What Made Dubai Rich?

The Trucial Coast of what is now the UAE was home to a thriving pearl industry from the 1770s until the late 1930s.

For the people of the Persian Gulf, pearl diving was supposed to be a modest beginning in trade, but it laid the groundwork for something much more significant later on.

After competing with Abu Dhabi for oil in the late 1950s, Dubai struggled and did not have significant oil income, in contrast to Abu Dhabi, which prospered. 

Shaikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum, the ruler of Dubai, decided then that something needed to change. 

He began making investments in infrastructure as a result, and in 1960 he built Dubai's first airport.

This also made it possible for the development of a number of further infrastructure projects

As a result, tourism increased, and the little oil they did find was used to create the modern Dubai. 

The trade industry expanded as a result of the infrastructure. In 1985, Dubai created Jafza, the biggest free zone in the world, as its first free zone.