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A history flashback: Dubai

Updated: Nov 21, 2019

It's hard to imagine that the City of Superlatives, the Metropolitan Hub, and the City of Gold was previously a fishing town. Dubai, which now holds over 100 Guinness World Records, was in fact a fishing and pearl diving town in the past times. It's fascinating to get an insight on how one of the most famous and modern cities of the world has evolved into its current state.

Early-age Dubai

The area of Dubai is believed to have been a vast mangrove swamp until the 3,000 BC, when the swamp dried out. The first human settlement in the history of Dubai dates back to these times as well, as the area became inhabitable with the dry out. Around 2,500 BC, palm plantation was introduced and is believed to have been the site’s first-time agricultural use.

Before the discovery of oil

Photo of: Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai, 1990

Pearl diving, fishing, and boat building were the major economic activities in Dubai during this time period. Pearl diving was a vital economic resource, that the invention of artificial pearls tremendously harmed the area’s economy.

In 1793, members of the Bani Yas tribe settled in Abu Dhabi, Dubai’s neighboring city. The Bani Yas tribe was of Najdi origin in the United Arab Emirates. This has left Dubai to become a dependency. The oldest existing building in Dubai, Al Fahidi Fort, is believed to have been built during the same time period.

A key-turning year for Dubai was 1833, when Maktoum bin Butti and other members of the Bani Yas tribe settled in Dubai Creek. It was then that Dubai was announced independent of Abu Dhabi. During this time period, fishing was still dominant and Dubai was announced as a fishing village. It is worth knowing that Dubai is still ruled by the Maktoum family to date.

New and innovative ideas began to flow on how to grow and boost Dubai’s economy. Their mission was successfully accomplished and had a great impact on Dubai’s trade activities when a new rule granting tax exemption to foreign traders and expatriates was announced. This has led to a flood of foreign workers, traders, and businessmen to Dubai.

Despite the growth on trade, Dubai was still highly dependent on fishing and pearl diving. Searches for new and more reliable sources of income began and lasted until the most significant game changer was discovered: Dubai Oil.

After oil was discovered

Photo of: Sheikh Zayed Road, 2019

The discovery of oil in 1966 has been a major turnover in the city’s recognition and positioning worldwide. Since then, Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum has announced a plan and the full strategical commitment in transforming Dubai into one of the most successful metropolitan cities.

Dubai then rapidly became recognized as a modernly lavish city and internationally-appreciated commercial hub. The infrastructure and facilities of the city, including hospitals, schools, and roads were highly developed. The Dubai International Airport built a new terminal and a runway extension was made to accommodate any possible type of aircraft. Moreover, Jebel Ali was created to be the world’s largest man-made harbor.

Foreign and international companies started identifying Dubai an economic, trade and commercial capital of the MENA region, racing to open their regional offices in the city. Dubai’s leadership’s vision expanded to include setting world records especially in architectural constructions. Currently, the city is home to the world’s tallest building, Burj Khalifa, which alone has broken many Guinness World Records.

The diversity has transformed the social scenery of Dubai from being a conservative and tradition-oriented society, into a more open and tolerant one. Multiculturalism and diversity has pushed internationally renowned restaurant and hotel chains to start opening in Dubai, providing world-class luxury for tourists, expatriates, and locals.

Although still conservative regarding some rules like drinking in the streets, Dubai is one of the most expatriate-friendly environments to live and work in. The city even hosts world-famous nightclubs, bars, and lounges where you can enjoy a typically westernized night-out in the heart of the Middle East.

During your next visit to Dubai, take a minute to look around the sky-sealing sky-scrappers, man-made islands, and humongous ports, and appreciate the city’s humble history, diverse present, and yet surprising future. From a fishing town by the sea to a leading metropolitan, Dubai has turned into a destination for celebrities, economists, and many others.

In the land where everything is possible, your dreams and desired lifestyle are always just a click away. Luxuries including yachts, private jets, drivers, and VIP and Elite tables at the most lavish lounges, bars, restaurants, and nightclubs of the city, are all available through BeSeated within seconds. Dream big and BeSeated while you appreciate the Dubai’s finest.