Location: Middle East, bordering the Gulf of Oman and the
Persian Gulf, between Oman and Saudi Arabia
Geographic coordinates: 24 00 N, 54 00 E
Map references: Middle East
total: 82,880 sq km
land: 82,880 sq km
water: 0 sq km
Area - comparative: slightly smaller than Maine
total: 867 km
border countries: Oman 410 km, Saudi Arabia 457 km
Coastline: 1,318 km
contiguous zone: 24 nm
continental shelf: 200 nm or to the edge of the continental
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
territorial sea: 12 nm
Climate: desert; cooler in eastern mountains
Terrain: flat, barren coastal plain merging into rolling
sand dunes of vast desert wasteland; mountains in east
lowest point: Persian Gulf 0 m
highest point: Jabal Yibir 1,527 m
Natural resources: petroleum, natural gas
arable land: 0%
permanent crops: 0%
permanent pastures: 2%
forests and woodland: 0%
other: 98% (1993 est.)
Irrigated land: 50 sq km (1993 est.)
Natural hazards: frequent sand and dust storms
Environment - current issues: lack of natural freshwater
resources being overcome by desalination plants; desertification;
beach pollution from oil spills
Environment - international agreements:
party to: Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species,
Hazardous Wastes, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection
signed, but not ratified: Biodiversity, Law of the Sea
Geography - note: strategic location along southern approaches
to Strait of Hormuz, a vital transit point for world crude oil
United Arab Emirates (UAE), a federation of seven independent states,
is located in the southeastern corner of the Arabian Peninsula.
It is bordered by the Persian Gulf to the north, Saudi Arabia to
the south and west, and Oman and the Gulf of Oman to the east. Before
the discovery of oil in the 1950s, the UAE was a group of largely
undeveloped emirates under the protection of the British. Oil brought
rapid growth and modernization to the area, and the emirates became
independent as the UAE in 1971.
Its seven member states are Abu Dhabi (Abu Zaby), Ajman, Dubai,
Al Fujairah, Ra's al Khaymah, Ash Shariqah, and Umm al Qaywayn.
The city of Abu Dhabi, located in the emirate of the same name,
is the federal capital and the largest city.
Weather can be extreme during the summer months (May to October),
with interior temperatures reaching 49° C (120° F) and coastal temperatures
slightly lower but combined with high humidity.
Pleasant weather prevails during the rest of the year, with temperatures
between 20° C (68° F) and 35° C (95° F). Annual rainfall varies
from an average of 43 mm (1.7 in) in Abu Dhabi to 130 mm (5.1 in)
in Ra's al Khaymah, but with great variations from year to year.
Sandstorms occur frequently and are associated with both the shamal,
a powerful wind from the north or west, and the hot khamsin,
coming from the south in summer.
United Arab Emirates is a federation of seven independent Arab
states in southwestern Asia.
These states lie along the eastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula,
at the south end of the Persian Gulf. From west to east, they are
Abu Dhabi, Dubayy (also spelled Dubai), Ash Shariqah, Ajman, Umm
al Qaywayn, Ras al Khaymah, and Al Fujayrah.
The capital city of each state has the same name as the states.
Up until 1971, the states were United Kingdom (UK) protectorates.
They were known as the Trucial States. Following independence in
1971, six of the states formed the United Arab Emirates. Ras al
Khaymah joined the union in 1972.
The Trucial States of the Persian Gulf coast granted the UK control
of their defense and foreign affairs in 19th century treaties. In
1971, six of these states - Abu Zaby, 'Ajman, Al Fujayrah, Ash Shariqah,
Dubayy, and Umm al Qaywayn - merged to form the UAE. They were joined
in 1972 by Ra's al Khaymah.
The UAE's per capita GDP is not far below the GDPs of the leading
West European nations. Its generosity with oil revenues and its
moderate foreign policy stance have allowed it to play a vital role
in the affairs of the region.
United Arab Emirates
Formal Name: United Arab Emirates.
Short Form: UAE.
Term for Citizens: No generally accepted term.
Capital: Abu Dhabi.
Date of Independence: December 2, 1971.
Size: Approximately 77,700 square kilometers (excluding
islands), but land borders undemarcated.
Topography: Largely desert, although mountains
Climate: Hot and dry in desert regions; frequent
high humidity along Persian Gulf coast.
Boundaries: Land boundaries with Oman, Qatar,
and Saudi Arabia mostly undefined; several internal boundaries subject
of disputes between and among seven constituent amirates.
Data as of January 1993
United Arab Emirates
United Arab Emirates -- Geography
The UAE lies between 22°50' and 26° north latitude and
between 51° and 56°25' east longitude. It shares a nineteenkilometer
border with Qatar on the northwest, a 530-kilometer border with
Saudi Arabia on the west, south, and southeast, and a 450-kilometer
border with Oman on the southeast and northeast. The land border
with Qatar is one over which in 1993 the UAE continued to have a
dispute in the Khawr al Udayd area. 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 amirate,
Abu Dhabi, accounts for 87 percent of the UAE's total area (67,340
square kilometers). The smallest amirate, Ajman, encompasses only
259 square kilometers .
The UAE 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 Dubayy,
although other ports have been dredged at Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, and
elsewhere. Numerous islands are found in the gulf, and the ownership
of some of them has been the subject of international disputes with
both Iran and Qatar. The smaller islands, as well as many coral
reefs and shifting sandbars, are a menace to navigation. Strong
tides and occasional windstorms further complicate ship movements
near the shore.
The UAE also extends for about ninety kilometers along the Gulf
of Oman, an area known as the Al Batinah coast. The Al Hajar al
Gharbi (Western Al Hajar) Mountains, rising in places to 2,500 meters,
separate the Al Batinah coast from the rest of the UAE. Beginning
at the UAE-Oman border on the Persian Gulf coast of the Musandam
Peninsula (Ras Musandam), the Al Hajar al Gharbi Mountains extend
southeastward for about 150 kilometers to the southernmost UAE-Oman
frontier on the Gulf of Oman. The range continues as the Al Hajar
ash Sharqi (Eastern Al Hajar) Mountains for more than 500 kilometers
into Oman. The mountain slopes tend to run right to the shore. Nevertheless,
there are small harbors at Diba al Hisn, Kalba, and Khawr Fakkan
on the Gulf of Oman. In the vicinity of Al Fujayrah, where the mountains
do not approach the coast, there are sandy beaches.
South and west of Abu Dhabi, vast, rolling sand dunes merge into
the Rub al Khali (Empty Quarter) of Saudi Arabia. The desert area
of Abu Dhabi includes two important oases with adequate underground
water for permanent settlements and cultivation. The extensive Al
Liwa Oasis is in the south near the undefined border with Saudi
Arabia. About 100 kilometers to the northeast of the Al Liwa Oasis
is the Al Buraymi Oasis, which extends on both sides of the Abu
Prior to withdrawing from the area in 1971, Britain delineated
the internal borders among the seven amirates in order to preempt
territorial disputes that might hamper formation of the federation.
In general, the rulers of the amirates accepted the British intervention,
but in the case of boundary disputes between Abu Dhabi and Dubayy,
and also between Dubayy and Sharjah, conflicting claims were not
resolved until after the UAE became independent. The most complicated
borders were in the Al Hajar al Gharbi Mountains, where five of
the amirates contested jurisdiction over more than a dozen enclaves.
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 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 and 14° C. During the late summer months, a humid
southeastern wind known as the sharqi makes the coastal
region especially unpleasant. The average annual rainfall in the
coastal area is fewer than 120 millimeters, but in some mountainous
areas annual rainfall often reaches 350 millimeters. Rain in the
coastal region falls in short, torrential bursts during the summer
months, sometimes resulting in floods in ordinarily dry wadi beds.
The region is prone to occasional, violent dust storms, which can
severely reduce visibility.
Data as of January 1993