Cool sparkling waters and lots of sun!
Dubai is a city and emirate in the United Arab Emirates known for luxury shopping, ultramodern architecture and a lively nightlife scene. Burj Khalifa, an 830m-tall tower, dominates the skyscraper-filled skyline. At its foot lies Dubai Fountain, with jets and lights choreographed to music. On artificial islands just offshore is Atlantis, The Palm, a resort with water and marine-animal parks
Many theories have been proposed as to origin of the word "Dubai". One theory suggests the word used to be the souqin Ba. An Arabic proverb says "Daba Dubai" (Arabic: دبا دبي), meaning "They came with a lot of money." According to Fedel Handhal, a scholar on the UAE's history and culture, the word Dubai may have come from the word daba (Arabic: دبا) (a past tense derivative of yadub (Arabic: يدب), which means "to creep"), referring to the slow flow of Dubai Creek inland. The poet and scholar Ahmad Mohammad Obaid traces it to the same word, but to its alternative meaning of "baby locust" (Arabic: جراد) due to the abundance of locusts in the area before settlement.
In 1841, a smallpox epidemic broke out in the Bur Dubai locality, forcing residents to relocate east to Deira. In 1896, fire broke out in Dubai, a disastrous occurrence in a town where many family homes were still constructed from barasti – palm fronds. The conflagration consumed half the houses of Bur Dubai, while the district of Deira was said to have been totally destroyed. The following year, more fires broke out. A female slave was caught in the act of starting one such blaze and was subsequently put to death.
A watchtower in Bur Dubai, c. 19th century
In 1901, Maktoum bin Hasher Al Maktoum established Dubai as a free port with no taxation on imports or exports and also gave merchants parcels of land and guarantees of protection and tolerance. These policies saw a movement of merchants not only directly from Lingeh, but also those who had settled in Ras Al Khaimah and Sharjah (which had historical links with Lingeh through the Al Qawasim tribe) to Dubai.
An indicator of the growing importance of the port of Dubai can be gained from the movements of the steamer of the Bombay and Persia Steam Navigation Company, which from 1899 to 1901 paid five visits annually to Dubai. In 1902 the company's vessels made 21 visits to Dubai and from 1904 on, the steamers called fortnightly – in 1906, trading seventy thousand tonnes of cargo.
The frequency of these vessels only helped to accelerate Dubai's role as an emerging port and trading hub of preference. Lorimer notes the transfer from Lingeh 'bids fair to become complete and permanent', and also that the town had by 1906 supplanted Lingeh as the chief entrepôt of the Trucial States.
The 'great storm' of 1908 struck the pearling boats of Dubai and the coastal emirates towards the end of the pearling season that year, resulting in the loss of a dozen boats and over 100 men. The disaster was a major setback for Dubai, with many families losing their breadwinner and merchants facing financial ruin. These losses came at a time when the tribes of the interior were also experiencing poverty. In a letter to the Sultan of Muscat in 1911, Butti laments, 'Misery and poverty are raging among them, with the result that they are struggling, looting and killing among themselves.