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The United Arab Emirates, sometimes simply called the Emirates or the UAE, is an Arab country situated in the southeast of the Arabian Peninsula in Western Asia on the Persian Gulf, bordering Oman to the east and Saudi Arabia to the south, as well as sharing sea borders with Qatar to the west and Iran to the north.

United Arab Emirates National Flag

United Arab Emirates National Flag

The UAE is a federation of seven emirates (equivalent to principalities), each governed by a hereditary emir, with a single national president. The constituent emirates are Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Dubai, Fujairah, Ras al-Khaimah, Sharjah, and Umm al-Quwain. The capital is Abu Dhabi, which is also the state's center of political, industrial, and cultural activities.

United Arab Emirates Emblem

United Arab Emirates Emblem

Prior to independence in 1971, the UAE was known as the Trucial States or Trucial Oman, in reference to a 19th-century truce between the local sheikhs, hereditary rulers of the territories, and the United Kingdom. The term Pirate Coast was also used by some to refer to the emirates from the 18th to the early 20th century, owing to the preponderance of pirates operating from Emirati ports.

The UAE's political system is based on its 1971 Constitution, which is composed of several intricately connected governing bodies. As a federation of seven monarchies, whose rulers retain absolute power within their emirates, but with a UAE president, it is neither a constitutional monarchy nor a republic. The emirs choose one of their members to be the president of the federation, but this does not alter the monarchical character of the government of the individual emirates. The constitution is concerned solely with the relations between the emirates as members of the federation, and does not prescribe a constitutional system of government.

Islam is the official religion of the UAE, and Arabic is the official language.

UAE oil reserves are ranked as the world's seventh-largest and it possesses one of the most developed economies in Western Asia. It is the thirty-fifth-largest economy at market exchange rates, and ranks 7th in the world according to the International Monetary Fund with per capita GDP (PPP) of US$48,597. It is 15th in purchasing power per capita and has a relatively high Human Development Index for the Asian continent, ranking thirtieth globally. The UAE is classified as a high-income developing economy by the IMF.

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