Dubai: History

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Dubai History

Dubai has always had a trading history recorded as far back as 3000BC. Research has now proved that this area of the Middle East was part of the Spice Route from China to Mesopotamia. Entrepot trade between East Africa, Iran, India and China still exists. Large trading dhows can be seen berthed alongside the Creek at Deira still carrying on this type of trade.

Early Dubai was a pastoral community relying on pearling, fishing and farming. Pearling declined in the 1930's with the advent of Japanese cultured pearls and the Second World War. Dubai came into existence in 1833 when the region occupied jointly by the Banyas Tribe of Abu Dhabi and the Al Maktoum family were divided and the separate state of Dubai was formed. In 1835 Dubai and other member states signed a maritime treaty with Britain to protect the coastline against foreign invasion and piracy and in return Britain was allowed a political presence in the region and oil exploration rights.

The region formally known as the Pirate Coast became known as the Trucial States or Trucial Coast so named by the "truce" or treaty agreement which lasted until 1968 when Britain withdrew from the region. 1887 was a significant milestone in Dubai's development. Persia introduced customs reforms to increase taxes on imports and exports. The Dubai government offered the traders favourable trading opportunities, a deep water harbour and an area of land on the Creek to settle, now called Bastakiya named after the traders home, Bastak in Persia. The new traders not only brought wealth to the area but also an entirely new architectural style of constructing their houses featuring the wind tower or barjeel which acted as natural air conditioning.

Another landmark in Dubai's history was the discovery of oil in 1960 which was first exported 3 years later at 18 dollars a barrel. Oil revenues funded the extraordinary development of Dubai since 1963. The seven states became independent in 1971 after Britain's withdrawal from the region. The independent federation of the United Arab Emirates was borne.