A flying start: Sheikh Zayed's pivotal accession to Ruler of Abu Dhabi

The Founding Father took leadership of the emirate 53 years ago

Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, Emir of Abu Dhabi (Photo by Genevieve Chauvel/Sygma/Sygma via Getty Images)
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This week marks the 53rd anniversary of the accession of Sheikh Zayed, the Founding Father of the UAE who assumed the role of Ruler of Abu Dhabi on August 6, 1966, marking the dawn of a new era for the Emirates. The royal later became President of the UAE after the Union of the emirates in 1971, a merging made possible under his leadership.

Shortly after assuming the leadership of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Zayed held an open majlis at Qasr Al Hosn, during which he shook hands with 637 people in a single day.

The Founding Father was renowned for his diplomacy, economic nous and progressive policies, which helped establish the UAE as the pioneering metropolis it is today.

He was also noted for his sage words, such as: “He who does not know his past cannot make the best of his present and future, for it is from the past that we learn.”