When the number of population in a certain place, increases due to frequent migrations – similar to what happened in Dubai since 1833 leading to the establishment of markets full of shops and street vendors to meet the needs of all segments of society – it becomes normal to have a lower security rate and overcrowding in these areas. At that time, it wasn’t a good idea to live away from the city centre due to the insecurity in the desert unless you live among a powerful, impregnable and venerable tribe, yet you may not be delivered from the attacks of other tribes as is known in the history of the ancient Arabian Gulf.
For these and other reasons, the sheikhs and dignitaries of Bani Yas tribe began, around 1860, to move to a peninsula close to the center of the city and at the same time surrounded by seawater on three sides; a convenient and safe place to live. This area was called Shindagha under the rule of Sheikh Hasher bin Maktoum, who ruled between 1859 and 1886. The shape of Shindagha area began to appear gradually and the number of population increased but much lower than the increase in Deira and Bur Dubai due to lack of water, which was only brought by “almazazir” (someone who carries water to people). It was also not permitted to open commercial shops in Shindagha so as not to duplicate the problem existing in the old areas.
Tracing the family names of the people who inhabited Shindagha, one can find that most of them are relatives related by blood kinship either from the father or mother side whether close or distant. Thus, the ruler was able to surround his house with a security wall that was not built of stones and mud but built on the kindred. We do not have sufficient information on population numbers. But, if we go back 100 years in time and read the report prepared by Lorimer for the British government, by order of Lord Curzon, we find this information:
“Dubai consists of three districts, the most important of which is Deira, located on a 20-foot high ground on the eastern edge of the Creek. In Deira there are 1600 houses inhabited by Arabs, Iranians and others, with some 350 shops. There are Shindagha and the main Dubai districts which are located on the southwest side of the Creek. However, Shindagha is closer to the sea and is home of the Sheikh of the Emirate of Dubai. With some 250 houses, all of which are Arab residents, and Indians are not allowed to live there”. This policy, adopted by the first rulers of Dubai, was able to increase security level, arrange the city and divide it into residential areas and business and commercial areas. It was not permitted to open shops in this area, except for a few ones to sell essential items for the maintenance of ships and houses.
The Shindagha district has gained a great reputation in the region for being the ruler’s residence. It was visited by people from far and wide to meet him, and only those who were permitted could settle in it. The house of Sheikh Saeed is the largest one in the whole area. Most of the built houses were one floor and this is due to the financial condition of the owner. Also, houses built from parts of palm trees, often called «Arish«, were spread and they were gathered on trellis in all areas of Dubai.
Shindagah Community The Shindagha community is woven of one fabric, it consists of relatives who have lived closely a simple and kind life, visiting each other morning to evening and cooperated against worries of life. Differences that may arise in civilized societies were not seen, peopled lived in stone or arish houses or tents, yet they remain one family living in solidarity.