Some 800 members of the Bani Yas tribe, led by the Maktoum Family, settled at the mouth of the creek in 1833. The creek was a natural harbor and Dubai soon became a center for the ﬁshing, pearling, and sea trades.
By the turn of the 20th century, Dubai was a successful port. The souk (Arabic for market) on the Deira side of the creek was the largest on the coast, with 350 shops and a steady throng of visitors and commercial tradesmen. By the 1930s, Dubai’s population was nearly 20,000, a quarter of whom were expatriates.
In the 1950s, the creek began to silt, a result perhaps of the increasing number of ships that used it.
The late Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum, decided to have the waterway dredged. It was an ambitious, costly, and visionary project. The move resulted in increased volumes of cargo handling in Dubai. Ultimately, it strengthened Dubai’s position as a major trading and re-export hub.
Dubai was a humble pearl ﬁshing village until the discovery of oil in 1966, which triggered a massive inﬂux of foreign workers – and the formation of the United Arab Emirates in the 1970s-leading the city to undertake major initiatives to drive growth beyond recognition.
An accelerated focus on the development of infrastructure like roads, airports, telecommunications networks, schools, hospitals, and housing, coupled with visionary leadership, an expatriate-friendly environment, zero tax on personal and corporate income, and low import duties helped shape Dubai to be ‘Fit for Growth’ and able to challenge global destinations attracting wealth and human talent.