Fast Facts

Abu Dhabi; 630,000
77,700 square kilometers (30,000 square miles)
Arabic, Persian, English, Hindi, Urdu
Sunni and Shiite Muslim, Christian, Hindu
Emirati dirham
Life Expectancy:
GDP per Capita:
U.S. $22,100
Literacy Percent:
Flag: United Arab Emirates
Map: United Arab Emirates

Seven sheikhdoms on the Arabian Peninsula combined to form a federation after Britain pulled out of this barren coastal region in 1971. The United Arab Emirates comprises Abu Dhabi, seat of the federal government and the oil capital; Dubayy (Dubai), the main port and commercial industrial hub; Ajman; Umm al Qaywayn; Ras al Khaymah; Al Fujayrah; and Sharjah. Oil, discovered in 1958, is the major income earner. Oil wealth brought foreign workers, who now make up about three-quarters of the population. A favorite destination for tourists, the country has a liberal attitude toward other cultures and beliefs.


  • Industry: Petroleum, fishing, petrochemicals, construction materials
  • Agriculture: Dates, vegetables, watermelons; poultry; fish
  • Exports: Crude oil, natural gas, reexports, dried fish, dates

—Text From National Geographic Atlas of the World, Eighth Edition

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