In 2013, the UAEs population was 9.2 million, of which 1.4 million are Emirati citizens and 7.8 million are expatriates. The country is a federation of seven emirates, and was established on 2 December 1971, the constituent emirates are Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Dubai, Fujairah, Ras al-Khaimah, Sharjah and Umm al-Quwain. Each emirate is governed by a monarch, together, they jointly form the Federal Supreme Council. One of the monarchs is selected as the President of the United Arab Emirates, Islam is the official religion of the UAE and Arabic is the official language. The UAEs oil reserves are the seventh-largest in the world while its natural gas reserves are the worlds seventeenth-largest, Sheikh Zayed, ruler of Abu Dhabi and the first President of the UAE, oversaw the development of the Emirates and steered oil revenues into healthcare, education and infrastructure. The UAEs economy is the most diversified in the Gulf Cooperation Council, while its most populous city of Dubai is an important global city, nevertheless, the country remains principally reliant on its export of petroleum and natural gas. The UAE is criticised for its rights record, including the specific interpretations of Sharia used in its legal system. The UAEs rising international profile has led analysts to identify it as a regional. It appears the land of the Emirates has been occupied for thousands of years, there is no proof of contact with the outside world at that stage, although in time it developed with civilisations in Mesopotamia and Iran. This contact persisted and became wide-ranging, probably motivated by trade in copper from the Hajar Mountains, in ancient times, Al Hasa was part of Al Bahreyn and adjoined Greater Oman. Sassanid groups were present on the Batinah coast, in 637, Julfar was an important port that was used as a staging post for the Islamic invasion of the Sassanian Empire. The area of the Al Ain/Buraimi Oasis was known as Tuam and was an important trading post for camel routes between the coast and the Arabian interior. The earliest Christian site in the UAE was first discovered in the 1990s, a monastic complex on what is now known as Sir Bani Yas Island. Thought to be Nestorian and built in 600 AD, the church appears to have been abandoned peacefully in 750 AD and it forms a rare physical link to a legacy of Christianity which is thought to have spread across the peninsula from 50 to 350 AD following trade routes. Certainly, by the 5th century, Oman had a bishop named John – the last bishop of Oman being Etienne, in 676 AD. This led to a group of travelling to Medina, converting to Islam and subsequently driving a successful uprising against the unpopular Sassanids. Following the death of Prophet Muhammad, the new Islamic communities south of the Persian Gulf threatened to disintegrate, with insurrections against the Muslim leaders. The Caliph Abu Bakr sent an army from the capital Medina which completed its reconquest of the territory with the battle of Dibba in which 10,000 lives are thought to have been lost
Dubai in 1950; the area in this photo shows Bur Dubai in the foreground (centered on Al-Fahidi Fort); Deira in middle-right on the other side of the creek; and Al Shindagha (left) and Al Ras (right) in the background across the creek again from Deira
Historic photo depicting the first hoisting of the United Arab Emirates flag by the rulers of the emirates at The Union House, Dubai on 2nd of December 1971.
Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan is the first President of the United Arab Emirates and is widely recognized as the father of the nation.