Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Town, Region, History, Settlement, England, Business, Middle East, Center

Pages: 6

Words: 1650

Published: 2020/09/26


Historical towns influence the development, economic activity and even the history of a certain region or place. Julfar, which is a historical city in Ras Al Khaimah, flourished during the Islamic reign. Because it was one of the centre points of the Arab Emirates, the city was also prone to attacks. The ancient explorers and the sailor, when navigating the region around the Persian Gulf, came across the Strait of Hormuz in which they were attracted by the Hajar Mountains in a place known as Ras Al Khaimah. Because of the way in which it was positioned at the mouth of the Gulf most of the ancient sailors and explorers found it as a place to settle. The position of the Julfar both contributed to its rise and demise. The rise of julfar
The early traders led to the rise of Julfar. The Bedouin tribe spent most of their time during the winter along the beaches fishing. Fishing was thriving well along the beaches of julfar, and even the nomadic tribes joined the other tribes in the fishing trade (Velde, 2009). The early settlers in the region also found that the area was prosperous since made the lives of the inhabitants comfortable. Julfar was full of building materials, fertile land for agriculture and the sea routes that were captivated the merchants. Julfar developed after the settling of the Islamic community in the region. Commerce and trade developed as citadels due to the growth of agriculture in the Diqdaqah settlement. The geographical setting of julfar contributed to its rise. Julfar is located as part of the Musandam peninsula which is close to the Strait of Hormuz. The alluvial plains in Julfar separate the Ru’us al-Jibal limestone mountains from the coast. The alluvial plain, which is suitable for agriculture, comprises of huge outwash fan of Wadi al-Bih, which collects one-third of the rainwater from the towering mountains above it. The water table of the region was exploited through the use of wells thus facilitating the growth of palms (Velde, Hilal & Moellering, 2008). The Julfar coastline was characterized by large lagoons that were fed by water from the gravel fans. The lagoons were important to julfar since they formed a source of food for the population that was found along the coast. The lagoons were also important as they were used as a natural shelter for the ship. The southwestern lagoon that is still in existence today acts as a modern creek to Ra’s alKhaimah town. The Northeastern lagoon, which existed from the Neolithic period to the Islamic era, harboured a large number of people and is today a large sabkha(Saltflat). The oasis settlement known in Shimla made the population have a comfortable life leading to the rise of the town. Water is one of the challenges that affected the settlement history in United Arab Emirates. The population only settled in areas where they could get access to water. The populations never existed in large in numbers in one place, due to the problem of water. The easiest way for the population, to get water, was to the large outwash fans of the mountains. The lower edge of the wadi fans could provide water up to about 5-6 m deep. Every piece of arable land in the region was occupied by palm plantation and because of that the existing fertile land could only support a small family. Settlement in the UAE was dispersed with only the regions around the mosques since they were the central focus point in the region comprised of Muslims. Wadi Sur, which is the town wall of julfar, also contributed to the protection of the city. The wall contributed in protecting both the oasis settlement and the administrative centre of julfar. The walls of the town were made of lagoons that made it defensive in its nature (Kennet, 2001). The shifting of the administrative centre also contributed to the rise of Julfar. During the 14th century, Kush was abandoned, and the former administrative center of the oasis remained useless. This led to the rise of a dense settlement around the sand bars in order to protect the region around Northeastern lagoon. The area, in which the new administrative center was shifted, was known as Al mata. The shift of the administrative centers was to develop the region around lagoons. The shift led to al mataf being declared as the economic centre of julfar.Al mataf was developed during the time in which the region experienced economic prosperity. Because of the shift julfar became part of the Hormuz kingdom that controlled the some parts of the Indian Ocean and Gulf of the Indian Ocean. The economic growth in the areas surrounding the Gulf contributed to the expansion of the new administrative center al mataf. The oasis settlement in the region extended to about 15 km2, and that made it incorporate up to about 10,000–15,000 inhabitants. Julfar remained the name of the town on the sand bank and the oasis and acted as the commercial and administrative center. The rise of qawasim also led to the rise of julfar. As the city flourished as a center of trade there, was a need to guard it and protect it from external attacks. The Al Qasimi clan became a force to reckon with in the region during the 18th century as they rose to power. The clan controlled the entire present day United Arab Emirates up to the region along the Persian Gulf. Because the clan controlled all-region, they also took it as a responsibility to control trade in the region. The region did well in trade and fishing since the maritime trade routes attracted traders from all parts of the world.The demise julfar In the 16th century, Al mataf, which had been the new administrative center, ceased to exist as the center of both the town and the oasis settlement. The continuous siltation that led to the poresence of silt along the lagoon prevented their use as natural harbours. With the end of the use of the lagoons as a natural harbour, maritime routes that were used by the trades were no longer used. Due to the siltation the natural harbour, administrative and the commercial center of jul far shifted from the northeastern creek that acted as a natural harbour of the oasis settlement during the previous millennia. The harbour was moved to the western lagoon which is the present day modern creek of Ra’s alKhaimah. The shifting of the natural harbour led to the end of the southwestern parts of the both sides of the al mataf. Mentioned first in the 16th century, Ra’sal-Khaimah developed into a town and became the new administrative center. The social and economic changes that had strengthened the economic fabric in al mataf contributed into strengthening Ra’s al-Khaimah (Velde, 2009). The shift led to the development of the two distinct regions. The presence of the hidden villages also led to the demise of the julfar. The town wall, which existed, in the 17th century, concealed some villages that were hidden in the hills around Ra’sal-Khaimah. The majority of the hidden villages had no fields that distinguished them from the settlements in Ra’sal-Khaimah and therefore viewed as defensible regions in which the villagers moved to after the collapse of Kingdom of Hormuz (Velde, Hilal & Moellering, 2008). The long distance that existed betwen the commercial and adminstrative center put a strain on the development of the oasis settlement. The silting up of the creek made Shimla lose its existence. Julfar ceased to be mentioned from this time as Ra’s al-Khaimah. The shift of the population to Ra’s al-Khaimah and the decline of the oasis settlement led to the final disappearance of the name julfar. The attack by the British also resulted in the demise of julfar. British troops launched assaults in Dhayat Fort against the Rak thus putting the regime of the ruling tribe to an end. The British forces defeated the local forces who were guarding the ruling tribe that had gone to Dhyat Fort to seek refuge. The qawasim tribe kept the British at bay for a long time despite them fighting at a small fort of Dhayat. In 1820, the qawasim clan surrendered leading to the end of the conflict between them and the British. The rulers signed an agreement with the British in which they would be protected from the external aggression and in turn the British would have trading rights. The control by the British led also led to the demise of julfar.Ways in which julfar is important to Emirati history Ancient records on julfar history are important to the Emirati history. Today the trade mechanism in Dubai is more of that of julfar. Local merchants in Dubai are viewed as great navigators, persons of worth and wholesale dealers. Julfar was under the rule Hormuz, who benefited from its pearling fleet and commerce when the Portuguese arrived. The Portuguese came and dominated Indian Ocean with their many forts that they had established. Julfar was transformed from a hut settlement to a town made of much larger sand brick houses. Today, Dubai has grown into a business hub that hosts many business people just like Julfar. Julfar also gives indications of the presence of the Islamic religion in United Arab Emirates. The islands found in the off coast of UAE show persistent signs of Islamic settlement. Economic activities such as fishing are also exhibited in the settlement schemes in which the Islamic villagers lived. The sites, in which the Muslims lived, are marked by shell maddens and sometimes scatters of typical Julfar horizon Late Islamic ceramics. The number of the Islamic graves found in the region also give an indication of the population that lived in the region. Some of the islands show more permanent camps in the form of villages whose basic economic activity was fishing. Today, United Arab Emirates mainly comprise of Islam as the main religion probably because Islam dominated the region from an early period (Kennet, 2001).
Conclusion Julfar mainly came to an end due to attack by the external aggressions such as the attack on the British. The position in which the city was located also contributed to its demise because it made it indefensible to attacks especially after the siltation process around the lagoons. Julfar is essential to the development of UAE history because it provides some of the rich information on the ancient UAE.


Velde, C., Hilal, A. and Moellering, I. 2008. ‘Wadi Sur’. In: Hellyer P. & Ziolkowski M.C,eds. Proceedings of the 2nd Annual Symposium on Recent Palaeontological & Archaeological Discoveriesin the Emirates, Al Ain 2004. Al Ain: Zayed Centre for Heritage and History, pp. 101–111 Piacentini Fiorani V. 1992. Merchants Merchandise and Military Power in the Persian
Gulf(Siiriydnj/Shahriycrj - Sir58 (Publication inAtti della Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei Memorie - ser. ix - vol.iii - fasc.2: 163-183).Rome..Vogt, B. 1991. ‘A 1988 test excavation at Julfar, Ras a1-Khaimah’. Al-Rafian 12:187–199.
Kennet, D. ‘Evidence for the 4th/5th-century Sasanian occupation at Khatt, Ra’s al-Khaimah, Arabia and its Neighbours,Essays on prehistorical and historical developments presented in honour of Beatrice de Cardi, C.S.Phillips, D.T.Potts and S. Searight (eds), London (1999) pp 105–116.
Kennet, D. 2001. ‘An archaeological study of the Sasanian and Islamic periods in Northern Ras al- Khaimah (U.A.E.)’. Unpublished Ph.D., School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London.
Velde, C. 2009. ‘The Landscape of the Middle Bronze Age in the UAE – Where did people live?’ In: New Perspectives On Recording UAE History, Abu Dhabi: National Centre for Documentation and Research, pp. 61–74.

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