Dubai is a city in the United Arab Dubai, located on the coast of the Persian Gulf in the eastern part of the Arabian Peninsula, aspires to be the business capital of Western Asia. It is also a major worldwide passenger and freight transportation hub. Oil revenue aided the city's growth, which was already a major mercantile center. Dubai's economy is based on trade, tourism, aviation, real estate, and financial services. It has been a regional and international trading hub since the early twentieth century. The history of human settlement in the United Arab Emirates is rich and complex, pointing to extensive trade links between the civilizations of the Indus Valley and Mesopotamia, as well as far as the Levant. Archaeological finds in the emirate of Dubai, particularly at Al-Ashoosh, Al Sufouh and the notably rich trove from Saruq Al Hadid show settlement through the Ubaid and Hafit periods, the Umm Al Nar and Wadi Suq periods and the three Iron Ages in the UAE. Archaeological discoveries in Dubai, especially at Al-Ashoosh, Al Sufouh, and the particularly rich trove from Saruq Al Hadid, show settlement in the UAE during the Ubaid and Hafit periods, the Umm Al Nar and Wadi Suq periods, and the three Iron Ages. The Sumerians called the area Magan, and it was a source of metals, particularly copper and bronze.
Dubai is believed to have begun as a fishing village in the early 18th century and had grown to a town of 700–800 Bani Yas tribe members by 1822, when it was ruled by Sheikh Tahnun bin Shakhbut of Abu Dhabi. Even as the city saw an influx of immigrants fleeing the Lebanese civil war in the 1970s, Dubai continued to expand from oil and trade revenues. Border disputes between the emirates persisted even after the UAE was formed; it wasn't until 1979 that a formal agreement was reached that put an end to the disputes. In 1979, the Jebel Ali port, a deep-water port that could accommodate bigger ships, was opened. After the port's initial failure, Sheikh Mohammed created the JAFZA (Jebel Ali Free Zone) around it in 1985 to allow foreign companies unlimited labour imports and capital exports. The airport in Dubai, as well as the aviation industry, continued to expand.