Abu Dhabi History

Introduction to Abu Dhabi History

Abu Dhabi is the capital and the second most populous city of the United Arab Emirates. The city is located on the eastern side of the United Arab Emirates, on the Arabian Peninsula. Abu Dhabi has a long and rich history that dates back to as early as 3,000 BC, when it was first inhabited by a handful of nomadic tribes.

Pre-Islamic History

Abu Dhabi has been occupied by many different civilizations, beginning with the migrating Bani Yas tribe. This Bedouin tribe traveled to the area in the late 18th century and established it as their primary settlement. The city was also home to various trading tribes, and is believed to have been an important trade hub in the region.

Archaeological evidence suggests that Abu Dhabi was also home to a large and prosperous trading port for thousands of years. Excavations have revealed evidence of significant and organized agricultural and fishing activities in the area during the 4th and 5th centuries BC.

Islamic History

The birth of Islam marked a major turning point in the history of Abu Dhabi. During the 7th century AD, Arabian tribes began traveling to the city in large numbers and is believed to have been the first city in the UAE to convert to the religion.

In the 13th century, the city was a major port for ships and travelers crossing the Arabian Sea. Abu Dhabi also served as a base for many travelers heading to India and the Far East, and is believed to have seen significant sea traffic and trade during this time.

Modern History

In 1761, all of the UAE’s sheikdoms declared their independence from the ruling dynasty in the region. In 1820, Sheikh Shakhbut bin Sultan Al Nakheer ascended the throne in Abu Dhabi and was the first ruler of the city. Under his rule, the city saw a period of development and growth that has continued to this day.

Abu Dhabi officially became the capital of the United Arab Emirates in 1971. Since then, the city has seen an unprecedented boom in its economy and population, as well as an influx of foreign investment and businesses. Today, Abu Dhabi is one of the most modern and progressive cities in the world.


Abu Dhabi’s history is a rich and interesting one, stretching back thousands of years to when the area was first inhabited by migrating tribes. Through Islamic and modern history, the city has seen tremendous growth and progress, and is now a vibrant, international city.

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