Umm al-Qaywayn

views updated May 18 2018


The emirate in the United Arab Emirates with the smallest population.

Umm al-Qaywayn lies south of Raʾs al-Khayma, the northern-most emirate, and north of Sharjah on the coast of the Persian (Arabian) Gulf. It possesses the second-smallest territory, approximately 300 square miles, and its population was estimated in 1997 to be about 39,000. The capital town of the same name, which contains most of the emirate's population, was established on a sand spit for physical security. Only Abu Dhabi shares Umm alQaywayn's advantage of being located in a single contiguous territory.

Along with Ajman and Fujayra, Umm al-Qaywayn is one of the poorest of the United Arab Emirates and is heavily dependent on development funds from Abu Dhabi. It has very modest gas production, and few industries, the most important being cement production. Like Dubai, the emirate has established a free zone to attract overseas investment in manufacturing and trade. Nonetheless, much of Umm alQaywayn's population engages in the traditional pursuits of fishing and shipbuilding.

The ruling family is the Muʿalla, sometimes referred to as the Al Ali. The current amir, Shaykh Rashid ibn Ahmad, has ruled since 1981, when he succeeded his father, Shaykh Ahmad ibn Rashid alMuʿalla, whose rule had begun in 1929.

see also muʿalla family, al-;united arab emirates.


Anthony, John Duke. Arab States of the Lower Gulf: People, Politics, Petroleum. Washington, DC: Middle East Institute, 1975.

Ghareeb, Edmund, and Abed, Ibrahim al-, eds. Perspectives on the United Arab Emirates. London: Trident Press, 1997.

Metz, Helen Chapin, ed. Persian Gulf States: Country Studies, 3d edition. Washington, DC: Library of Congress, 1994.

Peck, Malcolm C. The United Arab Emirates: A Venture in Unity. Boulder, CO: Westview Press; London: Croom Helm, 1986.

Taryam, Abdullah Omran. The Establishment of the United Arab Emirates, 19501985. New York; London: Croom Helm, 1987.

malcolm c. peck
updated by anthony b. toth