'History of the Emirates' launches on TV networks worldwide

Image Nation Abu Dhabi CEO Michael Garin talks about what it took to create the definitive documentary

The five-part series tells the story of the history of the UAE across thousands of years. Image Nation Abu Dhabi /Atlantic Productions
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It starts 125,000 years ago, but features some of the most advanced technology yet seen on screen.

History of the Emirates, a five-part series presented by Image Nation Abu Dhabi and produced by Atlantic Productions, launches tonight on networks around the world. It is the culmination of four years of hard work by 75 anthropologists, archaeologists and historians. "Everybody who has seen this has been blown away by it," says Image Nation CEO, Michael Garin.

The first episode looks at the earliest human migrations out of Africa to the Arabian Peninsula. It explores how a stone tool found at Jebel Faya in Sharjah has changed the whole theory of human migration. This tool confirms that some of the earliest modern humans left Africa across the Red Sea, rather than over the land bridge in Egypt.

“It’s really important for UAE nationals and eight million expats to really understand that this country has a long and distinguished history,” says Garin. “But no one knows it. This is not just a show for Emiratis. This is a show [that will allow] everybody who lives here to understand much better why things are the way they are.”

The next four episodes, which will air every night at 9pm until Thursday, November 28, on all national TV channels across the UAE will look at how innovation, trade and belief systems have shaped the country, finally arriving in 1971 with the formation of the UAE.

Garin is particularly proud of the number of Emirati experts featured in the series, including archaeologists Eisa Yousif and Abdullah Al Kaabi. “We’re not turning this country over to a group of expats to dig it up,” he says. “It’s taken a long time to build the infrastructure to support the kind of investigation that’s been going on in the last 10 years.

“Another important thing is that a lot of these archaeological finds are fairly recent, so this interest in discovering the past and having the scientific and technical resources available to the archaeologists to do their work is also fairly recent.”

On Friday, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, tweeted a preview of the series, writing that "every nation has a story. This is our story."