United Arab Emirates - Geography
The Emirates are all city-states. The boundaries between the individual
emirates are determined on the basis of traditional clan rights; several
emirates have isolated enclaves inside the neighboring country. The affiliation
of some of the many islands off the coast is unclear. In connection with oil
exploration and based on military considerations, this leads to recurring
conflicts. Measured by population and especially economy, Abu Dhabi is the
leader among the Emirates. It is also the only one where there is a big city
beyond the capital: al-Ayn with the University of the Emirates; it is located in
the largest oasis in the Arabian Peninsula, al-Buraymi.
Natural geography and agriculture
The Emirates consists of a flat and barren coastal plain that slides south
into an empty sand desert. To the east, where the Oman Mountains stretch into
the Emirates, wide gravel plains separate the highlands from the desert of Saudi
Arabia al-Rub al-Khali. In the inner part of Abu Dhabi lies in addition
to al-Buraymi also the oasis Liwa; both have large date plantations. In the
eastern part of Sharjah and Fujairah, water from the mountains enables modest
agriculture. Most important, however, is agriculture in Ras al-Khaimah, where
groundwater from the mountains of Oman enables irrigation from wells. Overall,
however, this is a very modest production that contributes only 2 percent of the
UAE's total GDP.
The climate in the Emirates is typically Gulf climate, hot and dry. During
the summer months, daytime temperatures range from 35 to 50 °C. At the coasts,
the heath is emphasized by a very high humidity, which makes all kinds of
outdoor activities extremely unpleasant. Life is lived indoors, where virtually
all buildings are air conditioned; this also applies to the large car
fleet. During the winter months, daytime temperatures are generally around 20-30
°C, and here most of the sparse rainfall falls; at the coast 75-125 mm on an
annual basis, but in the eastern mountain areas up to 375 mm.
Area and population numbers are subject to considerable uncertainty.
- 73,060 km2
- 3 million population (2005)
- Oil production 1994: 94.1 mill. t (2.9 percent of world production)
- Oil reserves: DKK 11.9 billion t (9.1 percent of world reserves)
- The largest and richest of the Emirates.
- The city of Abu Dhabi serves as the capital of the entire UAE.
- Al-Ayn in Buraymioasis houses the University of the Emirates.
- 260 km2
- 189,800 residents (2005)
- The smallest and least developed by the Emirates.
- 3900 km2
- 2 million population (2005)
- Oil production 1994: DKK 16.8 million t
- Oil reserves: 640 million t
- The second largest of the Emirates.
- In addition to oil revenues, Dubai focuses on trade, tourism and
- Large foreign investment in the free zone Jebel Ali.
- 1300 km2
- 118,600 residents (2005)
- Until 1952 part of Sharjah; located as the only one of the Emirates on
the east side of the Oman Peninsula.
- Several enclaves in the area belong to Oman and Sharjah.
- 1700 km2
- 197,600 residents (2005)
- Located up to the Oman Mountains and has irrigated agriculture.
- It is considered the most beautiful of the Emirates and has increasing
- 2600 km2
- 725,000 residents (2005)
- Oil production 1994: 2.7 mill. t
- Oil reserves: 160 million t
- Orthodox Muslim community with close ties to Saudi Arabia.
- 780 km2
- 45,800 residents (2005)
- Together with Ajman the least modernized emirate.
- Traditional fishing and agriculture continue to be key industries.
Oil and gas
The oil resources are very unequally distributed between the seven
emirates. Together, the Emirates account for 3.3 percent of world oil production
(2003). Abu Dhabi alone has over 90 percent of the Emirates' oil reserves,
including the largest natural gas fields. With current oil production, there are
reserves for over 100 years. Dubai, which is the second largest producer, has
relatively modest reserves that are only expected to last for 10-20 years. Of
the others, only Sharjah has significant reserves, but production from here is
The first oil discoveries were made off the coast of Abu Dhabi in 1958, and
since 1964 the Emirates has been an oil exporter. A large part of the production
takes place offshore, around the disputed small islands of Abu Musa. The
Abu Dhabi National Oil Company accounts for a large part of the extraction in
the whole area, and the Emirates is a member of OPEC. For oil geology,
see Persian Gulf.
No actual censuses have ever been conducted in the Emirates. In 1968 it was
estimated that the area had about 180,000 residents, in 1975 just over
550,000, in 1993 approximately 2.1 million and in 2005 just over DKK 4.5 million. The
large growth can be attributed to two factors: a very large natural population
growth with high fertility and rapidly declining mortality and the very
significant immigration of guest workers from Asia in particular, which was
necessary for the ambitious development goals set when oil revenues began to
flow in. In 1986, when immigration peaked, the population grew by 11 percent and
in 1990 again by over 10 percent. The latest figure was based on large-scale
Kuwaiti immigration following Iraq's occupation of Kuwait. Immigration has meant
that the indigenous population only constitutes a minority of 20-25 percent of
the total population. Most guest workers come from India and Pakistan, to a
lesser extent from Sri Lanka, the Philippines, Iran and Arab countries. Many
highly educated people from the USA, Japan and Europe hold specialized
jobs. Restrictive immigration laws mean that2/3 of the
population are men.
Do you know how many people there are in United Arab
Emirates? Check this site to see population pyramid and resident density
about this country.
In addition to being an Arab country, the Emirates are Islamic, and Islamic
law, sharia, applies in particular in civil matters in parallel with
modern law. In 1994, the government decided that several predominantly criminal
cases should be tried in sharia courts, presumably in an attempt to prevent
fundamentalist criticism. approximately 80 percent of the local population are Sunni
Muslims with effect from the wahhabittiske direction in Saudi Arabia; the rest
are Shia Muslims. The many guest workers, of course, mean that other religions
are represented, and they are tolerated to the extent that they do not challenge
Islam. Thus, there are several Christian churches in the country.
The large oil revenues have been able to pay abundantly for the radical
development that the country has undergone, and they have been used to secure
the population in a number of areas from defense and security to education,
health, work, and the building of an impressive infrastructure. New cities, a
well-functioning motorway network, airports, several large port facilities (Abu
Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah and most recently Fujairah have been built) and
telecommunications, and 22 plants desalinate seawater and ensure a stable
freshwater supply. They are helping to make the Emirates the country in the
world that uses the most energy per capita. resident. Part of the water is
used for irrigation, also for green plants; for example, the access roads to Abu
Dhabi are adorned with a true flora, although they are located in a desert
area. In addition to establishing free trade zones, IT is also being invested in
and increasingly tourism.
The emirates are governed by a council, which consists of the seven
rulers. The individual countries have to varying degrees declared autocracy as a
form of government, and no democratic tendencies or opposition are
known. Political life is marked by rivalry between the two great emirates of Abu
Dhabi and Dubai, as well as by the fear of the others to be completely engulfed
by the great. Abu Dhabi, the largest contributor to the common budget, is in
favor of a strong union, while Dubai prefers a looser structure, no doubt for
fear that Abu Dhabi will have a decisive influence in a closer union. The
discrepancies have meant that the seven emirates each continued to have
their own defense forces, and the aim of the military forces is probably as much
to keep each other in check as to ward off threats from outside.