Brief History

The history of the UAE considerably precedes the beginning of the Union of Seven (Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Fujairah, Umm Al Quwain and Ras Al Khaimah) and the formation of the United Arab Emirates. However, the Emirates’ union was a turning point in the history of the Trucial Coast region. The success of this Union gave the United Arab Emirates its rightful place in the international community as a modern state.
In fact, the UAE has a rich history and culture as demonstrated by many studies based on ancient documents and artifacts discovered in this land. Many national and foreign exploration expeditions in the UAE from 1958 up till now - have shed light on the civilization of the people of this region since the end of the 4th Millennium BC. People lived in this area during periods much earlier than that according to findings of archaeologists who have explored archaeological sites near the city of Al Ain that date back to the Neolithic Period.
In addition to its history and civilization, the Gulf region enjoyed a strategic geographical location as well. Therefore, conflicts, to seize control of India and the Gulf region, broke out between the European powers (Portuguese, French and British) since the 16th century. Their aim was to control the maritime trade. On the other hand, regional and local forces emerged to defend their rights and their homeland.
The Portuguese were the first to wreak havoc across the Arabian Gulf, led by such commanders as da Gama and Albuquerque, and followed by many others, who have committed heinous massacres against the Arabs and Muslims and destroyed Muscat and Khor Fakkan. Portuguese colonialization of the Arabian Gulf continued for most of the 16th century. Then their stranglehold was weakened by the resistance of the people of the area and the competition between the Dutch, British and French powers to seize control of the seas in Orient. The expansion of the East India Company, which was founded in 1617, enabled Britain to expel the Portuguese from the region in 1625, and put them out of competition altogether in 1766.
In the beginning of the 19th century, two Arab powers emerged in the region. The first was the Bani Yas tribe, which controlled the lower Arabian Gulf (Abu Dhabi and Dubai), and the second was Al Qawasim tribe with its capital in Ras Al Khaimah. Al Qawasim established a remarkable maritime power by which they were able to fight the British fleets and ships in the Arabian Gulf and further afield in the Indian Ocean.
The Gulf Region remained under the control of the British who based their policy on three unrealistic premises: The fight against the pirates, the fight against the slave trade and the fight against trade.  In fact, these justifications were used by Britain as smokescreen for its colonial expansionist policies. Britain continued to control the region by various means, until it concluded in 1820 a treaty with the sheikhs of the Oman Coast, which gave its existence a legal treaty basis. By signing this treaty, the British called the western coast of the Gulf the Trucial Coast.