UAE States | UAE Emirates | 7 Emirates of UAE – Complete Guide

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is comprised of the seven emirates formerly known as the Trucial States before the union. The Emirates are Abu Dhabi (Capital City), Dubai, Ajman, Fujairah, Sharjah, Ras Al Khaimah and Umm Al Quwain.

The union was formed on the 2nd of December 1971. Ras Al Qaimah only joined the union in February 1972. Before then it was a six-state union.

In this piece, We will briefly talk more about these Emirates individually, based on their location in the country, the landmass/ percentage they occupy, main cities, and the source of economy. I’ll like to arrange them according to the land area they occupy.


This is the capital city of the United Arab Emirates. It is indeed the largest city in the country, occupying 84 percent of the country’s landmass territory, having a total area of 67,340 sq. km. with a total population of approximately 1.48 million (2020).

The emirate of Abu Dhabi is geographically located on the coast of the Arabian Gulf, it is bordered by the Sultanate of Oman to the east, the Emirate of Dubai to the northeast, and the kingdom of Saudi Arabia to the south & west. It is comprised of three main regions;     

  • The city of Abu Dhabi
  • Al-Ain &
  • Al Dhafrah (formerly known as Al Gharbia)

The city of Abu Dhabi has four bridges that connect it to the mainland; Maqta bridge, Mussafah bridge, Sheikh Zayed Bridge, and Sheikh Khalifa bridge.

The city’s economy is primarily dependent on oil and natural gas. In recent times, its leaders are working hard to reduce its dependence on oil to diversify the emirate’s economy, it is focusing its investment in infrastructure, tourism, and transport.


This is the second-largest emirate in the UAE, occupying about 5 percent of the landmass. It covers an area of 4114sq. km. with a population of approximately 2.88 million (2020).

The emirate is located on the eastern side of the Arabian Peninsula, It shares boundaries with Abu Dhabi in the south and Sharjah in the northeast and shares its international borders with Oman. the city is roughly 16m above sea level. Dubai city is characterized by the historic creek which divides the city into two;

  • Deira (in the north)
  • Bur Dubai (in the south)

A new addressing system was launched in 2016 which involved dividing the emirate into 14 divisions.

Dubai’s economy began its transformation when it discovered oil in 1996, since then it has experienced continuous rapid development that laid the foundations for its modern architecture. The emirate’s economy is no more dependent on oil, it is now more diversified; relying heavily on trade, tourism, and finance sectors. Dubai was the first to establish Islamic banks worldwide with the opening of its Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB).


This is the third-largest emirate in the UAE, occupying 3.3 percent of the total area of the country. It has an area of 2590sq. km. with a total population of approximately 1.68 million (2020 estimation).

Sharjah is the only emirate that lies on both coasts; the Arabian Gulf (in the west) and the Gulf of Oman (in the east). It has large desert regions, with some agricultural areas, plenty of beaches, marshes, and acacia forests. Sharjah has the largest number of natural reserves in the UAE. it has many educational institutions that supply fresh talents armed with the latest knowledge in engineering, science & technology, and other skills that support economic growth.

Major cities in Sharjah are; 

  • Khorfakkan, 
  • Kalba 
  • Dibba 
  • Al Dhaiz &
  • Al Badayer.

The economy of this emirate supports a culture of Entrepreneurship and Innovation, housing almost 45,000 small and medium-sized enterprises. Its economy focuses on manufacturing, real estate, tourism, education, healthcare, logistics, and business services. The Emirate has 19 industrial areas that contribute to more than 48 percent of the UAE gross industrial output.


This is the fourth-largest emirate in the UAE, occupying 3.16 percent of the total area of the country. It has an area of 1684 sq. km. with an estimated population of 300,000 (2020 estimation).

The Emirate is located near the northernmost point of the UAE and shares its boundaries with the emirate of Umm Al-Quwain, Fujairah, and Sharjah. It shares its international borders with the Sultanate of Oman. a beck divides it into two parts;

  • Ras Al-Khaimah (the western old town) &
  • Al Nakheel (the eastern part).

Other key towns in the Emirate are; Al Jazeerah Al Hamra, Digdagah, Khatt, and Masafi.

The main source of its economy is Agriculture. Meanwhile, the emirate has been witnessing an increased contribution from other sectors. The recent establishment of free zones and industrial areas that attracted many foreign investments have also impacted its economy. It is currently the largest cement producer in the UAE. The emirate is also home to a number of mammals such as foxes and Jerboas as well as hundreds of birds.


This is the only emirate that is located on the eastern coast of the UAE. It is situated along the Gulf of Oman. its total area is 1450 sq. km. harboring a population of approximately 130,000 (2020 estimation).

The Emirate is strategically positioned sharing its boundaries with the Emirates of Sharjah on the south and Ras Al-Qaimah on the west. It shares its international border with the Sultanate of Oman on the north. It is the UAE’s only access to the Indian Ocean.

Fujairah’s economy is mainly dependent on Fishing and Agriculture as its land is irrigated by rainwater from the Hajjar mountains. It currently owns the largest livestock shipping companies in the world. The Emirate is known for its rugged mountains, valleys, waterfalls, and wide sandy beaches. The climate condition here is more moderate compared to that of Abu Dhabi and Dubai. Due to this, weekend visitors that want to escape the heat prefer to be in Fujairah as its atmosphere is more relaxed and peaceful.


This is the second smallest emirate. It is also the least populated emirate in the UAE. It occupies 1 percent of the country’s area which is approximately 720 sq. km. with a population of 70,000 (2020).

Umm Al Quwain is situated between Sharjah (on the southwest) and Ras Al Qaimah (on the northeast). Khor Al Bidiyah is a narrow peninsula and the home of seven castles on which the modern city of Umm Al Quwain is built.

The economy of Umm Al Quwain is primarily contributed to through Fishing. It exports seafood throughout the Middle East and Europe. The first poultry farm was established in Falaj Al Mualla in the emirate of Umm Al Quwain, it is considered a key supplier of poultry and dairy products to the local market. It also has plans towards expanding its commercial and investment base which is evident through its recent construction of the Free Trade Zone. The emirate provides facilities for recreational activities; Sailing, Skydiving, dhow building, Falconry, and Camel racing, it also houses the UAE’s largest water park and resort.


This is the smallest of the seven Emirates, occupying 0.3 percent of the country’s area. It has a total area of about 259sq. km. having a total population of 392,000 (2020).

The emirate of Ajman is located in the northern part of the UAE and lies between the emirates of Sharjah and Umm Al-Quwain. Its main cities are;

  • Ajman city
  • Al Manarah city &
  • Masfout city

Ajman Port and AjmanFree zone are two main key players in the economy of the emirate. Ajman fort is located in the city which is one of the country’s historic landmarks, it contains archeological samples that show people’s possessions, traditional professions as well as images from their old social life. Other major landmarks in the emirate are; Ajman museum, Masfout Castle, Masfout gate, and the Red Fort

In Summary;

The total population of the UAE is approximately 10 million (2020 estimation). Abu Dhabi and Dubai are the two largest cultural and commercial hubs of the country. Meanwhile, Dubai is the biggest city thereby being mistaken as a country by people due to its size. 

Having studied the seven emirates, one thing which Is peculiar to them all is “Tourism”. The United Arab emirate is indeed a great home of tourist attraction. Tourism has indeed made the country a very popular place as foreigners troop in from different parts of the world for a Vacation and also for business purposes.