About us


The Arabian Gulf Digital Archives (“AGDA”) is an online archive that has been created to showcase historical and cultural material that tells the story of the rich, intriguing and complex history of the Arabian Gulf.

An accessible resource, it serves to offer digital material that spans two centuries, documenting events and personalities that have shaped and defined the region. The contents offer an insight into the past with some material previously unseen by the general public.

AGDA contains, among other things, letters, memos, transcripts, photos and official correspondence from leaders and governments that shaped the events of their time. It’s a free and open resource for students, researchers, enthusiasts and anyone who is curious to explore the rich and varied past of the Arabian Gulf.


The National Library and Archives of the United Arab Emirates (“NLA”) collects documents of special historical value to the UAE, Gulf Cooperation Council states and the Arabian Peninsula, both from within the UAE and from abroad. It works to preserve the UAE’s unique culture, heritage and traditions and is part of the Ministry of Presidential Affairs of the UAE.

The original documents often exist in archives not located within the Gulf region, making access difficult for those who don’t know where to look. AGDA presents electronic copies of these records along with tools to search, tag and download them. The initial phase of the project collects material from The National Archives, UK represents documents from the British Government about the region. Most of these documents were written by British officials and record their perspective on events and their impressions of people they met in the region. They provide a unique contemporary resource but, as with all historical documents, must be understood in the context of their times.  


The AGDA site is accessible anytime using an online fixed or mobile device via www.agda.ae  Within its design:  

  • It holds easy-to–use search filters, each with its own extensive list of additional search terms
  • It enables additional search functionality based on a selected date range
  • All search results can be downloaded, shared, bookmarked with any comments saved.
  • Results pages can be viewed as a single or multiple images, or as text and in various viewing formats
  • It is designed to aid accessibility for all users with tools to manipulate size, colour and positioning of images and text
  • It is simple and intuitive functionality. It is also optimised using external search engines


AGDA is open and free to view and use by anyone. It makes primary source material, with descriptions in both Arabic and English, available to students, scholars, researchers and any interested members of the public.