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History of Sharjah

Early History

Sharjah history reflects on the glorious past of the city, which dates back to nearly 6,000 years. During ancient times, the city was known as Sarcoa and the population was very less. The people of the city derived their livelihood from farming, trade, hunting, fishing and pearling. The history of Sharjah shows the influence of various rulers on the culture and society of the city. The medieval period of Sharjah was full of turmoil and unrest.

In the year 1507, the region was conquered by the Portuguese to control the spice trade that was very popular during that period. In the areas of Dibba, Khor Fakkan and Kalba forts were constructed by the rulers. The Portuguese ruled the region for about a century till the Dutch defeated them.

Later the British arrived by the 17th century and established trade and commerce with the Qawassim, who were the ancestors of present ruling family. The city was a favourite destination for the European rulers because of its strategic location and they used the Gulf and the Red Sea as the major routes of transport between the Mediterranean and India. The Qawassim tribe that ruled the city were excellent mariners, who established a significant maritime power in the southern Gulf, during the 18th century.

They had stronghold on the cities of Ras Al Khaimah and Sharjah. Sheikh Sultan bin Saqr bin Rashid Al Qassimi became a strong ruler who was the ancestor of the present ruler. In the year 1804, he became the Sheikh of Sharjah and governed for over 50 years.

The mutual understanding and relationship between the Qawassim and the British gradually degraded. H.H. Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qassimi who was a member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah has highlighted on the facts of 'The Myth of Arab Piracy in the Gulf' and shown, that the British rulers charged the Qawassims for attacking their ships.

The British started their conquests for land in 1809 and attacked the Qawassim in Ras Al Khaimah. The first Treaty of Peace was signed in 1820, which guaranteed peace and protection for 150 years at sea. Until the constitution of the United Arab Emirates in 1971, the coast was called as the Trucial Oman and the Sheikhdoms of the region as the Trucial States. Within the duration 1823 and 1954, Sharjah established as Britain's political representative on the Trucial Coast. Since then the city has developed immensely in various fields like trade, commerce, education and many more.

Recent History

The recent Sharjah history highlights on the developments and achievements of the city. The city was the regional base for the British RAF until 1971. The British presence in the city officially ended with the formation of the United Arab Emirates. On 2nd December, 1971, Sharjah became part of the UAE as a founder member. In 1972, His Highness Dr. Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi succeeded as the ruler of Sharjah. In the same year, oil was found in the Mubarak oilfield situated 80 km offshore and close to the Abu Mousa Island. The production of oil began two years later and also gas drilling was started in 1990.

Since the discovery of oil, Sharjah city has developed hugely by utilising the availability of natural wealth and the wisdom provided by the Sharjah ruler, H.H. Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi. Though, at the same time, the city has never escaped from its traditional values as an Islamic city.

Like the other former Trucial States, Sharjah's name is known by many stamp collectors because of the large numbers of stamps that were issued by the Sharjah Post Office shortly before the formation of the UAE. Many of these items feature subjects unrelated to the emirates whose names they bear, and therefore many popular catalogues do not list them.





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