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|Emirate of Sharjah|
Location of Sharjah in the UAE
|Country||United Arab Emirates|
|• Type||Absolute monarchy|
|• Emir||Sultan bin Muhammad Al-Qasimi|
|• Total||2,590 km2 (1,000 sq mi)|
The Emirate of Sharjah (//; Arabic: الشارقة Aš Šāriqah) is one of the states of the United Arab Emirates. The emirate covers 2,590 square kilometres (1,000 sq mi) and has a population of over 800,000 (2008). The emirate of Sharjah comprises the capital city of Sharjah, after which it is named, and other minor towns and exclaves such as Kalba, Dibba Al-Hisn and Khor Fakkan.
Human settlement in the area covered by the emirate has existed for over 120,000 years, with significant finds made of early axes and stone tools as well as Copper and Iron Age implements in Al Dhaid, Madam and Faya. Archaeological finds in the Mleiha area point to human habitation consistent with the spread of humanity from Africa to the wider world, evidenced by finds displayed at the Mleiha Archaeological Centre.
Historically the emirate was one of the wealthiest towns in the region.
Around 1727, the Al Qasimi clan took control of Sharjah and declared the polity independent.
The first in a long series of maritime skirmishes between the Al Qasimi and British vessels took place in 1797, when the British-flagged Bassein Snow was seized and released two days later. The cruiser Viper was subsequently attacked off Bushire. A period of great instability followed along the coast, with a number of actions between British and Al Qasimi vessels alongside various changes of leadership and allegiances between the Rulers of Ras Al Khaimah, Ajman and Sharjah with Sheikh Sultan bin Saqr Al Qasimi claiming sovereignty over 'all the Joasmee ports' in 1823, a claim recognised by the British at the time.
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