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UAE Through The Ages

Thanks to its strategic location and since ancient times to the present day, the land of United Arab Emirates formed a connection point and commercial passage linking the three old continents - Asia, Europe and Africa. This location has helped residents of the region to develop their business relationships with the civilizations that arose and flourished in those continents, until the land of the country became an important witness to the emergence and development of these civilizations.

The material commerce such as crude copper, spices, incense, dates and leather had been transferred among those nations and peoples across the sea and land routes that passed land of Emirates. The availability of oases in UAE has helped booming land trade routes, thus originated on its soil small communities since the late mid-Neolithic which helped in the prosperity of the region. Some of archaeological evidence has reached us which date back to those times, and this allowed us to follow the development of civilization in the land of the UAE.

The Stone Age-

The existence evidence that reached through modern inspection and excavations indicates that societies belong to the Neolithic period from (10,000 – 3500B.C), described as communities dominated by nomadic nature, they live in different parts of the land of the UAE, and depend on hunting and fishing, agriculture and animal grazing in securing their food. These communities have left us some archaeological pieces of stone tools, shells and snails.

Bronze Age-

The Bronze Age has witnessed the existence of many civilizations that lived in the area that was known province Magan, which now includes all of the Sultanate of Oman and the United Arab Emirates. This age has been divided into three periods; first period 3000 B.C, 2700 B.C which has been named the Hafeet period related to Jebel Hafeet, located in the city of Al Ain.

The archaeological excavations have revealed of the existence of mass cemeteries in the form of graves above ground constructed of unpolished stones. In addition, multiple stone tools, sharp heads swords, chips, piece metal, blades and bezel had been found in that area. The civilization of this period has stretched to neighboring regions in the land of the UAE and Oman.

The second period which is stretching from 2700 B.C- 2000 B.C was named the period of fire, related to the island of Umm Al Nar in Abu Dhabi. This flourished civilization known by its relations ties with neighboring civilizations countries, including Mesopotamia (Iraq) and the Indus Valley Civilization (Pakistan and northern India now). It has been discovered a colored potteries which were imported from these areas to the region during that period. In addition, it was discovered models of castles in Heeli, Bidiya, Tel Abraq, Kalba, and Umm Al Quwain back to the same period.

In the period between 2000 B.C - 1300 B.C a new civilization has been appeared called civilization of Wadi Souq, its name related to the Wadi Souq in the Sultanate of Oman (between Sohar and Al Ain).  It has been discover tombs in the Al Qattara area in Al Ain back to this period. The area of Shamal in Ras Al Khaimah has been shown as an important center during this era, where it has been found graveyard and remains of a settlement dating back to that period.

Iron Age 1300 - 300 B.C - Where the region has seen a significant development, especially in the agriculture sector after the use of Alaflaj irrigation techniques. This led to an increase in production and growth in the volume of trade exchange and the emergence of many villages and communities that have adopted building mud-brick homes during this period. Among the most famous locations that date back to this period is, Al Qusais in the Emirate of Dubai, Qidfa in Fujaira, Mohiat in Ajman, and Maliha in Sharjah.

After the end of the Iron Age period, the peoples who lived in the UAE civilization has affected by Seleucid Mesopotamia and Syria. This age has defined as Hellenistic era 300 B.C. Archaeological excavations studies have revealed a lot of archaeological sites dating back to that period, where it was discovered civilian buildings and tombs in Sharjah, as well as some short written texts, and it was either Aramaic or the language of the people of the southern Arabian Peninsula. The people of Maliha knew to hit the currency same way of Greek, as it was found the stone mold used to hit the currency that represents the head of Hercules. It has discovered a large commercial market and port for Maliha's product export to the outside world in the Emirate of Umm Al Quwain. In addition, it has discovered, remains of buildings constructed with stones marine as temple, fort and other buildings and cemeteries, whereas and some of the walls of those buildings covered with a layer of plaster and some decorations.

Islamic Era Of 600-1500

People of this region are the first to convert to Islam after the people of Yemen. Julfar which is located in the emirate of Ras Al Khaimah and near the entrance of Arabian Gulf is one of the most important cities dating back to the beginning of Islam. It has been mentioned by some historians Muslims as a staging post for spreading Islamic influence to Iran. Archaeological excavations studies have revealed a number of archaeological sites dating back to the Islamic era, including a mosque was revealed in Al Ain, as well as a mosque Bidiya in the Emirate of Fujairah, which is still used for prayer since its establishment until now, along with the location of Jumeirah in Dubai, which dates back to the Abbasid period, and many other locations in different parts of the country.

The Portuguese presence 1500 - 1800 - The Muslim traders controlled the trade in the Red Sea and Mediterranean ports. Portuguese got alert to the volume of trade in this region through exploration trips that are accustomed to do, and then they control these markets. In the year 1498, the exploratory famous Vasco da Gama opened sea route to India when he made a trip around Ras alrajah Al Saleh. This incident has made revolution for eastern trade, which led to send military forces to the Indian Ocean and the Arabian Gulf, and thus install Portuguese control of the area.

Then the Omanis unite under the leadership of Imam Nasir bin Murshid founder of Alyaarbah Country (1624-1741), which included historical Oman, which is Oman and the United Arab Emirates, and large parts of East Africa. He launched a war against the Portuguese and pulled them out of all their lands. This has paved the way for the British and the Dutch to control the region,  and at the same time  the Portuguese role were eliminated.

Period the British presence 1800 - 1971 - The formal relations between Britain and the sheikhs of Arabian coast began in the seventies and eighties of the nineteenth century, where Britain has committed to protect the UAE from any external aggression while coast sheikhs committed not to enter into agreements or make contact with any power or state other than British government. This agreement lasted until the British withdrawal from the region in 1971.

In 1971 UAE's dream began to come true. The late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan sought to unite all emirates in a single state since 1968. This dream has achieved in the second of December 1971, where the UAE began a new era of development in all spheres of life. The discovery of oil in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah had substantial positive impact that enabled the UAE to take up a prominent place in world's economic and political affairs.

Last Modified Date: 15 August 2016