There was a legend that sometime in 1761 Bedouin hunters followed a deer from Liwa to the shoreline which was Abu Dhabi meaning “father of the deer”.
Few kilometers inland from the seashore, they discovered more valuable than gold, which is water. Because of it they decided to stay and live there for their whole life.
It is said that it was Shaikh Dhiyab bin Isa who first moved to the island, although he would only come during summer time when pearling was at its peak. To start with, there were only 20 barasti settlements, but news of water flowed fast and the unproductive coast became a small fishing village.
In 1763 a round watch tower made of mud was built near the water, marking the origin of Qasr Al Hosn, the only historical building in Abu Dhabi to date. It was the home Al Nahyan family for two centuries.
The watch tower of Qasr Al Hosn stood alone above the water source of the island, and at the end of the 18th century, a small fortress was built and a second tower named “muraba”, taking the shape of square and influenced by the Portuguese architecture. These happened under Shaikh Shakhbut, the son of Abu Dhabi’s first occupant, Shaikh Dhiyab bin Isa.
Shaikh Shakhbut bin Dhiyab became the first ruler of Abu Dhabi as every ruler up to Shaikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan rule the western emirate until it became a palace.
In the 1930’s, the pearl industry went down, but all of that changed with the discovery of oil.
The first oil concession were granted in 1939 by Sheikh Shakhbut Bin-Sultan Al Nahyan, In Abu Dhabi, a few lowrise concete buildings were erected, and in 1961 the first paved road was completed. But Sheikh Shakbut, took a careful approach, preferring to save the profits rather than investing it in development whereas His brother, Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahayan, believed that oil resources had the potential to transform Abu Dhabi. Sheikh Zayed replaced his brother as Ruler and carry out his vision of developing the country.
In 1962, Exports from Abu Dhabi turned it from the poorest of the emirates into the richest.
In the present, UAE is a major international tourist and business center as well as one of the most modern, stable and safe countries in the world.