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Thursday 18th April
UAE Information - Page 2
Evidence of early settlements dating back to the Stone Age has been found in the area. The earliest substantial occupation took place in the Bronze Age. Greek ruins have also been found.

Islam arrived in the country in the seventh century. During the Middle Ages the area was part of the Kingdom of Hormuz.

The Portuguese were settlers in the early sixteenth century but left under pressure from the British and the Dutch.

In the early years of the nineteenth century the British fought to impose a treaty on the various sheikdoms and stop piracy. The Maritime Truce (1835) gave its name to the area which was called the Trucial Coast.

For many years the region remained undeveloped, although the establishment of a steamship stopping point at Dubai did bring in some outside influences.

When oil was discovered the boundaries of the respective sheikdoms were laid down by the British. Oil revenues made Abu Dhabi the most powerful.

In 1968 Britain decided to withdraw from the area. Six of the Gulf States: Abu Dhabi, Ajam, Dubai, Fujairah, Sharjah and Umm-al-Qaiwain joined together to form the UAE in 1971. A few months later Ras al-Khaimah joined the federation.

Oil and gas revenues are an important part of the economy, supplying a significant percentage of the government's budget. Efforts have been made since the 1980s to reduce the dependence on oil by developing the manufacturing and service sectors. Finance and insurance have become significant earners, despite the setback of the 1991 collapse of the Bank of Credit and Commerce International, based in Abu Dhabi.

The construction industry has benefited from oil revenues and from the excellent network of roads, ports, airports and telecommunications. However, the country did not escape the global financial crisis and at the end of 2008 it was reported that property prices were plummeting while the price of everything else remained high.

Little of the land in the UAE could be used for cultivation. Research into new methods of agriculture and investment in irrigation has produced successful developments. Agricultural produce includes vegetables, citrus fruit, dates and watermelons. Poultry, sheep, goats and camels are reared. There is also a fishing industry.

Traditional industries are weaving, pottery and perfume-making. Tourism is an increasingly significant earner of foreign currency. (2011)

The Sharjah Art Biennial is a major artistic event with contributors from all round the world.

Traditional music, folk songs and dancing accompanied by bells, drums, horns and bagpipes (made from goatskin) are still part of everyday life outside the modern cities.

Falconry and football are the most popular sports. The UAE became a member of FIFA in 1972.

Swimming, scuba diving, sailing, windsurfing, water-skiing and deep-sea fishing are all practised along the UAE coast.

Horse and camel racing festivals are major events. Members of the Makhtoum family are major figures in UK racing.

A number of international sporting competitions take place in the UAE: cricket, golf and powerboat racing.

Celebrations include the End of Ramadan, the Feast of the Sacrifice, National Day and New Year's Day.

News from the UAE is available in Newslink.

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