United Arab Emirates / Emirates
Emirate belonging to the federation of United Arab Emirates (UAE).
The surface area of Sharjah represents 3.3% of all of the UAE. Sharjah's effective territory is divided between 5 areas. The main part, with the city of Sharjah, has a 16 km coast line along the Persian Gulf, stretching inland about 80 km; there are 3 enclaves along the Gulf of Oman, Kalba and Khor Fakkan and a tiny section of Diba al-Hisn; the last territory is a small mountainous enclave. All three coastal enclaves are small in size, but inhabited. Sharjah also lays a claim on the island of Abu Musa, which is formally shared with Iran, but effectively out of Sharjah administration, altogether.
Sharjah is by far the most religiously conservative of the emirates, imposing strict dress codes for both men and women, forbidding social interaction between unrelated women and men, as well as being the only emirate forbidding alcohol.
The ruler of Sharjah, Shaykh Sultan Bin Muhammad al-Qasimi, has been in office since 1972.
A large part of Sharjah's population work in neighbour Dubai, benefitting from cheaper housing in Sharjah.
Sharjah has benefitted from oil revenues since 1974, especially from the offshore oil field of Mubarak that continues into Iranian controlled territory. Oil production here has gone down drastically since around 1990, by when a new field, the Sajaa had been put into operation, producing more than the Mubarak ever had.
Sharjah has been very successful in developing new industries, and has established numerous industrial zones along the border region to Dubai. The main activities include food, furniture, gold, jewellery, plastics and building materials. Sharjah's share of the total industrial production of UAE had by 2001 reached a level of 43%. Yet, the manufacturing contributes to less than 20% of GDP. Presently, new investments are reluctant, as the high speed of development in recent years have caused shortage of gas supplies and high prices.
Around 1727: Qawasim clan forms an independent shaykhdom here.
1820: The local shaykh signs an agreement with the British, agreeing to form a protectorate, thereby achieving safety from the Ottomans.
1903: Kalba, on the coast of the Gulf of Oman, gains independence from Sharjah with its own shaykh as ruler.
1952: Kalba returns to Sharjah.
Fujairah gains independence from Sharjah.
1971 December 2: Shaykh Khalid 3 joins the United Arab Emirates, along with all present emirates except Ras al-Khaimah that would join the following year.
1974: Oil production begins at the Mubarak field with a rate of 60,000 b/d.
1988 April: Iranian forces attack the Mubarak oil field.