These are the names of 7 emirates of UAE and their rulers:

  1. Dubai – (DXB)

  2. Abu Dhabi – (AUH) Capital of U.A.E. (Al Ain is a part of AbuDhabi)

  3. Sharjah – (SHJ)

  4. Ajman – (AJM)

  5. Umm al Qaiwain – (UAQ)

  6. Ras al Khaimah – (RAK)

  7. Fujairah – (FUJ)

The United Arab Emirates, is a federation formed by seven independent states located along the center of the east coast of the Arabian Peninsula, formerly known as the States of the Truce (derived from the Perpetual Maritime Truce signed with the United Kingdom in 1853).

The federation borders on the north with Qatar and the Persian Gulf, on the east with the Gulf of Oman and on the south and west, with Saudi Arabia.

It has an area of ​​83,600 km².

The population of the Emirates experienced a rapid increase between the 1970s and the 1980s, due in large part to the arrival of foreign workers.

The states that make up the federation are: Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Dubai, al-Fujayrah, Ras al-Jaymah, ash-Shariqah and Umm al-Qaywayn.

The United Arab Emirates form a federation of seven states, each ruled by its emir, or “sheikh” (as they are called in Arabic) with specific powers.

There are no elections, nor political parties.

The central government is formed by the supreme council, formed by the seven emirs. The President of the country is usually the emir of Abu Dhabi, and the Prime Minister, of Dubai.

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The city of Abu Dhabi, is the capital of the union;the port of Dubai, is the commercial center of the federation, as well as the north of Oman and has an intense transoceanic traffic.

The capitals of the states are on the coast of the Persian Gulf, except the capital of al-Fujayrah which is on the coast of the Gulf of Oman.

These are the 5 Arab Emirates states that you may not know

Dubai and Abu Dhabi have become synonymous with big skyscrapers, pomp and glamor, something that until now is not found in much of the rest of the Arab world.

These, however, are only two of the seven territories governed by emirs that make up the United Arab Emirates.

And what about the other five? 

Marcus George, an Iranian author living in the region, researched them for the BBC.

If we look at a map of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) we see that it is a confusing mixture of territories.

Only Abu Dhabi and Umm al Qaiwain are coherent territories. The rest is divided, sometimes discontinuously, into different emirates, a legacy of his past as a United Kingdom protectorate.

UAE emerged when borders were drawn to reflect tribal groupings and loyalties.

And although some of those boundary lines were disputed in the past, today everything is quiet.

The seven territories are united in a federation – most of which is financed by the enormous oil wealth of Abu Dhabi – but the ruling families promote the tourist, commercial, construction and industrial sectors of their own territories so that the income continues to flow. .

It is inevitable that some will do better than others.

1. Umm al Qaiwain: the haven of peace

It seems a forgotten place. Far from the main road, the life of this corner of the UAE moves at a slow pace. A few vehicles navigate streets covered with holes. 

Modernity has tried to get here: you can see a new house or certain roads under construction, but it has had limited success. 

This is Umm al Qaiwain, one of the lesser-known founding states of the UAE. It is a world far removed from the glamor and pomp of Dubai.

But that does not mean that this place does not have what to offer. Its natural habitat contains populations of green turtles and mangroves and its peaceful pace of life reflects the traditional way of being an emirate.

“It’s a dormant valley, a carefree town,” says an immigrant who chose to live here. No one knows it, it’s a place that has not been discovered.”

What it lacks in infrastructure – there are no shopping centers or five-star hotels – it has plenty of genuine charm and cheap rentals. Here you can rent for a third of the price of Dubai.

Despite certain urban development, Umm al Qaiwain remains basically the fishing village that was decades ago, when dhows (Arab sailboats) were built on the beach.

At some point it was planned to carry out large construction projects that would give a boost to the local economy and population, but the credit crunch of 2007-08 stopped them.

In many ways, this site is similar to what the UAE was before oil was discovered: rickety, underdeveloped and comparatively poor.

As such, Umm al Qaiwain is perhaps the clearest example of how much it remains unknown and unexplored from the UAE to the outside world.

2. Ras al Khaimah: from industry to tourism

If we travel north from Umm al Qaiwain we arrive at Ras al Khaimah, or RAK. Like the other emirates, it has a golden coast where luxury hotels now stand, a relatively new phenomenon.

Last year, a tourism “czar” was appointed to promote its attractions, which include the highest mountains in the UAE. But here there is not much of the opulence that is seen in Dubai.

Before its ambitious push into tourism, RAK was known for its mining and its production of rock and aggregates, of which it continues to supply much of the region.

On windy days, a cloud of dust from the cement quarries flies over the north of the emirate.

There is also a Free Trade Zone of RAK that, in recent years, has attracted great interest in describing itself as “one of the free trade zones that grow fastest and with the highest quality price in the UAE”.

There are hosted, according to its website, 8,000 companies.

A multitude of foreign workers has settled there to obtain commercial licenses and rent furnished offices, cheaper than in Dubai or Abu Dhabi.

3. Fujairah: strategic role

Decades ago, this was the main summer destination for the inhabitants of the emirates due to its climate, which is a few degrees colder than the rest.

Now it prides itself on its strategic importance to the rest of the UAE as it has access to the Indian Ocean.

Initially Fujairah was a small port that offered heavy fuel to replenish oil tankers, as well as some hotels and beaches. It is now one of the largest storage ports for oil-related products in the world.

“It’s all about the port,” says veteran general manager, captain Mousa Murad. 

“In the future, it will be among the three or four major ports in the world,” he says confidently.

Its destiny was sealed with the inauguration, in July 2012, of an oil pipeline that carries crude from the oil fields of Abu Dhabi to Fujairah, from where they are exported in oil tankers.

This avoids the need to transport crude through the sensitive Strait of Hormuz, which is one of the main objectives of the UAE leaders, who fear that a conflict in the region will close the channel and stop the flow of their oil sustenance.

A new refinery in Fujairah by the end of 2016 is already built.

Somehow, this place goes in the opposite direction to RAK: from an idyllic natural habitat to an economy driven by industry.

4. Sharjah: ancient glory

The road back from Fujairah passes through Sharjah, the great neighbor of Dubai and in many ways its latent heart. Sharajh became the most important of the seven emirates because of its importance as a center of commerce.

There are few differences on both sides of the border between these territories but for their landscape: the mountainous surroundings of Fujairah give way to the flatter dunes of Sharjah.

With rents rising in Dubai, an increasing proportion of its workforce chooses to live here and make the daily commute to work, which causes the collapse of the roads in Sharjah.

It also seems to be the city of mechanics. Its industrial areas have car cemeteries, where dealing with spare parts is an important business.

It is also the destination for wrecked American cars that are sold as scrap and shipped in cargo containers. Like other emirates, Sharjah, in the past based its economy on fishing, pearl diving and trade.

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A central role was forged during the era of the British protectorate since 1820, when it became the seat of Britain’s sole political representative in what was then called the Truce States.

By 1932, Sharjah could boast of having the first airport in the United Arab Emirates, Al Mahatta, where the British Imperial Airways were en route to India from the United Kingdom.

Now it is the headquarters of educational and cultural institutions of the emirates, including a museum dedicated to Islamic civilization, as well as others devoted to art and science.

5. Ajman: the younger brother

Ajman, the smallest of all emirates, lies between Sharjah and Umm al Qaiwain. With an area of ​​about 250 square kilometers (95 square miles), it is almost a city-state.

Like RAK, its population grew thanks to its success to attract companies to settle in the free zone of Ajman. The shipping company Arab Heavy Industries and the shipbuilder, GulfCraft, are also based in this territory.

Although it offers beaches and a local souk, the reality is that few people stop to explore Ajman, unless they are interested in buying a luxury yacht.


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