I’m in Abu Dhabi at the moment and it’s gorgeous! It’s a fairly new city and the UAE in general is as well, so I searched up its history (because obviously, I love to find out the history of anywhere I go) and here it is!
The UAE consists of seven emirates and was founded on 2 December 1971 as a federation. Six of the seven emirates (Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al Quwain and Fujairah combined on that date). The seventh, Ras Al Khaimah, joined the federation on 10 February 1972. In the 19th century, Britain became the predominant influence in the area known as the Trucial coast (what the seven sheikhdoms were previously known as) with the main purpose to protect the trade route to India from pirates (hence the earlier name for the area, the "Pirate Coast") After piracy was suppressed, other considerations came into play, such as a strategic need of the British to exclude other powers from the region.
A number of conflicts and battles took place along the coast when the Portuguese, under Albuquerque, invaded the area. Ras Al Khaimah was sacked by British forces in 1809 and again in 1819, as a result of conflicts between the maritime communities of the Trucial Coast and the British. This led to the first of a number of British treaties with the Trucial Rulers in 1820. These treaties, including the Treaty of Perpetual Maritime Peace, signed in 1853, led to peace and prosperity along the coast which lasted until the 1930s, when the pearl trade collapsed, leading to significant hardship among the coastal communities.
Following their withdrawal from India in 1947, the British maintained their influence in Abu Dhabi as interest in the oil potential of the Persian Gulf grew and on 5th January 1936, talks began and were signed in January 1939, allowing a seventy-five-year concession for oil.
A British decision, taken in early 1968, to withdraw from its involvement in the Trucial States, led to the decision to found a Federation, however, Bahrain and Qatar both ended up independent. Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan is who rules Abu Dhabi today, and the UAE today, as one of its founders.