Abu Dhabi, officially the
Emirate of Abu Dhabi, ( , literally "father of
gazelle"), is one of seven emirates that
constitute the United Arab Emirates (UAE). It is the largest emirate by area
(67,340 km²), and second-largest by population
(after Dubai), accounting
for approximately 86% of the total land area of the UAE.
of the President
of the United Arab Emirates is located in Abu
Dhabi city, which also hosts many oil companies, foreign
embassies and the federal cabinet.
The emirate's main revenues are from industry
and financial services
up Abu Dhabi's US$187 billion economy (2008). Revenues from the
contributed 65.5% to the
economy in 2008
activities represent 11.5% of the
economy in 2008
, and commercial
activities make up the remaining 23.6%.
Parts of Abu Dhabi were settled as far back as the 3rd millennium BC
and its early history
fits the nomadic herding and fishing pattern typical of the broader
region. Modern Abu Dhabi traces its origins to the
rise of an important tribal confederation, the Bani Yas, in the late 18th century,
which also assumed control of Dubai.
century the Dubai and Abu Dhabi branches parted
Into the mid-20th
century, the economy of Abu Dhabi
continued to be sustained mainly by camel
herding, production of date
at the inland oases
of Al Ain and Liwa
, and fishing and pearl
off the coast of Abu Dhabi city, which was occupied mainly during
the summer months. Most dwellings in Abu Dhabi city were, at this
time, constructed of palm
), with the wealthier families occupying mud huts
. The growth of the cultured pearl industry
in the first half of the twentieth century created hardship for
residents of Abu Dhabi as pearls represented the largest export and
main source of cash earnings.
In 1939, Sheikh Shakhbut Bin-Sultan Al Nahyan
concessions, and oil was
first found in 1958. At first, oil money had a marginal impact. A
few lowrise concrete buildings were erected, and the first paved
road was completed in 1961, but Sheikh Shakbut, uncertain whether
the new oil royalties would last, took a cautious approach,
preferring to save the revenue rather than investing it in
development. His brother, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan
that oil wealth had the potential to transform Abu Dhabi. The
ruling Al Nahyan family decided that Sheikh Zayed should replace
his brother as ruler and carry out his vision of developing the
country. On August 6, 1966, with the assistance of the
Zayed became the new ruler.
announcement by the UK in 1968 that it would withdraw from the
Persian Gulf area by 1971, Sheikh Zayed became the main driving
force behind the formation of the United Arab Emirates.
After the Emirates gained independence in 1971, oil wealth
continued to flow to the area and traditional mud-brick huts were
rapidly replaced with banks
, boutiques and
At present, Abu Dhabi boasts the worlds highest absolute and
per-capita level of sovereign wealth funds, calculated at USD
1,000,000.00 per inhabitant.
The emirate of Abu Dhabi is located in the oil-rich and strategic
Persian Gulf region. It adjoins the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Sultanate of Oman. The emirate borders the
emirate of Dubai and Sharjah to its
Language and literature
majority of the inhabitants of Abu Dhabi are expatriate workers and
professionals from India, Pakistan, Egypt, Bangladesh, Philippines, the United Kingdom, and elsewhere. English
The native-born population are Arabic
-speaking Persian Gulf Arabs
part of a clan-based society. The Al Nahyan family, part of the
al-Falah branch of the Bani Yas tribe, rules the emirate and has a
central place in society.
Towns and cities
Growing construction at Abu Dhabi as
work cranes are often seen in the downtown areas.
Dhabi city is a modern city with broad boulevards, tall
office and apartment buildings, and busy shops.
urban centers in the Abu Dhabi emirate are Al 'Ain, Baniyas and Ruwais.
Waterfront park in Abu Dhabi.
Ain is an agglomeration of several villages scattered around a
valuable desert oasis; today it is the site of the national
university, UAEU. Al Ain is billed as the Garden City of the UAE.
Other work includes the 1st prize international competition of the
Abu Dhabi Library and Cultural Center won by the Architects
Collaborative, designed by Hisham
Massachusetts and New York, NY.
Sunny/blue skies can be expected throughout the year. The months
June through September are generally hot and humid with
temperatures averaging above 40°C (110°F). During this time,
sandstorms also occur intermittently, in some cases reducing
visibility down to a few meters. The weather is usually pleasant
from October to May. January to February is cooler and may require
the use of a light jacket. This period also sees dense fog on some
oasis city of Al
Ain, about 150 km away, bordering Oman, regularly
records the highest summer temperatures in the country, however the
dry desert air and cooler evenings make it a traditional retreat
from the intense summer heat and year round humidity of the capital
International Airport (AUH) and Al Ain International Airport (AAN) serves the emirate.
The local time is
+ 4 hours. Private vehicles and taxis are
the primary means of transportation in the city, although public
buses, run by the Abu Dhabi Municipality, are available, but mostly
used by the lower-income population. There are bus routes
to nearby towns such as Baniyas, Habashan and the garden city of
Ain, among others. There is a newer
service started in 2005 between Abu Dhabi and the commercial city
of Dubai (about
160 km away).
Culture and the arts
Abu Dhabi is home to a number of cultural institutions including
the Cultural Foundation
Cultural foundation is home to the UAE Public Library and
. Various cultural societies such as the Abu
Dhabi Classical Music Society have a strong and visible following
in the city.
- The island development will also include museums for classical
art and performing arts centers among other state-of-the-art
- $28 billion has been set aside to budget this cultural
Schools and universities
Schools and universities in Abu Dhabi:
- Abu Dhabi - profile of geographical entity
including name variants. World Gazetteer. Retrieved April 8,
- See Al-Fahim, M, From Rags to Riches: A Story of Abu
Dhabi, Chapter Six (London Centre of Arab Studies, 1995), ISBN
- BBC, Average weather for Sharjah, which is 170
kilometres away from Abu Dhabi.