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The land of the Emirates has been occupied for thousands of years.
Stone tools recovered from Jebel Faya in the emirate of Sharjah reveal a settlement of people from Africa some 127,000 years ago and a stone tool used for butchering animals discovered at Jebel Barakah on the Arabian coast suggests an even older habitation from 130,000 years ago.
Islam is the official religion of the UAE and Arabic is the official language (although English, Urdu and Hindi are widely spoken, with English being the language of business and education particularly in Abu Dhabi and Dubai).
The UAE's oil reserves are the seventh-largest in the world while its natural gas reserves are the world's seventeenth-largest.
British maritime policing meant that pearling fleets could operate in relative security.
However, the British prohibition of the slave trade meant an important source of income was lost to some sheikhs and merchants.
The earliest Christian site in the UAE was first discovered in the 1990s, an extensive monastic complex on what is now known as Sir Bani Yas Island and which dates back to the 7th century.
Thought to be Nestorian and built in 600 AD, the church appears to have been abandoned peacefully in 750 AD.
One of the monarchs (traditionally always the Emir of Abu Dhabi) is selected as the President of the United Arab Emirates.The harsh desert environment led to the emergence of the "versatile tribesman", nomadic groups who subsisted due to a variety of economic activities, including animal husbandry, agriculture and hunting.The seasonal movements of these groups led to not only frequent clashes between groups but also the establishment of seasonal and semi-seasonal settlements and centres.It forms a rare physical link to a legacy of Christianity which is thought to have spread across the peninsula from 50 to 350 AD following trade routes.Certainly, by the 5th century, Oman had a bishop named John – the last bishop of Oman being Etienne, in 676 AD.
Following the death of Prophet Muhammad, the new Islamic communities south of the Persian Gulf threatened to disintegrate, with insurrections against the Muslim leaders.