Official Name: United Arab Emirates
Population: 9,890,400 (2020 estimate)
Capital: Abu Dhabi
Order of Visit: Fifty-Eighth
First Visit: 23 November 2017
Last Visit: 23 November 2017
Duration: 1 Day
Visit Highlights: Chauffeur drive in a Mercedes Benz, the luxurious Dubai International Airport and Roda al Bustan Hotel.
Places Visited: Dubai
United Arab Emirates Journal Entry
History and Geography
United Arab Emirates is located at the eastern end of the Arabian Peninsula, bordering the Persian Gulf, Oman and Saudi Arabia as well as sharing maritime borders with Qatar and Iran. The climate of the UAE is subtropical-arid with hot summers and warm winters. The climate is categorised as desert climate.
The land of the Emirates has been inhabited for thousands of years. Stone tools recovered from Jebel Faya in the emirate of Sharjah reveal a settlement of people from Africa some 127,000 years ago and a stone tool used for butchering animals discovered at Jebel Barakah on the Arabian coast suggests an even older habitation from 130,000 years ago.
The spread of Islam to the North Eastern tip of the Arabian Peninsula is thought to have followed directly from a letter sent by the Islamic Prophet, Muhammad, to the rulers of Oman in 630 CE.
With the introduction of European colonialism, 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.
In 1892 a treaty made the Trucial States (covering modern day UAE) 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.
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 had a severe impact on the industry, but it was the economic depression of the late 1920s and early 1930s, coupled with the invention of the cultured pearl, that wiped out the trade.
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 was a small military force used by the British to keep the peace.
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.
With the expiration of the British protection treaty 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.
The UAE supported military operations from the US and other coalition nations engaged in the war against the Taliban in Afghanistan (2001) and Saddam Hussein in Iraq (2003) as well as operations supporting the Global War on Terror for the Horn of Africa at Al Dhafra Air Base located outside of Abu Dhabi.
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’s oil reserves are the sixth-largest in the world while its natural gas reserves are the world’s seventh-largest. The country relies on oil and gas for revenue but is now focusing on tourism and business. The UAE government does not levy income tax although there is a system of corporate tax in place and the UAE was introduced a value-added tax at 5% in 2018.
The UAE is a member of the United Nations, the Arab League, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, OPEC, the Non-Aligned Movement and the Gulf Cooperation Council.
What I experienced
I barely experienced Dubai and the United Arab Emirates being there for such a short time however I did clear immigration and sleep in a hotel so I’ll include it as a place visited just without experiencing the culture or visitor attractions. I did get to enjoy Emirates Airlines hospitality during this short stay, arriving on Emirates A380 plane flying in First Class and getting amazing service as I was transferred to my hotel in luxury and later enjoying Emirates First Class lounge. I arrived at 5.40 am in the morning and it was already very hot and it only got warmer when I left after 3 pm. I could see a very modern city and active port. I will likely organise a multi-day stay during a future trip to Europe one day.