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The Emirate of Sharjah is one of the emirates of the United Arab Emirates, which covers 2,590 square kilometres (1,000 sq mi) and has a population of over 1,400,000 (2015). It comprises the capital city of Sharjah, after which it is named, and other minor towns and exclaves such as Kalba’, Al Dhaid, Dibba Al-Hisn and Khor Fakkan.

History of Sharjah

Evidence of human settlement in Sharjah, dubbed ‘rising sun,’ traces back over 5,000 years, with early mentions dating as far back as the 2nd century AD in a map crafted by the Greek geographer Ptolemy. This ancient map highlights the settlement then known as Sarcoa, which corresponds to modern-day Sharjah. Additionally, Sharjah finds mention in the personal narratives of the renowned Arab navigator Ahmad Ibn Majid as he traversed the waters of the Gulf in 1490 AD.

Historically, Sharjah stood as one of the most prosperous towns in the region, serving as a pivotal port on the lower Arabian Gulf. From the early days of trade with the East to the first half of the 19th century, the city flourished economically. Its wealth was rooted not only in fishing and trade but also in the lucrative pearling industry, which remained robust until the late 1940s. Notably, Sharjah established the region’s first international airport in 1932, a significant milestone predating the formation of the UAE Federation by nearly four decades.

Following the discovery of oil in 1972, Sharjah underwent a transformative evolution from humble palm-frond ‘arish’ houses lining the creeks to a modern metropolis boasting world-class infrastructure and a plethora of tourist attractions. The early 1970s witnessed a surge in modern development, leading to rapid urban expansion not only within the town itself but across the entire emirate.

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