Strategically positioned on the old trading routes running from Europe to the Far East, RAK was a stopover point for merchants from as far away as China. In ancient times, it was called Julfar, a major city in the Qawasim dynasty, which at various times held land on the Iranian islands of Kush and Hulaya, as well as in Pakistan and the area that today is the UAE.

At their peak, the Qawasim dominated trade in the lower Gulf, gaining a reputation in commerce and business. After the 14th century, the Qawasim tribes began leaving Kush and Hulaya and settled on the Arabian peninsula.

The UAE is a federation of seven sheikhdoms: Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Dubai, Sharjah, Fujairah, Umm al-Quwain and Ras al-Khaimah. These sheikhdoms, along with Qatar and Bahrain, signed the General Maritime Treaty with the UK in 1853. In effect, this ushered in a period of stability along the Gulf coast, and the states which adhered to this agreement became known as the Trucial States. Following British withdrawal from the region between 1968 and 1971, and wary of larger neighbours like Iran and Iraq,the sheikdoms drew together to form the modern-day federation of the UAE in 1971. However, RAK did not join the federation until 1972.

Ras Al khaimah
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