Zayed bin Khalifa Al Nahyan

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Zayed bin Khalifa Al Nahyan
Born 1835 (1835)
Abu Dhabi, UAE
Died May 19, 1909(1909-05-19) (aged 73–74)
Issue Tahnoun bin Zayed bin Khalifa Al Nahyan (no sons)
Hamdan bin Zayed bin Khalifa Al Nahyan
Sultan bin Zayed bin Khalifa Al Nahyan
Saqr bin Zayed Al Nahyan
Said bin Zayed bin Khalifa Al Nahayan[1] (no sons)
Khalifa bin Zayed bin Khalifa Al Nahyan
House Al Nahyan family
Father Khalifa bin Shakbut Al Nahyan
Religion Islam

Sheikh Zayed bin Khalifa Al Nahyan (Arabic: زايد بن خليفة آل نهيان‎; 1835–1909) was the grandfather and namesake of Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan, founder of the United Arab Emirates.[2]


He was born in the emirate of Abu Dhabi, in what was then called Trucial Oman, sometime around 1840. He lived much of his early life with the Bedouin of Abu Dhabi. He was made Ruler of Abu Dhabi after the deposition of his cousin, Sheikh Said bin Tahnun, in 1855. He ruled for 54 years, until his death in 1909.[3]

Early in his rule, Zayed guided Abu Dhabi through a series of conflicts with the Emirate of Sharjah. In 1868, he killed the Ruler of Sharjah, Sheikh Khalid bin Sultan, in single combat. The death of Khalid brought an end to the conflicts. The result of these fights left Abu Dhabi the most powerful Sheikhdom in the Persian Gulf region.[4]

Zayed also led Abu Dhabi in an extended war with Qatar in the 1880s that secured the western border of Abu Dhabi.[5] He united with Omani forces to drive the Saudi troops from the Buraimi area in 1870. This left the forts defending the Buraimi Oasis in permanent control of Abu Dhabi and forced the Saudis to abandon their designs on Oman. Abu Dhabi's influence and control over this area steadily grew afterwards.[6] He was the first unionist and great military commander at that period.[citation needed]

He was a strong leader and all tribes along his Emirates treated him with respect.[citation needed] The borders of the Emirate were extended three times, to reach near Qatar in the west and to touch the Rub' Al Khali in the south.[citation needed]

He was also a pearl diving fleet owner and a merchant that helped other people around Emirates financially and served as a wise father.[citation needed]

In 1892, Zayed signed a treaty with the United Kingdom which effectively ceded control of Abu Dhabi's international commercial relations to the British.

Through strategic marriages he had many sons. The eldest of whom was named Khalifa, and had maternal heritage from the Manasir people.[7]

He had a brother called Dhiyab who had three sons, Sultan, Mohammed, and Ahmed.


  1. ^ Al Hashemi, Bushra Alkaff (27 February 2013). "Memories of a simpler time". The National. Retrieved 20 April 2013. 
  2. ^ Joffe, Lawrence (3 November 2004). "Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 31 March 2018. Retrieved 31 March 2018. 
  3. ^ Al-Hajji 2001, pp. 129–36.
  4. ^ Al-Hajji 2001, p 140
  5. ^ Al-Hajji 2001, pp 171-4
  6. ^ Al-Hajji 2001, pp. 175–6.
  7. ^ "SHEIKH SHAKHBUT AND THE GREAT DECLINE" (PDF). Retrieved 8 July 2016. 


  • Al-Hajji, Jayanti Maitra Afra (2001). Qasr Al Hosn: The History of the Rulers of Abu Dhabi: 1793–1966, Abu Dhabi: Centre for Documentation and Research.
  • Discovery! The Story Of Aramco Then.
Zayed bin Khalifa Al Nahyan
Born: 1840
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Sheikh Said
Ruler of Abu Dhabi
Succeeded by
Sheikh Tahnun II