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Abu Dhabi History

It is hard to reconcile the modern city of Abu Dhabi with the scattered settlement of arish (palm frond) huts that existed in the 1950s. Documentation of Abu Dhabi's history is scarce but the emirate is rich in archaeological finds. Evidence of settlements have been found around Nlarawah, Dalma, Jebel Hafeet near AI Ain, and on the island of Umm al Nar near Abu Dhabi city, some dating to more than 7,000 years ago.

Abu Dhabi's history really begins with the Bani Yas Bedouin tribe who are known to have been in the area along the coast by the 16th century. In 1761, following the discovery of fresh water, the leader ofthe Bani Yas tribe moved his people to the isIand.The island was comparatively fertile and the abundance of wildlife led to its name (Abu Dhabi, translated, means 'land of the gazelle'). This initial settlement was soon followed by the relocation of the ruling Al Nahyan family from the Liwa Oasis in the _ south of the country. By the 1800s the town had developed considerably through the trade and sale of pearls. From 1855 to 1909, under the reign of Sheikh Zayed bin Khalifa (also known as 'Zayed the Great'), Abu Dhabi prospered. lt was during his rule, in 1892, that Abu Dhabi and the emirates to the north agreed

to let Britain handle, exclusively, its international relation building on a series of treaties that dated back to 1820 area was seen as an important link with I í 'The ndia and the east and became known as the Trucial States (orTruciaI Coast). Abu Dhabi's fortunes faltered following the death of Zayed the Great, when the combination of world recession and the creation of the cultured pearl industry in Japan impacted Abu Dhabi's wealth. ln 1939, Sheikh Shakhbut bin Sultan Al Nahyan granted a concession to an international consortium to search for oil on shore.The huge offshore reserves were not discovered until 1958 (there was an onshore find a year later). Exports began four years later, launching Abu Dhabi on its way to incredible wealth. In 1966, the ruling family decided that Sheikh Zayed. then ru|erís representative in AI Ain, should replace his brother, Sheikh Shakhbut, as ruler. In 1968, the British announced that they would withdraw from the region by the end of 1971, and the ruling sheikhs realised that by joining forces they would have a stronger regional and global voice. And so, the federation of the United Arab Emirates was created. Sheikh Zayed was elected as the lirst president ó a position he held until his death in 2004.Under the federation the emirates all maintained a certain degree of autonomy and the revenue generated by Abu Dhablís massive oil reserves allowed Sheikh Zayed to undertake a-faróreachrng programme of development within his own emrrate. He lwas much loved and is acknowledged as the 'Fatheriof the Natro:6 Following Sheikh Zayed's death in 2004, his sonigheiof Khalifa bii- `Zayed Al Nahyan,was elected asthe new presi mm the UA S. -eikh Khalifa, who has been rnvolved in government for nearly 40 years, has promised to preserve his fathers legaqy and ensure continued growth. Apart from being an oil expect and head of the Supreme Petroleum Council, Sheikh Khaiifa is renowned for his love of traditional sports. and his efforts in preserving them in today's times His first years as president have been marked by some exciting developments, including Al Gumi Resort. Saadiyat Island and The Central Market. From its small beginnings as a pearling settlement Abu Dhabihascomealongwayinthelast50yearsitspopulation hasgrownfromjust 1 5,000 in l962 to closerto 1.8 million today. Oil revenues have been invested wisely to create an impressive modem society and first-class infrastructure. Tourism is a key priority in the govemmenfs ambitious diversification plans. nvidia target of 3 miilionvisitors by 2015.

 

 Abu Dhabi Chronology

1160 The Baniyas Tribe finds fresh water on the isIand of Abu Dhabi and decide to settle there

1795 The old Fort Qasr Al Hosan (White Fort) is built

1820 The first Tready between ABu Dhabi & Britain was made.

1835 Marltime Truce signed between Trucial States and Britain

1892 Exclusive agreement with britain.

1958 First oil is discovered offshore

1961 Abubhabia's frrst paved road is constructed .

1962 AbuDhabi begins exporting oil

1966 Shelkh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan Becomes Ruler of Abu Dhabi

1971 Britain withdraws from the Gulf. The United Arab Emirates is is born with HH Sheikh Zayed bln Sultan AI Nahyan as the leader. The UAE also joins the Arab League.

1973 The UAE launches single currency UAE Dirham

1981 The GCC is formed with UAE as founding member

2003 Etihad the UAE's official airline is launched

2004 Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan dies and is succeded by his son Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed

2004 Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority created

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