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Founding of the United Arab Emirates

In the 19th century, the United Kingdom gradually expanded its influence in the region through a series of peace and protectorate treaties with the individual emirates. These so-called "Trucial States" merged into the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in 1971 and since then have formed a federal state, consisting of the emirates of Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Umm-al-Quwain, Ajman, Fujairah and, since 1972, Ras-al-Khaimah. The culturally related states of Bahrain and Qatar were invited to become part of the UAE but ultimately chose independence. Since its establishment, the UAE has experienced spectacular economic development, thanks to its very large oil and gas reserves, particularly in Abu Dhabi. As a result of its energy wealth, Abu Dhabi is the most prosperous and influential emirate in the UAE. Abu Dhabi contributes 62% of the UAE's GDP while Dubai's contribution is 26%.

Al Nahyan and Al Maktoum

The presidency and prime ministership of the UAE have been assigned to the Al Nahyan tribe of Abu Dhabi and the Al Maktoum tribe of Dubai respectively. The Supreme Council, which consists of the leaders of the seven emirates and elected representatives from the Council of Ministers, and has a total of 40 members, has the task of reviewing the proposed laws. There is a federal judicial system, to which all emirates have joined except Dubai and Ras al-Khaimah. Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nayhan was the president of the union from its establishment until his death on 2 November 2004. The following day, the Supreme Federal Court elected his son, Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nayhan, as its president. Also in November 2004, Lubna Al Qasimi became Minister of Economy and Planning, the first female minister ever in the United Arab Emirates.

Recent history

On 16 December 2006, the first ever elections are held, a small number of selected voters get to choose half of the representatives of the Federal National Council, an advisory body. In September 2007, Dubai and Qatar became the largest shareholders of the London Stock Exchange. In January 2008, France and the United Arab Emirates signed an agreement giving France a permanent military base. In March 2009, Sulim Yamadayev, a rival of President Ramzan Kadyrov, died in an assassination attempt. The Burj Khalifa opened in January 2010, making it the largest building in the world. In March 2011 Emirati forces joined the operation in Libya. In July 2012, the Emirates began building a pipeline to avoid the Strait of Hormuz, where Iran was threatening to close it. In July 2013, six Islamists were arrested on suspicion of trying to overthrow the government. In January 2014, Sheikh Kalifa undergoes surgery after suffering a stroke. In September 2014, the emirates participated with four other Arab states in bombing raids on Islamic State positions in Syria and in March 2015 in actions against Houthis in Yemen. In June 2017, a political crisis erupted around Qatar. In August 2020, the Emirates established diplomatic relations with Israel.


Elmar Landeninformatie

CIA - World Factbook

BBC - Country Profiles

Last updated June 2024
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