Previously, the UAE, territorially speaking, formed a part of the Sultanate of Oman. From the 17th Century onwards, the Arabian Gulf became a valuable strategic stopping point for merchant seafarers travelling between Europe and Asia. In 1892, the sheikhdoms of the UAE, which were known at the time as “the Trucial States”, joined together to sign a treaty with Great Britain. Under this treaty, agreed to protect the coastline against any maritime-based aggression and help counteract any land-based attack. 

In 1968, announced it would withdraw from the region. In an initiative led by the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the United Arab Emirates officially came into being on December 2, 1971, a date which is celebrated every year as the 'UAE National Day'. The Federation originally comprised six emirates: Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al Quwain and Fujairah with the Emirate of Ras Al Khaimah joining to become the seventh Emirate the following year.

Since its formation, the UAE has witnessed tremendous development, both visibly and economically. With the discovery of oil and natural gas, both on land and in its water, the country moved away from its earlier dependence on pearl diving, fishing and agriculture, and into an economy dominated by natural resources. Today, the UAE has transitioned again into a diversely productive economy that is based on internationally-emerging knowledge and future energy. Furthermore, the UAE’s population has graduated from poverty to one of the highest income levels in the world. The nation has seen pioneering developments that have garnered world-wide attention. Recent statistics confirm that the UAE has become a globally prominent financial and economic centre.

The UAE’s rapid economic development has significantly contributed to promoting the status of UAE citizens, in particular women. Equal opportunities exist in education and workplace choices and fair working conditions for UAE National men and women are now enshrined in law. Women have notably increased their representation and now account for 22.2% of the seats in the present Council, one of the highest rates of female parliamentary representation in the Middle East and a high figure by any current global standard.  The UAE is the top ranking country in the Arab World, and one of the highest ranking globally, in the Gender Empowerment Index, issued by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).

The UAE is intensifying its efforts to diversify its energy resources through  informed investment in new energy sources, including nuclear power and renewable energy. In this context, the UAE has established ENEC (Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation) to develop innovative solutions in renewable and alternative energy. Additionally, the UAE has taken important steps in the development of a peaceful nuclear program, by signing nuclear cooperation agreements with the United States and South Korea to establish four nuclear power plants worth US$20.4 billion by the year 2020. In June 2009, Abu Dhabi, the UAE capital, was chosen to host the headquarters of the International Agency for Renewable Energies (IRENA). The UAE is the first country in the region to play the host of such an important international organization.

The UAE has also witnessed tremendous growth in the education field during the past four decades. Today, all male and female UAE Nationals enjoy free public education at all levels, including an entitlement to free higher education at public universities and colleges. A number of high-profile and internationally renowned academic institutions have also launched campuses in the UAE in recent years, opening up truly world-class educational opportunities to local residents.

Similar growth has been experienced in healthcare. Forty years ago, the provision of healthcare services was limited and hospital care almost non-existent. In recent years, the government has developed an extensive network of multi-disciplinary hospitals and clinics all over the country. With the development of this sector, infant mortality rates have dropped significantly, childbirth mortality rates are at zero, and the population now enjoys a considerably higher life expectancy.