Largest of the seven component parts of the United Arab, Abu Dhabi has a history that stretches back many thousands of years.
Thefirst trace of Abu Dhabi dates back to the 16th century AD, when a book published by a traveling court jeweler from Venice mentioned a list of islands in the southern Arabian Gulf. To one of them he gave the name'Sirbeniast' or Bani Yas, evidence that the Bani Yas confederation of tribes, led for the last 250 years by the family of President his highness Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, and must already have achieved a degree of prominence in the region.
The Bani Yas themselvesfirst appeared in historyfirst appeared in history in the early 17th century, when they are reported to have been involved in around 1633 in a major battle between the coast and Liwa with an advancing army from Oman. Historical records trace the origins of what was to become the emirate back at least as far as the late 17th or early 18th century to the reign of somewhat misty figure named Nahyan. He was succeeded by a son, Isa, and by the middle of the century, his son, Dhiyab bin Isa, and become the Sheikh of the Bani Yas, with his main base in the liwa oasis, deep in the desert.
To Sheikh Dhiyab goes the credit of establishing the present-day Abu Dhabi, said to have been founded in 1761. A tribal legend tells the tale of a party once hunters from Liwa who visisted the coast, and saw the tracks of a gazelle leading out across the sabkha, salt flats. Following the trail, they found it had come to a narrow inlet of the sea, which it had then crossed, to an island just offshore. Their pursuit continued, and, following the tracks through a thick sea mist, they came upon a gazelle, the discovery of water on an offshore island was of more importance. Returning to Liwa, the hunters reported their find to sheikh Dhiyab. Recognizing its significance, he ordered that a settlement be established on the island, which nam…

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