and interna ...
, ILO, UPU, WHO,
WIPO The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO; french: link=no, Organisation mondiale de la propriété intellectuelle (OMPI)) is one of the list of specialized agencies of the United Nations, 15 specialized agencies of the United Nation ...
), as well as the
World Bank The World Bank is an international financial institution that provides loans and Grant (money), grants to the governments of Least developed countries, low- and Developing country, middle-income countries for the purpose of pursuing capital pro ...
,
IMF The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is a major financial agency of the United Nations The United Nations (UN) is an intergovernmental organization whose stated purposes are to maintain international peace and international security, ...
,
Arab League The Arab League ( ar, الجامعة العربية, ' ), formally the League of Arab States ( ar, جامعة الدول العربية, '), is a regional organization in the Arab world The Arab world ( ar, اَلْعَالَمُ ال ...

Arab League
,
Organisation of Islamic Cooperation An organization or organisation (English in the Commonwealth of Nations, Commonwealth English; American and British English spelling differences#-ise, -ize (-isation, -ization), see spelling differences), is an legal entity, entity—such as ...
(OIC), and the
Non-Aligned Movement The Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) is a forum of 120 countries that Non-belligerent, are not formally aligned with or against any major power bloc. After the United Nations, it is the largest grouping of states worldwide. The movement originated in ...
. Also, it is an observer in the
Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie The (OIF; sometimes shortened to the Francophonie, french: La Francophonie , but also called International Organisation of in English-language context) is an international organization representing countries and regions where French langua ...
. Most countries have diplomatic missions in the capital
Abu Dhabi Abu Dhabi (, ; ar, أَبُو ظَبِي ' ) is the Capital city, capital and List of cities in the United Arab Emirates, second-most populous city (after Dubai) of the United Arab Emirates. It is also the capital of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi ...

Abu Dhabi
with most consulates being in UAE's largest city,
Dubai Dubai (, ; ar, wikt:دبي, دبي, translit=Dubayy, , ) is the List of cities in the United Arab Emirates#Major cities, most populous city in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the capital of the Emirate of Dubai, the most populated of the 7 ...

Dubai
. Emirati foreign relations are motivated to a large extent by identity and relationship to the
Arab world The Arab world ( ar, اَلْعَالَمُ الْعَرَبِيُّ '), formally the Arab homeland ( '), also known as the Arab nation ( '), the Arabsphere, or the Arab states, refers to a vast group of countries, mainly located in Western A ...
. The United Arab Emirates has strong ties with Bahrain, China, Egypt, France, India, Jordan, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia and the United States. Following the British withdrawal from the UAE in 1971 and the establishment of the UAE as a state, the UAE disputed rights to three islands in the Persian Gulf against Iran, namely
Abu Musa Abu Musa ( fa, ابوموسی , , ar, أبو موسى) is a island in the eastern Persian Gulf near the entrance to the Strait of Hormuz. Due to the depth of sea, oil tankers and big ships have to pass between Abu Musa and Greater and Lesser T ...
, Greater Tunb, and Lesser Tunb. The UAE tried to bring the matter to the
International Court of Justice The International Court of Justice (ICJ; french: Cour internationale de justice, links=no; ), sometimes known as the World Court, is one of the United Nations System#Six principal organs, six principal organs of the United Nations (UN). It s ...
, but Iran dismissed the notion. Pakistan was the first country to formally recognize the UAE upon its formation. The UAE alongside multiple Middle Eastern and African countries cut diplomatic ties with
Qatar Qatar (, ; ar, قطر, Qaṭar ; local vernacular pronunciation: ), officially the State of Qatar,) is a country in Western Asia. It occupies the Qatar Peninsula on the northeastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula in the Middle East; it sha ...

Qatar
in June 2017 due to allegations of Qatar being a state sponsor of terrorism, resulting in the
Qatar diplomatic crisis The Qatar diplomatic crisis was a diplomatic incident in the Middle East that began on 5 June 2017 when Foreign relations of Saudi Arabia#Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the Qatar–United Arab Emirates relations, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain–Qatar relat ...
. Ties were restored in January 2021. The UAE recognized Israel in August 2020, reaching a historic Israel–United Arab Emirates peace agreement and leading towards full normalization of relations between the two countries.


Military

The United Arab Emirates military force was formed in 1971 from the historical
Trucial Oman Scouts The Trucial Oman Scouts was a paramilitary force that the British raised in 1951 as the Trucial Oman Levies, to serve in the Trucial States The Trucial States ( '), also known as the Trucial Coast ( '), the Trucial Sheikhdoms ( '), Trucial A ...
, long a symbol of public order in
Eastern Arabia Eastern Arabia, historically known as al-Baḥrayn ( ar, البحرين) until the 18th century, is a region stretched from Basra to Khasab along the Persian Gulf coast and included parts of modern-day Bahrain Bahrain ( ; ; ar, البح ...
and commanded by British officers. The Trucial Oman Scouts were turned over to the United Arab Emirates, as the nucleus of its defence forces in 1971, with the formation of the UAE, and was absorbed into the Union Defence Force. Although initially small in number, the UAE armed forces have grown significantly over the years and are presently equipped with some of the most modern weapon systems, purchased from a variety of western military advanced countries, mainly France, the US and the UK. Most officers are graduates of the United Kingdom's Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst, with others having attended the
United States Military Academy The United States Military Academy (USMA), also known Metonymy, metonymically as West Point or simply as Army, is a United States service academies, United States service academy in West Point, New York. It was originally established as a f ...
at
West Point The United States Military Academy (USMA), also known Metonymy, metonymically as West Point or simply as Army, is a United States service academies, United States service academy in West Point, New York. It was originally established as a f ...
, the
Royal Military College, Duntroon The Royal Military College, Duntroon, also known simply as Duntroon, is the Australian Army's Officer (armed forces), officer training establishment. It was founded at Duntroon, Australian Capital Territory, Duntroon, in Canberra, Australian Capita ...
in Australia, and St Cyr, the military academy of France. France and the United States have played the most strategically significant roles with defence cooperation agreements and military material provision. Some of the UAE military deployments include an infantry battalion to the United Nations UNOSOM II force in
Somalia Somalia, , Osmanya script: 𐒈𐒝𐒑𐒛𐒐𐒘𐒕𐒖; ar, الصومال, aṣ-Ṣūmāl officially the Federal Republic of SomaliaThe ''Federal Republic of Somalia'' is the country's name per Article 1 of thProvisional Constitut ...
in 1993, the 35th Mechanised Infantry Battalion to
Kosovo Kosovo ( sq, Kosova or ; sr-Cyrl, Косово ), officially the Republic of Kosovo ( sq, Republika e Kosovës, links=no; sr, Република Косово, Republika Kosovo, links=no), is a international recognition of Kosovo, partiall ...
, a regiment to Kuwait during the
Iraq War {{Infobox military conflict , conflict = Iraq War , partof = the Iraq conflict (2003–present), Iraq conflict and the War on terror , image = Iraq War montage.png , image_size = 300px , caption ...
,
demining Demining or mine clearance is the process of removing land mines from an area. In military operations, the object is to rapidly clear a path through a minefield, and this is often done with devices such as mine plows and blast waves. By contra ...
operations in
Lebanon Lebanon ( , ar, لُبْنَان, translit=lubnān, ), officially the Republic of Lebanon () or the Lebanese Republic, is a country in Western Asia. It is located between Syria to Lebanon–Syria border, the north and east and Israel to Blue ...
,
Operation Enduring Freedom Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) was the official name used synonymously by the U.S. government for both the War in Afghanistan (2001–2014) and the larger-scale Global War on Terrorism. On 7 October 2001, in response to the September 11 atta ...
in
Afghanistan Afghanistan, officially the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan,; prs, امارت اسلامی افغانستان is a landlocked country located at the crossroads of Central Asia and South Asia. Referred to as the Heart of Asia, it is bordere ...
, American-led intervention in Libya,
American-led intervention in Syria The American-led intervention in the Syrian Civil War refers to the American-led support of Syrian opposition, Syrian rebels and the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) during the course of the Syrian civil war, including Operation Inherent Resolv ...
, and the Saudi-led intervention in Yemen. The active and effective military role, despite its small active personnel, has led the UAE military to be nicknamed as "Little Sparta" by
United States Armed Forces The United States Armed Forces are the Military, military forces of the United States. The armed forces consists of six Military branch, service branches: the United States Army, Army, United States Marine Corps, Marine Corps, United States N ...
Generals and former US defense secretary James Mattis. The UAE intervened in the
Libyan Civil War Demographics of Libya is the demography of Libya, specifically covering population density, Ethnic group, ethnicity, education level, health of the populace, economic status, and Religion in Libya, religious affiliations, as well as other aspec ...
in support of General Khalifa Haftar's Libyan National Army in its conflict with the internationally recognised
Government of National Accord The Government of National Accord ( ar, حكومة الوفاق الوطني) was an interim government for Libya that was formed under the terms of the Libyan Political Agreement, a United Nations–led initiative, signed on 17 December 2015. Th ...
(GNA). Examples of the military assets deployed include the enforcement of the no-fly-zone over Libya by sending six UAEAF
F-16 The General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon is a single-engine multirole fighter aircraft Fighter aircraft are fixed-wing aircraft, fixed-wing military aircraft designed primarily for air-to-air combat. In military conflict, the role of f ...
and six
Mirage 2000 The Dassault Mirage 2000 is a French multirole, single-engine, fourth-generation jet fighter manufactured by Dassault Aviation. It was designed in the late 1970s as a lightweight fighter to replace the Mirage III for the French Air Force (''Arm ...
multi-role fighter aircraft, ground troop deployment in Afghanistan, 30 UAEAF F-16s and ground troops deployment in Southern Yemen, and helping the US launch its first airstrikes against
ISIL An Islamic state is a state that has a form of government based on Islamic law (sharia). As a term, it has been used to describe various historical polities and theories of governance in the Islamic world. As a translation of the Arabic ter ...
targets in Syria. The UAE has begun production of a greater amount of military equipment, in a bid to reduce foreign dependence and help with national industrialisation. Example of national military development include the Abu Dhabi Shipbuilding company (ADSB), which produces a range of ships and is a prime contractor in the Baynunah Programme, a programme to design, develop and produce corvettes customised for operation in the shallow waters of the Persian Gulf. The UAE is also producing weapons and ammunition through Caracal International, military transport vehicles through Nimr LLC and unmanned aerial vehicles collectively through Emirates Defence Industries Company. The UAE operates the
General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon The General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon is a single-engine Multirole combat aircraft, multirole fighter aircraft originally developed by General Dynamics for the United States Air Force (USAF). Designed as an air superiority day fighter, it ...
F-16E Block 60 unique variant unofficially called " Desert Falcon", developed by General Dynamics with collaboration of the UAE and specifically for the
United Arab Emirates Air Force The United Arab Emirates Air Force (UAEAF) ( ar, القوات الجوية والدفاع الجوي الاماراتي, al-Quwwāt al-Jawiyah wa al-Defa' al-Jawiy al-ʾImārāty) is the air force of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), part of the U ...
. The
United Arab Emirates Army The United Arab Emirates Army is the land force branch of the United Arab Emirates Armed Forces. History From January 1993 to April 1994, UAE Armed Forces participated in humanitarian operations in Somalia under the Unified Task Force, United ...
operates a customized
Leclerc tank The Leclerc is a List of main battle tanks by generation#Third generation, third generation French main battle tank developed and manufactured by Nexter Systems. It was named in honor of Marshal of France, Marshal Philippe Leclerc de Hauteclocq ...
and is the only other operator of the tank aside from the French Army. The largest defence exhibition and conference in the Middle East,
International Defence Exhibition The International Defence Exhibition & Conference, or IDEX, is a biennial arms and defence technology sales exhibition. The exhibition is the largest defence exhibition and conference in the Middle East The Middle East ( ar, الشرق ...
, takes place biennially in Abu Dhabi. The UAE introduced a mandatory military service for adult males, since 2014, for 16 months to expand its reserve force. The highest loss of life in the history of UAE military occurred on Friday 4 September 2015, in which 52 soldiers were killed in Marib area of central Yemen by a Tochka missile which targeted a weapons cache and caused a large explosion.


Administrative divisions

The United Arab Emirates comprises seven emirates.
Dubai Dubai (, ; ar, wikt:دبي, دبي, translit=Dubayy, , ) is the List of cities in the United Arab Emirates#Major cities, most populous city in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the capital of the Emirate of Dubai, the most populated of the 7 ...

Dubai
is the most populous emirate with 35.6% of the UAE population. The
Emirate of Abu Dhabi The Emirate of Abu Dhabi (, , or ; ar, إِمَارَةْ أَبُوظَبِي , ) is one of seven emirates that constitute the United Arab Emirates The United Arab Emirates (UAE; ar, اَلْإِمَارَات الْعَرَبِي ...
has 31.2%, meaning that over two-thirds of the UAE population lives in either Abu Dhabi or Dubai. Abu Dhabi has an area of , which is 86.7% of the country's total area, excluding the islands. It has a coastline extending for more than and is divided for administrative purposes into three major regions. The Emirate of Dubai extends along the Persian Gulf coast of the UAE for approximately . Dubai has an area of , which is equivalent to 5% of the country's total area, excluding the islands. The Emirate of Sharjah extends along approximately of the UAE's Persian Gulf coastline and for more than into the interior. The northern emirates which include Fujairah, Ajman, Ras al-Khaimah, and Umm al-Qaiwain all have a total area of . There are two areas under joint control. One is jointly controlled by Oman and Ajman, the other by Fujairah and Sharjah. There is an Omani
exclave An enclave is a territory (or a small territory apart of a larger one) that is entirely surrounded by the territory of one other state or entity. Enclaves may also exist within territorial waters. ''Enclave'' is sometimes used improperly to deno ...
surrounded by UAE territory, known as Wadi Madha. It is located halfway between the Musandam peninsula and the rest of Oman in the Emirate of
Sharjah Sharjah (; ar, ٱلشَّارقَة ', Gulf Arabic: ''aš-Šārja'') is the List of cities in the United Arab Emirates, third-most populous city in the United Arab Emirates, after Dubai and Abu Dhabi, forming part of the Dubai-Sharjah-Ajman me ...
. It covers approximately and the boundary was settled in 1969. The north-east corner of Madha is closest to the Khor Fakkan-Fujairah road, barely away. Within the Omani exclave of Madha, is a UAE exclave called
Nahwa Nahwa is a territory that forms part of the Emirate of Sharjah The Emirate of Sharjah (; ar, إِمَارَة ٱلشَّارِقَة ') is one of the emirates of the United Arab Emirates, which covers and has a population of over 1,400,000 ...
, also belonging to the Emirate of Sharjah. It is about on a dirt track west of the town of New Madha. It consists of about forty houses with its own clinic and telephone exchange.


Law

The UAE has a federal court system. There are three main branches within the court structure: civil, criminal and
Sharia law Sharia (; ar, شريعة, sharīʿa ) is a body of religious law that forms a part of the Islamic tradition. It is derived from the Five Pillars of Islam, religious precepts of Islam and is based on the Islamic holy books, sacred scriptures o ...
. The UAE's judicial system is derived from the civil law system and Sharia law. The court system consists of civil courts and Sharia courts. UAE's criminal and civil courts apply elements of Sharia law, codified into its criminal code and family law.


Corporal and capital punishment

Flogging is a punishment for criminal offences such as adultery, premarital sex and drug or alcohol use. According to Sharia court rulings, flogging ranges from 80 to 200 lashes. Verbal abuse pertaining to a person's honour is illegal and punishable by 80 lashes. Between 2007 and 2014, many people in the UAE were sentenced to 100 lashes. More recently in 2015, two men were sentenced to 80 lashes for hitting and insulting a woman. In 2014, an expatriate in Abu Dhabi was sentenced to 10 years in prison and 80 lashes after alcohol consumption and raping a toddler. As of November 2020, alcohol consumption for Muslims and non Muslims is legal. In the past, many Muslims have been sentenced to 80 or 40 lashes for alcohol consumption. Illicit sex is sometimes penalized by 60 lashes. Eighty lashes is the standard number for anyone sentenced to flogging in several emirates. Sharia courts have penalized domestic workers with floggings. In October 2013, a Filipino housemaid was sentenced to 100 lashes for illegitimate pregnancy.Court jails pregnant Filipina in Fujairah
Emirates247.com (9 October 2013). Retrieved 26 November 2015.
Drunk-driving is strictly illegal and punishable by 80 lashes; many expatriates have been sentenced to 80 lashes for drunk-driving. Under UAE law, premarital sex is punishable by 100 lashes. Stoning is a legal punishment in the UAE. In May 2014, an Asian housemaid was sentenced to death by stoning in Abu Dhabi. Other expatriates have been sentenced to death by stoning for committing adultery. Between 2009 and 2013, several people were sentenced to death by stoning.Two women sentenced to death for adultery
. Khaleej Times (25 September 2013). Retrieved 26 November 2015.
Abortion is illegal and punishable by a maximum penalty of 100 lashes and up to five years in prison. In recent years, several people have retracted their guilty plea in illicit sex cases after being sentenced to stoning or 100 lashes. The punishment for committing adultery is 100 lashes for unmarried people and stoning to death for married people. Amputation is a legal punishment in the UAE due to the Sharia courts. Crucifixion is a legal punishment in the UAE. Article 1 of the Federal Penal Code states that "provisions of the Islamic Law shall apply to the crimes of doctrinal punishment, punitive punishment and blood money." The Federal Penal Code repealed only those provisions within the penal codes of individual emirates which are contradictory to the Federal Penal Code. Hence, both are enforceable simultaneously. In recent history, the UAE has declared its intention to move towards a more tolerant legal code, and to phase out corporal punishment altogether. With alcohol and cohabitation laws being loosened in advance of the Expo 2020, 2020 World Expo, Emirati laws have become increasingly acceptable to visitors from non-Muslim countries.


Sharia courts and family law

Sharia courts have exclusive jurisdiction over family law cases and also have jurisdiction over several criminal cases including adultery, premarital sex, robbery, alcohol consumption and related crimes. The Sharia-based Family law, personal status law regulates matters such as marriage, divorce and child custody. The Islamic personal status law is applied to Muslims and sometimes non-Muslims. Non-Muslim expatriates can be liable to Sharia rulings on marriage, divorce and child custody.Britons 'liable to Sharia divorces' in UAE
Bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 26 November 2015.
Emirati women must receive permission from a male guardian to marry and remarry. This requirement is derived from the UAE's interpretation of Sharia, and has been federal law since 2005. In all emirates, it is illegal for Muslim women to marry non-Muslims. In the UAE, a marriage union between a Muslim woman and non-Muslim man is punishable by law, since it is considered a form of "fornication". The UAE Marriage Fund reported in 2012 that a majority of women over 30 were unmarried; this had tripled from 1995, when only one-fifth of women over 30 were unmarried. Kissing in certain public places is illegal and could result in deportation.Public kissing can lead to deportation , The National
Thenational.ae (7 July 2008). Retrieved 26 November 2015.
Expats in Dubai have been deported for kissing in public.Jailed Dubai kissing pair lose appeal over conviction
BBC News (4 April 2010). Retrieved 26 November 2015.
London man tells of 'shock' jailing in Dubai over kiss
Bbc.com. Retrieved 26 November 2015.
In Abu Dhabi, people have been sentenced to 80 lashes for kissing in public. A new federal law in the UAE prohibits swearing in WhatsApp and penalizes swearing by a 250,000 Emirati dirham, AED fine and imprisonment; expatriates are penalized by deportation. In July 2015, an Australian expatriate was deported for swearing on Facebook. LGBT rights in the United Arab Emirates, Homosexuality is illegal and is a capital offence in the UAE. In 2013, an Emirati man was on trial for being accused of a "gay handshake". Article 80 of the Abu Dhabi Penal Code makes sodomy punishable with imprisonment of up to 14 years, while article 177 of the Penal Code of Dubai imposes imprisonment of up to 10 years on consensual sodomy. In November 2020, UAE announced that it decriminalised alcohol, lifted ban on unmarried couples living together and ended lenient punishment on honor killing. Foreigners living in the Emirates were allowed to follow their native country's laws on divorce and inheritance.


Blasphemy law

Apostasy is a Capital punishment, capital crime in the UAE. Blasphemy#Punishment and definition, Blasphemy is illegal; expatriates involved in insulting Islam are liable for deportation. UAE incorporates hudud crimes of Sharia (i.e., crimes against God) into its Penal Code – apostasy being one of them. Article 1 and Article 66 of UAE's Penal Code requires hudud crimes to be punished with the death penalty; therefore, apostasy is punishable by death in the UAE.


Rape

In several cases, the courts of the UAE have jailed women who have reported rape. For example, a British woman, after she reported being gang raped by three men, was charged with the crime of "alcohol consumption". Another British woman was charged with "public intoxication and extramarital sex" after she reported being raped, while an Australian woman was similarly sentenced to jail after she reported gang rape in the UAE. In another recent case, an 18-year Emirati girl withdrew her complaint of gang rape by six men when the prosecution threatened her with a long jail term and flogging. The woman still had to serve one year in jail. In July 2013, a Prosecution of Marte Dalelv, Norwegian woman, Marte Dalelv, reported rape to the police and received a prison sentence for "illicit sex and alcohol consumption".


Human rights

Flogging and stoning are legal punishments in the UAE. The requirement is derived from
Sharia law Sharia (; ar, شريعة, sharīʿa ) is a body of religious law that forms a part of the Islamic tradition. It is derived from the Five Pillars of Islam, religious precepts of Islam and is based on the Islamic holy books, sacred scriptures o ...
, and has been federal law since 2005. Some domestic workers in the UAE are victims of the country's interpretations of Sharia judicial punishments such as flogging and stoning. The annual
Freedom House Freedom House is a non-profit, majority U.S. government funded organization in Washington, D.C., that conducts research and advocacy on democracy, Freedom (political), political freedom, and human rights. Freedom House was founded in October 19 ...
report on
Freedom in the World ''Freedom in the World'' is a yearly survey and report by the U.S.-based non-governmental organization Freedom House that measures the degree of civil liberties and political rights in every nation and significant related and disputed territori ...
has listed the United Arab Emirates as "Not Free" every year since 1999, the first year for which records are available on their website. The UAE has escaped the
Arab Spring The Arab Spring ( ar, الربيع العربي) was a series of anti-government protests, uprisings and armed rebellions that spread across much of the Arab world in the early 2010s. It began in Tunisia in response to corruption and econ ...
; however, more than 100 Emirati activists were jailed and tortured because they sought reforms. Since 2011, the UAE government has increasingly carried out forced disappearances.UAE: Enforced Disappearance and Torture, Human Rights Watch
Hrw.org. Retrieved 26 November 2015.
Many foreign nationals and Emirati citizens have been arrested and abducted by the state. The UAE government denies these people are being held (to conceal their whereabouts), placing these people outside the protection of the law.UAE's crackdown on democracy short-sighted
. Middleeastmonitor.com. Retrieved 26 November 2015.
According to Human Rights Watch, the reports of forced disappearance and torture in the UAE are of grave concern. The Arab Organization for Human Rights has obtained testimonies from many defendants, for its report on "Forced Disappearance and Torture in the UAE", who reported that they had been kidnapped, tortured and abused in detention centres. The report included 16 different methods of torture including severe beatings, threats with electrocution and denying access to medical care. In 2013, 94 Emirati activists were held in secret detention centres and put on trial for allegedly attempting to overthrow the government. Human rights organizations have spoken out against the secrecy of the trial. An Emirati, whose father is among the defendants, was arrested for tweeting about the trial. In April 2013, he was sentenced to 10 months in jail. The latest forced disappearance involves Disappearance of the Al-Suwaidi sisters, three sisters from Abu Dhabi.UAE Three women held in secret detention over tweets, Amnesty International
Amnesty.org (27 February 2015). Retrieved 26 November 2015.
Repressive measures were also used against non-Emiratis in order to justify the UAE government's claim that there is an "international plot" in which UAE citizens and foreigners were working together to destabilize the country. Foreign nationals were also subjected to a campaign of deportations. There are many documented cases of Egyptians and other foreign nationals who had spent years working in the UAE and were then given only a few days to leave the country. Foreign nationals subjected to forced disappearance include two Libyans and two Qataris.
Amnesty International Amnesty International (also referred to as Amnesty or AI) is an international non-governmental organization focused on human rights, with its headquarters in the United Kingdom. The organization says it has more than ten million members and s ...

Amnesty International
reported that the Qatari men have been abducted by the UAE government and the UAE government has withheld information about the men's fate from their families. Amongst the foreign nationals detained, imprisoned and expelled is Iyad El-Baghdadi, a popular blogger and Twitter personality. He was arrested by UAE authorities, detained, imprisoned and then expelled from the country. Despite his lifetime residence in the UAE, as a Palestinian citizen, El-Baghdadi had no recourse to contest this order. He could not be deported back to the Palestinian territories, therefore he was deported to Malaysia. In recent years, many Shia Muslim expatriates have been deported from the UAE. Lebanese Shia families in particular have been deported for their alleged sympathy for Hezbollah. According to some organizations, more than 4,000 Shia expatriates have been deported from the UAE in recent years. The issue of sexual abuse among female domestic workers is another area of concern, particularly given that domestic servants are not covered by the UAE labour law of 1980 or the draft labour law of 2007. Worker protests have been suppressed and protesters imprisoned without due process. In its 2013 Annual Report,
Amnesty International Amnesty International (also referred to as Amnesty or AI) is an international non-governmental organization focused on human rights, with its headquarters in the United Kingdom. The organization says it has more than ten million members and s ...

Amnesty International
drew attention to the United Arab Emirates' poor record on a number of human rights issues. They highlighted the government's restrictive approach to freedom of speech and assembly, their use of arbitrary arrest and detention, arbitrary arrest and torture, and UAE's use of the death penalty. The State Security Apparatus in the UAE has been accused of a series of atrocities and human rights abuses including enforced disappearance, arbitrary arrests and torture. Freedom of association is also severely curtailed. All associations and NGOs have to register through the Ministry of Social Affairs and are therefore under de facto State control. About twenty non-political groups operate on the territory without registration. All associations have to be submitted to censorship guidelines and all publications have first to be approved by the government.


Migrant workers

Migrant workers in the UAE are not allowed to join trade unions or go on strike. Those who strike may risk prison and deportation, as seen in 2014 when dozens of workers were deported for striking. The International Trade Union Confederation has called on the
United Nations The United Nations (UN) is an intergovernmental organization whose stated purposes are to maintain international peace and international security, security, develop friendly relations among nations, achieve international cooperation, and be ...

United Nations
to investigate evidence that thousands of migrant workers in the UAE are treated as slave labour. In 2019, an investigation performed by ''The Guardian'' revealed that thousands of migrant construction workers employed on infrastructure and building projects for the UAE's Expo 2020 exhibition were working in an unsafe environment. Some were even exposed to potentially fatal situations due to cardiovascular issues. Long hours in the sun made them vulnerable to heat strokes. A report in January 2020 highlighted that the employers in the United Arab Emirates have been exploiting the Indian labor and hiring them on Travel visa, tourist visas, which is easier and cheaper than work permits. These migrant workers are left open to Labor rights, labor abuse, where they also fear reporting exploitation due to their illegal status. Besides, the issue remains unknown as the visit visa data is not maintained in both the UAE and Indian Human migration, migration and employment records. In a 22 July 2020 news piece, Reuters reported human rights groups as saying conditions had deteriorated because of the
COVID-19 pandemic The COVID-19 pandemic, also known as the coronavirus pandemic, is an ongoing global pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The novel virus was first identif ...
. Many migrant workers racked up debt and depended on the help of charities. The report cited salary delays and layoffs as a major risk, in addition to overcrowded living conditions, lack of support and problems linked with healthcare and sick pay. Reuters reported at least 200,000 workers, mostly from India but also from Pakistan, Bangladesh, the Philippines and Nepal, had been repatriated, according to their diplomatic missions. On 2 May 2020, the Consul General of India in
Dubai Dubai (, ; ar, wikt:دبي, دبي, translit=Dubayy, , ) is the List of cities in the United Arab Emirates#Major cities, most populous city in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the capital of the Emirate of Dubai, the most populated of the 7 ...

Dubai
, Vipul, confirmed that more than 150,000 Indians in the United Arab Emirates registered to be repatriated through the e-registration option provided by Indian consulates in the UAE. According to the figures, 25% applicants lost their jobs and nearly 15% were stranded in the country due to lockdown. Besides, 50% of the total applicants were from the state of Kerala, India. On 9 October 2020, ''The Daily Telegraph, The Telegraph'' reported that many migrant workers were left abandoned, as they lost their jobs amidst the tightening economy due to COVID-19. With no jobs and expired visas, many hived in parks under the city's glistening skyscrapers, appealing for repatriation flights home. White collar job workers were also threatened by the pandemic in the Emirates, as many United Kingdom, UK expats returned home since the beginning of coronavirus. Various human rights organisations have raised serious concerns about the alleged abuse of migrant workers by major contractors organising Expo 2020. UAE's business solution provider German Pavilion is also held accountable for abusing migrant workers.


Miscellaneous

Dancing in public is illegal in the UAE.


Media

The UAE's Media of the United Arab Emirates, media is annually classified as "not free" in the Freedom of the Press (report), Freedom of the Press report by
Freedom House Freedom House is a non-profit, majority U.S. government funded organization in Washington, D.C., that conducts research and advocacy on democracy, Freedom (political), political freedom, and human rights. Freedom House was founded in October 19 ...
. The UAE ranks poorly in the annual
Press Freedom Index The Press Freedom Index is an annual ranking of countries compiled and published by Reporters Without Borders since 2002 based upon the organisation's own assessment of the countries' Freedom of the press, press freedom records in the previous ...
by
Reporters without Borders Reporters Without Borders (RWB; french: Reporters sans frontières; RSF) is an international non-profit and non-governmental organization with the stated aim of safeguarding the right to freedom of information. It describes its advocacy as found ...
. Dubai Media City and twofour54 are the UAE's main media zones. The UAE is home to some pan-Arab broadcasters, including the Middle East Broadcasting Centre and Orbit Showtime Network. In 2007, Sheikh
Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum ( ar, محمد بن راشد آل مكتوم, links=no; ; born 15 July 1949) is the Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates, vice president, prime minister, and minister of defence of the United Arab Emir ...
decreed that journalists can no longer be prosecuted or imprisoned for reasons relating to their work. At the same time, the UAE has made it illegal to disseminate online material that can threaten "public order", and hands down prison terms for those who "deride or damage" the reputation of the state and "display contempt" for religion.


Print media

According to UAE Year Book 2013, there are seven Arabic newspapers and eight English language newspapers, as well as a Tagalog newspaper produced and published in the UAE.


Social media

New media, such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram are used widely in the UAE by the government entities and by the public as well. The UAE Government avails official social media accounts to communicate with public and hear their needs.


Economy

The UAE has developed from a juxtaposition of Bedouin tribes to one of the world's most wealthy states in only about 50 years. Economic growth has been impressive and steady throughout the history of this young confederation of emirates with brief periods of recessions only, e.g. in the global financial and economic crisis years 2008–09, and a couple of more mixed years starting in 2015 and persisting until 2019. Between 2000 and 2018, average real gross domestic product (GDP) growth was at close to 4%. It is the second largest economy in the GCC (after Saudi Arabia), with a nominal gross domestic product (GDP) of US$414.2 billion, and a real GDP of 392.8 billion constant 2010 USD in 2018. Since its independence in 1971, the UAE's economy has grown by nearly 231 times to 1.45 trillion AED in 2013. The non-oil trade has grown to 1.2 trillion AED, a growth by around 28 times from 1981 to 2012. Backed by the world's seventh-largest oil deposits, and thanks to considerate investments combined with decided economic liberalism and firm Government control, the UAE has seen their real GDP more than triple in the last four decades. Nowadays the UAE is one of the world's richest countries, with GDP per capita almost 80% higher than OECD average. As impressive as economic growth has been in the UAE, the total population has increased from just around 550,000 in 1975 to close to 10 million in 2018. This growth is mainly due to the influx of foreign workers into the country, making the national population a minority. The UAE features a unique labour market system, in which residence in the UAE is conditional on stringent visa rules. This system is a major advantage in terms of macroeconomic stability, as labour supply adjusts quickly to demand throughout economic business cycles. This allows the Government to keep unemployment in the country on a very low level of less than 3%, and it also gives the Government more leeway in terms of macroeconomic policies – where other governments often need to make trade-offs between fighting unemployment and fighting inflation. Between 2014 and 2018, the accommodation and food, education, information and communication, arts and recreation, and real estate sectors overperformed in terms of growth, whereas the construction, logistics, professional services, public, and oil and gas sectors underperformed.


Business and finance

The UAE offers businesses a strong enabling environment: stable political and macroeconomic conditions, a future-oriented Government, good general infrastructure and ICT infrastructure. Moreover, the country has made continuous and convincing improvements to its regulatory environment and is ranked as the 26th best nation in the world for doing business by the Doing Business Report, Doing Business 2017 Report published by the World Bank Group. The UAE are in the top ranks of several other global indices, such as the World Economic Forum's (WEF) Global Competitiveness Index (GCI), the World Happiness Report (WHR) and 33rd in the Global Innovation Index in 2021. The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), for example, assigns the UAE rank two regionally in terms of business environment and 22 worldwide. From the 2018 Arab Youth Survey the UAE emerges as the top Arab country in areas such as living, safety and security, economic opportunities, and starting a business, and as an example for other states to emulate. The weaker points remain the level of education across the UAE population, limitations in the financial and labour markets, barriers to trade and some regulations that hinder business dynamism. The major challenge for the country, though, remains translating investments and strong enabling conditions into knowledge, innovation and creative outputs. UAE law does not allow trade unions to exist. The right to collective bargaining and the right to strike are not recognised, and the Ministry of Labour has the power to force workers to go back to work. Migrant workers who participate in a strike can have their work permits cancelled and be deported. Consequently, there are very few anti-discrimination laws in relation to labour issues, with Emiratis – and other Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf, GCC Arabs – getting preference in public sector jobs despite lesser credentials than competitors and lower motivation. In fact, just over eighty percent of Emirati workers hold government posts, with many of the rest taking part in state-owned enterprises such as Emirates (airline), Emirates airlines and Dubai Properties. The UAE's monetary policy stresses stability and predictability, as the Central Bank of the United Arab Emirates, Central Bank of the UAE (CBUAE) keeps a peg to the US Dollar (USD) and moves interest rates close to the Federal Funds Rate. This policy makes sense in the current situation of global and regional economic and geopolitical uncertainty. Also considering the fact that exports have become the main driver of the UAE's economic growth (the contribution of international trade to GDP grew from 31% in 2017 to 33.5% in 2018, outpacing overall GDP growth for the period), and the fact that the AED is currently undervalued, a departure from this policy – and particularly the peg – would negatively affect this important part of the UAE economy in the short term. In the mid- to long term, however, the peg will become less important, as the UAE transitions to a knowledge-based economy – and becomes yet more independent from the oil and gas sector (oil is currently still being traded not in AED, but in USD). On the contrary, it will become more and more important for the Government to have monetary policy at its free disposal to target inflation, shun too heavy reliance on taxes, and avoid situations where decisions on exchange rates and interest rates contradict fiscal policy measures – as has been the case in recent years, where monetary policy has limited fiscal policy effects on economic expansion. According to Fitch Ratings, the decline in property sector follows risks of progressively worsening the quality of assets in possession with UAE banks, leading the economy to rougher times ahead. Even though as compared to retail and property, UAE banks fared well. The higher US interest rates followed since 2016 – which the UAE currency complies to – have boosted profitability. However, the likelihood of plunging interest rates and increasing provisioning costs on bad loans, point to difficult times ahead for the economy. Since 2015, economic growth has been more mixed due to a number of factors impacting both demand and supply. In 2017 and 2018 growth has been positive but on a low level of 0.8 and 1.4%, respectively. To support the economy the Government is currently following an expansionary fiscal policy. However, the effects of this policy are partially offset by monetary policy, which has been contractionary. If not for the fiscal stimulus in 2018, the UAE economy would probably have contracted in that year. One of the factors responsible for slower growth has been a credit crunch, which is due to, among other factors, higher interest rates. Government debt has remained on a low level, despite high deficits in a few recent years. Risks related to government debt remain low. Inflation has been picking up in 2017 and 18. Contributing factors were the introduction of a Value-added tax, value added tax (VAT) of 5%in 2018 as well as higher commodity prices. Despite the Government's expansionary fiscal policy and a growing economy in 2018 and at the beginning of 2019, prices have been dropping in late 2018 and 2019 owing to oversupply in some sectors of importance to consumer prices. The UAE has an attractive tax system for companies and wealthy individuals, making it a preferred destination for companies seeking tax avoidance. The NGO Tax Justice Network places them in 2021 in the group of the ten largest tax havens.


VAT

The UAE government implemented Value-added tax, value added tax (VAT) in the country from January 1, 2018 at a standard rate of 5%.


Oil and gas

The UAE leadership has driven forward economic diversification efforts already before the oil price crash in the 1980s, and the UAE is nowadays the most diversified economy in the MENA, Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. Although the oil and gas sector does still play an important role in the UAE economy, these efforts have paid off in terms of great resilience during periods of oil price fluctuations and economic turbulence. In 2018, the oil and gas sector contributed 26% to overall GDP. The introduction of the Value-added tax, VAT has provided the Government with an additional source of income – approximately 6% of the total revenue in 2018, or 27 billion United Arab Emirates dirham, United Arab Emirates Dirham (AED) – affording its fiscal policy more independence from oil- and gas-related revenue, which constitutes about 36% of the total government revenue. While the government may still adjust the exact arrangement of the VAT, it is not likely that any new taxes will be introduced in the foreseeable future. Additional taxes would destroy one of the UAE's main enticements for businesses to operate in the country and put a heavy burden on the economy. The UAE List of countries by carbon dioxide emissions per capita, emits a lot of carbon dioxide per person compared to other countries. The Barakah nuclear power plant is the first on the Arabian peninsula and expected to reduce the carbon footprint of the country.


Tourism

Tourism acts as a growth sector for the entire UAE economy.
Dubai Dubai (, ; ar, wikt:دبي, دبي, translit=Dubayy, , ) is the List of cities in the United Arab Emirates#Major cities, most populous city in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the capital of the Emirate of Dubai, the most populated of the 7 ...

Dubai
is the top tourism destination in the Middle East. According to the annual MasterCard Global Destination Cities Index, Dubai is the fifth most popular tourism destination in the world. Dubai holds up to 66% share of the UAE's tourism economy, with
Abu Dhabi Abu Dhabi (, ; ar, أَبُو ظَبِي ' ) is the Capital city, capital and List of cities in the United Arab Emirates, second-most populous city (after Dubai) of the United Arab Emirates. It is also the capital of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi ...

Abu Dhabi
having 16% and
Sharjah Sharjah (; ar, ٱلشَّارقَة ', Gulf Arabic: ''aš-Šārja'') is the List of cities in the United Arab Emirates, third-most populous city in the United Arab Emirates, after Dubai and Abu Dhabi, forming part of the Dubai-Sharjah-Ajman me ...
10%. Dubai welcomed 10 million tourists in 2013. The UAE has the most advanced and developed infrastructure in the region. Since the 1980s, the UAE has been spending billions of dollars on infrastructure. These developments are particularly evident in the larger emirates of Abu Dhabi and Dubai. The northern emirates are rapidly following suit, providing major incentives for developers of residential and commercial property. The inbound tourism expenditure in the UAE for 2019 accounted for 118.6 percent share of the outbound tourism expenditure. Since 6 January 2020, tourist visas to the United Arab Emirates are valid for five years. It has been projected that the travel and tourism industry will contribute about 280.6 billion United Arab Emirati dirham to the UAE's GDP by 2028.


Transport


Air

Dubai International Airport became the World's busiest airports by international passenger traffic, busiest airport in the world by international passenger traffic in 2014, overtaking Heathrow Airport, London Heathrow.


Highways

Abu Dhabi Abu Dhabi (, ; ar, أَبُو ظَبِي ' ) is the Capital city, capital and List of cities in the United Arab Emirates, second-most populous city (after Dubai) of the United Arab Emirates. It is also the capital of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi ...

Abu Dhabi
,
Dubai Dubai (, ; ar, wikt:دبي, دبي, translit=Dubayy, , ) is the List of cities in the United Arab Emirates#Major cities, most populous city in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the capital of the Emirate of Dubai, the most populated of the 7 ...

Dubai
,
Sharjah Sharjah (; ar, ٱلشَّارقَة ', Gulf Arabic: ''aš-Šārja'') is the List of cities in the United Arab Emirates, third-most populous city in the United Arab Emirates, after Dubai and Abu Dhabi, forming part of the Dubai-Sharjah-Ajman me ...
, Ajman,
Umm Al Quwain Umm Al Quwain is the capital and largest city of the Emirate of Umm Al Quwain in the United Arab Emirates. The city is located on the peninsula of Khor Al Bidiyah, with the nearest major cities being Sharjah to the southwest and Ras Al Khaimah ...
, and Ras Al Khaimah are connected by the E 11 road (United Arab Emirates), E11 highway, which is the longest road in the UAE. In Dubai, in addition to the Dubai Metro, The Dubai Tram and Palm Jumeirah Monorail also connect specific parts of the city. There is also a bus, taxi, abra and water taxi network run by RTA. Dubai Trolley, T1, a double-decker tram system in Downtown Dubai, were operational from 2015 to 2019. Salik, meaning "open" or "clear", is Dubai's electronic toll collection system that was launched in July 2007 and is part of Dubai's traffic congestion management system. Each time one passes through a Salik tolling point, a toll is deducted from the drivers' prepaid toll account using advanced Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology. There are four Salik tolling points placed in strategic locations in Dubai: at Al Maktoum Bridge, Al Garhoud Bridge, and along Sheikh Zayed Road at Al Safa and Al Barsha.


Eligibility to drive

Individual customers, citizens and residents, who are above the legal age and medically fit, are eligible to get a driving learning permit and apply for a new driving licence. The minimum age requirement to obtain a driving licence depends on the vehicle, for which you are obtaining the licence. The minimum age requirement is as follows: * 17 years for motorcycles and for vehicles for people with special needs * 18 years for cars and light vehicles * 20 years for heavy vehicles and tractors * 21 years for buses.


Rail

A Rail transport in the United Arab Emirates, country-wide railway is under construction which will connect all the major cities and ports. The Dubai Metro is the first urban train network in the Arabian Peninsula.


Sea

The major ports of the United Arab Emirates are Khalifa Port, Zayed Port, Port Jebel Ali, Port Rashid, Port Khalid, Port Saeed, and Port Khor Fakkan. The Emirates are increasingly developing their logistics and ports in order to participate in trade between Europe and China or Africa. For this purpose, ports are being rapidly expanded and investments are being made in their technology. The Emirates have historically been and currently still are part of the Maritime Silk Road that runs from the Chinese coast to the south via the southern tip of India to Mombasa, from there through the Red Sea via the Suez Canal to the Mediterranean, there to the Upper Adriatic region and the northern Italian hub of Trieste with its rail connections to Central Europe, Eastern Europe and the North Sea.


Telecommunications

The UAE is served by two telecommunications operators, Etisalat and Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company ("du"). Etisalat operated a monopoly until du launched mobile services in February 2007. Internet subscribers were expected to increase from 0.904 million in 2007 to 2.66 million in 2012. The regulator, the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (UAE), Telecommunications Regulatory Authority, mandates filtering websites for religious, political and sexual content. 5G wireless services were installed nationwide in 2019 through a partnership with Huawei.


Culture

Emirati culture is based on Arabian culture and has been influenced by the cultures of Persians, Persia,
India India, officially the Republic of India (Hindi: ), is a country in South Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by area, seventh-largest country by area, the List of countries and dependencies by population, second-most populous ...

India
, and East Africa. Arabian and Persian architecture, Arabian inspired architecture is part of the expression of the local Emirati identity. Arabian influence on Emirati culture is noticeably visible in traditional Emirati architecture and folk arts. For example, the distinctive wind tower which tops traditional Emirati buildings, the ''barjeel'' has become an identifying mark of Emirati architecture and is attributed to Arabian influence. This influence is derived both from traders who fled the tax regime in Persia in the early 19th century and from Emirati ownership of ports on the Arabian coast, for instance the Al Qassimi port of Lingeh. The United Arab Emirates has a diverse society. Dubai's economy depends more on international trade and tourism, and is more open to visitors, while Abu Dhabi society is more domestic as the city's economy is focused on fossil fuel extraction. Major holidays in the United Arab Emirates include ''Eid ul-Fitr, Eid al Fitr'', which marks the end of ''Ramadan'', and National Day (United Arab Emirates), National Day (2 December), which marks the formation of the United Arab Emirates. Emirati males prefer to wear a thawb, kandura, an ankle-length white tunic woven from wool or cotton, and Emirati women wear an abaya, a black over-garment that covers most parts of the body. Ancient Emirati poetry was strongly influenced by the eighth-century Arab scholar Al Khalil bin Ahmed. The earliest known poet in the UAE is Ibn Majid, born between 1432 and 1437 in Ras Al-Khaimah. The most famous Emirati writers were Mubarak Al Oqaili (1880–1954), Salem bin Ali al Owais (1887–1959) and Ahmed bin Sulayem (1905–1976). Three other poets from Sharjah, known as the Hirah group, are observed to have been heavily influenced by the Apollo and Romantic poetry, Romantic poets. The Sharjah International Book Fair is the oldest and largest in the country. The list of museums in the United Arab Emirates includes some of regional repute, most famously Sharjah (city), Sharjah with its Heritage District containing 17 museums, which in 1998 was the Cultural Capital of the Arab World. In Dubai, the area of Al Quoz has attracted a number of art galleries as well as museums such as the Salsali Private Museum. Abu Dhabi has established a culture district on Saadiyat Island. Six grand projects are planned, including the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi and the Louvre Abu Dhabi. Dubai also plans to build a Kunsthal museum and a district for galleries and artists. Emirati culture is a part of the culture of Eastern Arabia. Liwa (music), Liwa is a type of music and dance performed locally, mainly in communities that contain descendants of Bantu peoples from the African Great Lakes region. The Dubai Desert Rock Festival is also another major festival consisting of heavy metal and rock artists. The cinema of the United Arab Emirates is minimal but expanding.


Cuisine

The traditional food of the Emirates has always been rice, fish and meat. The people of the United Arab Emirates have adopted most of their foods from other West and South Asian countries including Iran, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, India and Oman. Seafood has been the mainstay of the Emirati diet for centuries. Meat and rice are other staple foods, with lamb and mutton preferred to goat and beef. Popular beverages are coffee and tea, which can be complemented with cardamom, saffron, or Spearmint, mint to give them a distinctive flavour. Popular cultural Emirati dishes include ''threed'', ''machboos'', ''khubisa'', ''khameer'' and ''chabab'' bread among others while lugaimat is a famous Emirati dessert. With the influence of western culture, fast food has become very popular among young people, to the extent that campaigns have been held to highlight the dangers of fast food excesses. Alcohol is allowed to be served only in hotel restaurants and bars. All nightclubs are permitted to sell alcohol. Specific supermarkets may sell alcohol, but these products are sold in separate sections. Likewise, pork, which is haram (not permitted for Muslims), is sold in separate sections in all major supermarkets. Note that although alcohol may be consumed, it is illegal to be intoxicated in public or drive a motor vehicle with any trace of alcohol in the blood.


Sports

Formula One is particularly popular in the United Arab Emirates, and a Grand Prix is annually held at the Yas Marina Circuit in Yas Island in Abu Dhabi. The race takes place in the evening, and was the first ever Grand Prix to start in daylight and finish at night. Other popular sports include camel racing, falconry, endurance riding, and tennis. The emirate of
Dubai Dubai (, ; ar, wikt:دبي, دبي, translit=Dubayy, , ) is the List of cities in the United Arab Emirates#Major cities, most populous city in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the capital of the Emirate of Dubai, the most populated of the 7 ...

Dubai
is also home to two major golf courses: the Dubai Golf Club and Emirates Golf Club. In the past, child camel jockeys were used, leading to widespread criticism. Eventually, the UAE passed laws banning the use of children for the sport, leading to the prompt removal of almost all child jockeys. Recently robot jockeys have been introduced to overcome the problem of child camel jockeys which was an issue of human rights violations. Ansar Burney is often praised for the work he has done in this area.


Football

Association football, Football is a popular sport in the UAE. Al-Nasr Dubai SC, Al Nasr, Al Ain Club, Al Ain, Al Wasl FC, Al Wasl, Sharjah FC, Sharjah, Al Wahda FC, Al Wahda, and Shabab Al-Ahli Dubai FC, Shabab Al Ahli are the most popular teams and enjoy the reputation of long-time regional champions. The United Arab Emirates Football Association was established in 1971 and since then has dedicated its time and effort to promoting the game, organising youth programmes and improving the abilities of not only its players, but also the officials and coaches involved with its regional teams. The United Arab Emirates national football team, UAE qualified for the FIFA World Cup in 1990 FIFA World Cup, 1990, along with Egypt national football team, Egypt. It was the third consecutive World Cup with two Arab nations qualifying, after Kuwait national football team, Kuwait and Algeria national football team, Algeria in 1982 FIFA World Cup, 1982, and Iraq national football team, Iraq and Algeria again in 1986 FIFA World Cup, 1986. The UAE has won the Gulf Cup of Nations, Gulf Cup Championship twice: the first cup won in January 2007 held in
Abu Dhabi Abu Dhabi (, ; ar, أَبُو ظَبِي ' ) is the Capital city, capital and List of cities in the United Arab Emirates, second-most populous city (after Dubai) of the United Arab Emirates. It is also the capital of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi ...

Abu Dhabi
and the second in January 2013, held in
Bahrain Bahrain ( ; ; ar, البحرين, al-Bahrayn, locally ), officially the Kingdom of Bahrain, ' is an island country in Western Asia. It is situated on the Arab states of the Persian Gulf, Persian Gulf, and comprises a small archipelago made u ...
. The country hosted the 2019 AFC Asian Cup. The UAE team went all the way to the semi-finals, where they were defeated by the eventual champions, Qatar national football team, Qatar.


Cricket

Cricket is one of the most popular sports in the UAE, largely because of the expatriate population from the SAARC countries, the United Kingdom, and Australia. The headquarters of the International Cricket Council (ICC) have been located in the Dubai Sports City complex since 2005, including the ICC Academy which was established in 2009. There are a number of international cricket venues in the UAE, which are frequently used for international tournaments and "neutral" bilateral series due to the local climate and Dubai's status as a transport hub. Notable international tournaments hosted by the UAE have included the 2014 Under-19 Cricket World Cup, the 2021 ICC Men's T20 World Cup, and three editions of the Asia Cup (1984, 1995 and 2018). Notable grounds include the Sharjah Cricket Association Stadium in
Sharjah Sharjah (; ar, ٱلشَّارقَة ', Gulf Arabic: ''aš-Šārja'') is the List of cities in the United Arab Emirates, third-most populous city in the United Arab Emirates, after Dubai and Abu Dhabi, forming part of the Dubai-Sharjah-Ajman me ...
, Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium in
Abu Dhabi Abu Dhabi (, ; ar, أَبُو ظَبِي ' ) is the Capital city, capital and List of cities in the United Arab Emirates, second-most populous city (after Dubai) of the United Arab Emirates. It is also the capital of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi ...

Abu Dhabi
, and Dubai International Cricket Stadium in Dubai. The Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) became a member of the ICC in 1990. The United Arab Emirates national cricket team, UAE national cricket team has qualified for the Cricket World Cup on two occasions (1996 Cricket World Cup, 1996 and 2015 Cricket World Cup, 2015) and the ICC Men's T20 World Cup on one occasion (2014 ICC World Twenty20, 2014). The United Arab Emirates women's national cricket team, national women's team is similarly one of the strongest associate teams in Asia, notably participating in the 2018 ICC Women's World Twenty20 Qualifier. Following the 2009 attack on the Sri Lanka national cricket team, the UAE served as the ''de facto'' home of the Pakistan national cricket team for nearly a decade, as well as hosting the Pakistan Super League. The UAE has also hosted one full edition of Indian Premier League (IPL) in 2020 and two partial editions of the Indian Premier League (IPL) in 2014 and 2021.


Education

The education, education system through secondary level is monitored by the Ministry of Education in all emirates except Abu Dhabi, where it falls under the authority of the Abu Dhabi Education Council. It consists of primary schools, middle schools and High Schools, high schools. The public schools are government-funded and the curriculum is created to match the United Arab Emirates' development goals. The medium of instruction in the public school is Arabic with emphasis on English as a second language. There are also many private schools which are internationally accredited. Public school (government funded), Public schools in the country are free for citizens of the UAE, while the fees for private schools vary. The higher education system is monitored by the Ministry of Higher Education. The ministry also is responsible for admitting students to its undergraduate education, undergraduate institutions. The adult literacy rate in 2015 was 93.8%. The UAE has shown a strong interest in improving education and research. Enterprises include the establishment of the CERT Group of Companies, CERT Research Centres and the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology and Institute for Enterprise Development. According to the QS Rankings, the top-ranking universities in the country are the United Arab Emirates University (421–430th worldwide), Khalifa University (441–450th worldwide), the American University of Sharjah (431–440th) and University of Sharjah (551–600th worldwide). United Arab Emirates was ranked 33rd in the Global Innovation Index in 2021, up from 36th in 2019.


Demographics

According to an estimate by the World Bank, the UAE's population in 2020 was 9,890,400. Immigrants accounted for 88.52% while Emiratis made up the remaining 11.48%. This unique imbalance is due to the country's exceptionally high net migration rate of 21.71, the List of countries by net migration rate, world's highest. UAE citizenship is very difficult to obtain other than by filiation and only granted under very special circumstances. The UAE is ethnically diverse. The five most populous nationalities in the emirates of Dubai, Sharjah, and Ajman are Indian (25%), Pakistani (12%), Emirati (9%), Bangladeshi (7%), and Filipino (5%). Immigrants from Europe, Australia, Northern America and Latin America make up 500,000 of the population. More than 100,000 British nationals live in the country. The rest of the population are from other Arab World, Arab states. About 88% of the population of the United Arab Emirates is urban. The average List of countries by life expectancy, life expectancy was 76.7 in 2012, higher than for any other Arab country. With a male/female human sex ratio, sex ratio of 2.2 males for each female in the total population and 2.75 to 1 for the 15–65 Demographic profile, age group, the UAE's Gender mortality differentials, gender imbalance is second highest in the world after Qatar.


Religion

Islam Islam (; ar, ۘالِإسلَام, , ) is an Abrahamic monotheistic religion centred primarily around the Quran, a religious text considered by Muslims to be the direct word of God in Islam, God (or ''Allah'') as it was revealed to Muh ...
is the largest and the official state religion of the UAE. The government follows a policy of tolerance toward other religions and rarely interferes in the religious activities of non-Muslims. There are more Sunni than Shiite, Shia Muslims in the United Arab Emirates, and 85% of the Emirati population are Sunni Muslims. The vast majority of the remainder 15% are Shia Muslims, who are concentrated in the Emirate of Dubai, Emirates of Dubai and
Sharjah Sharjah (; ar, ٱلشَّارقَة ', Gulf Arabic: ''aš-Šārja'') is the List of cities in the United Arab Emirates, third-most populous city in the United Arab Emirates, after Dubai and Abu Dhabi, forming part of the Dubai-Sharjah-Ajman me ...
. Although no official statistics are available for the breakdown between Sunni and Shia Muslims among noncitizen residents, media estimates suggest less than 20% of the noncitizen Muslim population are Shia. Sheikh Zayed Mosque in Abu Dhabi is the largest mosque in the country and a major tourist attraction. Ibadi is common among Omanis in the UAE, while Sufi influences exist as well. Roman Catholicism in the United Arab Emirates, Roman Catholics and Protestantism in the United Arab Emirates, Protestants form significant proportions of the Christian minority. The country has at least 45 churches. Many Christians in the United Arab Emirates are of Asian, African, and European origin, along with fellow Middle Eastern countries such as Lebanon, Syria, and Egypt. The United Arab Emirates forms part of the Roman Catholic Vicariate Apostolic of Southern Arabia, Apostolic Vicariate of Southern Arabia and the Vicar Apostolic Bishop Paul Hinder is based in
Abu Dhabi Abu Dhabi (, ; ar, أَبُو ظَبِي ' ) is the Capital city, capital and List of cities in the United Arab Emirates, second-most populous city (after Dubai) of the United Arab Emirates. It is also the capital of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi ...

Abu Dhabi
. There is a small Jews, Jewish community in the United Arab Emirates. There is only one known synagogue, in
Dubai Dubai (, ; ar, wikt:دبي, دبي, translit=Dubayy, , ) is the List of cities in the United Arab Emirates#Major cities, most populous city in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the capital of the Emirate of Dubai, the most populated of the 7 ...

Dubai
, which has been open since 2008. The synagogue also welcomes visitors. As of 2019, according to Rabbi Marc Schneier of the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding, it is estimated that there are about 150 families to 3,000 Jews who live and worship freely in the UAE. South Asians in the United Arab Emirates constitute the largest ethnic group in the country. Over 2 million Indian migrants (mostly from the southern states of Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Kanara, Coastal Karnataka and Tamil Nadu) are estimated to be living in the UAE. There is currently only one Hindu temple in the UAE in Dubai, the Hindu Temple, Dubai (referred to locally as Shiva and Krishna Mandir) located in Dubai. Another temple, the BAPS Hindu Mandir Abu Dhabi is a Hindu temple that is being built by the BAPS Swaminarayan Sansthan in Abu Dhabi. Other religions also exist in the United Arab Emirates, including Sikhism, Buddhism, Judaism, Baháʼí Faith, Baháʼís and Druze. The UAE Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation, Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Abdullah bin Zayed, announced in 2019 the design and construction plan of the Abrahamic Family House, which will serve as an interfaith complex that houses a synagogue, mosque, and a Church (building), church on Saadiyat Island in
Abu Dhabi Abu Dhabi (, ; ar, أَبُو ظَبِي ' ) is the Capital city, capital and List of cities in the United Arab Emirates, second-most populous city (after Dubai) of the United Arab Emirates. It is also the capital of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi ...

Abu Dhabi
.


Languages

Arabic language, Arabic is the national language of the United Arab Emirates. The Gulf Arabic, Gulf dialect of Arabic is spoken natively by Emirati people. The area was occupied by the British until 1971 and, with many expatriates resident, English is the primary ''lingua franca'' in the UAE. Consequently, a knowledge of English is a requirement when applying for most local jobs.


Health

The life expectancy at birth in the UAE is at 76.96 years. Cardiovascular disease is the principal cause of death in the UAE, constituting 28% of total deaths; other major causes are accidents and injury, injuries, Cancer, malignancies, and congenital disorder, congenital anomalies. According to List of countries by Body Mass Index (BMI)#WHO Data on Prevalence of Obesity (BMI above 30) (2016), World Health Organisation data from 2016, 34.5% of adults in the UAE are clinically Obesity, obese, with a body mass index (BMI) score of 30 or more. In February 2008, the Ministry of Health unveiled a five-year health strategy for the public health sector in the northern emirates, which fall under its purview and which, unlike Abu Dhabi and Dubai, do not have separate healthcare authorities. The strategy focuses on unifying healthcare policy and improving access to healthcare services at reasonable cost, at the same time reducing dependence on overseas treatment. The ministry plans to add three hospitals to the current 14, and 29 primary healthcare centres to the current 86. Nine were scheduled to open in 2008. The introduction of mandatory health insurance in Abu Dhabi for expatriates and their dependents was a major driver in reform of healthcare policy. Abu Dhabi nationals were brought under the scheme from 1 June 2008 and Dubai followed for its government employees. Eventually, under federal law, every Emirati and expatriate in the country will be covered by compulsory health insurance under a unified mandatory scheme. The country has benefited from medical tourists from all over the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf. The UAE attracts medical tourism, medical tourists seeking cosmetic surgery and advanced procedures, cardiac and spinal surgery, and dental treatment, as health services have higher standards than other Arab countries in the Persian Gulf.


Largest cities


See also

* List of United Arab Emirates–related topics * Outline of the United Arab Emirates


References


Further reading

* Abu Libdeh, A. (1994). ‘English on Khalifa Street’. ''The Journal of the College of Education''. UAE University 10, 25–51. * Bianco, C. (2020a). The GCC monarchies: Perceptions of the Iranian threat amid shifting geopolitics. The International Spectator, 55(2), 92–107. * Bianco, C. (2020b). A Gulf apart: How Europe can gain influence with the Gulf Cooperation Council. European Council on Foreign Relations, February 2020. Available at https://ecfr.eu/archive/page/-/a_gulf_apart_how_europe_can_gain_influence_with_gulf_cooperation_council.pdf. * Bianco, C. (2021). Can Europe Choreograph a Saudi-Iranian Détente? European University Institute, Robert Schuman Center for Advanced Studies, Middle East Directions. Available at: https://cadmus.eui.eu/bitstream/handle/1814/70351/PB_2021_10-MED.pdf?sequence=1. * Bianco, C., & Stansfield, G. (2018). The intra-GCC crises: Mapping GCC fragmentation after 2011. International Affairs, 94(3), 613–635. * Miniaoui, Héla, ed. Economic Development in the Gulf Cooperation Council Countries: From Rentier States to Diversified Economies. Vol. 1. Springer Nature, 2020. * Guzansky, Y., & Even, S. (2020). The economic crisis in the Gulf States: A challenge to the “contract” between rulers and ruled. INSS Insight No. 1327, 1 June 2020. Available at https://www.INSS.org.il/publication/gulf-states-economy/?offset=7&posts=201&outher=Yoel%20Guzansky. * Guzansky, Y., & Marshall, Z. A. (2020). The Abraham accords: Immediate significance and long-term implications. Israel Journal of Foreign Affairs, 1–11. * Guzansky, Y., & Segal, E. (2020). All in the family: Leadership changes in the Gulf. INSS Insight No. 1378, 30 August 2020. Available at: https://www.INSS.org.il/publication/gulf-royal-families/?offset=1&posts=201&outher=Yoel%20Guzansky * Guzansky, Y., & Winter, O. (2020). Apolitical Normalization: A New Approach to Jews in Arab States. INSS Insight No. 1332, 8 June 2020. Available at: https://www.INSS.org.il/publication/judaism-in-the-arab-world/?offset=5&posts=201&outher=Yoel%20Guzansky. * Swan, M. (26 April 2012). "Arabic school aims to boost the popularity of the language". ''The National'', p. 6. * Available at: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/290349218_The_political_algebra_of_global_value_change_General_models_and_implications_for_the_Muslim_world * * "Towards A Foreign Language, Teaching Policy for the Arab World: U.A.E Perspective." United Arab Emirates University (1996). * Woertz, Eckart. "Wither the self-sufficiency illusion? Food security in Arab Gulf States and the impact of COVID-19." Food Security 12.4 (2020): 757–760. * Zweiri, Mahjoob, Md Mizanur Rahman, and Arwa Kamal, eds. The 2017 Gulf Crisis: An Interdisciplinary Approach. Vol. 3. Springer Nature, 2020.


External links


Government portal of the United Arab Emirates
,
U.AE)

The World Government Summit – UAE

The 2020 World Exposition in UAE

United Arab Emirates
''The World Factbook''. Central Intelligence Agency. * *
United Arab Emirates profile
from the BBC News. *
World Bank Summary Trade Statistics United Arab Emirates

Timeline of the United Arab Emirates History from Bronze Age to present day
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