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History

The earliest written record of Dubai (Dibei) is accredited to Muhammad al-Idrisi, who mapped the coast of the UAE in the tenth century AD. Circa 1580, the state jeweler of Venice, Gasparo Balbi documented the pearling industry of Dubai and other cities currently presiding in UAE territory. Though traditionally conservative, the UAE is one of the most liberal countries in the Gulf, with other cultures and beliefs generally tolerated. Politically it remains authoritarian, however, relations with neighboring Iran have been tense because of an ongoing territorial dispute over Gulf islands. The UAE was one of only three countries to recognise Taliban rule in Afghanistan. Before oil was discovered in the 1950s the UAE’s economy was dependent on fishing and a declining pearl industry. But since oil exports began in 1962, the country’s society and economy have been transformed. The UAE has diversified and has become a regional trading and tourism hub. UAE firms have invested heavily abroad

Geography

In recent years Dubai has been compared to Singapore and Hong Kong and is often regarded as the Middle East’s premier entrepôt. Area 13.5 square miles (35 square km). Pop. (2016 est.) 2,645,581.

Like much of the Persian Gulf coastline, Dubai has a year-round hot climate. Humidity is high in the summer months and moderate the rest of the year. The coldest winter month is usually January, with lows of about 15 °C (49 °F), while the hottest summer month is July, with highs of more than 40 °C (104 °F).

Map

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