First encyclopaedia of UAE history launched, tracing Emirati story from thousands of years ago

The project, which seeks to preserve the memory of the nation, will initially be accessible in digital format and will be completed in five years

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Screengrab: Video from the National Library and Archives
Screengrab: Video from the National Library and Archives

Published: Thu 14 Dec 2023, 11:34 AM

Last updated: Thu 14 Dec 2023, 12:10 PM

The rise of the UAE in just a few decades has served as an inspiration for the world. One would wonder, when and how did it all begin? This new encyclopaedia answers the question.

The National Library and Archives (NLA) recently launched the first encyclopaedia of UAE history in a glitzy Abu Dhabi ceremony attended by prominent cultural and academic figures, including specialists, experts and researchers.

The project, which seeks to preserve the memory of the nation, compiles the NLA's "holdings and treasures of historical records, documents, and sources on the Gulf region ... and the UAE", according to the national library's director-general, Abdullah Majed Al Ali.

Behind this encyclopaedia are scientific committees and teams that comprise renowned, carefully selected researchers, academics and intellectuals.

"The Encyclopaedia of UAE History is distinct from all others by virtue of its documented and authentic historical information that provides various users a broad fund of knowledge and ready access to the UAE ancient and glorious history which the UAE founder and builder, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan considered the real and essential gateway to understanding the present and perceiving the future," Al Ali said.

It will be initially issued in a digital format consisting of seven sections — the first of which focuses on the UAE’s geography, location, area, natural resources and physical features. The other sections will deal with the country's history.

It is expected to be completed in five years, according to the authority.

As part of the process, the NLA encourages and welcomes the participation of scientific and cultural institutions, researchers and specialists to further enrich the encyclopaedia.

History holds a special place in the UAE. As the President, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, has said: "The history of man on the UAE land is a story that dates back thousands of years and which is told to future generations and the world. The deserts, mountains and seas bear witness to the greatness of man and the manifestations of his creativity and resilience in the face of life’s hardships.

"This land bears evidence of successive civilisations that survived despite the harsh circumstances and great challenges through the impressive determination of its great men, thanks to whom it currently enjoys this development, prosperity, and progress."

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