views updated May 29 2018


The second largest and second wealthiest of the seven emirates in the United Arab Emirates; also, the city of the same name.

The story of the emirate of Dubai revolves around that of Dubai City. The emirate was established by the Al Maktum ruling family around 1833 when the family's clan, the Al Bu Falasa, broke away from the Bani Yas tribal confederation that dominated the region of Abu Dhabi. In its early years Dubai was a small fishing village on the best natural harbor (called Dubai Creek) in the region. Under the Al Maktum rulers it became an important pearling port, and by the early years of the twentieth century it was second only to Kuwait among the commercial ports on the Arab side of the Persian Gulf.

Dubai's rulers historically have encouraged commercial development, attracting merchants from around the region to the city. Consequently, large and visible expatriate communities from Iran, South Asia, and around the world give the city a vibrant, colorful, and cosmopolitan character. The largest city in the United Arab Emirates and its commercial capital, Dubai had an estimated population in 2000 of 886,000. In addition to its port and massive dry dock facilities, the city has one of the region's busiest airports. In 1999 the city boasted the world's tallest hotel, the Burj al-Arab, or Tower of the Arabs.

See also Abu Dhabi.


Noor, Ali Rashid. Dubai: Life and Times. London: Motivate Publishing, 1997.

Peck, Malcolm C. Historical Dictionary of the Gulf Arab States. London: Scarecrow Press, 1977.

malcolm c. peck updated by anthony b. toth


views updated May 18 2018

Dubai One of the seven federated states of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), on the Persian (Arabian) Gulf, se Arabia; the capital is Dubai. First settled in the late 18th century, it was a dependency of Abu Dhabi until 1833. At the end of the 19th century, it became a British Protectorate. Dubai was at war with Abu Dhabi from 1945–48. In 1971 it became a founder member of the UAE. Oil was discovered in the early 1960s, and is the largest sector of its prosperous, export-driven economy. Area: c.3890sq km (1500sq mi). Pop. (1995) 669,181.;