It’s often hard to believe that this giant, modern metropolis that we all know and love, was once a tiny fishing village. This incredible transformation is one of the many interesting facts about the history of Dubai that make it such an exciting destination to live in. Read on to find out many more exciting facts about the city.
Interesting Facts about the history of Dubai
We have compiled our list of facts in chronological order, allowing you to look at Dubai through a historical lens, right up until modern times.
Historical facts about Dubai from 3000 BCE to 5th century CE
Here are some of the fun facts about Dubai from 300 BCE to 5th century CE. Each of them throws light on the history of Dubai’s development.
The first human settlement in the city was in 3000 BC
Dubai’s history traces back to the early Minoan period. Archaeological evidence suggests that the place where Dubai is currently situated used to be a mangrove swamp. By 3000 BCE, the swamp dried up and Bedouin cattle herders started living there.
They were the first humans to have settled in Dubai. By 2500 BCE, they successfully established a date palm plantation in one of the fertile areas of the desert, after years of nomadic life. This was the beginning of agriculture in Dubai.
Dubai was under the control of the Sassanid Empire
Until the 7th century, Dubai remained under the control of the Sassanids, a Neo-Persian dynasty, which had been ruling the area since 224 AD. Founded by Ardashir I, the empire had encompassed all of the cities in the Persian Gulf, including Dubai. Their rule ended the moment Ummayads took control and introduced Islam in the area.
It was the same time during which Jumeirah, the area which is now home to beautiful beachside villas, had turned into a trade channel between Iraq and Oman.
For those looking to know facts about Dubai culture and economy read on!
Fun facts about Dubai from 1000 to 1700s
Here are some facts from 1000 to 1700s that sum up the brief history of Dubai’s economy.
Economic dependency of Dubai on pearling and fishing
Before oil was discovered, UAE’s economy relied on trading, pearling and fishing. Pearls from the city were traded far and wide all the way to Rome, Venice, India and Srilanka and the money earned off it strengthened the economy of the country.
Pearl diving, too, served as a good income source for the country. It was seasonal work for many local Emiratis but the money was good, so most of the pearl divers started moving to coastal towns such as Dubai and Abu Dhabi, establishing the history and foundation of UAE’s two biggest cities.
These pearls were an exclusive commodity of the UAE, so many international brands including Cartier also used them to build a strong reputation. It further paved the way for the country towards prosperity.
Other than pearls, merchant ships in Dubai used to trade fish, silk and porcelain to Middle Eastern and European markets. During the late 16th century, the British, Portuguese, Dutch and French wanted to take control of trade routes but Dubai turned the situation in its favour and started trading through every channel.
Dubai got independence from Abu Dhabi in 1833
The Al Maktoum dynasty of the Bani Yas clan, under the leadership of the famous Sheikh Maktoum bin Butti, took over Abu Dhabi in 1793 and Dubai became dependent on Abu Dhabi. In 1833, Maktoum bin Butti of the Bani Yas tribe took his people to the Shindagha Peninsula close to Dubai Creek in 1833 and settled there. He also declared the independence of Dubai from Abu Dhabi and became the ruler of Dubai. The Maktoum dynasty still rules the emirate.
Interesting facts about Dubai UAE from 1894 to 1966
There are many historical events in Dubai that you may not be aware of. If you immerse yourself deep into the Dubai infrastructure and development history, you’ll get astounded by the diversity and richness of this place.
Here is a list of interesting facts about Dubai from 1984 to 1966.
Tax exemption for expats in Dubai
In 1894, Al Maktoum invited Indian and Pakistani traders to settle in the city granting them tax exemption. This saw a huge influx in the number of expats in Dubai who came here to take advantage of the excellent business conditions. Dubai was still reliant on trading, fishing and pearl diving. In the 1950s, artificial pearls were invented in Japan and Dubai suffered some financial consequences as a result of this.
The First World War dealt a major blow to trade in Dubai
After the invention of artificial pearls and the Great Depression, the international pearl market collapsed, resulting in the need to restructure the economy of Dubai. Sheikh Saeed, the then-ruler of Dubai started looking for other alternative sources of income to ensure a smooth flow of funds.
Tensions between Abu Dhabi and Dubai
There was a dispute between Dubai and Abu Dhabi that escalated. Armed forces of both states were involved and in 1949, the British intervened and created a border from Ras Hasian coast. Yet, no formal compromise was made. Both states agreed to a truce in 1979, eight years after the creation of the UAE.
Discovery of oil was a major milestone in the history of Dubai
The major turning point in the history of Dubai was the discovery of oil from Dubai Fateh Oil Field in 1966. It changed the economic dynamics of the city forever. Together, Qatar and Dubai created a new currency, the Riyal that enabled Dubai to transcend to greater heights. In 1969, Dubai made the first shipment of oil and cemented its name in history amongst the most progressive cities of the world.
Dubai has veto power for matters of national significance
When the British left the Arabian Gulf in 1971, the UAE as we know it today did not exist. In 1979, Dubai along with other emirates united to form the United Arab Emirates. Since then, it was decided that Dubai will have a veto power to decide matters of national significance. Over time other emirates too were granted such decision-making powers, but Dubai still has a major role to play in such concerns.
Dubai has undergone many transformations. From a desert outpost, it has now become a destination du-jour where people come from far and wide to shop, relax and have fun. The city is home to various skyscrapers, multiple malls and plenty of multi-million off-shore developments that distinguish it from other cities of the UAE.
One can buy one-off gems from the best shopping centre in Dubai: Dubai Mall, explore the attractions of City Centre Mirdif or visit the beautiful eco-friendly community, Al Barari. Thus, today the city has everything for everyone and it still keeps changing for the better.
If you want to gain more insights about the places in the city, check out the interesting facts about Dubai Creek Tower, cool insider tips about Burj Khalifa and discover new things about Palm Jumeirah – all at MyBayut, a hub of real estate and lifestyle information in the UAE.