About Umm Al Quwain
Umm al-Qaiwain is the least populated of the emirates, and its surface area is the second smallest, representing only 1% of all of the UAE.Umm Al Quwain is situated between Ajman & Ras Al Khaimah on the West Coast. The ruler is His Highness Sheikh Rashid Bin Ahmed Al Moalla. FAQ has a population of 35, 157.This Emirate has a coastline stretching to 24kms. The total area of the emirate is about 777km.
The ruler of Umm Al Quwain since 1981, after the abdication of his father Sheikh Ahmed is Sheikh Rashid Al Mualla. The ruling family of this Emirate is referred to as the “Bani Ahmad” group, with the Emirate receiving special attention in federal funding for local projects. Before becoming Ruler, Sheikh Ahmed was Deputy to his father on the UAE Supreme Council and helped him on the day-to-day affairs of state. A highly respected person, he used to represent his father in negotiations with Iran and neighbouring Sharjah concerning the emirate’s share of the Mubarak oilfield.
Born in 1930, Sheikh Rashid received a religious education from his father; a leading authority in tribal affairs and a self-educated man. In the late 1950s he became experienced in state affairs. Sheikh Rashid sent his sons to universities abroad. Before taking over as Ruler, he used to direct the local municipality and Chamber of Commerce, as well as business enterprises owned by the family or the government. His son Saud Bin Rashid is the crown prince. Sheikh Sultan Bin Ahmad Al Mualla, a cousin of the Ruler, is the chairman of the Umm Al Quwain Petroleum Department.
Umm Al Quwain is ruled by His Highness Sheikh Rashid Bin Ahmed Al Mu’alla.
Since the establishment of the Federation in 1971, the UAE’s seven Emirates have enjoyed a long phase of political stability and prosperity. Umm Al Quwain, while not in the same league as the commercial heavy-weights of Abu Dhabi and Dubai, is on a steady path of progress, with adequate governance driving policies to ensure that it catches up with its neighbours in the coming years.
For the time being the Emirate has its municipality to take care of the general jurisdiction of the city. There is also a water and electricity body to ensure proper supply of services to all the parts of the Emirate.
Umm Al Quwain follows the UAE’s political system, which is a combination of the traditional and the modern.
The Emirate doesn’t have an E-Government portal as yet, but with the progress that’s been forecast for Umm Al Quwain, a web portal with all the required services isn’t all that far away.
The path of progress is a long one for the Emirate of Umm Al Quwain, with infrastructure being very basic at the moment. There are a few good schools and colleges here, though the majority of residents still end up sending their children to either Sharjah or Dubai for higher education.
The national telecommunications provider Etisalat provides telephone facilities for landlines and mobile phones. Sharjah, Ajman and UAQ share the access code 06 for land lines. High speed internet is also provided by Etisalat, though in keeping with the land’s laws pertaining to decency and blasphemy, many sites come under strict censorship control.
To give a boost to the pace of development in the Emirate, The Ahmed Bin Rashid Port and Free Zone was established, within the confines of the port and adjacent land. The port free zone area has 4 wharves which are well equipped with technology and infrastructure to handle ocean going vessels. The free zone has further acquired 118,000 m2 of land for light industrial development in the near future.
The Free Zone Authority provides standard services of water, electricity, communications and labour accommodation. Comprehensive warehousing facilities for accounting, receiving and distribution on behalf of the manufacturer are also provided. Total administrative and logistical support is given to the tenant by the free zone authority.
There is a good network of roads connecting Umm Al Quwain to the other Emirates of the UAE, though expressways and bridges are yet to make an appearance here.
The Emirate of Umm Al Quwain is not as active with business as Dubai, Abu Dhabi or Sharjah, but the opening up of Dubai’s property market has most certainly had an effect on the real estate development and tourism sector drives in this and other Emirates.
Having identified real estate, tourism and trade as industries with good growth potential, the economic planners of Umm Al Quwain have executed a rather ambitious expansion programme, aside from investing heavily in infrastructure development. They aim to integrate these components seamlessly to provide a unique development that bolsters the local economy and generates employment for thousands as well.
Most recent real estate investments in the United Arab Emirates have been in Umm Al Quwain and the northernmost emirate of Ras Al Khaimah; both emirates plan to spend billions of dollars to build a series of middle to high-end residential apartments, villas, schools, shopping malls and entertainment centres.
The major property investors in Umm Al Quwain include South Asians, primarily Indians and Pakistanis. Iranians and Russians also figure among the businessmen flocking to this emirate.
As per tourism, Umm Al Quwain has great off-road locations for dune bashing, a stunning water park and a fabulous shooting range for those not already enjoying the comforts of UAQ’s handful of beach resorts. UAQ is also popular for its availability of cheap alcohol.
History & Traditions
Umm Al Quwain is derived from Umm Al Quwatain, which means “Mother of two powers”, an indication of the prevailing seafaring tradition of this emirate.
The discovery of pieces of Ubaid pottery found along the shores of Umm Al Quwain provide evidence of the contact the Emirate had with Mesopotamia as far back as the 5th millennium BC.
Semi nomadic tribes inhabited the region during the Bronze Age, when copper trade began flourishing, leading to prosperity for the region. During this Age, agriculture flourished greatly as well. Dates were by far the most prominent crop, with other grains like wheat and millet also being cultivated depending on the water required for irrigation.
About 200 years ago, the advent of Umm Al Quwain’s modern history took place. The Al Ali tribe were forced to move their capital from Al Sinniyah Island to its present location in the mid 18th century, due to the drying up of the sweet water supply. In 1775, an independent Sheikhdom was formed in Umm Al Quwain by Sheikh Majid Al Mu’alla, founder of the ruling Al Mu’alla lineage of the Al Ali clan.
The Emirate duly became a British colony in early 1820 when the then ruler Sheikh Abdullah I signed the General Maritime Treaty with the United Kingdom. The Emirate’s unison into the country’s overall foundation was established on Dec 2 1971, when Sheikh Ahmad II joined the Federation of the United Arab Emirates.
The current ruler of Umm Al Quwain is Sheikh Rashid III bin Ahmad Al Mu’alla; who became the ruler in 1981 succeeding his father Sheikh Ahmad II.
The Al Dour settlement in Umm AL Quwain has a few remnants of the old buildings, mostly fortress towers which came up during the Umm Al Nar period (2500 – 2000 BC). The most common buildings associated with this era are the circular burial tombs.
Aside from remains of forts and cemeteries, this site also boasts a temple attributed to the Sun God, betraying the diverse architectural influences the Emirate has witnessed over the years. Currently, the Emirate is populated with a slew of low-rise villas, with the skyscraper phenomenon still a long way from taking off here.
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