Staff Reporter / 28 July 2013
Known for his courage and wisdom, the late Shaikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan was born in 1918 at Al Hisn Fort in the city of Abu Dhabi — a dwelling which was built by his own father’s hands in 1910.
He was the fourth son of Shaikh Sultan bin Khalifa, who was the 14th ruler in the hierarchy of Al Nahyan royal dynasty and he was named after his paternal grandfather the Grand Zayed, Prince (Amir) of Bani Yas tribe.
Childhood and education
Shaikh Zayed lived in Al Hosn Palace, which is now located in the heart of the Capital city and a passion to learn was something embedded in him from an early age. He began his journey on the path of knowledge by learning the Holy Quran, and as a child, Shaikh Zayed was always present in the Majlis of his father, Shaikh Sultan, where he listened to him talk about politics, dialogue and hunting. His education was confined to politics, horse riding and falconry, and he did not receive an academic education.
Ruler and President
Shaikh Zayed assumed the office as the Ruler of Al Ain in 1946. For him, water scarcity and a lack of resources were not a stumbling block in developing the oasis city. Thanks to his directives, the city’s first school, named Al Nahyaniyya School, was opened in 1959 and soon after Al Ain saw the setting up of its first commercial market, road network and hospital.
The most prominent achievement in Al Ain’s history was the decision issued by Shaikh Zayed calling for a review on the ownership of water. Though it was scarce, he made water available to everybody and mobilised it to increase cultivated areas.
He became Ruler of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi on August 6, 1966, by a unanimous agreement of the royal family, succeeding his brother Shaikh Shakhbout bin Sultan Al Nahyan.
After the Emirate of Abu Dhabi began to export oil in 1962, the need for a new vision was felt and Al Nahyan family agreed to select Shaikh Zayed as the Ruler of Abu Dhabi.
Shaikh Zayed was elected President of the UAE on December 2, 1971, by a unanimous decision of the Rulers of the emirates, who were members of the Federal Supreme Council. The Supreme Council renewed confidence in the President once every five years.
He indefatigably worked on developing the country and distributed the revenue from oil to the sectors that required investment.
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