Tour Locations | Tales of the Past: Tracing Dubai’s origins in Deira
LOCATION 16 | Tales of the Past: Tracing Dubai’s origins in Deira
Cross straight over the road here, and carry on walking along the pedestrian street on the opposite end of this intersection.
Did you know that Dubai and its neighbouring emirates were once known as the Trucial States? This was in the late 1800s, when Deira was the centre of commerce here. The sheikhdoms were aligned with the United Kingdom at the time, and the rupee of British India was the de facto local currency.
This link was strengthened in 1894, when ruler Sheikh Maktoum bin Butti granted full tax exemption to all foreign traders. He also convinced a major British steamship line to make Dubai a port of call.
But in 1968,the British announced their withdrawal from the Gulf. The leader of Abu Dhabi at the time, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, seized this moment by laying the foundations for what was to become the United Arab Emirates.
He reached an agreement with Sheikh Rashid of Dubai first, then the two leaders invited the other emirates to join their federation.
After three years of negotiations, six emirates officially banded together on 2 December 1971, and the UAE was born. The six were Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al Quwain and Fujairah. The seventh emirate, Ras Al Khaimah, joined two months later.
Sheikh Zayed was unanimously elected as president, and today he’s known as the UAE’s Founding Father.