Yemen Facts

Yemen Facts and History


Yemen is located on the south-western tip of the Arabian Peninsula and borders the Red Sea.

The state is the most populous country in the region and at the same time one of the poorest countries in the Arab world. Oil is also produced in Yemen, but the volume of production and thus also economic income is limited. The Islam is the state religion in Yemen.

The culture of the country and daily life are therefore strongly influenced by religion. After the country had been ruled by imams since 897, the Republic of North Yemen was proclaimed in 1962.

South Yemen also followed in 1967 and proclaimed the People’s Democratic Republic. The two Yemen finally united in 1990 to form the Republic of Yemen. At the moment there is a cruel civil war here.

Name of the country Yemen RepublicRepublic of Yemen
Form of government Parliamentary-controlled presidential system
Geographical location in the southwest of the Arabian Peninsula
National anthem United Republic
Population around 25 million (Credit: Countryaah: Yemen Population)
Ethnicities Arabs, besides a small minority of Europeans and Indians
Religions Islam as the official state religionAn insignificant number of Christians of approx. 0.1%
Languages Arabic
Capital Sana’a with approx. 2.6 million residents
Surface 537,000 kmĀ²
Highest mountain Nabi Schuayb with a height of 3,660 m
International license plate YR (Yemen Republic)
National currency Yemen rial
Time difference to CET + 2 h
International phone code + 967
Mains voltage, frequency 220 volts, 50 hertz
Internet Top Level Domain (TLD) .ye

Yemen: history

Before the year 1000

The earliest settlements in Yemen date from 8,000 to 6,000 BC. A total of six ancient kingdoms are known in what is now Yemen. The most important of these is undoubtedly the Kingdom of Saba, which is mentioned several times in the Old Testament and dates from around 2,000 BC. Existed until 260 AD. The five other kingdoms in the region are named Ma’in (approx. 700 – approx. 50 BC), Aussan (until approx. 450 BC), Kataban (approx. 600 BC – approx. 150 AD), Hadramaut (4th century BC – approx. 220 AD) and Himjar (approx. 100 BC – approx. 525 AD).

According to Abbreviationfinder website, in 628, the Sassanid governor of Yemen converted to Islam, which started the Islamization of the area.

Yemen was ruled by Umayyad governors from Sana’a from 660 to 750. In the period from 750 to 847 the Abbasids ruled the area, who were driven out by the Ju’firids in 847. This ruling family founded the first Yemeni dynasty in Islamic times. However, Yemen has rarely been a single political entity. Various Yemeni tribes strongly influenced the political events of the country under the respective central power until the 20th century.

In a conflict between two tribes in the north of the country in 896, the Zaidite imam Yachya al Hadi acted as mediator. This was so successful in the arbitration that the North Yemeni tribes adopted the Zaidi-Islamic faith and recognized him as a religious and secular leader. Yachya al Hadi was the first of 65 Zaidi imams in Yemen who ruled until the 20th century.

From the year 1000 to the 17th century

In 1324, the Zaidi tribes from northern Yemen took Sana’a and made the city the capital of Yemen, ruled by the Zaidite imam. In 1454 the south of the country could also be conquered by the Zaidites.

In addition to the Zaidis, the Fatimids (from 900-916 and 1037 to 1138), the Ajiubids (from 1173-1228), the Rassulids (from 1228-1455), the Mamelukes (from 1515-1517) and the Ottomans (from 1537-1636). However, the Zaidite imams were always able to prevail against the other rulers.

In the 18th and 19th centuries

In 1803 the Wahhabis occupied parts of Yemen. Thereupon the Zaidite imam called in 1826 the Mamelukes for help. The Wahhabis could be driven out, but the Mamelukes now occupied the area.

In 1839 England occupied southern Yemen with Aden, while the region of Tihama and the area between Tiaz and Sana’a was taken by the Ottomans. In 1905 the English and Ottomans jointly determined the border through Yemen.

In the 20th century

During the Anglo-Ottoman occupation, the Zaidite imams ruled only in the country’s northern provinces. In the Da’an Agreement of 1911, the Ottomans recognized the Zaidite rule in northern Yemen as well as in Menaacha and Tiaz. With the defeat in World War I, the Ottoman occupation in Yemen ended entirely. In 1923, in the Treaty of Lausanne, the victorious powers of World War I recognized the imam as the secular head of North Yemen. In 1926 the imam took on the title of king.

The Zaidi North Yemen fought against the British occupation in the south of the country from 1926, but had to bow in 1928 and finally recognized the border with South Yemen in a peace treaty in 1934, which was under British occupation until 1967. In the same year, North Yemen attacked Saudi Arabia, but also had to admit defeat in this fight. The border issue between North Yemen and Saudi Arabiacould only be settled in 2000. Over the years, North Yemen has isolated itself completely from world politics. Foreigners were not allowed to enter North Yemen, and Yemeni nationals were not allowed to leave. Apart from Egypt and Saudi Arabia, there were no diplomatic relations with any other country. In the period up to 1962, the situation for the country’s population deteriorated. Opposition forces germinated. In 1961, the ruling imam narrowly escaped an assassination attempt and then passed political power to his son. But as early as 1962 there was a military coup against the new imam. In a seven-year civil war, the Republicans were able to prevail. In 1969 the first parliament of the new republic met.

In 1970 there was a border war with South Yemen, which had since become independent from Great Britain. After the armistice between the two states, negotiations for unification began. But it was not until May 1990 that both parts of Yemen were united to form the Republic of Yemen with the capital Sana’a. In 1994, South Yemen tried again to isolate itself, which led to the invasion of North Yemeni troops in the south of the country. The national unity could, however, be preserved. In the same year, Sharia, as the Islamic legal system, became the source of all legislation in Yemen. Since the end of the 1990s, the political situation in Yemen has stabilized and the situation for the population has improved.

Yemen Facts