United Arab Emirates in 1982

The Trucial States of the Persian Gulf coast granted the UK control of their defense and foreign affairs in 19th century treaties. In 1971, six of these states – Abu Dhabi, ‘Ajman, Al Fujayrah, Ash Shariqah, Dubayy, and Umm al Qaywayn – merged to form the United Arab Emirates (UAE). They were joined in 1972 by Ra’s al Khaymah.


82,880 km2; almost all desert, waste or urban Land boundaries: 1,094 km (does not include boundaries between adjacent UAE states)


Limits of territorial waters (claimed): 3 nm for all states except Sharjah (12 nm); fishing 200 nm; exclusive economic zone 200 nm

Coastline: 1,448 km


Population: 1,240,000 (July 1982), average annual growth rate 11.3%

Nationality: Noun—Emirian(s), adjective—Emirian

Ethnic divisions: Emirians 19%, other Arabs 23%, South Asians 50% (fluctuating), other expatriates (includes Westerners and East Asians) 8%

Religion: Muslim 96%, Christian, Hindu, and other 4%

Language: Arabic; English widely spoken in major cities

Literacy: 25% est. (1975)

Labor force: 541,000 (1980 est.); 56% services; 80% of labor force is foreign


Official name: United Arab Emirates (composed of former Trucial States)

Member states: Abu Dhabi; Ajman; Dubai; al Fujayrah; Ras al-Khaymah; Sharjah; Umm al-Qaywayn

Type: federation; constitution signed December 1971, which delegated specified powers to the United Arab Emirates central government and reserved other powers to member shaykhdoms

Capital: Abu Dhabi

Legal system: secular codes are being introduced by the UAE Government and in several member shaykhdoms; Islamic law remains very influential

National holiday: 2 December

Branches: Supreme Council of Rulers (seven members), from which a President and Vice President are elected; Prime Minister and Council of Ministers; Federal National Assembly; federal Supreme Court

Government leaders: Shaykh Zayid bin Sultan Al NUHAYYAN of Abu Dhabi, President; Shaykh Rashid ibn Sa’id Al MAKTUM of Dubai, Vice President and Prime Minister

Suffrage: none

Elections: none

Political or pressure groups: none; a few small clandestine groups are active

Member of: Arab League, G-77, GATT (de facto), GCC, ICAO, IFAD, ILO, IMCO, IMF, NAM, OAPEC, OPEC, UN, UNESCO, UPU, WHO, WIPO, WTO


GNP: $30 billion est. (1980), $32,000 per capita

Agriculture: food imported, but some dates, alfalfa, vegetables, fruit, tobacco raised

Electric power: 3,814,000 kW capacity (1980); 8.353 billion kWh produced (1980), 8,943 kWh per capita

Exports: $22.2 billion (f.o.b., 1980; $19.6 billion in oil, $2.6 billion nonoil); crude petroleum, pearls, fish

Imports: $7.5 billion (f.o.b., 1980); food, consumer, and capital goods

Major trade partners: UK, US, Japan, India, EC

Budget: (1980) current expenditures $8.0 billion, capital $2.0 billion, public revenue $12.7 billion

Monetary conversion rate: 1 UAE Dirham=US$3.671 (1980)

Fiscal year: calendar year


Railroads: none

Highways: 780 km bituminous, undetermined mileage of earth tracks

Pipelines: 540 km crude oil; 190 km natural gas

Ports: 3 major, 1 minor

Civil air: 10 major transport aircraft, including 1 leased in

Airfields: 58 total, 37 usable; 18 with permanent-surface runways; 5 with runways over 3,659 m, 2 with runways 2,440-3,659 m, 10 with runways 1,220-2,439 m

Telecommunications: adequate system of radio relay and coaxial cable; key centers are Abu Dhabi and Dubai; 96,000 telephones (16.0 per 100 popl.); 4 AM, 2 FM, and 9 TV stations; 3 INTELSAT stations with 1 Atlantic and 2 Indian Ocean antennas


Military manpower: males 15-49, 445,000; 309,000 fit for military service

Military budget: for fiscal year ending 31 December 1979, $670 million; 36% of central government budget

SOURCE: World Factbook (1982)

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