Zayed the Great, grandfather of UAE President Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan
Al Nahyan, was Ruler of Abu Dhabi Emirate from 1855 to 1909, the longest
reign in the Emirate's history. Son of Sheikh Khalifa bin Shakhbut (ruled
1833-1845) and grandson of Sheikh Shakhbut bin Dhiyab (ruled 1798 to 1816),
Sheikh Zayed the Great led Abu Dhabi to a position of pre-eminence throughout
south-eastern Arabia, with his political influence stretching deep into
what is now the Sultanate of Oman and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. During
his reign, he signed the Exclusive Treaty with Britain, which gave London
the right to represent the Emirate in its international relations, while,
at the same time, guaranteeing Abu Dhabi's sovereignty and internal autonomy.
He was succeeded on the throne by several sons, among whom was Sheikh
Sultan bin Zayed (ruled 1922-1926), the father of President Sheikh Zayed.