Destination Management Company :: About Dubai :: History and Leaders

Dubai began life as a small fishing village. It expanded in the early 19th century when large numbers of the Bani Yas tribe settled there.

The population had to depend on the sea for their livelihood. It provided fish, pearls and trade. The hamlet soon turned into a small trading port based around the mouth of the Creek.

As now seems the norm in Dubai - investors and expatriates quickly arrived. Settlers from Iran, India and Baluchistan began to settle in the port town.

A large number of Indians were also attracted to Dubai and in the 1930’s sizeable communities from Bahrain, Kuwait and other areas of Arabia added to the ethnic melting pot. The British first arrived almost two decades later.

The decline of the traditional pearl diving industry and the second world war all conspired to hit Dubai's prosperity as a small trading port - although it did recover in the 1960s.

However, it was then that things would change forever. The discovery of oil in the late 1960s would act as the catalysy for modern day Dubai.

The basis of Dubai’s economy became oil, which it began pumping in 1969. It boasted big reserves for a population of only 100,000 citizens, but in comparison to the rest of the Gulf these reserves were low.

Realising the emirate could not rely on oil forever, Dubai’s then leader, Shaikh Rashid began the foundations of the thriving city you see today.

The ruling family of Dubai is the Al Maktoums. The successful early development of Dubai was thanks to the long rules of HH Shaikh Saeed Al Maktoum (1912 - 1958) followed by his son HH Shaikh Rashid Bin Saeed Al Maktoum.

It was in 1958 that Shaikh Rashid began pushing Dubai ahead on all levels to create a modern state.

The current ruler of Dubai is Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

He was sworn in as Ruler of Dubai at the beginning of 2006 after the death of his brother Shaikh Maktoum Bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

In his capacity as Crown Prince, General Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum had been the public face of Dubai and the driving force behind Dubai's rapid recent growth as Shaikh Maktoum took a back seat in his later years.

He is a man well known across the world for his vision and ambition, as well as his passion for racing and the ownership of the global racing brand Godolphin.

An unprecedented level of building and investment has taken place in the last decade under the guidance of Shaikh Mohammad - turning Dubai into a major tourist and economic centre.

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