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United Arab Emirates Old History

 

For seafaring nations, the entrance to the Persian Gulf has always been important for trade. Portuguese, Dutch and British competed with the local traders. In the end, it became the British empire that subjugated the clans and emirs of the area, but at the same time, they gained protection from more powerful neighbors. In the early 1900s, Dubai developed into the dominant emirate, but for the important pearl fishery was eliminated.

The oldest traces of human life in the area that today constitute the United Arab Emirates are at least 7,000 years old. In the oasis al-Ain, people have lived for at least 5,000 years.

  • AbbreviationFinder.org: Comprehensive guide to and popular abbreviations of United Arab Emirates, covering history, economy, and social conditions.

The prophet of Islam, Muhammad, died in 632 in Medina (in today's Saudi Arabia). Rapid expansion across the Arabian Peninsula characterizing Islam's first decades, and the area south of the Persian Gulf was conquered early. The inhabitants turned to Islam.

During the European Middle Ages, large parts of the region belonged to the Persian Kingdom of Hormuz, which controlled the entrance to the Persian Gulf and most of its trade there. When the Portuguese found the sea route to India in 1497, the Persian Gulf became of great importance for trade between the Mediterranean and India. At the turn of the century, Portuguese ships arrived in the area and in the following decades the Portuguese acquired the opportunity to tax trade in the Persian Gulf. Their trade monopoly, however, quickly weakened due to local uprisings and increased competition from the Dutch, who in the 18th century themselves had to see themselves out-competed by the British.

Old History of United Arab Emirates

At this time, the Qawasim clans were the dominant local power on the coast. They accounted for much of the trade and pearl fishing in the Persian Gulf and parts of the Indian Ocean. They were also involved in piracy, according to the rival British trading company EIC. Several small shipping and trading states emerged. The Qawasim Emirate of Sharja was founded in 1747. During the 19th century it became the most populous and most powerful of the emirates.

Inland, the Banu Yas clans dominated with bases at the Liwa, al-Ain and Buraimi oases. Several smaller Banu Yas tribes united in 1793 and founded the Emirate of Abu Dhabi on the coast. Instead, when the British banned slave trade on the coast, the Buraimi oasis became the center of slave trade. There it continued well into the 20th century.

New details of piracy against British merchant vessels were answered by the United Kingdom with punitive expeditions against the coastal cities, but in 1820 the British and nine emirs agreed to conclude a peace treaty. At the same time, British troops were stationed in Ras al-Khayma, the pirate headquarters. New treaties followed which ensured the British influence over the emirate's foreign policy and defense. The Emirates kept their self-determination in all other matters.

The former Pirate Coast began now to be called the Treaty of Trucial Coast and the emirs gradually agreed to abstain from piracy and the slave trade and to accept British protection. In the late 19th century, Abu Dhabi grew into the strongest emirate. In 1833, a group of outlaws from Banu Yas in Abu Dhabi had founded a new emirate, Dubai. Thanks to dynamic trade, Dubai developed into the dominant emirate in the early 1900s. In 1866, the Qawasim Empire was divided in connection with a succession and the emirates Sharja and Ras al-Khaima were formed.

During the 1920s and 1930s, it once collapsed as significant pearl fishing since it was outcompeted by the Japanese who managed to grow pearls.

 
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