The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a federation of seven emirates situated in the southeast of the Arabian Peninsula in Southwest Asia on the Arabian Gulf, bordering Oman and Saudi Arabia. The UAE consists of seven states, termed emirates, which are Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm al-Quwain, Ras al-Khaimah and Fujairah. The capital and second largest city of the United Arab Emirates is Abu Dhabi. It is also the country”s center of political, industrial, and cultural activities.
Before 1971, the UAE was known as the Trucial States or Trucial Oman, in reference to a 19th-century truce between Britain and several Arab Sheikhs. The name Pirate Coast was also used in reference to the area”s emirates in the 18th to early 20th century.
Islam is the official religion and Arabic is the official language. The United Arab Emirates has the world”s sixth largest oil reserves and possesses one of the most developed economies in the Middle East. The United Arab Emirates is classified as a high income developing economy by the IMF.
The United Arab Emirates is situated in Southwest Asia, bordering the Gulf of Oman and the Persian Gulf, between Oman and Saudi Arabia; it is in a strategic location along southern approaches to the Strait of Hormuz, a vital transit point for world crude oil.
The total area of the UAE is approximately 77,700 square kilometers. The country”s exact size is unknown because of disputed claims to several islands in the Persian Gulf, because of the lack of precise information on the size of many of these islands, and because most of its land boundaries, especially with Saudi Arabia, remain undemarcated. The largest emirate, Abu Dhabi, accounts for 87% of the UAE”s total area (67,340 square kilometers). The smallest emirate, Ajman, encompasses only 259 square kilometers (see figure).
The UAE coast stretches for more than 650 kilometers along the southern shore of the Persian Gulf. Most of the coast consists of salt pans that extend far inland. The largest natural harbor is at Dubai, although other ports have been dredged at Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, and elsewhere. Numerous islands are found in the Persian Gulf. The desert area of Abu Dhabi includes two important oasis with adequate underground water for permanent settlements and cultivation.
The climate of the UAE generally is hot and dry. The hottest months are July and August, when average maximum temperatures reach above 48° C (118° F) on the coastal plain. In the Al-Hajar al-Gharbi Mountains, temperatures are considerably cooler, a result of increased altitude. Average minimum temperatures in January and February are between 10°C (50°F) and 14°C (57°F). The average annual rainfall in the coastal area is fewer than 120 mm (5 in).