The UAE is a member of the United Nations and the Arab League. It is also a member of OPEC (the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries).
The federation of the United Arab Emirates consists of of Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Dubai, Fujairah, Ras al-Khaimah, Sharjah, and Umm-al-Qaiwain.
The UAE is governed by the Supreme Council of Sheikhs.
The first President of the UAE was Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan al Nahyan, Ruler of Abu Dhabi.
The capital of the UAE, Abu Dhabi, is one of the world's most modern cities.
Abu Dhabi is one of the world's wealthiest States.
Before the discovery of oil Abu Dhabi was the poorest of the sheikdoms in the UAE.
Dubai was a wealthy trading State before the discovery of oil.
Sharjah is the third largest of the Emirates States.
Irrigation has made Ras Al-Khaimah one of the greenest regions of the Emirates.
Ajman is the smallest of the Emirates.
The UAE has many desalination plants which produce billions of gallons of fresh water a year.
National dress is worn by most citizens of the UAE: women wear the full length black abba and many wear the burqa; men wear the long white robe or dishdasha and the white or red-chequered headdress.
Muslims are not allowed to drink alcohol and non-Muslims can only buy alcohol with a special licence.
Traditionally marriages are arranged; the marriage is seen as a union of families.
The wife of the first President, Sheikha Fatima, started the Women's Association where many women set up educational programmes.
Pearl fishing was an important source of wealth for thousands of years and continued until the late 1940s.
The dhow is the traditional fishing boat used off the coast of the UAE.
In the first half of 2006 economic changes brought the days of the official weekend into line with Western countries, laws to reduce the dependence on foreign workers and the introduction of trade unions.
In September 2007 Dubai and Qatar became the two biggest shareholders of the London Stock Exchange.
In January 2010 Burj Khalifa tower opened in Dubai; the world's tallest building and man-made structure.
In July 2012 the UAE began operating an overland oil pipeline which bypassed the Strait of Hormuz.
In 2014 the UAE announced plans to send an unmanned spacecraft to Mars.