Dibba: Wikis


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Dibba (Arabic: دبا), (Portuguese: Doba), sometimes spelled Diba or Daba, is a coastal region at the northeastern tip of the UAE/Oman peninsula on the Gulf of Oman. After historical land disputes, Dibba has been divided into three parts. One division for Oman and two divisions for UAE:



Scholars have suggested two possibilities for the origin of "Dibba":

  • It may have been named due to a time when it was invaded by hordes of locusts, which in Literary Arabic are called "daba".
  • It may have been named due to the bloodshed during the Ridda wars, since blood in Arabic is "dama", and that word may have evolved over time to "daba". Today the town is referred to as "Daba" by its natives and in Oman; but in most of the United Arab Emirates, it is referred to as "Dibba".


  • This large, natural harbor on the East Coast of the Northern Emirates has been an important site of maritime trade and settlement since the pre-Islamic era. Although we have some slight information, mainly from tombs, of settlement during the later 2nd millennium and early first millennium BC, contemporary with such sites as Shimal, Tell Abraq and Rumeilah, and of scattered occupation during the period of al-Dur and Mileiha, it is in the period just prior to and after the coming of Islam that we hear most about Dibba. Under the Sasanians and their Omani clients the Al-Julanda, an important market existed at Dibba. Dibba was sometimes the capital of Oman[1]. According to Ibn Habib, 'merchants from Sindh, India, China, people of the East and West came to it'.
  • Soon after the death of Prophet Muhammad a rebellion broke out at Dibba and a faction of the Azd, led by Laqit bin Malik Dhu at-Taj, rejected Islam. According to one tradition, Laqit was killed by an envoy of the caliph Abu Bakr in what may have been a relatively small struggle, while other sources, including Al-Tabari, say that at least 10,000 rebels were killed in one of the biggest battles of the Ridda wars. The plain behind Dibba still contains a large cemetery which, according to local tradition, represents the fallen apostates of Dibba.
  • During the time of the Abbasid caliph Al Mu'tadid (870-892 AD), a great battle was fought at Dibba during the conquest of Oman by the Abbasid governor of Iraq and Bahrain, Muhammad bin Nur. Thereafter, references to Dibba in the historical literature are scarce until we come to the Portuguese, who built a fortress there. Dibba (Debe) appears in the list of southeast Arabian placenames preserved by the Venetian jeweler Gasparo Balbi in 1580 AD, and depictions of its Portuguese fort can be found in several sources[2], such as Cortesao's Portugalliae monumenta cartographica.
  • Around 1620-1621 AD, the Italian traveller Pietro Della Valle, while staying with the Sultan of Bandar Abbas, met the son of the ruler of Dibba who was visiting. From this, he learned that Dibba had formerly been subject to the kingdom of Hormuz, but was at that time loyal to the Safavids who in 1623 AD sent troops to Dibba, Khor Fakkan and other ports on the southeast coast of Arabia in order to prepare for a Portuguese counter-attack following their expulsion from Hormuz (Jarun). In fact, the Portuguese under Rui Freire were so successful that the people of Dibba turned on their Safavid overlords, putting them all to death, whereupon a Portuguese garrison of 50 men was installed at Dibba. More Portuguese forces, however, had to be sent to Dibba in 1627 AD as a result of an Arab revolt. Curiously, two years later the Portuguese proposed moving part of the Mandaean population of southern Iraq, under pressure from neighbouring Arab tribes, to Dibba. Although Dibba was offered to the Mandaeans, they were wise enough to see that the Portuguese force there would be insufficient to guarantee their security and, while a few Mandaeans tested the waters by moving to Muscat, most returned to Basra in 1630 AD.
  • In 1645 AD, the Portuguese still held Dibba, but the Dutch, searching for potential sites for new commercial activities, sent the warship Zeemeeuw (Dutch: seagull) to explore the Musandam peninsula between Khasab, on the Persian Gulf side, and Dibba, on the East Coast. The captain of the Zeemeeuw, Claes Speelman, made drawings in his logbook including what is certainly the earliest depiction of Dibba in a European source. Within a year or two, however, the Portuguese were forced out of Dibba and held only Khasab and Muscat, which they finally lost in 1650 AD.
  • Eleven years later, Jacob Vogel's description of the east coast of the Oman peninsula, prepared for the Dutch East India Company in 1666 AD, contained the following: "Dabba (which we were unable to visit because of calm and counter currents) is a place (according to the interpreter assigned to us) with about 300 small houses constructed from branches of date trees...During the days of the Portuguese there were here 4 fortresses of which the biggest one is still standing. This place also has a valley with a lot of date trees under which there are water wells, where one can get fresh water. At the Northern side of Dabba there is a small fresh water river where the fishermen live".[3]. The 1900s witnessed land disputes over Dibba.[4]


Dibba Fault is an active fault which means that it had a displacement or a seismic activity during the geologically recent period. It is one of the two faults that run through the UAE, enters land near the southern borders of Oman, coming from the north and runs southward to the centre of the Arabian Peninsula. Gulf News reported that people in Dibba have felt at least 150 tremors during 2003 and 2004, which indicates that there is a major earthquake waiting to happen in the area.[1] Dibba also felt the 2005 Qeshm earthquake. The Mesozoic and the Cenozoic accretionary wedge is truncated on the western side by the right lateral fault, the Zendan Fault - Oman Line. West of the transform are the Zagros Mountains of southern Iran, the Musandam peninsula and the Oman Mountains, and the Arabian platform and the Dibba Fault. The Dibba Fault separates the ophiolites in the Oman Mountains from the Mesozoic carbonates in the Musandam Peninsula.[5]

On March 31, 2009, Gulfnews reported that the UAE's National Centre of Metrology and Seismology (NCMS)[2] recorded two earth tremors measuring magnitude of 2.9 and 3.5 on the Richter scale shook the Gulf of Aden and north of Dibba at 6.21am and 9.35am. The tremors were lightly felt in some areas of the northern emirates.[6]

Marine life

In 2008, the marine phenomenon known as Algal bloom hit around the Dibba area and also reached the tourist hot-spots of Al-'Aqqah and Al -Faqeet, which contains several high-end resorts.[7] Gulf News reported that a Red tide on the east coast destroyed 95 per cent of corals in the Dibba Marine Protected Zone and the fish population has dwindled to a minimum.[8] Marine biologist Rita Bento working with the Emirates Diving Association (EDA)[9] said she only saw three fish during a one-hour dive in an area where previously hundreds were seen.

Natural disasters

In June 2007, Dibba was affected by Cyclone Gonu, which caused damage to buildings and homes.[10]


  • There is evidence of what appears to be an extensive ancient settlements.[11]
  • Dibba was another international market on the coast of Oman frequented by merchants from India and China sailing through the Arabian Sea (Indian and Chinese merchant activity is also documented in excavation in Dibba, and in Chinese sources as well).[12]
  • In the early 1950s, Bibby appealed to his wartime acquaintance, P. V. Glob, by then professor of Prehistory at the Aarhus University, and together they organized the frist modern archaeological expedition to the Persian Gulf region where Dibba was part of the sites to visit.[13]

The towns

Dibba Al-Fujairah

Dibba Al-Fujairah on the east coast is one of the largest towns in Fujairah. It contains several small villages located between the mountains and the seacoast. In winter people from all emirates come to go camping and enjoy green mountains and fresh air. But in summer they come to enjoy water sports and sandy beaches. Beaches in Dibba are considered one the best of UAE where luxury hotels near the seacoast make them ever better.

Dibba Al-Hisn

Dibba Al-Hisn is bordered by the Gulf of Oman on the east, Dibba Al-Baya on the north, and Dibba Al-Fujairah on the south. It is the smallest in size among the other "Dibbas"; it is notable mostly for its fish market and for a fortress, for which the town is named. Its population density is greater than the other towns. There have been land disputes between Dibba Al-Hisn and Dibba Al-Baya, which were resolved in the 1990s. Dibba Al-Hisn is believed to be the site where the Portuguese during the Iberian Union built a fort and a wall around the city.[14]

Dibba Al-Baya

Dibba Al-Baya is the most northerly of the three "Dibbas" and acts as a gateway to the Musandam peninsula.

Notable people

  • Laqit bin Malik: A false prophet and an Azdi Arab in Dibba also known as the "Crowned One (Dhul'-Taj)" who rose against the local Muslim Julanda rulers. The army led by Hudayfa and supported by Ikrimah ibn Abi-Jahl and 'Arfaja arrived at Al Ain / Buraimi where they wrote to local tribes to convince them to abandon the revolt. They then marched against and defeated Laqit in battle at Dibba, where reports of combined casualties of 10,000 are mentioned. Hudayfah then remained in Oman as governor restoring peace with the local tribes and bringing them back to the fold of Islam while the remaining troops to Mahra in southern Arabia to Ash Shihr in Yemen.[15]

Dibba in popular culture

"We will go to Dibba, and we will see how summers feels like" is a saying popular in UAE and Oman. It is used by individual to express the ability of proving a point or test if a fact is true or not. Since Dibba allegedly enjoys a cooler weather in the summer than the rest of the UAE.


  1. ^ United Arab Emirates: A New Perspective By Ibrahim Abed, Peter Hellyer. ISBN 1900724472, 9781900724470
  2. ^ http://www.colonialvoyage.com/persfortdoba.htmlhttp://www.colonialvoyage.com/persfortdoba.html
  3. ^ http://www.uaeinteract.com/history/e_walk/con_3/con3_48.asp http://www.uaeinteract.com/history/e_walk/con_3/con3_48.asp
  4. ^ http://www.archiveeditions.co.uk/titledetails.asp?tid=34 http://www.archiveeditions.co.uk/titledetails.asp?tid=34
  5. ^ The tectonic and climatic evolution of the Arabian Sea Region By Peter D. Clift, Geological Society of London, D. Kroon, C. Gaedicke, J. Craig
  6. ^ http://www.gulfnews.com/nation/General/10300221.html
  7. ^ http://www.gulfnews.com/nation/Environment/10257821.htmlhttp://www.gulfnews.com/nation/Environment/10257821.html
  8. ^ http://www.gulfnews.com/nation/Environment/10281830.html http://www.gulfnews.com/nation/Environment/10281830.html
  9. ^ http://www.emiratesdiving.com/ http://www.emiratesdiving.com/
  10. ^ http://www.khaleejtimes.com/DisplayArticleNew.asp?section=theuae&xfile=data/theuae/2007/june/theuae_june129.xml
  11. ^ The United Arab Emirates. A Venture in Unity. Author: Malcom C. Pick. ISBN 0865311889, 9780865311886
  12. ^ The Origins and Evolution of Islamic Law By Wael B. Hallaq. Contributor Wael B. Hallaq. Edition: illustrated. Published by Cambridge University Press, 2005 ISBN 0521803322, 9780521803328 Page 13
  13. ^ Archaeology Under Fire: Nationalism, Politics and Heritage in the Eastern Mediterranean and Middle East
    By Lynn Meskell
    Edition: illustrated
    Published by Routledge, 1998
    ISBN 0415196558, 9780415196550 page 191-192
  14. ^ http://www.colonialvoyage.com/persfortdoba.html http://www.colonialvoyage.com/persfortdoba.html
  15. ^ Peter Hellyer, Ibrahim Al-Abed, Ibrahim Al Abed, The United Arab Emirates, A New Perspective, London, Trident Press Ltd., 2001, p. 81-84. ISBN 1-900724-47-2.

Coordinates: 25°37′N 56°16′E / 25.617°N 56.267°E / 25.617; 56.267

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