Like every modern country, the UAE has a rich history that it owes to the people who once lived here. We’re not talking about major historical events, we’re talking smaller, lesser known bits of history here. These are tales that will make you wonder about a place in time when this ultra-modern and forward thinking country was but a canvas where the dreams of many were being built.
Below, are some quirky stories of how the UAE used to be, from when the city of Dubai first had ice cream, to Abu Dhabi’s original name.
How ice cream came to Dubai
According to dubaiasitusedtobe.net, ice cream first hit Dubai grocery shelves in 1962. Galadari Brothers established Galadari Ice Cream Co. L.L.C in 1962 and began importing the cold treat on a commercial scale. The items had too be shipped from Europe via refrigerated containers for unloading offshore at Dubai. This was during a time when the emirate did not have a deep water port.
Sweet home Chicago?
Ask anywhere in Dubai about a place called Chicago Beach and you’ll often be given a bewildered response. Located where Madinat Jumeirah is now, Chicago Beach was a stretch of open beach which got its name from an engineering company named after the American city. Today, the only remnant of this place is its pier - which is now home to an upscale restaurant.
What’s in a name?
Before it became known as Abu Dhabi - which translates to Father of the Gazelle, the capital’s original name was Milh, which means ‘Salt’.
When Dubai went supersonic
The owner of dubaiasitusedtobe.net, Len Chapman recalled a time when the pinnacle of aircraft design in the 1980’s the Concorde, touched down at DXB. ‘ One morning I arrived at the office around 7am, looked out the window and saw this strange shape in the sky descending rapidly towards approaching Dubai. As it came closer I saw it was an Air France Concorde about to land at Dubai Airport.’ According to Len, the aircraft was carrying then French president Mitterand to India.
Go that way
Credited as being Ras Al Khaimah’s first seaman, Ahmad bin Majid - known as the Lion of the Sea, is a navigator and cartographer who helped explorer Vasco da Gama find his way from Africa to India.