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What Should I Know About the United Arab Emirates?

Diana Bocco
By
Updated May 23, 2024
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The United Arab Emirates, sometimes known as simply the Emirates, is located against Saudi Arabia and Oman in Southwest Asia. Known locally as Al Imarat al Arabiyah al Muttahidah, the United Arab Emirates covers an area of 32,278 sq mi (83,600 km²), divided into seven emirates or royal territories. Known in the past as Trucial Oman or the Pirate Coast, the United Arab Emirates is a Federal constitutional monarchy, under the control of the heir to the Al Nahyan clan. Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan was the head ruler for 30 years, until his death in 2004.

Abu Dhabi, the capital city, has a population of 1,850,230, which is almost half of the total population of the United Arab Emirates. Abu Dhabi is a modern city characterized by skyscrapers, busy shopping streets, and a series of beautifully-designed urban parks. The United Arab Emirates is also notable because 75 percent of its population is composed of foreigners, mainly from India, the United Kingdom, and Egypt. There are approximately ten men for every six women in the United Arab Emirates, a percentage that is higher than anywhere else in the world.

The United Arab Emirates has an arid climate, with summer temperatures reaching 110ºF (40ºC) regularly. Sandstorms and fog are also common, but rain is rare. Winter temperatures rarely fall under 60ºF (15.5ºC). Scenic beaches and expensive resorts are located on the Persian Gulf, and attract rich visitors from all over the world. Sand dunes are the most common terrain found outside of the cities, although mountains and coastal plains can also be found. There is very little natural freshwater available, which means the government spends much money in desalination plants.

The United Arab Emirates has a better history than some of its neighbors when it comes to the protection of human rights. Former Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan was well-known for his religious tolerance and for allowing freedom of the press. Internet access, however, is controlled, and Internet telephony (VoIP) and chat rooms are mostly blocked. Labor rights are practically non-existent, especially for immigrants, and the sex industry, including sex slaves and child prostitution, is alive in the country, especially in Dubai. Homosexuality is illegal in the United Arab Emirates and is punished with the death penalty. Freedom of the press is relatively high compared to other Middle Eastern countries, but criticism of Islam is not allowed and is punishable with prison.

CulturalWorld.org is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Diana Bocco
By Diana Bocco , Former Writer
Diana Bocco, a versatile writer with a distinct voice, creates compelling long-form and short-form content for various businesses. With a data-focused approach and a talent for sharing engaging stories, Diana’s written work gets noticed and drives results.

Discussion Comments

By sportive1983 — On Mar 09, 2016

UAE is one of the best tourist destinations in the world..

It is made up of the seven emirs of Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Fujairah, Sharjah, Dubai, Ras al-Khaimah and Umm al-Qaiwain.

There are beautiful sightseeing locations / parks in Abudhabi and Dubai.

By ddljohn — On Jun 04, 2011

I remember how UAE was twenty years ago and there is such a big difference from where it is today. Dubai itself is unbelievable. Infrastructure, wealth, trade and business has developed more than I could have ever imagined. Clearly, petroleum and gas production has helped the Emirates get where it is today, but it hasn't happened on its own.

There are so many countries in the Middle East who rely on petroleum as their only source of income. But most are experiencing a lot of conflict and slow development. UAE has been successful, not just because it has petroleum but because it has invested the profits from the oil sector into other sectors, like real estate, construction and tourism.

I think this is why the Emirates have developed so much. It's a great example for similar countries in the region.

By burcinc — On Jun 03, 2011

I have relatives who live in UAE or have sent their kids to UAE for education. UAE has quality education. The literacy rate in the whole country is over 90% That's got to be one of the highest rates in the region.

The other reason people like UAE for education is because it is free, including university education. So public education is served well in the country, the government spends a lot of money on it. My relatives say that there are really good private schools as well and some of them have opted for that.

By candyquilt — On Jun 01, 2011

Did you know that Qatar and Bahrain was once in the same federation with UAE? This happened right after independence, but didn't last very long. Qatar and Bahrain chose to leave the federation and declared independence individually.

I believe the UAE was a British protectorate for close to a hundred years. It became independent in the early 1970s. The policies which led the UAE to form was probably started by Britain because during its reign, it pushed the different sheikhdoms to be administrated in the same way. After independence, UAE ended up being formed with seven sheikhdoms.

Diana Bocco

Diana Bocco

Former Writer

Diana Bocco, a versatile writer with a distinct voice, creates compelling long-form and short-form content for various...
Learn more
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