The name of this Persian Gulf country, currently in vogue as a tourist destination and attractor of economic investments, is well known to us, but not so its history, which, like that of any other country, is also exciting.
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a federal state made up of six former British colonies that gained independence in December 1971, and two months later they were joined by another emirate, the seventh.
Historically, the territories that make up the current UAE were populated by Arab tribes that depended on pearl collecting, fishing, trade, and piracy for their livelihood.
British influence in the area begins in 1820 by signing a peace treaty to end piracy, and in 1853 the British will erect a protectorate in the area, which will lead to a new treaty, the latter in 1892, which will provide to the British the monopoly on fishing and trade in the region.
After the upheaval that represents the Second World War, the world changes: colonial empires begin to disappear, either for good or for bad, and the British is no exception.
This area of the world will be one of the last to be decolonized. Since they will soon regain their independence , in 1968 the Persian Gulf Emirates meet to try to create a federation.
These emirates are nine in total: Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Dubai, Fujairah, Sarja, Um al-Caiwain (which will later form the UAE embryo), Ras al-Khaimah (who will be the one to join later), Qatar and Bahrain.
The latter two achieved independence in September and August 1971 respectively, and ceased to be part of the alliance.
Initially, and as I have said before, Ras Al-Khaimah did not initially join the UAE either, but did so shortly after independence, in February 1972.
Initially, these countries did not attract tourism as they do today; To get an idea, in 1950 there were no hotels yet! The oil , discovered in 1966, was a source of wealth, but he did not have so abundantly as other neighbors.
In the 1990s, oil accounted for a quarter of the country’s gross domestic product, having fallen to around 6% today. The sector that has experienced the greatest growth in recent decades is, without a doubt, tourism.
Construction, linked to the tourist boom in the Emirates, has also experienced a major boost.
Good proof of this is Dubai, the most populous city in the country, with its artificial palm-shaped peninsula (Palm Jumeirah), its artificial islands that make up a kind of world map (The World) and large skyscrapers such as Burj Khalifa (from 828 meters, the highest in the world), or the Burj Al Arab (the only seven- star hotel in the world).
Also Abu Dhabi, the capital of the federation, presents a very modern and distinctive skyline, with large avenues and tall skyscrapers, populated by offices, hotels and residential complexes.
This reinvention has had to accelerate after the Gulf War, which in 1990 greatly affected the country’s economy.
Among the measures to attract tourism promoted by the government is the implementation of an airline, Emirates, which is currently among the most important in the world.
The Emirates’ political order is that of a federation in which each of the Emirates that compose it maintains its own political and legal order.
All the member countries are monarchies, and are integrated into a body that, rather than legislating, advises the sovereigns of the member states, so that they make the final decisions.
It would be, if we compare it with other similar organizations, more like the European Union , than like the United States of America, although they have some differences, like a joint armed forces .