How Dubai was like before the oil

Okay, for those who don’t know. Dubai, was once a small port in the middle of the desert. In fact, about 50 years ago Dubai looked no where near what it looks like today. In fact, nobody knew that they were sitting on a future global metropolitan.

The map of Dubai before the Oil Rush photo courtesy of Hugo Morel

As I wondered more through the Dubai Museum, I overheard some of the tour guides. Being cheap and didn’t want to pass my budget, I started following the tour groups. One of them was explaining the history of Dubai. Before oil, Dubai was just a small port in the desert.

The local fishermen of Dubai’s past photo courtesy of Hugo Morel

The locals were fishermen and most of their trade came from what was found in the sea. It was a very simple and humble beginning. The ultimate rags to riches story. People lived uncomplicated lives with little to no worries. Expect the desert heat.

Diving for pearls photo courtesy of Hugo Morel

One of the main exports of Dubai, were Pearls. Back then Dubai was known more for it’s precious pearls. People from all over the world would want to buy these beautiful gems. This was Dubai’s main source of income before oil was found.

Locals making boats photo courtesy of Hugo Morel

The way people used to get the pearls was through free diving. They would had drivers dive all day looking for these hidden gems. I’m sure the constant diving was not too healthy. In case for those who don’t know, free diving is diving without any equipment. You would just hold your breath underwater. This can make easier for divers to get decompression sickness. Which forms bubbles inside your body. Either way, people did what was needed to survive.

A replica of merchant selling spices photo courtesy of Hugo Morel

Eventually, the Japanese found out how to make pearls artificially. The demand for pearls slowly declined. More jobs in the oil industry started to prosper. Naturally, the need for jobs in the pearl industry declined. All these events lead to the Dubai we know now. It’s mind blowing to think how 50 years can change a small port into an economical powerhouse metropolis. I wonder what other cities will form in the next decades to come.

Next week, we go to United Arab Emirates’ second largest City!

Safe travels everyone and much love!

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19 thoughts on “How Dubai was like before the oil

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  1. I was in Dubai for the first time 25 years ago, there were a special beach for women. With no people! Amazing! No hotels nearly, the mall was small and it was really fun to be there?

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