The Port of Khalid is in the heart of Sharjah city, seat of the government of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Emirate of Sharjah. The Port of Khalid is considered a pioneer seaport of the region, boasting the first container terminal, roll-on/roll-off cargo terminal, and free trade terminal.
The City of Sharjah has been inhabited for more than five thousand years. Archeological evidence shows that the settlers here were fishermen, and the area was a mangrove swamp.
Crossing Dubai Creek in an abra on 15 March 2008. The buildings seen in the background are in Deira.
Photo by Imre Solt
Sharjah’s location on trade routes to India made it an important city. From its early beginnings until the mid-1800s, Sharjah was the premiere port on the southern Arabian Gulf. A map created by Greek geographer Ptolemy identified a settlement there in second century AD. Arab navigator Ahmad Ibn Majid wrote about Sharjah in his journals in 1490. Early Sharjah’s economy was based on farming, hunting, goat-hearding, pearl-diving, fishing, and maritime trade.
In the early 1700s, a clan of the Huwayla tribe, the Qawasim, established its base in Sharjan and declared the region’s independence. Led by Sultan ibn Saqr, Persian Gulf pirates from Sharjah raided ships from all countries without fear or restraint. When the British fleet defeated the pirates, the ruling Sheikh Sultan I agreed to British protection in 1820 to keep from being overrun by the Ottoman Turks.
Photo by Earthwitness
In 1971, the region joined the United Arab Emirates. Today, over 800 thousand people call Sharjah home. Being near Dubai, many of its residents live in Sharjah and commute to work in Dubai. In 1998, UNESCO named the city the “Cultural Capital of the Arab World” due to its focus on preserving culture and heritage as the city grows. The Port of Khalid at Sharjah has long been a maritime and commercial center.