Dubai is the most populated city in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Built in the 18th century CE as a humble fishing village, the city proliferated in the early 21st century CE into a cosmopolitan metropolis focusing on hospitality and tourism. Dubai is one of the world’s most sought-after tourist destinations with the second most five-star hotels globally and the tallest building globally, the Burj Khalifa.
How did Dubai become Dubai? Let’s explore the History in our today’s article.
The region was covered with sand about 8,000 years ago as the coast withdrew inland, becoming part of the town’s present coastline. Pre-Islamic ceramics have been discovered from the 3rd and 4th centuries.
Before the introduction of Islam to the region, the people in this section worshiped Bajir (or Bajar). Ancient People from modern-day Dubai had trading ties with Indus Valley and Mesopotamia.
After the spread of Islam in the province, the Umayyad Caliph of the eastern Islamic world invaded south-east Arabia and pushed out the Sassanians. Excavations by the Dubai Museum in Al-Jumayra (Jumeirah) found numerous artifacts from the Umayyad period.
Establishment of modern Dubai
Dubai is thought to have been installed as a fishing village in the early 18th century CE and was, by 1822 CE, a city of some 700–800 members of the Bani Yas tribe.
In 1833 CE, following tribal feuding, members of the Al Bu Falasha tribe seceded from Abu Dhabi and set themselves in Dubai. The exodus from Abu Dhabi was led by Maktoum bin Butti and Obeid bin Saeed, who became joint leaders of Dubai until Ubaid died in 1836 CE, leaving Maktum to install the Maktoum dynasty.
Dubai endorsed the General Maritime Treaty of 1820CE with the British government along with the other Trucial States after the British campaign in 1819 CE against the Ras Al Khaimah. This led to the 1853 CE Perpetual Maritime Truce. Like its neighbors on the Trucial Coast, Dubai entered into an agreement in which the United Kingdom took responsibility for the emirate’s security in 1892 CE.
In 1901 CE, Maktoum bin Hasher Al Maktoum instituted Dubai as a free port with no taxation on exports or imports and also gave merchants parcels of land and assurances of tolerance and protection. These policies saw a shift of merchants not only directly from Lingeh but also those who had settled in Sharjah and Ras Al Khaimah to Dubai.
Dubai’s geographic proximity to Iran made it an extensive trade location. The city of Dubai was an essential port of call for foreign merchants, particularly those from Iran, who ultimately settled in the town. By the start of the 20th century CE, it was a major port. At that time, this region consisted of Dubai and the nearby village of Jumeirah, a roundup of some 45 areesh (palm leaf) huts. Dubai was known for its expensive pearl exports until the 1930s CE; the pearl trade was destroyed irreparably by the 1929 CE Great Depression and the discovery of cultured pearls. With the fall of the pearling industry, Dubai fell into a deep depression, and many inhabitants lived in poverty or moved to other parts of the Gulf.
In the initial days since its beginning, Dubai was continually at odds with Abu Dhabi. In 1947 CE, a border dispute between Abu Dhabi and Dubai on the northern sector of their mutual border escalated into war. Intervention by the British government resulted in a suspension of hostilities.
After years of research following large finds in neighboring Abu Dhabi, oil was ultimately discovered in territorial waters off Dubai in 1966 CE, albeit in far smaller quantities. The field named the first field ‘Fateh’ or ‘good fortune.’ This led to an expedition of Sheikh Rashid’s infrastructure development plans and a production boom that brought a huge influx of foreign workers, mainly Middle Easterners and Asians. Between 1968 CE and 1975 CE, the city’s population increased by over 300%
Reaching the UAE’s Act of Union
Dubai and some ‘Trucial States’ had long been a pitty British protectorate where the British government took care of defense and foreign policy and negotiated between the rulers of the Eastern Gulf, which resulted from a treaty signed in 1892 CE named the ‘Exclusive Agreement.’ This was to drop with PM Harold Wilson’s announcement, on 16 January 1968 CE, that all British troops were to be immediately withdrawn from ‘East of Aden.’ The arrangement was to pitch the coastal emirates, Qatar and Bahrain, into fevered discussions to fill the political vacuum that the British departure would leave behind.
On 2 December 1971 CE, Dubai, together with Sharjah, Abu Dhabi, Umm al-Quwain, Ajman, and Fujairah, joined in the Act of Union to create the United Arab Emirates. The seventh emirate, Ras Al Khaimah, entered the UAE on 10 February 1972 CE, after Iran annexed the RAK-claimed Tunbs islands.