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Remembering Shaikh Zayed the Great

A portrait of Shaikh Zayed Bin Khalifa Al Nahyan is shown at an event heralding 100 years since his death. The great leader, who ruled Abu Dhabi for 54 years from 1855 to 1909, died on May 19, 1909.
Paying rich tributes to Shaikh Zayed Bin Khalifa Al Nahyan (also known as Shaikh Zayed the Great and Shaikh Zayed I), the event highlighted the great ruler's dynamic leadership that left lasting impact in the emirate of Abu Dhabi.
The centenary, held on Tuesday evening at the historic Al Jahili Fort, was part of a public education campaign to rediscover great historical figures in Abu Dhabi and the UAE. 4. The celebration started at Al Jahili Fort, which was built by Shaikh Zayed I in 1987 to guard the eastern region that was bordering with the then turbulent Oasis of Buraimi. Abu Dhabi Culture and Heritage Authority organised the celebrations showing documentary films, photographs, and paintings, along with a variety of traditional events.
Shaikh Zayed I ruled Abu Dhabi for the longest reign in the history of the emirate, leaving behind a legacy of dignity, political wisdom, and unity. The emirate has been marking his centennial death anniversary through a campaign which started on Tuesday and lasts for a whole year.
Historians say Shaikh Zayed I was a powerful leader after Shaikh Dhiyab Bin Isa, who founded the city of Abu Dhabi, and his son Shaikh Shakhbut Bin Dhiyab (1793-1816), who brought a large territory under the Beni Yas tribe's control. This area was spreading between Doha to Buraimi, an oasis bordering Abu Dhabi and Oman. Much of his ruling time was in the 19th century, which is considered a period of significance that brought Abu Dhabi into a pre-eminence in the region.
Shaikh Zayed Bin Khalifa Al Nahyan developed a powerful foreign policy to deal with the Britons, Omani, Turks, and Saudi religio-military confederacy of the tribes that repeatedly occupied the Oasis of Buraimi. It was he who signed a treaty with Britain giving the right to represent the emirate in its international relations while guaranteeing Abu Dhabi's sovereignty.
The function was attended by Shaikh Mohammad Bin Tahnoun Al Nahyan, the Ruler's Representative in the Eastern Region, Shaikh Hamad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chief of the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince's Court, Shaikh Sultan Bin Tahnoun Al Nahyan, Chairman of Abu Dhabi Authority of Culture and Heritage, government officials, diplomats and dignitaries.
Speaking on the occasion, Shaikh Sultan said the year-long campaign aims at raising awareness about the great historical figures and their achievements. "It also aims at reviving the legacy of Sheikh Zayed the First and presenting it to the new generations," he said.
During the ceremony, documentary films were shown on the activities of the campaign shedding light on the historical significance of Sheikh Zayed I. An exhibition of photographs and paintings on the late leader was also launched along with a variety of traditional events.

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