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Dubai or Dubayy (in Arabic: دبي) is both one of the seven emirates that make up the United Arab Emirates on the Arabian Peninsula, and the main city of the emirate, sometimes called "Dubai City" if necessary to distinguish.

At 4,043 sq km, it is the second largest emirate, after Abu Dhabi. The territory is located on the Persian Gulf, southwest of Sharjah and northeast of Abu Dhabi, and reaches into the interior. The small separate enclave of Hatta is in the mountains on the border with Muscat.

Dubai became one of the Trucial States in 1853. It joined the UAE on December 2, 1971. It has since become a large and modern city, with an estimated population of 865,000 in 2000. Dubai attracts tourists and businessmen with beaches and other attractions, such as a hotel that is shaped like a dhow. The city still maintains its Arabian atmosphere.

Dubai is also famous for the Dubai International Airport, which is the hub to UAE's international airline Emirates.

There will be an entertainment complex in Dubai called Dubai Land, which includes a theme park. Dubai Land includes the Mall of Arabia, which will be the largest shopping mall in the world. Dubai Land is slated to open in 2006.

History of Dubai

There was a pearl-diving and fishing community at the mouth of Dubai Creek for many centuries, but modern Dubai dates its existence to the 1830s when the Bani Yas tribe under the Al-Maktoum family settled there and renounced allegiance to Abu Dhabi. Successive sheikhs encouraged contacts with outsiders, especially the British, who made Dubai a regular port of call.

Stamps and postal history of Dubai

A post office of British India was opened August 19, 1909. It used the stamps of India on mail, with postmark "Dubai Persian Gulf", until India's independence in 1947, then stamps of Pakistan until March 31, 1948. Pakistan also becoming independent, the British government set up a postal administration for Eastern Arabia and used overprinted British stamps until January 7, 1961, when Dubai issued its own stamps inscribed "Trucial States". (Despite the name, these were only on sale in Dubai's post office.)

The Dubai Post Department took over the postal service June 14, 1963 and the following day issued a series of stamps depicting sea life, views of Dubai, and Sheik Rashid bin Said al Maktoum. This was the opening salvo of a barrage of issue over the next few years; the emirate discovered that stamp collectors were willing to give it money for colored labels with "Dubai" printed on them, and by the time the postal system was merged with that of other emirates, in mid-1972, it had issued over 400 stamps, few of which ever saw usage on mail.

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