By Staff Writers
In early February 1968, Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum and Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the late rulers of Dubai and Abu Dhabi respectively, (pictured below), agreed to establish a union between their respective emirates. The idea had been debated long before 1968, and they used their pact to create a larger union with five neighboring Trucial Sheikhdoms: Ajman, Fujairah, Ras Al Khaimah, Sharjah and Umm Al Quwain. This was when the region was under the British mandate. Though all seven emirates signed the initial agreement on July 18, 1971, only six emirates joined the independent federation on Dec. 2, 1971. Ras Al Khaimah joined the union as the seventh emirate on Feb. 10, 1972.
The UAE—which currently sits on the seventh largest oil reserves in the world and is the second largest economy in the Arab Gulf region—has employed its hydrocarbon revenues to create an oasis in the Gulf region. Oil revenues were utilized to build high-tech cities and impressive first class infrastructure. This has helped lure in international and regional businesses moving the UAE from a desert-like country to an advanced state with a thriving and well-diversified economy. The UAE has the world’s tallest tower, Burj Khalifa, bustling financial centers and many museums with regional and international affiliations including France’s Louvre.