In 1833, eight hundred members of the nomadic Bani Yas tribe, led by the Maktoum Family cleverly settled at the mouth of a creek, due to its abundance of natural resources. It became a busy fishing port and renowned for its pearls. In only half a century, the settlement flourished on the Deira side of the creek, with the largest souk on the coastline, with hundreds of outlets and businesses. In one hundred years, Dubai’s population grew to almost twenty thousand, with expatriates numbering a full quarter of the population.
In the 1950s disaster struck. Due to the busy activity of the passing traffic of ships on the creek, the creek began to silt and collapse. Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum, the late ruler of Dubai, commenced a visionary and costly mission to industrialise further, thus strengthening Dubai’s position as a major trading port. In 1966, oil was discovered in his country, and Sheikh Rashid utilized this new-found wealth to modernise Dubai with breath-taking speed and foresight, spending vast amounts on building hospitals, schools, roads and a modern telecommunications network. In addition, a port and terminal building were built at Dubai International Airport. The largest man-made harbour in the world, at Jebel Ali, was constructed. As a result of this visionary foresight, Dubai became a magnet for both entrepreneurs and tourists alike, keen to enjoy ex-patriot friendliness, accommodation, low import duties and zero tax on both personal and corporate income.
The United Arab Emirates was created in 1971, a long-held dream of creating a federation for its rulers. This included Dubai, Sharjah , Fujairah, Abu Dhabi, Umm Al Quwain, Ajman, and Ras Al Khaimah who joined in 1972, thus creating the United Arab Emirates. The UAE has transformed into one of the richest countries in the world.
Dubai took a decision in the 1980s and early 1990s to become a major “high end” tourist destination, and this decision has paid off handsomely, with Dubai boasting unmatchable hotels, inspiringly remarkable architecture, and world class entertainment and sporting events, this in addition to one of the most sought after shopping destinations in the world.