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Dubai's History

From Fishing Village to Modern Tourist Centre

Dubai area is inhabited for couple of thousand years, but very little is known about pre-Islamic culture of this area.
First documented records about Dubai town date from late 18th century, but there are some mentions of its existence in various European documents that date back to 1085.
By the name Dubai, town was established in late 18th century by the House of Al-Falasi of Bani Yas tribe, as a dependence of Abu Dhabi. In that period, Dubai was rather small fishing village than large and independent town. In 1833 under the Al Maktoum dynasty of the Bani Yas tribe, Dubai separated from Abu Dhabi’s authorities into an independent emirate. In 1892, Dubai came under protection of the United Kingdom by signing the “Exclusive Agreement”.

At the beginning of the 20th century, Dubai’s main economic activity was in pearling, but Dubai’s closeness to India and other parts of Asia soon made this town an important seaport and trade centre. With trade came foreigners, and many of them permanently settled in the Dubai. By the 1930s, ¼ of Dubai’s residents came from other countries, mainly from Persia, India and England.

Both world wars and Great Depression seriously affected Dubai’s economy and totally ruined its pearl industry, but Dubai managed to recover by developing its trade, especially with Persia and India.

Dubai’s next turn in economy started with discovery of oil in the1960s and from that period to 1990s Dubai’s main profits came from oil’s production and export. With new industry came new labor forces, first from Pakistan and India, then the refugees from Lebanon’s civil war.

In 1971 the Great Britain ended its protectorate in Persian Gulf. Dubai, together with six other emirates, formed the United Arab Emirates.

Oil industry stayed the main economic activity in 1980s, but in this period, Dubai slightly changed its economical direction by establishing the Jebel Ali Free Zone in 1979.

Persian Gulf War in 1990s and its consequences on Dubai’s economy and on the world oil prices encouraged Dubai to focus more on free trade by establishing new clusters of free zones and to develop other brunches such as tourism, construction and real estate.




 

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