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United Arab Emirates History Timeline

1700's - 1800's
  • (1760) Baniyas Tribe found fresh water in Abu Dhabi, settled on the island
  • (1820) General Treaty of Peace to combat piracy along the Gulf coast signed between Britain and the Sheikhs of Ras Al Khaimah, Umm Al Quwain, Ajman, Sharjah, Dubai and Abu Dhabi
  • (1833) Maktoum family settled in Dubai
  • (1835) Trucial States and Britain sign Maritime Truce
  • (1890's) Dubai and Abu Dhabi came under Britain's protection
1900's
  • (1950's) Abu Dhabi oil discovered, production began
  • (1952) Seven emirates formed council to promote increased cooperation
  • (1955) Forces of the Sultan of Muscat and Oman and the Ruler of Abu Dhabi moved into Buraimi area
  • (1962) First oil is exported
  • (1963) Maktoum Bridge became first bridge built across Dubai Creek
  • (1966) Oil discovered off coast of Dubai
  • (1966) HH Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan became ruler of Abu Dhabi
  • (1967) Shindagha Tunnel was built
  • (1971) Dubai became independent after Britain withdrew from the Gulf
  • (1971) United Arab Emirates (UAE) founded, HH Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan became leader
  • (1971) UAE joined Arab League
  • (1971) Iran occupied islands of Greater and Lesser Tunbs, Abu Mousa
  • (1973) UAE adopted UAE dirham as single currency
  • (1973) UAE Cabinet approved merger of oil departments of Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjeh into single UAE Petroleum Ministry
  • (1974) Sheikh Zayed allocates 28% of Abu Dhabi's income to assist Arab, Islamic and other developing countries
  • (1981) Gulf Cooperation Council formed, UAE was founding member
  • (1985) Emirates Airline founded
  • (1990) Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum became ruler of Dubai after death of his father
  • (1990) UAE condemned Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, Sheikh Zayed refused to compromise with Saddam
  • (1991) Sheikh Zayed rejected setting up permanent foreign bases in UAE
  • (1991) UAE and allies joined forces against Iraq after Kuwait invasion
  • (1996) Supreme Council agree to make UAE's constitution permanent, named Abu Dhabi capital
  • (1998) UAE restored diplomatic relations with Iraq
  • (1999) Sheikh Zayed, His Majesty Sultan Qaboos sign agreement defining borders of Oman and UAE
  • (1999) Burj Al Arab, tallest hotel in world, opened
2000's
  • (2001) Banks ordered by government to freeze assets of 62 organizations and individuals suspected by U.S. of funding terrorism
  • (2002) Freehold property market opened up to foreigners
  • (2004) Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan became ruler of UAE after death of his father
  • (2006) Sheikh Maktoum bin Rashid Al Maktoum died, his brother, Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashid Al Maktoum became Ruler of Dubai and Prime Minister of the UAE
  • (2006) New economic changes announced: days of official weekend would be in line with Western nations; reduced dependence on foreign workers; allowed laborers to form trade unions
  • (2006) First national elections held
  • (2007) First residents moved onto Palm Jumerirah
  • (2007) Qatar and Dubai became two biggest shareholders of London Stock Exchange
  • (2008) France and UAE sign agreement allowing France to set up permanent military base in Abu Dhabi
  • (2008) UAE cancels $7 billion debt owed to it by Iraq
  • (2008) Dubai's property market crashed to about 50% of peak value in global economic crisis
  • (2009) Dubai sold $10 billion in bonds to the UAE due to liquidity problems
  • (2009) UAE withdraws from plan for Gulf monetary union
  • (2009) Dubai World investment conglomerate requested moratorium on debt repayments
  • (2009) Abu Dhabi gave Dubai $10 billion to help pay off debts
  • (2009) Dubai Metro opened, first public mass-transit system in region
  • (2010) Burj Dubai, world's tallest building opened
  • (2010) Mahmoud al Mabhouh, Palestinian militant leader, killed in Dubai hotel
  • (2011) UAE joined military operation in Libya
  • (2011) Five political activists arrested after calling for democratic and economic reforms

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This page was last updated on April 7, 2017.