Established on 2 December 1971, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a federation of seven emirates - Abu Dhabi (which serves as the capital of the UAE), as well as Dubai, Sharjah, Ras Al Khaimah, Umm Al Quwain, Ajman and Fujairah.
Since the establishment of the federation, the UAE has rapidly grown into a modern state to become one of the Middle East's most important economic powerhouses.
As a federation, there are specific areas of authority constitutionally assigned to the UAE Federal Government (the 'Federal Government'), with supplementary powers reserved for member emirates. The Federal Government is responsible for foreign affairs, security and defence, nationality and immigration issues, as well as education, public health, currency, postal, telephone and other communication services such as air traffic control, licensing of aircraft, labour relations, financial services (including banking and insurance), delimitation of territorial waters, and extradition of criminals. Each of the seven emirates is governed by a hereditary Emir, or ruler. According to the UAE Constitution, the Federal Government comprises: