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Geography of United Arab Emirates

Learn Information about the Middle East's United Arab Emirates

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United Arab Emirates Flag

The United Arab Emirates flag has three equal horizontal bands of green (top), white, and black with a wider vertical red band on the hoist side.

Source: CIA World Factbook, 2007
Updated March 25, 2011

Population: 4,975,593 (July 2010 estimate)
Capital: Abu Dhabi
Bordering Countries: Oman and Saudi Arabia
Area: 32,278 square miles (83,600 sq km)
Coastline: 819 miles (1,318 km)
Highest Point: Jabal Yibir at 5,010 feet (1,527 m)

United Arab Emirates is a country located on the eastern side of the Arabian Peninsula (map). It has coastlines along the Gulf of Oman and the Persian Gulf and it shares borders with Saudi Arabia and Oman. It is also located near the country of Qatar. United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a federation that was originally formed in 1971. The country is known as being one of the wealthiest and most developed in western Asia.

Formation of United Arab Emirates

According to the United States Department of State, UAE was originally formed by a group of organized sheikhdoms that lived on the Arabian Peninsula along the coasts of the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman. These sheikdoms were known to have constantly been in dispute with one another and as a result constant raids on ships the area was called the Pirate Coast by traders in the 17th and early 19th centuries.

In 1820, a peace treaty was signed by the area's sheikhs in order to protect shipping interests along the coast. Raiding of ships continued until 1835 however, and in 1853 a treaty was signed between the sheikhs (Trucial Sheikhdoms) and the United Kingdom which established a "perpetual maritime truce" (US Department of State).

In 1892 the U.K. and the Trucial Sheikhdoms signed another treaty that forged a closer relationship between Europe and the present-day UAE region. In the treaty the Trucial Sheikhdoms agreed not to give away any of their land unless it went to the U.K. and it established that the sheikhs would not begin new relationships with other foreign nations without first discussing it with the U.K. The U.K. then promised to provide military support to the sheikhdoms if needed.

Throughout the mid 20th-century, there were several border disputes between the UAE and neighboring countries. In addition in 1968, the U.K. decided to end the treaty with the Trucial Sheikhdoms. As a result the Trucial Sheikhdoms, along with Bahrain and Qatar (which were also being protected by the U.K.), tried to form a union. However they were unable to agree with each other so in the summer of 1971, Bahrain and Qatar became independent nations. On December 1 of the same year, the Trucial Sheikhdoms became independent when the treaty with the U.K. expired. On December 2, 1971, six of the former Trucial Sheikhdoms formed the United Arab Emirates. In 1972, Ras al-Khaimah became the seventh to join.

Government of United Arab Emirates

Today the UAE is considered a federation of seven emirates. The country has a federal president and prime minister which makes up its executive branch but each emirate also has a separate ruler (called an emir) who controls the local government. The UAE's legislative branch is made up of a unicameral Federal National Council and its judicial branch is made up of the Union Supreme Court. The seven emirates of the UAE are Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Al Fujayrah, Ash Shariqah, Dubai, Ras al-Khaimah and Umm al Qaywayn.

Economics and Land Use in United Arab Emirates

The UAE is considered one of the wealthiest nations in the world and it has a high per capita income. Its economy is based on oil but recently the government has begun programs to diversify its economy. Today the main industries of UAE are petroleum and petrochemicals, fishing, aluminum, cement, fertilizers, commercial ship repair, construction materials, boat building, handicrafts and textiles. Agriculture is also important to the country and the main products produced are dates, various vegetables, watermelon, poultry, eggs, dairy products and fish. Tourism and the related services are also a large part of UAE's economy.

Geography and Climate of United Arab Emirates

United Arab Emirates is considered a part of the Middle East and it is located on the Arabian Peninsula. It has a varied topography and in its eastern portions but much of the rest of the country consists of flat lands, sand dunes and large desert areas. In the east there are mountains and UAE's highest point, Jabal Yibir at 5,010 feet (1,527 m), is located here.

The climate of UAE is desert, although it is cooler in the eastern areas at higher elevations. As a desert, UAE is hot and dry year round. The country's capital, Abu Dhabi, has an average January low temperature of 54˚F (12.2˚C) and an average August high temperature of 102˚ (39˚C). Dubai is slightly hotter in the summer with an average August high temperature of 106˚F (41˚C).

More Facts about United Arab Emirates

• UAE's official language is Arabic but English, Hindi, Urdu and Bengali are also spoken

• 96% of the population of UAE are Muslim while a small percentage is Hindu or Christian

• UAE's literacy rate is 90%

To learn more about United Arab Emirates, visit the Geography and Maps section on United Arab Emirates on this website.

References

Central Intelligence Agency. (13 January 2011). CIA - The World Factbook - United Arab Emirates. Retrieved from: https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/ae.html

Infoplease.com. (n.d.). United Arab Emirates: History, Geography, Government, and Culture- Infoplease.com. Retrieved from: http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0108074.html

United States Department of State. (14 July 2010). United Arab Emirates. Retrieved from: http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/5444.htm

Wikipedia.com. (23 January 2011). United Arab Emirates - Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Arab_Emirates

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