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The Past

200 - 20 years ago
Zayed the Great 1855 -1909

Sheikh 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.

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