800 members of the Bani Yas tribe, led by the Maktoum Family, settled
at the mouth of the creek in 1833. The creek was a natural harbour and
Dubai soon became a center for the fishing, pearling and sea trade.
the turn of the 20th century Dubai was a successful port. The souk
(Arabic for market) on the Deira side of the creek was the largest on
the coast with 350 shops and a steady throng of visitors and
businessmen. By the 1930s Dubai’s population was nearly 20,000, a
quarter of whom were expatriates.
In the 1950s the creek began to
silt, a result perhaps of the increasing number of ships that used it.
The late Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al
Maktoum, decided to have the waterway dredged. It was an ambitious,
costly, and visionary project. The move resulted in increased volumes of
cargo handling in Dubai. Ultimately it strengthened Dubai’s position as
a major trading and re-export hub.
When oil was discovered in
1966, Sheikh Rashid utilized the oil revenues to spur infrastructure
development in Dubai. Schools, hospitals, roads, a modern
telecommunications network … the pace of development was frenetic. A new
port and terminal building were built at Dubai International Airport. A
runway extension that could accommodate any type of aircraft was
implemented. The largest man-made harbor in the world was constructed at
Jebel Ali, and a free zone was created around the port.
formula for development was becoming evident to everyone – visionary
leadership, high-quality infrastructure, an expatriate-friendly
environment, zero tax on personal and corporate income and low import
duties. The result was that Dubai quickly became a business and tourism
hub for a region that stretches from Egypt to the Indian sub-continent
and from South Africa to what are now called the CIS countries.
the 1960s, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, then ruler of Abu Dhabi,
and Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum had dreamed of creating a
federation of the Emirates in the region. Their dreams were realized in
1971 when Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al Quwain, Fujairah and
(in 1972) Ras Al Khaimah, joined to create the United Arab Emirates.
the late Sheikh Zayed, the first President of UAE, the UAE has
developed into one of the richest countries in the world with a per
capita GDP in excess of US$17,000 per annum.
In the 1980s and
early 1990s, Dubai took a strategic decision to emerge as a major
international-quality tourism destination. Investments in tourism
infrastructure have paid off handsomely over the years.
now a city that boasts unmatchable hotels, remarkable architecture and
world-class entertainment and sporting events. The beautiful Burj Al
Arab hotel presiding over the coastline of Jumeira beach is the world’s
only hotel with a seven star rating. The Emirates Towers are one of the
many structures that remind us of the commercial confidence in a city
that expands at a remarkable rate. Standing 350 meters high, the office
tower is the tallest building in the Middle East and Europe.
also hosts major international sporting events. The Dubai Desert
Classic is a major stop on the Professional Golf Association tour. The
Dubai Open, an ATP tennis tournament, and the Dubai World Cup, the
world’s richest horse race, draw thousands every year.