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Arabic pronunciation: Dubai is a global city and business hub of the Middle East. Dubai has attracted world attention through large construction projects and sports events, in particular the world's tallest building, the Burj Khalifa. As of [update] , Dubai was the most expensive city in the Middle East. Many theories have been proposed as to the origin of the word "Dubai". One theory suggests the word was used to describe the souq , which was similar to the souq in Ba.

The poet and scholar Ahmad Mohammad Obaid traces it to the same word, but to its alternative meaning of "baby locust " Arabic: The history of human settlement in the area now defined by the United Arab Emirates is rich and complex, and points to extensive trading links between the civilisations of the Indus Valley and Mesopotamia , but also as far afield as the Levant. The area was known to the Sumerians as Magan , and was a source for metallic goods, notably copper and bronze.

The area was covered with sand about 5, years ago as the coast retreated inland, becoming part of the city's present coastline. Dubai is thought to have been established as a fishing village in the early 18th century [30] and was, by , a town of some 7— members of the Bani Yas tribe and subject to the rule of Sheikh Tahnun bin Shakhbut of Abu Dhabi. In , following tribal feuding, members of the Al Bu Falasah tribe seceded from Abu Dhabi and established themselves in Dubai.

The exodus from Abu Dhabi was led by Obeid bin Saeed and Maktoum bin Butti , who became joint leaders of Dubai until Ubaid died in , leaving Maktum to establish the Maktoum dynasty. Dubai signed the General Maritime Treaty of along with other Trucial States , following the British punitive expedition against Ras Al Khaimah of , which also led to the bombardment of the coastal communities of the Persian Gulf.

This led to the Perpetual Maritime Truce. Dubai also — like its neighbours on the Trucial Coast — entered into an exclusivity agreement in which the United Kingdom took responsibility for the emirate's security in In , a smallpox epidemic broke out in the Bur Dubai locality, forcing residents to relocate east to Deira. The conflagration consumed half the houses of Bur Dubai, while the district of Deira was said to have been totally destroyed.

The following year, more fires broke out. A female slave was caught in the act of starting one such blaze and was subsequently put to death. In , Maktoum bin Hasher Al Maktoum established Dubai as a free port with no taxation on imports or exports and also gave merchants parcels of land and guarantees of protection and tolerance. These policies saw a movement of merchants not only directly from Lingeh, [34] but also those who had settled in Ras Al Khaimah and Sharjah which had historical links with Lingeh through the Al Qawasim tribe to Dubai.

An indicator of the growing importance of the port of Dubai can be gained from the movements of the steamer of the Bombay and Persia Steam Navigation Company, which from to paid five visits annually to Dubai. In the company's vessels made 21 visits to Dubai and from on, [35] the steamers called fortnightly — in , trading seventy thousand tonnes of cargo. The 'great storm' of struck the pearling boats of Dubai and the coastal emirates towards the end of the pearling season that year, resulting in the loss of a dozen boats and over men.

The disaster was a major setback for Dubai, with many families losing their breadwinner and merchants facing financial ruin. These losses came at a time when the tribes of the interior were also experiencing poverty. In a letter to the Sultan of Muscat in , Butti laments, 'Misery and poverty are raging among them, with the result that they are struggling, looting and killing among themselves. Dubai's geographical proximity to Iran made it an important trade location.

The town of Dubai was an important port of call for foreign tradesmen, chiefly those from Iran, many of whom eventually settled in the town. By the beginning of the 20th century, it was an important port. With the collapse of the pearling industry, Dubai fell into a deep depression and many residents lived in poverty or migrated to other parts of the Persian Gulf. In the early days since its inception, Dubai was constantly at odds with Abu Dhabi.

In , a border dispute between Dubai and Abu Dhabi on the northern sector of their mutual border escalated into war. Despite a lack of oil, Dubai's ruler from , Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum , used revenue from trading activities to build infrastructure. Private companies were established to build and operate infrastructure, including electricity, telephone services and both the ports and airport operators. This was followed by the Ambassador and Carlton Hotels in Early the next morning in heavy seas off Umm al-Quwain, an explosion tore out the second class cabins and started fires.

The captain gave the order to abandon ship but two lifeboats capsized and a second explosion occurred. A flotilla of small boats from Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman and Umm al-Quwain picked up survivors but in all lives were lost in the disaster. Construction of Dubai's first airport was started on the Northern edge of the town in and the terminal building opened for business in September In the British Political Agent noted that "Many new houses and blocks of offices and flats are being built More and more European and Arab firms are opening up and the future looks bright.

In , with expenditure on infrastructure projects already approaching levels some thought imprudent, Sheikh Rashid approached his brother in law, the Ruler of Qatar, for a loan to build the first bridge crossing Dubai's creek. This crossing was finished in May and was paid for by a toll levied on the crossing from the Dubai side of the creek to the Deira side.

BOAC was originally reluctant to start regular flights between Bombay and Dubai, fearing a lack of demand for seats. However, by the time the asphalt runway of Dubai Airport was constructed in , opening Dubai to both regional and long haul traffic, a number of foreign airlines were competing for landing rights. This gold was, in the vast majority, re-exported - mainly to customers who took delivery in international waters off India.

The import of gold to India had been banned and so the trade was characterised as smuggling, although Dubai's merchants were quick to point out that they were making legal deliveries of gold and that it was up to the customer where they took it. In , more gold was shipped from London to Dubai than almost anywhere else in the world Only France and Switzerland took more , at 4 million ounces.

After years of exploration following large finds in neighbouring Abu Dhabi, oil was eventually discovered in territorial waters off Dubai in , albeit in far smaller quantities. The first field was named 'Fateh' or 'good fortune'. This led to an acceleration of Sheikh Rashid's infrastructure development plans and a construction boom that brought a massive influx of foreign workers, mainly Asians and Middle easterners. As part of the infrastructure for pumping and transporting oil from the Fateh field, located offshore of the Jebel Ali area of Dubai, two , gallon storage tanks were built, known locally as 'Kazzans', [50] by welding them together on the beach and then digging them out and floating them to drop onto the seabed at the Fateh field.

These were constructed by the Chicago Bridge and Iron Company , which gave the beach its local name Chicago Beach , which was transferred to the Chicago Beach Hotel, which was demolished and replaced by the Jumeirah Beach Hotel in the late s. The Kazzans were an innovative oil storage solution which meant super-tankers could moor offshore even in bad weather and avoided the need to pipe oil onshore from Fateh, which is some 60 miles out to sea.

Dubai had already embarked on a period of infrastructural development and expansion. Oil revenue, flowing from onwards supported a period of growth with Sheikh Rashid embarking on a policy of building infrastructure and a diversified trading economy before the emirate's limited reserves were depleted. Critically, one of the first major projects Sheikh Rashid embarked upon when oil revenue started to flow was the construction of Port Rashid , a deep water free port constructed by British company Halcrow.

Originally intended to be a four-berth port, it was extended to sixteen berths as construction was ongoing. The project was an outstanding success, with shipping queuing to access the new facilities. The port was inaugurated on 5 October , although its berths were each pressed into use as soon as they had been built. Port Rashid was to be further expanded in to add a further 35 berths before the larger port of Jebel Ali was constructed.

Port Rashid was the first of a swath of projects designed to create a modern trading infrastructure, including roads, bridges, schools and hospitals. Dubai and the other ' Trucial States ' had long been a British protectorate where the British government took care of foreign policy and defence, as well as arbitrating between the rulers of the Eastern Gulf, the result of a treaty signed in , the 'Exclusive Agreement'. The decision was to pitch the coastal emirates, together with Qatar and Bahrain , into fevered negotiations to fill the political vacuum that the British withdrawal would leave behind.

Over the next two years, negotiations and meetings of the rulers followed -often stormy- as a form of union was thrashed out. The nine-state union was never to recover from the October meeting where heavy-handed British intervention resulted in a walk-out by Qatar and Ras Al Khaimah. In , Dubai joined the other emirates to adopt a uniform currency: During the s, Dubai continued to grow from revenues generated from oil and trade, even as the city saw an influx of immigrants fleeing the Lebanese civil war.

The Gulf War of had a negative financial effect on the city, as depositors withdrew their money and traders withdrew their trade, but subsequently, the city recovered in a changing political climate and thrived. Later in the s, many foreign trading communities—first from Kuwait , during the Gulf War, and later from Bahrain , during the Shia unrest—moved their businesses to Dubai.

Large increases in oil prices after the Gulf War encouraged Dubai to continue to focus on free trade and tourism. The emirate of Dubai shares borders with Abu Dhabi in the south, Sharjah in the northeast, and the Sultanate of Oman in the southeast. Hatta , a minor exclave of the emirate, is surrounded on three sides by Oman and by the emirates of Ajman in the west and Ras Al Khaimah in the north. The Persian Gulf borders the western coast of the emirate.

Dubai lies directly within the Arabian Desert. However, the topography of Dubai is significantly different from that of the southern portion of the UAE in that much of Dubai's landscape is highlighted by sandy desert patterns, while gravel deserts dominate much of the southern region of the country. East of the city, the salt-crusted coastal plains, known as sabkha , give way to a north-south running line of dunes. Farther east, the dunes grow larger and are tinged red with iron oxide.

The flat sandy desert gives way to the Western Hajar Mountains , which run alongside Dubai's border with Oman at Hatta. The Western Hajar chain has an arid, jagged and shattered landscape, whose mountains rise to about 1, metres 4, feet in some places. Dubai has no natural river bodies or oases; however, Dubai does have a natural inlet, Dubai Creek , which has been dredged to make it deep enough for large vessels to pass through.

Dubai also has multiple gorges and waterholes, which dot the base of the Western Al Hajar mountains. A vast sea of sand dunes covers much of southern Dubai and eventually leads into the desert known as The Empty Quarter. Seismically , Dubai is in a very stable zone—the nearest seismic fault line, the Zagros Fault, is kilometres miles from the UAE and is unlikely to have any seismic impact on Dubai.

The sandy desert surrounding the city supports wild grasses and occasional date palms. Desert hyacinths grow in the sabkha plains east of the city, while acacia and ghaf trees grow in the flat plains within the proximity of the Western Al Hajar mountains. Several indigenous trees such as the date palm and neem as well as imported trees such as the eucalypts grow in Dubai's natural parks.

The houbara bustard , striped hyena , caracal , desert fox , falcon and Arabian oryx are common in Dubai's desert. Dubai is on the migration path between Europe, Asia and Africa, and more than migratory bird species pass through the emirate in spring and autumn. The waters of Dubai are home to more than species of fish, including the hammour. The typical marine life off the Dubai coast includes tropical fish, jellyfish, coral, dugong , dolphins, whales and sharks.

Various types of turtles can also be found in the area including the hawksbill turtle and green turtle , which are listed as endangered species. Dubai Creek runs northeast-southwest through the city. The eastern section of the city forms the locality of Deira and is flanked by the emirate of Sharjah in the east and the town of Al Aweer in the south. Much of Dubai's real-estate boom is concentrated to the west of Dubai Creek, on the Jumeirah coastal belt.

Dubai has a hot desert climate. Most days are sunny throughout the year.

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Arabic pronunciation: Dubai is a global city and business hub of the Middle East. Dubai has attracted world attention through large construction projects and sports events, in particular the world's tallest building, the Burj Khalifa. As of [update] , Dubai was the most expensive city in the Middle East. Many theories have been proposed as to the origin of the word "Dubai". One theory suggests the word was used to describe the souq , which was similar to the souq in Ba.

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