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Open map of United Arab EmiratesFlag of United Arab EmiratesUnited Arab Emirates / Emirates
Abu Dhabi
Arabic: abū zhaby

Emirate of United Arab Emirates.
Capital: Abu Dhabi
Inhabitants: 1.85 million (2005 estimate)
Area: 67,350 km²
Ruler: Shaykh Khalifa bin Zayed Al-Nahayan

Emirate belonging to the federation of United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Abu Dhabi is the most populated of the emirates, and its surface area represents 87% of all of the UAE. Abu Dhabi has two of the largest cities of the emirates, its namesake capital, with 650,000 inhabitants, and inland Al-Ain with 410,000 inhabitants (2005 estimates).

Throughout its modern history, petroleum production has by far been the most important economic activity in Abu Dhabi; oil reserves were at 91% of the total for all of the UAE. With declining oil prices, the petroleum sector's contribution to GDP was as low as 29% in 1997. Then, manufacturing's contribution has risen to 16%.
Petroleum is exported through 2 main ports, the Jabal Dhanna and the Das Island. There are 3 more terminals, smaller in size, the Abu al-Bukhoosh, Mubarraz, and Delma Island.
Income from massive foreign investments is a major source of income for Abu Dhabi. Around 2004, the value of the Abu Dhabi ownership was estimated at US$150 billion.
Cruder forms of industries are located to Jabal Dhanna and Ruways in the western parts of the emirate, 250 km from Abu Dhabi city. Light industries belong mainly to the Musalah area, on the mainland in front of the island where Abu Dhabi is located. The government of Abu Dhabi has a very active policy to bring foreign investments and knowledge to the emirate, in order to help develop new sources of income. New industrial zones include Mussafah and Saadiyat Island.
Agriculture, traditionally based on the production of dates, has been diversified, and other crops now represent the largest source of revenue.

1761: The Nahyan family of the Bani Yas tribe, native to Liwa Oasis, establishes an independent political unity.
1793: A freshwater well is discovered near the location of modern city of Abu Dhabi.
Late 18th century: The Bani Yas takes control over Dubai.
19th century: Two branches of the Bani Yas split, thereby Abu Dhabi and Dubai again become separate political units.
Late 19th century: Pearl trade brings important revenues to Abu Dhabi.
1930: The perling industry collapses, bringing upon Abu Dhabi heavy decline.
1939: Oil concessions are granted by Abu Dhabi's shaykh.
1958: Oil is discovered on Abu Dhabi territory.
1966: The conservative ruler of Abu Dhabi, Shaykh Shakbut, is replaced by brother, the progress friendly Shaykh Zayed. The British are greatly involved in this coup.
1971 December 2: With the British withdrawal, and full independence for the shaykhdoms, 6 of them form the United Arab Emirates. The Abu Dhabi ruler is central in this effort, and also becomes the head of the new state.

By Tore Kjeilen