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By the 17th century, the Bani Yas confederation was the dominant force in most of the area now known as Abu Dhabi.

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Following the death of Prophet Muhammad, the new Islamic communities south of the Persian Gulf threatened to disintegrate, with insurrections against the Muslim leaders.

The Caliph Abu Bakr sent an army from the capital Medina which completed its reconquest of the territory (the Ridda Wars) with the bloody battle of Dibba in which 10,000 lives are thought to have been lost.

It forms a rare physical link to a legacy of Christianity which is thought to have spread across the peninsula from 50 to 350 AD following trade routes.

Certainly, by the 5th century, Oman had a bishop named John – the last bishop of Oman being Etienne, in 676 AD.

British expeditions to protect the Indian trade from raiders at Ras al-Khaimah led to campaigns against that headquarters and other harbours along the coast in 1809 and subsequently 1819.

Last modified 19-Dec-2016 20:10