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The human habitation in the UAE is said to be dated back to 5500 BC.

The traffic started in the form of trade between Southern Iraq and Syria in 1AD. These routes were alternatively used by the Romans. The trade had touched the peaks in this era.

Advent of Islam

In 630, the arrival of the Prophet Mohammad, an Islamic representative has aspired many to convert their region to Islam. After that, At Dibba one of the major battles of the Ridda Wars resulted in the triumph of Islam in the Arabian Peninsula.

In 637, Julfar was used as a staging post for the Islamic invasion of Sasanian Iran. Over many centuries, Julfar became a wealthy port and pearling center from which dhows travelled throughout the Indian Ocean especially to neighboring land of Sindh and its cities of Thatta and Debal.

The Portuguese were the first to arrive in 1498 when Vasco de Gamma traveled from the Cape of Good Hope followed by British with their abundant naval power. The British clashed with tribals and imposed a General Treaty of Peace on the nine Arab sheikhdoms, and established a garrison in the region. The area was known as the Trucial Coast before the creation of the UAE in 1971. For some time Sharjah was powerful but history went for a change with the discovery of oil. In 1962 Oil was exported for the first time from Abu Dhabi. Low-rise concrete buildings were erected, roadwork was completed, and oil wealth had the potential to transform the entire nation.

The rulers had vision of development and trade turning poverty into richness. When Britain left a new federation - the United Arab Emirates was formed in July 1971 with the agreement of six of the Trucial States Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Umm al-Qaiwain, Ajman and Fujairah. Sheikh Zayed of Abu Dhabi was the first President of the United Arab Emirates.

Today, the UAE is a modern, stable and major international tourist and business center having the highest per capita incomes in the world. It has approximately 10% of the world's oil reserves. Oil, trade, commerce, business, tourism, real estate and construction sector contributes to the country's GDP.

It has 80% expatriate population. Al Ain is an oasis city. All major cities are well connected to the capital Abu Dhabi. Modern UAE is known for gleaming high-rise buildings and great urban facilities and sophisticated transport systems. Ambitious construction projects have been visualized and executed across the length and breadth of the country.

It is an active member of the Arab League and is a major donor when calamities strike any part of the world. It has a 40 member Federal National Council consultative body appointed by the seven rulers. In 1981 UAE became a founding member of the Gulf Cooperation Council. In 2006 Economic changes were announced to bring change in official weekend in line with Western nations, introducing laws to reduce dependence on foreign workers and allowing laborers to form trade unions. It has unveiled a national development strategy aimed at making strides in development and growth of the country. It is home to Burj Khalifa Tower which is the world's tallest building and man-made structure.

Expat Community

The country has gone through a total transformation towards modernism. Over 150 nationalities contribute to its growth and development. The cities and streets, malls and business areas are full of people speaking numerous languages and adhering to different cultures. you will meet many people with different values and opinions.

Social Ethics

The culture and laws of UAE are designed to ensure respect regardless of the faith and nationality. All should avoid improper conduct and behavior which leads to imposition of fines, direct imprisonment and immediate deportation. Alcohol consumption is permitted only to non-Muslims in licensed venues, and at home for people with alcohol license. This license is only for buying alcohol and does not guarantee an immunity for alcohol related criminal offences. You need to be 21 or over in order to drink alcohol legally in the UAE.

Use of Drugs is forbidden. The penalty for possessing or trafficking drugs is severe.

A Word of Warning

The country is a safe from crimes. Please take necessary precautions to stay safe.

Dress Code

Emiratis dress conservatively in traditional dress and feel offended when others people dress inappropriately neglecting Islamic values. In shopping malls, restaurants and parks, you must be dressed appropriately. Take care to see that the Clothing is not transparent, or indecent. There must be no offensive display of pictures and slogans. In case you are dressed inappropriately you may be asked to leave. Nudity is forbidden, which includes topless sunbathing. Swimwear should not be worn in areas other than the beach, water parks, and swimming pools.

Respect Religion

Islamic religious values are greatly respected in the country. Showing any disrespect towards religious beliefs or practices is considered offensive and is likely to result in a fine and/or imprisonment. Other religions are also respected.

Follow the rules of respect:

Muslims pray five times a day. Mosques call people to pray through speakers. At that time turn off public music as Muslims perform their daily prayers. During the holy month of Ramadan, Muslims undertake fasting from dawn to sunset. Throughout this month avoid eating, drinking, smoking, playing loud music and dancing in public places during day. These all are forbidden and likely to be punished even for non-Muslims.

Every evening during Ramadan, Muslims break their fast with an evening meal called Iftar. There are many hotels and restaurants which provide Iftar buffets.

In Summary

The majority of expatriates, students and visitors have a trouble free and enjoyable time while staying in the UAE. Respecting local laws and customs immensely helps you to avoid troubles. Have a great time but make the requisite preparations and ensure that you are well-informed. It is good to know the expectations associated with the stay.

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