August 6 marked the 50th anniversary since the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al-Nahyan assumed power in the Sheikhdom of Abu Dhabi in 1966.

To celebrate the landmark anniversary, the National Archives have released some rarely seen before archive images of the former ruler.

The National Archives in cooperation with the National Newspaper are releasing a special photo album tomorrow titled: “On This Day, Fifty Years Ago… Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan”. This album celebrates the fiftieth anniversary of August 6 1966, when the founding leader Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, became the ruler of Abu Dhabi. That day represented a historic turning point and it will remain engraved on the nation’s memory with its timeless impacts. As part of their role and national duty, the National Archives and the National Newspaper cooperated to release this album to remind new generations of our nation’s history, and the glorious role of the eternal leader who created a homeland and built a nation. #اليوم_قبل_خمسين_عاما #الامارات #الأرشيف_الوطني #ذاكرة_الوطن #ذاكرة_الامارات #أبوظبي #ال_نهيان #الشيخ_زايد #uae #archives #history #uae_history #history_uae #abudhabi #alain #alnahyan #uaearchives #Sheikh_Zayed #Today_50_Years_Ago #thenationalnewspaper

A photo posted by @uaearchives on

Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al-Nahyan, who was renowned for being a man of the people – always taking time to be among the community – was unanimously chosen by his family to be the Ruler of Abu Dhabi on August 6, 1966.

This was a time when the emirate began exporting oil, however understanding that the future of the emirate would need to look beyond the energy source, Sheikh Zayed implemented major reforms such as modern education, healthcare, public housing, and general urban development.

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He was also responsible for building new roads, and the construction of a bridge to link Abu Dhabi Island to the mainland.

As a result of the new infrastructures, thousands of local people moved from barasti (palm frond) houses into modern homes. Modern roads were laid over the desert sand and fresh water and electricity connected to every house.

Considered a builder of the nation, in 1971, when the United Arab Emirates was established on December 2, Sheikh Zayed was elected, by the Rulers of the other emirates, as the first President. Sheikh Rashid was elected as Vice President.

Until his passing in 2004, he worked to constantly improve the nation, improving education and introducing charity initiatives.

50th Anniversary Of Sheikh Zayed's Accession As Ruler

Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, the Queen Mother and Prince Philip in London, July 18, 1989

Here are some of your favourite Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al-Nahyan quotes

On women:

“Islam affords women their rightful status, and encourages them to work in all sectors, as long as they are afforded appropriate respect.”

On the future of the nation:

“We must not rely on oil alone as the main source of our national income. We have to diversify the sources of our revenue and construct economic projects that will ensure a free, stable and dignified life for the people.”

50th Anniversary Of Sheikh Zayed's Accession As Ruler

Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan during an inspection tour of Abu Dhabi Port 1968

On true riches:

“Wealth is not money. Wealth lies in men. This is where true power lies, the power we value. This is what has convinced us to direct all our resources to building the individual, and to using the wealth which God has provided us in the service of the nation.”

On being a ruler:

“The Ruler should not have any barrier which separates him from his people.”

On man’s life duty:

“Every individual has to perform his duty. Man is mortal, but his work is not. Therefore, work is greater than wealth.”

50th Anniversary Of Sheikh Zayed's Accession As Ruler

Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan distributing 211 property deeds to new owners at Al Ain Palace, April 19, 1969

50th Anniversary Of Sheikh Zayed's Accession As Ruler

Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan inspecting villages along the Abu Dhabi/Al Ain Road, 1976

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Main image caption: Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan on the occasion of the 2nd Anniversary of his Accession Day, 1968