Emirates Earliest Achievements: The Pearling Trade

One of the Emirates earliest achievements was from the sea. The pearl (qamashah) industry was an asset that was internationally recognised, and individuals and companies sought after them from many parts of the world. The pearling industry started long before the discovery of oil. Pearl oysters occur naturally on relatively low sea beds throughout the gulf. It is not clear as to when the trade of pearls and diving started in this region but pearls have been discovered by archaeologists in the region dating back to well over 7000 years ago.diver
Weighing pearls in the 1950’s Early on, pearling offered stable employment to the locals in the area and this was sometimes a seasonal business. Men would engage in pearling throughout some of the year and then return home to tend to the date palms and herd camels as an extra source of income until they could return to the sea. It is noted that over time the men that were employed through pearling eventually moved to the coastal regions around the UAE including Dubai, Sharjah, Abu Dhabi and Ras al Khaimah. It is also well known that only locals were generally allowed to be employed in pearling. Divers from other countries had to have permission from the ruler of the area to participate in pearling. Permission was granted but they were required to pearl with tradition local methods, and not with any new modern tools. By the beginning of the 20th Century there were over 1200 pearling boats operating around the UAE. These boats would employ around 15-18 men per boat. Eight divers or (ghasah), then haulers (siyub) and the remaining staff if any were there to cook, clean fish and prepare the coffee for the divers and haulers.


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One response to “Emirates Earliest Achievements: The Pearling Trade

  1. great work ! i like it .

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