Yemen History

By | November 9, 2021

According to topschoolsintheusa, Yemen is one of the oldest centers of civilization in the Middle East. Its land, relatively fertile in some valleys, and its humid climate allowed the development of a stable population. Its nomadic residents were dedicated throughout ancient times to grazing and raising birds.

The Greek geographer Claudius Ptolemy referred to Yemen in his texts as Eudaimon Arabia (a term better known by its Latin translation, Arabia Felix). The Mediterranean peoples saw arriving caravans loaded with incense, myrrh, cassia, cinnamon and laudanum; or riches such as gold, ebony, ivory and silk, so they deduced that it was a land of fable. Its greatest splendor was the kingdom of Saba –capital, Mariaba (Marib) – with its mysterious queen and her love affair with the Jewish King Solomon, which gave rise to the myth. The legend of Arabia Felix resurfaced in the seventeenth, when French, English and Portuguese merchants heard of a drink, “black gold” – coffee – that was exported to the entire world through the Yemeni port of Moka.

Between the XII century a. C. and the 6th century, the area was dominated by three successive civilizations, which controlled the lucrative spice trade: the Mines, the Sabaeans and the Himyarites.

The Kingdom of Saba, whose capital was Ma’rib, achieved great power due to its strategic location, between India and the Mediterranean, which allowed it to monopolize the spice trade. The legendary Old Testament queen of Sheba was supposedly from there. From the 3rd century AD. C., the kingdom of Saba happens to be dominated by the Himyarita dynasty, reason why it is spoken of the Kingdom of Himyar. In 572 the kingdom was annexed by Sassanid Persia.

The Islam came to Yemen around the year 630; from then on, Yemen became part of the Arab caliphates, dependent on Damascus and later on Baghdad. During the 8th century, small independent states began to appear in Yemen, such as the Zaidí or Zaidita dynasty, which would be followed by others. In later centuries Yemen oscillates between independence and submission first to the caliphs of Egypt and then to the sultans of the Ottoman Empire. From the 15th century on, Portugalintervened, taking over the port of Aden for about twenty years. In the 18th century, Ibn Saud, founder of the Saudi dynasty, annexes Yemen, which then returns, after a brief period of independence, to Egyptian rule in the first half of the 19th century. The British settled in Aden in 1839, and became a decisive power in the area.

After the First World War, Yemen achieved independence, becoming a kingdom. In 1926 a new Saudi intervention takes place, but the following year the Zaydite Imam is reinstated on his throne; new border disputes with the neighboring country will finally be resolved with the delivery to Saudi Arabia of the Asir region. At the time, the area of Aden continues under British rule; in 1937 the area was organized into a colony (Aden) and two protectorates, eastern and western.

In 1945 the kingdom of Yemen joined the Arab League, and in 1947 the UN. In 1962, the last king was overthrown, and the Arab Republic of Yemen, known as North Yemen, was established, although in an almost continuous situation of civil war until 1970. In the Aden region, despite Britain’s efforts to prevent it, in 1967 the former British rule was transformed into the Marxist-oriented People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen or South Yemen, becoming the first communist Arab state. Although in the 1970s there were several clashes between the two states, and even two brief civil wars (in 1972 and 1979), in 1981 a draft Constitution for a reunified state was finally reached. The reflected the agreement reached on 22 of maypoleof 1990, when both republics merge into one, the Republic of Yemen.

Some historical events

  • 1962 – Revolution in the north that brings down the imamate and, after a civil war in the 60s, leads the consolidation of a republican system.
  • 1967 – The withdrawal of the British from Aden eventually resulted in the establishment of a communist state in the south. North and South were in conflict during the 1970s and 1980s.
  • 1990 – On May 22, the Arab Republic of Yemen and the Democratic People’s Republic of Yemen unify and the Republic of Yemen is born.
  • 1993 – Democratic elections (the first in the Arabian Peninsula) generate a triple coalition between the General People’s Congress, the Socialist Party of Yemen and Islah (an important grouping of the Islamic tribes of the north). Disputes within this coalition increased a political crisis.
  • 1994 – Despite a conciliatory agreement signed in March, a series of military confrontations broke out, sparking a large-scale war between northern and southern forces in May, caused by the separatist movement of the Yemeni Socialist Party. Unity was reestablished in July, and in October Saleh is re-elected president by the parliament in Sana’a and a new governing coalition is announced, made up of the General People’s Congress and Islah, and the Socialist Party and Yemen and other small parties in the opposition.
  • 1997 – On April 27, in the first election since the 1994 civil war, the ruling party (CGP) adds 187 seats out of 301 in the House of Representatives.
  • 1998 – In October Eritrea and Yemen accept the decision of the International Court of The Hague in the dispute over the Hanish Islands in the Red Sea.
  • 2000 – Yemen and Saudi Arabia sign an agreement on land and sea boundaries, resolving 65 years of disputes.
  • 2001 – In the first local elections held in February, Yemenis approve the extension of presidential and parliamentary terms ex officio in a referendum.

Anti-government protests

Inspired by the popular uprisings that led Egypt’s president to resign from office, thousands of protesters in Yemen began protesting from January 27, 2011 (uninterrupted since February 12). The protests initially sought to prevent the indefinite reelection of current President Saleh, but over time they began to directly demand his resignation. On March 1, current President Ali Abdullah Saleh accused the US and Israel of trying to destabilize his country and the Arab world. [2]

The protests gradually spread to the southern regions, until then considered strongholds favorable to President Ali Abdulah Saleh, with sporadic incidents of street violence. [3] The protesters demanded, in addition to the resignation of the president, that of his entire cabinet.

The surroundings of the University of Sanaa were taken by protesters who settled there to pressure the authorities, despite having been the target of attacks by government supporters with firearms, sabers, daggers, sticks and stones, according to witnesses.

The Yemeni president rejected in the first week of March a proposal made as an ultimatum by his adversaries to prepare a gradual and peaceful resignation, in order to leave office at the end of 2011, instead of 2013, the date on which his term expires. constitutional.

According to Yemen’s Foreign Minister Abu Bakr Al-Qirbi, popular discontent against Saleh and the protests were a consequence of the precarious economic conditions in Yemen, where a third of Yemenis suffered from chronic hunger. [3] On March 11, 14 people were injured during the dispersal of another anti-government demonstration in the south of the country [4] .

Yemen History