Dubai history

Dubai has changed dramatically in the last fifty years, but its history goes back to prehistoric times.

Dubai enjoys a rich heritage, with a history going back to prehistoric times, although the Emirate itself is much more modern. The biggest changes in the history of Dubai have come since the discovery of oil fifty years ago.

Early Dubai history

3000 BC: Arguably the time when Dubai's history can be said to have begun. Archaeological evidence points to the area having been settled from at least the Bronze Age.

5th to 7th centuries AD: Jumeirah was a trade route caravan station linking Oman with what is now Iraq. Livelihoods were based on fishing, boat building, and pearling.

16th century: European influence began with Portuguese interest in the area's trade routes.

18th- to 20th-century Dubai history

1793: The Bani Yas tribe assumed political power and settled in Abu Dhabi. Dubai later became a dependency. This period of Dubai history was beset with many tribal wars.

1820: Britain negotiated the first of many maritime truces with local rulers. This led to the area being dubbed the Trucial Coast.

1833: Maktoum Bin Butti of the Bani Yas tribe settled on the Shindagha Peninsula at the mouth of the Creek, declaring the town's independence from Abu Dhabi. His dynasty still rules Dubai today.

1870s: Dubai became the principal port on the Gulf coast, with pearling the mainstay of the city's prosperity.

1902: Dubai welcomed the migration of Iranian traders and Arab settlers following the introduction of heavy taxes at Iran's Lingeh port. Dubai's trade has never looked back.

Early 20th-century Dubai History

Overseas and domestic trade flourished, and Dubai boasted the largest souks in Arabia.

1950s: Oil was discovered in the Trucial States.

1960s: The Indian and Pakistani population of Dubai grew, breathing new life into the textile market and increasing trade from the Indian subcontinent.

Modern Dubai history

1966: In a milestone in Dubai history, Oil was discovered in Dubai's Fateh Oil field.

1971: The United Arab Emirates was formed for mutual security and prosperity and joined the Arab League. Dubai International Airport opened.

1979: Jebel Ali port opened.  Dubai World Trade Centre, the city's first high-rise, opened, paving the way for a string of other ambitious architectural projects.

1985: Emirates airline launched.  Jebel Ali Free Zone was inaugurated, attracting considerable overseas investment.

1996: The Dubai World Cup was held for the first time.  The Dubai Shopping Festival launched.

1999: Burj Al-Arab opened and was hailed as the world's only seven-star hotel.

2002: Sheikh Mohammed launched the Internet and Media cities and initiates private ownership for foreigners, laying the foundations for the “New Dubai."

2003:   Ambitious projects began, including the world's tallest tower and 200 man-made islands.

2006: Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum became the Ruler of Dubai and Vice President of the UAE.

2009: Emirates Terminal 3 and the Metro are launched to accommodate increasing air and road traffic.

2010: Burj Khalifa became the tallest man-made structure on earth.

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