The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a constitutional federation of seven emirates: Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al Qaiwain, Ras Al Khaimah and Fujairah, and was formally established in 1971. The Federation occupies an area of 83,600 sq km along the southeastern tip of the Arabian Peninsula. Qatar lies to the west, Saudi Arabia to the south and west, and Oman to the north and east. The capital, and largest city of the federation, Abu Dhabi, is located in the emirate of the same name.
Before 1971, the UAE was known as the Trucial States or Trucial Oman, in reference to a 19th century truce between the United Kingdom and several Arab Sheikhs. The more colourful ‘Pirate Coast’ was also used in reference to the area's emirates from the 18th to the early 20th century. Today the region's political system is based on the 1971 Constitution, composed of several intricately connected governing bodies. Islam is the official religion, and Arabic the official language.