Established in December 1971, the country is a federation of seven emirates. The constituent emirates are Abu Dhabi (which serves as the capital), Ajman, Dubai, Fujairah, Ras al-Khaimah, Sharjah, and Umm al-Quwain. Each emirate is governed by an absolute monarch who jointly form the Federal Supreme Council. One of the monarchs is selected as the President of the United Arab Emirates. Islam is the official religion of the UAE, and Arabic is the official language, although English is widely used.
Since the 1950s, when oil was discovered in the region, the UAE’s economy has undergone rapid change. As well as oil and gas exportation, the country has focused on growing its construction and tourism industries; to an extent these go hand in hand – the impressive feats of modern design on display in Dubai are among the main attractions for visitors.