Origin of the name Abu Dhabi
The origin of the name "Abu Dhabi" is uncertain. Meaning "Father of the Gazelle", when literally translated from Arabic, it probably referred to the few gazelles that inhabit the emirate. According to Bilal al-Budoor, assistant under-secretary for Cultural Affairs at the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Community Development, "The area had a lot of dhibaa [deer (plural)], and was nicknamed after that." An old story tells about a man who used to chase deer [dhabi (deer – singular)] and was named the "father" of the animal. Abu Dhabi's original name was Milh "salt", possibly referring to the salty water of the Persian Gulf, or the ancient salt marshes that surround the city. Some Bedouins called the city Umm Dhabi (mother of deer), while British records refer to the place as Abu Dhabi. According to some historical accounts, the name Abu Dhabi was first used more than 300 years ago. The first word of Abu Dhabi is pronounced "Bu" by inhabitants on the city's western coast. In the eastern part of the city, the pronunciation is "Abu".
Origins of the Al Nahyan family
Main article: Al Nahyan family
The Bani Yas bedouin were originally centred on the Liwa Oasis. This tribe was the most significant in the area, having over 20 subsections. In 1793, the Al Bu Falah subsection migrated to the island of Abu Dhabi on the coast of the Persian Gulf due to the discovery of fresh water there. One family within this section was the Al Nahyan family. This family makes up the rulers of Abu Dhabi today.
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