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Dubai's transition to a world class hub

From a rich history as a modest seaport, the emirate has transformed itself into an international pearl.

Bustling with activity
Image Credit: Javed Nawab/Gulf News Archive
Dubai Creek pictured in 1985. The emirate has transformedinto a base for media, technology and entertainment
Gulf News

Dubai: According to the historical records, the history of Dubai dates back to 1833 when a number of Bani Yas tribe resided at the creek, a natural seaport.

People of Dubai soon started to practice fishing as a main profession for living and gradually went further to expand their business activity to pearl trade which brought them wealth and help them build a business reputation among their neighbouring countries.

Dubai soon became a successful port market on the Deira side of the creek which was considered the largest on the coast with almost 350 sales outlets and was a permanent gathering spot for visitors and businessmen.

By the 1930s, the population of Dubai was approximately 20,000, including the minimal number of expatriates at that time, who resided in the emirate.

Important era

The discovery of oil in 1966 was a major turning point in the history of the emirate and it ushered in a new era of business in Dubai's history. The first shipment of oil took place in the same year and made the emirate the focus of the attention of all. The Ruler of Dubai, Shaikh Rashid Bin Saeed Al Maktoum had a long-term vision and was determined to invest the oil revenue in setting up the infrastructure of the emirate. He paid great attention to build hospitals, schools and roads, with up to date tools to enable them to practice their duties effectively and efficiently, and the speed of the progress was impressive and soon combined all the aspects of Dubai.

In 1971 the long-cherished dream of both Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan and Shaikh Rashid came true when Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al Quwain and Fujairah, announced the creation of federation, which was shortly joined by Ras Al Khaimah in 1972. This union created the birth of the independent country known as the United Arab Emirates. In the following year, 1973, Dubai joined the other emirates in introducing the UAE dirham which became the currency of the country.

Tourist destination

In the 1980s and early 1990s, Dubai made a strategic decision to emerge as a major international-quality tourism destination. This made the emirate to welcome with open arms foreigners who chose Dubai to be their residence, their business and investment destination. And that marked the arrival of a cosmopolitan city.

The intelligent vision of His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, transformed Dubai into a technological and entertaiment hub.

In the last two decades, Dubai embraced information and technology to such an extent that information technology, and knowledge-based industries grew in the city. That has resulted in the emirate turning itself into a base for media, technology and an entertainment centre.

Now Dubai is internationally recognised as a city of matchless modern accomplishments. And the jewel in the crown is the Burj Khalifa tower, towering above the man-made world as an icon of the city's magnificent achievements.