In honour of our late Founding Father of the UAE, HH Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, 2018 has been announced as the ‘Year of Zayed’ as to commemorate the achievements of the creator of the UAE.
2018 will mark 100 years since the birth of HH Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, and thus in honour of what shall be a great year, here are ten facts about our founding father that you probably didn’t know about.
1. His father was the ruler of Abu Dhabi for four years
From the year 1922 until 1926, when he was assassinated, his father Sultan bin Zayed Al Nahyan was the ruler of Abu Dhabi.
2. Zayed was the youngest of all his siblings
From having four brothers, HH Sheikh Zayed was the youngest amongst them. His eldest brother, Sheikh Shakhbut bin Sultan Al Nahyan was also the ruler of Abu Dhabi in 1928.
3. He also got married seven times
From which his spouses were Sheikha Hassa bint Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Nahyan, Fatima bint Mubarak Al Ketbi,and Mouza bint Suhail bin Awaidah Al Khaili.
4. He has a total of 30 offsprings
And some you may know such as HH Khalifa bin Zayed (Ruler of Abu Dhabi), HH Sultan bin Zayed (Former Deputy Prime Minister of the UAE) and HH Mohammed bin Zayed (the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi).
5. He became the governor of the Eastern Region of Abu Dhabi in 1946
And was based in the Muwaiji fort in Al Ain, which at the time was known to be poor and prone to outbreaks of various different diseases. This quickly changed as HH Sheikh Zayed had assisted in the development of the area.
6. HH Sheikh Zayed was appointed president of the UAE in 1971
But was also reappointed four more times in the years 1976, 1981, 1986 and 1991.
7. He was called ‘the man who turned the desert green’
HH Sheikh Zayed bin Nahyan was frequently involved as well as established the Abu Dhabi Fund for Economic Development and invested oil revenues into different projects that would help improve the harsh desert environment of the UAE.
8. At the time, he was known to being more liberal than other GCC nations
Firsly, his majlis was open to the public.
Secondly, he also allowed non-Muslim religious buildings to be built in the UAE; this impacted expatriate workers positively.
Thirdly, he was in favour of certain rights for women, making him considerably more liberal than other GCC nations at the time.
9. There has been so many things that have been in built in his honour
Including the Sheikh Zayed International Airport in Pakistan, a street in Montenegro, a lecture theatre at the London School of Economics as well as an international airport in Albania.
10. He passed away in 2004
On November 2, HH Sheikh Zayed Al Nahyan died at the age of 86, leaving behind a lot of heart broken residents and supporters from all over the world.
Buried in the courtyard of the Sheikh Zayed Mosque in Abu Dhabi, the Founding Father of the nation is a memorable individual that the entire UAE is highly grateful for.