The United Arab Emirates
The Federation of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) was formed in December 1971 following the unilateral decision of the British to end their protectorate of what had formerly been known as the Trucial States. It comprises seven Emirates: Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Umm al Quwain, Fujairah, Ras al Khaimah and Ajman. The population of the UAE is 10,083,014 according to the National Bureau of Statistics 2015.
Dubai is the second largest Emirate after Abu Dhabi and was a co-founder of the United Arab Emirates in 1971. It has borders with Oman, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah. The twelve-kilometre long creek divides the city of Dubai into two parts: one known as “Deira side” and the other as “Dubai side”. The creek is crossed by two bridges and a tunnel, whilst abras (passenger ferries) offer another option. The oldest part of Dubai is the Bastakia area near the museum and Ruler’s office.
Dubai has a predominantly expatriate population with only 10-15% made up of UAE Nationals. The largest resident nationalities are Indian, Pakistani, Filipino and Sri Lankan, with the combined European and American community taking up around 5%.
The Development of Dubai
For generations, Dubai - the “City of Merchants” - was an important trading and distribution post for the region. After the discovery of oil in the mid-sixties and the steep rise in oil prices in the 1970s, Dubai developed at an incredibly fast rate. The Dubai International Trade Centre, the Dubai Dry Docks, the Gulf’s largest aluminum smelter, and Jebel Ali Port (now a Free Zone) all became key parts of Dubai’s commercial and industrial development and helped to firmly establish Dubai as the Middle East’s commercial capital.
Dubai has a desert climate. The summers are very hot and humidity can reach 100%. Winters are cooler and drier (similar to a European summer) with occasional heavy downpours in January, February and March. Average annual rainfall is 112 mm. The prevailing wind comes from the sea and windstorms, known as “shamaal”, are a feature of the climate. These may occur 5 or 6 times a year, mostly during the summer, and can sometimes last 36 hours. The coast sometimes has thick early morning fog in the spring and autumn.
The majority of the Emiratis are Sunni Muslims. The UAE respects other religions but expect non-Muslims residents to respect the laws and culture of the country, especially in regards to standard of dress and behaviour in public.
The local currency is the UAE Dirham (AED or Dhs), which is subdivided in 100 Fils. The Dirham is tied to the US Dollar (US$1 = 3.67 AED; Euro 1= 4,50; as of March 2018). Internationally recognized credit cards are acceptable in almost every hotel, restaurant and shop.
The normal working week in the UAE is Sunday to Thursday, with Friday and Saturday being the weekend.
For more detailed information about all aspects of life in Dubai, please contact us for our Guides.