A union of sheikhdoms in eastern Arabia. Formed Dec. 2, 1971, by Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Dubai, Fujeira, Sharjah and Umm al Qiwain. Ras al Khaima joined the UAE in February 1972. In August 1972, general UAE issues superseded those of the individual states.
This region was long extremely poor,
but in recent years the exploitation of large petroleum reserves has
given the U.A.E. one of the highest per capita gross national products
in the world. In recent years, concerns over threats from Iran and Iraq
have caused the U.A.E. to signed military defensive agreements with the
United States (1994) and France (1995).