It is the largest Emirate of the 7, ruled by the Al Nahyan family. It occupies 87% of the total surface of the country. This emirate is mainly a large desert area with some two hundred islands in the coastal waters, including the island where Abu Dhabi is located plus 6 other islands that are part of the capital.

Its population is concentrated in three areas: the capital, Abu Dhabi, Al Ain, an oasis city close to the Hajar Mountains and the towns of the Liwa oasis.

Thanks to great leadership and personal commitment, His Highness Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan al Nahyan made Abu Dhabi a totally modern and highly influential state. After his death in 2004, his son Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al Nahyan became President of the Emirates and ruler of Abu Dhabi.


Dubai, the second largest Emirate of the 7 is governed by the Al Maktoum family. It occupies an area of approximately 3,900km2 that includes a small enclave called Hatta, located near the Oman border, between the Hajar Mountains. The capital of Dubai is located along the Creek, the sea river and the natural harbor, which was traditionally the base of the commerce industry. Under the wise leadership of its rulers, Dubai focused primarily on trade and industry, making the city the leading commercial port in the southern Gulf.

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum is the current ruler of Dubai.

Sharjah, which borders Dubai in the south, is governed by the Al Qasimi family. It has an area of approximately 2,600km2 and is the only emirate that has a coastline in both gulfs, the Gulf of Oman and the Gulf of Arabia. In the S. XIX the city of Sharjah was the main port in the lower Gulf. Goods from the interior of Oman, India and Persia arrived here. Today, under the leadership of Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Sharjah is the cultural city and educational center of the United Arab Emirates and strives to preserve the country's cultural heritage as well as promote Arab culture and traditions.


RAS AL KHAIMA is the northern Emirate, governed by another branch of the Al Qasimi family. Thanks to the water currents coming from the Hajar mountains, this emirate has abundant flora and for this reason agriculture is important for the local economy. It is also supplied from stone quarries and fishing, which is abundant in these rich waters of the gulf. The current ruler of Ras Al Khaima is Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi.


It is the only emirate that does not face the Gulf of Arabia coast. It is governed by the Al Sharqi family. It is located on the coast of the Gulf of Oman and covers an area of 1,300km2. Unlike the other emirates where the desert forms an important part of the territory, the mountains and plains are the predominant features of Fujairah. Its economy is based on fishing and agriculture. As in Ras Al Khaima, the land of Fujairah is watered by rainwater from the Hajar Mountains, making it ideal farm land. The current ruler is Sheikh Hamad bin Mohammed Al Sharqi.


UM AL QWAIN is governed by the Al Mualla family. It is the second smallest emirate with a total area of 770km2. Located between the Emirates of Sharjah and Ajman to the south and Ras Al Khaima to the north, this emirate is the one with the least population. The main source of income for the local population is fishing and date plantations. After the Emirates' union in 1971 Umm Al Qaiwain developed into a modern state and continues to progress under the command of its current ruler, Sheikh Rashid bin Ahmed Al Mualla.



AJMAN is the smallest of the seven emirates at just 260km2. It is governed by the Al Nuami family. Mainly surrounded by the Emirate of Sharjah, Ajman also owns the small enclaves of Manama and Musfut in the Hajar Mountains. The manufacture of "dhows" (wooden boats typical of this area) in the Creek was its main commercial activity. Fishing and date palms were also the main sources of subsistence for their local population.

Sheikh Humaid bin Rashid Al Nuami has been its ruler since 1981.