Yemen (Arabic : اليَمَن ), officially the Republic of Yemen (Arabic : الجمهورية اليمنية ), is a republic located in the southwestern part of the Arabian Peninsula, on the coast of the Red Sea, the Arabian Sea, and the Gulf of Aden. The country has an area of 527.9 thousand km² and a population of 25,408,000 people. The capital of Yemen is Sana’a, and the official language is Arabic. See other countries beginning with Y.
Some of the most ancient civilizations in the world existed on the territory of today’s Yemen. Between the 9th century BC and in the 6th century its territory was part of the Kataban, Main, Sava and Himyarite kingdoms, which controlled the spice trade. To the Romans, Yemen was known as Arabia Felix (“Happy Arabia”) because of the riches that the trade it controlled provided, and the emperor Octavian Augustustried to conquer it, but his expedition failed. In the 4th century, the entire territory of today’s Yemen was united under the rule of the Himyarite kings, who at the end of the same century adopted Judaism as the state religion. Around 520, the Himyarite kingdom was conquered by the strong Ethiopian state of Axum, which led to the gradual Christianization of the country, but at the end of the same century – around 570 – however, the Ethiopians were forced to cede their rule over Yemen to the Persian Sassanids. They ruled the country until 628, when the last Persian governor converted to Islam, and Yemen became part of the Arab Caliphate. During the next few centuries, Yemen was under the rule of various Muslim dynasties – the Abbasids,Fatimids, Ayyubids, Mamluks, until finally it was included in the composition of the Ottoman Empire. In 1918, North Yemen gained independence, and in 1962, as a result of an anti-monarchy revolution, it was declared the Yemen Arab Republic. In 1967, South Yemen, until then a British protectorate, also gained independence and the formation of the People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen (PDR) was announced. Three years later, the government of South Yemen announced a pro-Soviet and pro-socialist course, sparking a fierce struggle between the North and the South for the next two decades. In 1990, the two warring countries united into a single Republic of Yemen. In May 1994, the former leaders of the NDRY declared an independent state in the south – the Democratic Republic of Yemen, which, however, was destroyed by the North Yemeni army in July.
The country has an area of 527.9 thousand km² and is located in the southwestern part of the Arabian Peninsula on the coast of the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden. A number of islands in the Red Sea, among which Perim, Ez Zubair and El Ikhwan, as well as the island of Socotra in the Arabian Sea belong to Yemen. It borders (in km) with Saudi Arabia – 1458, Oman – 310, and has a coastline of 2080 km. The main part of the country – the central and western regions – is occupied by the Yemeni Mountains with the highest point being Mount Nabi Shuaib(3660 m). Narrow plains are located along the coasts, and to the northeast – the sandy and stony desert of Rub al-Hali.
There are practically no permanently flowing rivers in Yemen. Desert vegetation is the most common. Savanna vegetation and acacia forests predominate in the mountains.
During the Persian Gulf War (1991), the newly formed state supported Iraq, which led Saudi Arabia and Kuwait to expel Yemeni immigrants. This has a detrimental effect on Yemen’s economy and leads to 30% unemployment.