Shaikh Rashid Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, press the button that threw the giant drill heads into action in Jebel Ali. Image Credit: Gulf News Archives

1978 - Oil drilling operations off the Dubai coast of Jebel Ali got officially under way when His Highness Shaikh Rashid Bin Saeed Al Maktoum pressed the button that threw the giant drill heads into action. The eight-legged jack-up rig is on a ‘wildcat’ mission, oil terminology for an exploratory well, and depending on the depth they have to go down it could take up to six months before they know the result of their work.

Other important events

1868 - Spain’s Queen Isabella II flees to France.

1947 - Pakistan and Yemen join the United Nations.

1975 - Boxer Muhammad Ali beats Joe Frazier to retain his world heavyweight title.

1993 - An earthquake rocks western India, leaving more than 10,000 dead.

1999 - The first Arabian Wildlife Centre in the region opens in Sharjah.

2001 - Indian politician Madhavrao Scindia is killed in a plane crash.

2011 - Anwar Al Awlaqi, a key Al Qaida leader, is killed in US airstrike 
in Al Jawf, Yemen.