- UAE redirects here; for other uses of that term, see UAE (disambiguation)
The United Arab Emirates is an oil-rich country situated in the south-east of the Arabian Peninsula in Southwest Asia, comprising seven emirates: Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Dubai, Fujairah, Ras al-Khaimah, Sharjah and Umm al-Quwain. Before 1971, they were known as the Trucial States, in reference of a nineteenth-century truce between the British and some Arab sheikhs. It neighbours Oman, Saudi Arabia and Qatar. The UAE is also a part of the Middle East.
Main article: History of the United Arab Emirates
The Trucial States of the Persian Gulf coast granted the United Kingdom control of their defense and foreign affairs in nineteenth-century treaties. In 1971, six of these states - Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Fujairah, Sharjah, Dubai, and Umm al-Qaiwain - merged to form the United Arab Emirates. They were joined in 1972 by Ras al-Khaimah.
Main article: Politics of the United Arab Emirates
The Supreme Council consists of the individual rulers of the seven emirates. The President and Vice-President are elected by the Supreme Council every five years. Although unofficial, the Presidency is hereditary to the Al-Nahyan clan of Abu Dhabi, and the Premiership is hereditary to the Al-Maktoom clan of Dubai. The Supreme Council also elects the Council of Ministers, while an appointed 40-member Federal National Council, drawn from all the emirates, reviews proposed laws. There is a federal court system; all emirates except Dubai and Ras al-Khaimah have joined the federal system; all emirates have secular and Islamic law for civil, criminal, and high courts.
Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan was the union's president from the nation's founding until his death on 2 November 2004. His son, Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahayan was elected president the next day.
Main article: Economy of the United Arab Emirates
The UAE's wealth is largely based on oil and gas output, some 33% of GDP. It is the third largest oil producer in the Gulf after Saudi Arabia and Iraq. Since 1973, the UAE has undergone a profound transformation from an impoverished region of small desert principalities to a modern state with a high standard of living. The country's per capita GDP is not far below the GDPs of the leading West European nations. Its generosity with oil revenues and its moderate foreign policy stance have allowed it to play a vital role in the affairs of the region. Its small size, wealth and friendliness to the West have lead many to call it the Singapore of the Middle East.
Main article Emirates of the United Arab Emirates
The UAE comprises the following seven emirates:
Main article: Geography of the United Arab Emirates
The UAE lies in Southwest Asia, bordering the Gulf of Oman and the Persian Gulf, between Oman and Saudi Arabia. It is a flat, barren coastal plain merging into rolling sand dunes of vast desert wasteland; with mountains in the east. Its strategic location along southern approaches to the Strait of Hormuz makes it a vital transit point for world crude oil. The UAE is considered to be one of the fifteen states that comprise the so-called "Cradle of Humanity"
The border demarcation treaties of 1974 and 1977 between the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia were never made public. Therefore the exact border of the two countries is only known to their governments.
Main article: Demographics of the United Arab Emirates
The UAE's population of almost 4 million contains some 2.6 million non-nationals - indeed 50% of the population is South Asian. Many of the natives are originally from Persian descent. The population growth rate is low compared to its neighbours. Religious beliefs are almost exclusively Muslim. Around 80% of the population can read and write.
Main article: Culture of the United Arab Emirates
Rooted in Islamic culture, the UAE has strong ties with the rest of the Arab world. The government are committed to preserving traditional forms of art and culture, including via the Abu Dhabi Cultural Foundation. Change is apparent in social life however - attitudes towards women are shifting, and new sports are becoming popular alongside traditional camel racing including the world's richest horse race, the Dubai World Cup, held annually in March.  (http://www.dubaiworldcup.com/)
- Government of United Arab Emirates (http://www.uae.gov.ae/) official site
- CIA World Factbook - United Arab Emirates (http://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/geos/ae.html)
- Library of Congress - Country Studies: United Arab Emirates (http://lcweb2.loc.gov/frd/cs/aetoc.html)
- Arab Gateway - United Arab Emirates (http://www.al-bab.com/arab/countries/uae.htm)
- LookSmart - United Arab Emirates (http://search.looksmart.com/p/browse/us1/us317916/us559898/us560105/us560122/) directory category
- Open Directory Project - United Arab Emirates (http://dmoz.org/Regional/Middle_East/United_Arab_Emirates/) directory category
- Yahoo! - United Arab Emirates (http://dir.yahoo.com/Regional/Countries/United_Arab_Emirates/) directory category