He may have been a great man, yes, but the history behind his rule is a dark one that not many know.
The chain of political events that led to Sheikh Zayed Al Nahyan, founder, and ruler of the UAE, all began when Sultan Bin Zayed (Zayed’s father) killed his brother Hamdan Al Nahyan (Zayed’s uncle) in 1922 to become the ruler of Abu Dhabi.
Sultan Bin Zayed had 4 sons, the biggest being Shakhbut and the youngest being Zayed (founder of the UAE).
Sultan’s rule didn’t last long, only 4 years, from 1922 to 1926, after which his other brother Saqr Al Nahyan killed him to avenge the death of his bigger brother Hamdan Al Nahyan.
Sheikh Zayed’s biggest brother Shakhbut was not happy with the death of his father and did not consider the revenge as fair. He later killed his uncle and took the rule of Abu Dhabi for a very long time from 1928 to 1966.
Shakhbut ruled for a long time, but eventually, his brother Zayed was not happy with him, due to not spending the royalties being earned from oil money, and was then peacefully removed from his position by British led forces and Sheikh Zayed was then placed as the Ruler of Abu Dhabi. Shakhbut wasn’t killed, but he was deported from the UAE and sent to Lebanon, where he lived a few years.
Sheikh Zayed later founded the United Arab Emirates in 1971 and allowed his brother Shakhbut to return to the UAE. The year 1971 marks the date when the series of murder and assassination ends and an age of peaceful rule began when Sheikh Zayed died of natural causes and succeeded by his eldest son Khalifa Al Nahyan.
On a side note, Sheikh Khalifa’s brother died in a mysterious helicopter crash in 2008.
Here’s the timeline of the chain of events:
- Hamdan bin Zayed bin Khalifa Al Nahyan (killed by below) (uncle of Sheikh Zayed)
- 1922 – 1926 Sultan bin Zayed bin Khalifa Al Nahyan (killed by below) (Father of Zayed)
- 1926 – 1928 Saqr bin Zayed Al Nahyan (killed by below) (Uncle of Zayed)
- 1928 – 1966 Shakhbut bin Sultan Al Nahyan (peacefully deposed by below) (Brother of Zayed)
- 1966 – 2004 Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan