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Ras al-Khaimah ( , , literally "The Top of the Tent") is one of the emirates of the United Arab Emiratesmarker. It covers an area of 656 square miles (1700 km²). Ras Al Khaimah is in the southern part of the Persian Gulfmarker.

The emirate is ruled by Sheikh Saqr bin Mohammad al-Qassimi. It is in the northern part of the UAE bordering Omanmarker. The emirate has a population of about 300,000 inhabitants.

The city has a population of 263,217 as of 2008. It is served by the Ras Al Khaimah International Airportmarker in Al Jazirah Al Hamramarker.

The city has two main sections, Old Ras Al Khaimah and Nakheel, on either side of the creek which flows through Ras Al Khaimah.

Ras al-Khaimah is slated to host the 33rd America's Cup in February 2010 as Switzerland's Alinghi 5 defends against the Challenger of Record, Golden Gate Yacht Clubmarker's BMW Oracle Racing.


The city was historically known as Julfar. Sources say that Julfar was inhabited by the Azd (They were a branch of the Kahlan tribe, which was one of the two branches of Qahtan (the aboriginal Arabs), the other being Himyar.) during the eighth and ninth centuries AD, and that the houses of the Azd were built of wood.

In the early 18th century the Qawasim clan (Huwayla tribe) established itself in Ras al-Khaimah.

In the early 19th century a British naval force attacked and occupied Ras al Khaimah to put a stop to piracy which was based there and endangering ships in the Indian Oceanmarker.

After British occupation (18 December 1819 - July 1821), Sheikh Sultan bin Saqr al-Qasimi signed in 1822 the General Maritime Treaty with Britain, accepting a protectorate to keep the Ottoman Turks out.Like Ajmanmarker, Dubaimarker, Umm al-Qaiwainmarker and Sharjahmarker, its position on the route to India made it important enough to be recognized as a salute state (though of the lowest class: only 3 guns).

In 1869 Ras al-Khaimah became fully independent from Sharjah.However from September 1900 to 7 July 1921 it was re-incorporated into Sharjah, its neighbour; the last governor became its next independent ruler.

On 11 February 1972, Sheikh Saqr bin Muhammad al-Qasimi joined the United Arab Emirates.

Its rulers were:
  • 17?? - 17?? Sheikh Rahman al-Qasimi
  • 17?? - 174? Sheikh Matar bin Rahman al-Qasimi
  • 174? - 1777 Sheikh Rashid bin Matar al-Qasimi
  • 1777 - 1803 Sheikh Saqr bin Rashid al-Qasimi
  • 1803 - 1808 Sheikh Sultan bin Saqr al-Qasimi (d. 1866) (1st time)
  • 1808 - 1814 Sheikh al-Husayn bin `Ali al-Qasimi (acting)
  • 1814 - 1820 Sheikh al-Hasan bin Rahman al-Qasimi (acting)
  • 1820 - 1866 Sheikh Sultan bin Saqr al-Qasimi (2nd time)
  • 1866 - May 1867 Sheikh Ibrahim bin Sultan al-Qasimi
  • May 1867 - 14 April 1868 Sheikh Khalid bin Sultan al-Qasimi (d. 1868)
  • 14 April 1868 - 1869 Sheikh Salim bin Sultan al-Qasimi (b. 18.. - d. 1919)
  • 1869 - August 1900 Sheikh Humayd bin Abdullah al-Qasimi (d. 1900)

  • Sharjah then appointed governors:
    • September 1900 - 1909 Currently Unknown
    • 1909 - August 1919 Sheikh Salim bin Sultan al-Qasimi (s.a.)
    • August 1919 - 10 July 1921 Sheikh Sultan bin Salim al-Qasimi (b. 1891 - d. 19..), who stayed on the first of its own rulers:
  • 10 July 1921 - Feb 1948 Sheikh Sultan bin Salim al-Qasimi (s.a.)
  • 17 July 1948 - present Sheikh Saqr bin Muhammad al-Qasimi (b. 1918)


Exact population figures are difficult to come by, but a government census in 2005 calculated that the total population of the UAE was 4.3m. Many suspect that the actual figure is closer to 5m due to the large numbers of expatriate workers residing in the UAE, some of which may have been unaccounted for in the census. RAK is estimated to have a total population of 300,000. While UAE citizens officially make up less than 20% of the population in the UAE, this figure is higher in RAK. Emiratis are thought to make up at least 50% of the emirate’s population.The official language of the UAE is Arabic, although English is widely used in business circles. A significant portion of the expatriate population also speaks Hindi, Urdu, Bengali, Persian and other languages of the subcontinent.


As the emirate will never be a major oil producer, RAK has instead had to concentrate on developing its industrial sector. It opened the UAE's first cement company in the early 1970s and is now the UAE's largest producer of cement. In the 1980s, the emirate formed RAK Ceramics, which has become the world's largest ceramics producer, and Julphar, the Persian Gulfmarker region's first pharmaceuticals company.


Schools: A large number of Government-run schools—primary, elementary and higher secondary—are scattered all over Ras Al Khaimah with Arabic as their main medium of instruction.Among other Arabic-medium schools are those that are run by private managements, viz.:
  • The Egyptian School
  • Badr Primary School
Apart from the above schools, there are English-medium ones which offer varied curricula to suit the expatriate community, offering syllabi such as GCSE, IGCSE, A Levels, O Levels, CBSE, Kerala State-Board (Indian Syllabi), Pakistani, Dhaka Board(Bangladeshi Syllabi) etc. viz.

University Education: Many locally-established universities and foreign universities have set up base in Ras Al Khaimah, some of which include:

Bharati Vidyapeeth University,The latest university which will be opened in RAK Free Trade Zone in February 2009. The officials of this new branch hope to attract 60 students for its bachelor of business administration course and 60 for its master of business administration degree.


Within Ras Al Khaimah: Metered taxis are the main mode of transport within Ras Al Khaimah. Public buses also operate only on long-haul routes and they cater mainly to people residing in far-flung towns, viz. Sha`am, Rams, Jazeerah-al-Hamra etc.

Emirate-to-Emirate: Ras Al Khaimah is connected to emirates like Dubaimarker, Sharjahmarker, Ajmanmarker, Umm Al Quwainmarker and Fujairahmarker by taxis which often embark from the taxi-stand located south of Al Dhaid town near the new RAK Police Headquarters. The fare per head is AED 20. Engaged taxis are available on request for Dhs 100 to 150 to Dubai and Dhs 200 to 250 to Abu Dhabi.

Cars are available for rent from various Rent-A-Cars at negotiable prices starting at Dhs 80.

Highways: Three free-flowing dual-carriageways link Ras Al Khaimah with the other emirates and beyond. One follows the coast with beaches on one side and stretches of desert on the other; the other, new route runs out towards the airport in the direction of Khattmarker, Masafimarker, Fujairahmarker and Dhaidmarker and further onto Oman.

The newly constructed 'Emirates Road (E311 Highway)' traverses the emirates of Umm Al Quwainmarker, Ajmanmarker (60 km) and Sharjahmarker (71 km) to finally end up in Dubaimarker (87 km). The new highway allows journeys from Ras Al Khaimah to Dubai in under 45 minutes.
Ras Al Khaimah Sea Port
Seaport: Saqr Port, located in the industrial area of Khor Khuwair, is the Emirate's main port, providing bulk and container services. It has eight deep water berths, each 200 m long, is dredged to 12.2 m and has two ro-ro ramps plus specialised berths for handling bulk cement and aggregate. Other services include ship handling, crew changes and 40,000 m2 of covered storage together with a vast open storage area. It is also the closest port in the UAE to Bandar Abbasmarker in Iranmarker.

Airport: The Ras Al Khaimah International Airportmarker is currently undergoing an upgrade. It operates cargo and passenger services to a variety of destinations covering the Middle East, North & East Africa, Central Asia, India and the Far East. In total 27 airlines including RAK Airways, Gulf Air, Egypt Air, Indian Airlines, Aeroflot, Pakistan International Airlines and many other airlines operate scheduled and non-scheduled flights. Open 24 hours a day and 7 days a week, the airport has an open skies policy with no restrictions on frequencies and time of arrival / departure; offers competitive tariffs and storage facilities; is not congested, and has a full offering of duty-free goods, among other services.

Spaceport: On February 17 2006, Space Adventures announced its plans to develop a $265 m commercial spaceport in Ras Al-Khaimah (Ras Al Khaimah spaceport) for purposes of space tourism.

Taxation and companies law

New legislation and regulations adopted by Ras al-Khaimah authorities favour big international interest for offshore business purposes. The combination of security and confidentiality is ensured to entrepreneurs.An International Business Company may only have foreign customers and is not liable for paying local taxes. It can open a local bank account, make investments tax-free, obtain mortgages for investing in UAE assets. Employment visas are available. When approved, this type of company can own property in UAE free trade zones.An International Business Company may be of a 100% foreign ownership.



No income, sales or wealth taxes are payable by individuals in Ras al-Khaimah.


No corporate taxes are charged in Ras al-Khaimah. In addition, there are no exchange controls, no withholding nor import or export taxes.

Healthcare in Ras Al Khaimah

Ras Al Khaimah has 2 government hospitals namely Saqr Hospital and Saif Bin Ghobash Hospital.The new "RAK Hospital", a multispecialty hospital, is the only private hospital in Ras Al Khaimah.It is promoted by Arabian Healthcare LLC,a joint venture between the Government of Ras Al Khaimah and the Dubai based ETA Star Group.RAK Hospital is managed by "Sonnenhof-Swisshealth", a major healtcare provider in Switzerland.RAK Hospital opened in November 2007 with departments as Cardiology, Surgery, General Medicine, Obstetrics and Gynecology and Pediatrics among others.RAK Hospital has been accredited by "Joint Commission International" (JCI)and "Swiss Leading Hospitals".




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