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The flag displays the pan-Arab colours. Red is the traditional colour of the emirates and red flags of several tiny Arab states along the southern coast of the Persian Gulf were modified for the first time in 1820 following the General Treaty that was signed by the British and the rulers of eight sheikhdoms. It required that these states "should carry by land and sea a red flag, with or without letters on it, at their option, and this shall be in a border of white". Such were the flags of Sharjah and Ras al Khaimah, while Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Dubai and Umm al Qaiwain used a red flag with a white vertical stripe along the hoist. In 1958 Abu Dhabi exchanged the whire stripe for a white canton and in 1961 the flag of Umm al Qaiwain was charged with a white crescent and star. In 1975 the ruler of Sharjah decided to replace his emirate's flag with that of the Union.