Richard Melson

January 2006


Rulers of Dubai

Maktoum bin Buti (1833-1852)

Saeed bin Buti (1852-1859)

Hasher bin Maktoum (1859-1886)

Rashid bin Maktoum (1886-1894)

Maktoum bin Hasher (1894-1906)

Buti bin Suhail (1906-1912)

Saeed bin Maktoum

Rashid bin Saeed (1958-1990)

Maktoum bin Rashid (1990-present)

The Al Maktoum family descends from the Al Bu Falasah section of the Bani Yas, a highly respected and authoritative tribal federation that was the dominant power throughout most of what is now the UAE.

The Al Maktoum family's reign as rulers of Dubai began in 1833, when Sheikh Maktoum bin Buti, and around 800 tribesmen moved from Abu Dhabi. Dubai, like most settlements in the region at that time was just a small town, but the arrival of the Al Maktoum family changed that. Dubai is now one of the most vibrant cities in the world, attracting
tourists and business executives from many countries.

Sheikh Maktoum's brother, Sheikh Saeed bin Buti Al Maktoum, succeeded him. He wanted to follow his brother's example of making Dubai a safe haven for all people. To this end, he took the wise decision to form alliances with the Sheikhs of Abu Dhabi and Umm Al Qaiwain, consolidating his ability to face any future disputes.

Upon the death of Sheikh Saeed, in 1859, Sheikh Hasher bin Maktoum Al Maktoum took over the leadership of Dubai. He proved himself to be a brave leader with a strong sense of justice, and was firmly committed to the truces signed by Dubai with the British and the other Trucial Sheikhdoms.


Photograph by Ronald Codrai Justin Codrai

When Sheikh Hasher passed away, the elders of the tribe elected Sheikh Rashid bin Maktoum as their leader. In 1892, he formed an alliance, through marriage, with the Al Bu Shamis tribe, who were based in Buraimi, a strategically important area at that time, as it was one of the few fertile oases in the country. In the same year, however, he fell ill, eventually dying in 1894.

Sheikh Maktoum bin Hasher then took power.

His economic policy is described in British government papers as "liberal and enlightened"(1.)

He abolished commercial taxes and Dubai's port saw a rapid increase in development and business during his reign. Dubai became a regular stopping point for steamers and established itself as the principal commercial port on the coast.

Sheikh Maktoum died in 1906. As his sons were too young to take power, he was succeeded by his cousin, Sheikh Buti bin Suhail. Sheikh Buti was already elderly by the time he became Ruler, and his reign lasted only 6 years until his death in 1912, when he was succeeded by Sheikh Saeed bin Maktoum Al Maktoum.

1 - Records of Dubai 1761-1960.

Volume 2, Archive Editions, 1994, pg. 16

Al Maktoum - Sheikh Saeed - Sheikh Rashid - Sheikh Maktoum

Old Dubai - Dubai Under Sheikh Rashid - Present-Day Dubai

Dubai Al Maktoum family

January 2, 2006