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Early history

3000 BC

The earliest archaeological evidence points to Bronze Age settlers.


5th - 7th centuries AD

Jumeirah becomes a stop on the trade route from Oman to today’s Iraq. The main trades are fishing, boat-building and pearling.


16th century

The Portuguese bring their European influence along with their interest in the region’s trade routes.

18th – 20th century Dubai history

1793

A period of tribal and political jostling. The Bani Yas tribe take political power, settling in Abu Dhabi.


1820

Negotiations between local rulers and the British result in a series of maritime truces. The area becomes known as the Trucial Coast.


1833

Maktoum Bin Butti of the Bani Yas tribe settles 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

With a thriving pearling industry, Dubai prospers and becomes the main port on the Gulf coast.


1902

Dubai sees a boost from migrating Iranian traders and Arab settlers. A prosperous period of local and overseas trade follows, and Dubai boasts the largest souks in Arabia.

Early 20th century Dubai history

1950s

Oil is discovered in the Trucial States.


1960s

A growth in the Indian and Pakistani population of Dubai breathes new life into the textile market and increases trade from the Indian subcontinent.

Modern Dubai history

1966

It was a game-changing moment in Dubai history when oil is discovered in Dubai's Fateh oil field.


1971

The Trucial States of Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al Quwain, and Fujairah form the United Arab Emirates and join the Arab League. Ras al Khaimah joins a year later. Dubai International airport opens.


1979

Two big openings - Jebel Ali port and the Dubai World Trade Centre. It is the city's first high-rise building and prompts a long line of ambitious architectural projects.


1985

Emirates takes off for the first time. Jebel Ali Free Zone is inaugurated, attracting considerable overseas investment.


1996

The Dubai World Cup horse race is held for the first time. Dubai Shopping Festival launches.


1999

The Burj Al-Arab opens and is hailed as the world's only seven-star hotel.


2002

Sheikh Mohammed launches two areas of Dubai – Internet City and Media City, and makes real estate in selected areas available for private foreign ownership.


2003

Ambitious projects begin, including the world's tallest tower, the Burj Khalifa, and 300 man-made islands – the World Islands.


2009

Emirates Terminal 3 and the Dubai Metro launch to accommodate increasing air and road traffic.


2010

The Burj Khalifa becomes the tallest man-made structure on earth at 830 meters high.


2013

Dubai and the UAE celebrate their winning bid for the World Expo 2020.


2016

Sheikh Mohammed opens the Dubai Water Canal that runs from the Dubai Creek through the city to the Arabian Gulf.


2018

The 150-meter tall Dubai Frame opens in Zabeel Park, giving panoramic views of both the old side of Dubai and skyscrapers of the new.