Trading history of UAE: it’s importance, and the events that occured over time

Walaa Alaghbar
Published 11 months ago on 31 May, 2023-1509 views
Trading history of UAE: it’s importance, and the events that occured over time

The trading history of the United Arab Emirates is a reference for all Arab merchants to follow, due to the originality and nobility of trade. It is no secret to anyone today that trade in UAE mainly revolves around the oil trade. But was this the case before, 100 years ago, 200 years ago, or thousands of years ago? Learn with us in this article about UAE history timeline and the trading history of UAE and what happened over the centuries until trade today in this city reached the peak of its prosperity, successful business, and development.


Overview about UAE trade history

The Arabian desert before British rule was inhabited by Bedouins who traveled to find food, water and shelter. Nevertheless, trade was flourishing in that period. In addition, the history of the United Arab Emirates is deeply rooted in trade and tied to Islam for thousands of years. The UAE was formed in 1971 after the Trucial States were liberated from the britian Treaty agreement.

Not many people know how many emirates are there in the uae, and now each of the following emirates: (Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Sharjah, Umm al-Quwain, Ras al-Khaimah, Fujairah, and Dubai) has a distinct trade, which raised the country’s economy. And with the emergence of oil, which brought about a quantum leap, the UAE became what it is today, a place of culture, civilization, and commercial and economic development.

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The importance of the history of trade in UAE

There are several factors that contibuted to the revival of trading history of UAE. The location of the Gulf, located in the center of the world, made it a link between Europe and Asia trade. Britain established a trading relationship with  the Indian and Chinese after its occupation of the seven separate countries. The Global Village Festival is an annual festival that takes place in Dubai and works to promote trade between middle east and West. People from all over the world set up small stalls and sell their services and goods during the festival. And inhance tourism in the region specially in winter months (sept, oct, nov, dec, jan, feb).

the historical recordings shows thet there is a long-term trade dating back thousands of years between the Emirates and Mesopotamia, as evidenced by the historical relics in museums.

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 Emirates UAE trading before oil discovery

The economy of the UAE was greatly affected by the discover of oil and natural gas in the fifties of the last century, as there was a gradual shift in the country’s economy and it began to develop little by little with this discovery. However, before the emergence of oil in its lands, UAE trade balance was mainly focused on fishing, pearling, seafaring, namdic farming, and date palm cultivation. Its main primary exported products was silk and pearl.


A timeline of the history of trade in the Emirates

Timeline of trading history of uae
Timline of uae trading history

The multiplicity of commercial relations with other countries, as the UAE aintained a free and open market with each of the following countries and became trading partners:

  • Germany.
  • Britain.
  • Italy.
  • India.
  • Iran.
  • South Korea.
  • China.

With the collapse of the Soviet Union and the Gulf War, the Emirates gained new competitors in trade. But the level of international trade increased with its association with the former Soviet Union and the United States which became the largest trading partner of UAE. The following time table will show the most important commercial events for the UAE tarde history, which took place over the years and development of UAE from 1971 to 2020.

1971Oil was discovered.
1990Russians travel to the Emirates and buy and sell goods at home.
1996UAE companies made s rapidly increas in  growing benifiet helping the United States overtake Japan as the leading exporter to the federation.
1999Statistics show thet the UAE exports rate  were increased To a total of 14.5 percent in 1999 only.

Now UAE use the currency of emirate Derhams coins.

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What is UAE known for trading?

The UAE is known for trading in oil and gas, as it is one of the largest producers and exporters of these commodities in the world. Additionally, the country is a major hub for trade in gold, diamonds, and other precious metals and stones. The UAE also has a thriving tourism industry, with trade in luxury goods such as perfumes, clothing, and electronics catering to this sector. Other notable exports from the UAE include chemicals, plastics, and aluminum.

When did trade start in Dubai?

Trade has been a part of Dubai’s history for centuries, dating back to the early 19th century when it was a small fishing and pearling village. However, the modern era of trade in Dubai began in the 1960s when oil was discovered and the government started investing heavily in infrastructure and diversifying the economy. Today, Dubai is one of the world’s leading trading hubs, with a thriving import-export industry and a strategic location at the crossroads of Asia, Europe, and Africa.

What was the UAE before it became the UAE?

Before it became the UAE, the region was known as the Trucial States, a collection of seven sheikhdoms located in the southeastern corner of the Arabian Peninsula. These sheikhdoms were Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al Quwain, Ras Al Khaimah and Fujairah. The Trucial States were under British protection from 1820 until they gained independence in 1971 and formed the United Arab Emirates.

How has the UAE developed over time?

The trading history of UAE has undergone significant development over time, particularly since its formation in 1971. Here are some key developments:u003cbru003eEconomic Development: The UAE has transformed from a small desert nation to a global economic powerhouse. It has diversified its economy beyond oil and gas to include industries such as tourism, finance, and technology.u003cbru003eInfrastructure Development: The UAE has invested heavily in infrastructure development, including the construction of world-class airports, seaports, highways, and public transportation systems.u003cbru003eUrbanization: The UAE has experienced rapid urbanization with the development of modern cities like Dubai and Abu Dhabi.u003cbru003eEducation: The UAE has made significant strides in education with the establishment of world-class universities and schools.u003cbru003eHealthcare: The UAE has developed a modern healthcare system that provides high-quality medical care to its citizens and residents.u003cbru003eCultural Development: The UAE has preserved its rich cultural heritage while also embracing modernity through the development of cultural institutions like museums and art galleries.u003cbru003eOverall, the UAE’s development over time can be attributed to its visionary leadership, strategic planning, and commitment to innovation and progress.


In the end, we conclude that the history of trade in UAE past and present is full of major events thet helped it became a trading  centre and the wealthiest country. The trade movement of export and imports is still in constant growth with the discovery of oil and global openness with the foreign countries of the world.

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