Yemeni people
الشعب اليمني
Total population
Yemen Yemen: 19,685,000[1]
Regions with significant populations
Israel Israel 350,000
United Kingdom United Kingdom 80,000 [2]
United States United States 65,823 [3]
Indonesia Indonesia (ancestry) c. 5,000,000

Yemeni Arabic, Modern South Arabian, Hebrew


Mostly Sunni Islam
Shia Islam

Related ethnic groups

Arabs, Mizrahi Jews, Yemenite Jews

Yemeni people (Arabic: الشعب اليمنى), also less commonly known as Yemenites (Arabic: اليمنيين) and historically known as South Arabians (Arabic: يهبها جنوب) are the people, citizens and those descended from the Republic of Yemen, located in the southwestern part of the Arabian Peninsula. Most Yemenis today are Arab, due to their lineage since they are native to the Arabian Peninsula, there are also a notable but small remnant of Yemenite Jews, who are debatabely Arab or not.

Yemen is regarded as the home of the true and original Arabs, was home to some of the earliest and ancient Arab states, most notable the kingdoms of Himyar, Qataban and Saba. Additionally, parts of Yemen had been occupied by neighboring ancient powers such as the African Kingdom of Axum. Consequently, lots of interaction occured between the people of Yemen and those of the Horn of Africa, countries such as Somalia, Ethiopia and Djibouti.

Most Yemenis are Muslim, however many Yemenites also became Christians especially for certain tribes that emigrated to the Levant, such as the Ghassanids, Lakhmids and the Al-Azd tribe where they established ruling dynasties in Syria and Iraq. Yemenite Jews also remained predominant, but again, most live in Israel today.


Early HistoryEdit

According to Arab tradition, the Semitic people of South Arabia integrated into Qahtan lineage 40 generations
Yemen bronze man

"Bronze man" found in Al Bayda' (ancient Nashqum); 6th-5th century BCE. Louvre Museum.

before the Qahtani Yemeni tribe of Jurhum adopted Ishmael (Abraham's illegitimate first-born son) and 80 generations before Adnan was born, in the 23rd century BCE. After the fall of the Northern Semitic cultures, Qahtan revived the Semitic influence in the North through the famous Kahlan (Azd and Lakhm) and other Yemenite tribes migration into the North during the 3rd century CE after the first destruction of the Marib Dam.[4] The Horn of Africa's first Semitic nation, Dʿmt, was a Yemeni settlement.

The Qahtani Semites remained dominant in Yemen from 2300 BCE to 800 BCE, but little is known about this era because the Semites of the South were separated by the vast Arabian desert from Mesopotamian Semites and they lacked any type of script to record their history. However, it is known that they actively traded along the Red Sea coasts. This led to contact with the Phoenicians and from them, the Southern Semites adopted their writing script in 800 BCE and began recording their history.[4]

The Tihama Semitic culture lasted from 1500-1200 BCE. During the late 2nd millennium BCE, a cultural Semitic complex arose in the Tihamah region of Yemen and spread to northern Ethiopia and Eritrea (specifically the Tigray Region, central Eritrea, and coastal areas like Adulis). The Semites of Yemen began settling the Ethiopian highlands. These settlements would reach their climax by the 8th century BCE, eventually giving rise to the Dʿmt and Aksum kingdoms[5]

Kingdoms in South ArabiaEdit

Most of North Arabia's native people were nomadic. However, most of the urban civilizations were located in South Arabia, whose' history and culture has a distinct identity among the Arab World. They are also known

An ancient griffin found in Yemen

for adopting monotheistic religions such as Judaism and Rahmanism while as their attested state religions while Paganism also existed.[6] Many of them reflected Greek and Latin influence, such as the worshipping of the Griffin, a legendary creature as a result of a failed Roman invasion. These ancient Arab states became subject to invasion attempts from the Romans. Aelius Gallus, the Roman governer of occupied-Egypt had tried to conquer the city of Najran but failed to. The Romans later referred to southern Arabia as "Arabia Felix" which means "Happy Arabia" in Old Latin. Among the predominant kingdoms were Himyar, Saba and Qataban.

Himyarite Kingdom 110-525 A.D.Edit

Yarab, a descendant of the Biblical patriarchs Noah, Shem and Joktan and considered a founding father of an
300px-Map of Aksum and South Arabia ca 230 AD

Map of the South Arabian kingdoms and the African kingdom of Aksum

early spoken Arabic and culture (by Muslims) united Yemen and his descendants created the civilization known as the Himyarites (Arabic: الحميريون Banu Himyar), or the Kingdom of Himyar who became a dominant polity in South Arabia.[7] The Himyarites' capital was based in the city of Zafar and then to the modern-day city of Sana'a.[8] The Himyarite kingdom is also significant to the history of Judaism, as many of its kings and leaders were known to be sadistic converts to Judaism. Yemenite Jews and Mizrahi Jews (see religion section below) are the descendants of these ancient South Arabian Jews, but do not consider themselves to be Arabs due to their belief that they descendants of Israelites in Yemen rather native Arab converts to Judaism.

Kingdom of Saba/Sheba Edit

Another significant south Arabian civilization was the Kingdom of Saba (Arabic: سابا) which is highly thought to have been the kingdom known as Sheba (Hebrew: שיבא) in Old Testament accounts whom the Himyarites later conquered after capturing the modern-day city of Najran in Saudi Arabia today. It was ruled by a powerful historical queen of an unknown name, who is commonly referred to as the Queen of Sheba (Hebrew: מלכת שבא)  in
Makeda and Solomon

Renaissance relief of the Queen of Sheba meeting Solomon - gate of Florence Baptistry

Biblical sources, Makeda (Amharic: ማክዳ) in Ethiopian accounts and Bilquis (Arabic: بلقيس) in Arab and Islamic sources. She established diplomatic relations with the Israelites after meeting with King Solomon, whom Ethiopians believe she actually married as they claim to be offspring of both. The Queen of Sheba's ancestry is in debate among historians, she was either a native of Yemen or Ethiopia. Arabs believe Sheba was in Yemen and Ethiopians believe it was in Adis Ababa, Ethiopia's capital. The Sabians (Arabic: الصابئة), a distinct ethno-religious group mentioned in Islamic and Jewish accounts are assumed and denied by others to be descendants of the Sabaean kingdom.

Dynasties in the LevantEdit

Many tribes from Yemen began migrating to the southern parts of the Levant, including southern Syria and even parts of Iraq in the Fertile Crescent. A lot of them were tribes who adopted Christianity shortly following the ministry of Jesus Christ, an event testified by Acts 2:11 of the New Testament.

Ghassanid and Lakhmid ConfederationsEdit

Philip head Bust

Head-bust of Philip the Arab, 33rd emperor of the Roman Empire

In 220 A.D., a shiekh from southern Yemen by the name of Jafnah I ibn 'Amr, leader of a tribe known as the Banu Ghassan (Arabic: بني غسان), emigrated with his family to Syria. Jafnah and his descendants established a powerful confederation that spanned from southern Syria and western Iraq referred to as the Ghassanids who became vessel of the Byzantine Empire that used these Arabs to guard the empire from invasions and outside-threats.[9] It is agreed by many historians that the Roman emperor Philip the Arab (Latin: Philippus Arabus) who ruled Rome from 244 to 249 was of Ghassanid origin from Yemen and Syria. He came from an equestrian Arab family in Syria that are descendants of migrants from Yemen, of a tribe known as the Al-Azd. Similarly in 268, another clan leader of the Banu Lakhm by the name of 'Amr I ibn Adi settled in what is now southern Iraq and established the Lahkmid confederation, a reminiscent and neighbor of the Ghassanids; which lasted from around 268-638, they became a vassal of the Persian Sassanids and established Al-Hira (Arabic: آل حراء) in Iraq as their capital.[10] The Ghassanids and Lakhmids also further embraced Arabic as official spoken state languages, though it had no main written form albeit both confederations were also Latinized and Hellenized.

Arrival of IslamEdit

Queen Arwa

Queen Arwa Mosque in Jibla

Islam came to Yemen around 630, during the Islamic prophet Muhammad's lifetime. At that time the Persian governor Badhan was ruling. Thereafter Yemen was ruled as part of Arab-Islamic caliphates, and Yemen became a province in the Islamic empire.

Yemeni textiles, long recognized for their fine quality, maintained their reputation and were exported for use by the Abbasid elite, including the caliphs themselves. The products of Sana'a and Aden are especially important in the East-West textile trade.

When the Abbasid Caliphate declined in the 9th century, the Yemeni lands fell under various competing regimes. Part of the highland in former North Yemen came under control of Imams of various Zaidi sect, who established a theocratic political structure that survived until modern times. The first Zaidi ruler was Yahya al-Hadi ila'l Haqq, who founded a line of imams, the Rassids in 897. Although he did not create a stable state, his Shiite successors ruled in the northern highlands for most of the period up to the second half of the 20th century.[11]

Nevertheless, Yemen's medieval history is a tangled chronicle of contesting local rulers. The Tihama lowland was governed by the Ziyadid dynasty in 818-1018, first as Abbasid governors and then as independent kings. They were succeeded by the Ethiopian Najahids in 1022-1158. Other dynasties held sway in the southern highlands. The Fatimids of Egypt helped the Isma'ilis maintain dominance in the 11th century through the Sulayhid dynasty, founded and brought to peak by Ali al-Sulayhi between 1047-1063. Ali's daughter-in-law Arwa al-Sulayhi wieled power as ruling queen in 1086-1138. Being one of the few Muslim women rulers in the Arab world, she is praised as virtuous and politically skilled.[12]

Turan-Shah annexed Yemen to the Ayyubid Empire of Saladin in 1174. With this feat, almost the entire Yemen was united under one rule for the first time since the Abbasid heyday. The Rasulid dynasty ruled Yemen, with Zabid as its capital, from 1229 to 1454. Of all the medieval Yemini dynasties, they were the most enduring and prosperous.[13] The sultans of this dynasty were Sunni, as were their successors, the Tahirids. In 1517, the Mamluks of Egypt defeated the Tahirids and annexed Yemen; but in the same year, the Mamluk governor surrendered to the Ottomans. Turkish armies subsequently overran the country after 1538. They were challenged by the Zaidi Imam, Qasim the Great (r.1597–1620), and were expelled from the interior around 1629. The Ottomans retained control of the coastal areas until 1635 when they were forced to leave.

The descendants of Imam Qasim, the Qasimids, subsequently ruled an extensive but highly decentralized realm that also encompassed Hadramawt and Dhofar. Up to the 1720s Yemen was the only exporter of coffee in the world, which gave the imams a financial basis to wield power. However, the territory of the Qasimids began to shrink after 1681, and in 1731 they lost the important port Aden. Although the dignity of imam was not strictly speaking hereditary but depending on personal qualifications, the imams adopted royal trappings by the late 17th century and were usually succeeded by their sons or close kin. Yemen in this period has been characterized as a quasi-state with an inherent conflict between autonomous tribal groups and the Zaidi regime based in Sana'a.[14]

Dyansties in the Horn of AfricaEdit

Upon the creation of Islam as a religion, many tribes from Yemen migrated to the Horn of Africa in an event known as the hijra (Arabic: هجرة), in which the Islamic prophet Muhammad and his followers fled from persecution by Pagan Arab armies in Mecca. Most of the Islamic dynasties formed from these migrants were established in what would become predominantly Muslim nations such as Somalia and Djibouti. The presence of Yemenites in the Horn of Africa and vice versa, predate Islam and have existed ever since the formation of ancient states in South Arabia and the ancient Axumite Kingdom which occupied parts of modern-day Yemen and Saudi Arabia.

Ottoman and British AnnexationEdit

Declining coffee incomes, Wahhabite incursions after 1800, tribal uprisings, and power struggles among the Qasimid descendants, contributed to the decline of the imamic state. After 1849 the Zaidi Imamate collapsed entirely due to the internal divisions. Meanwhile the Ottomans moved south along the west coast of Arabia. Forces of the Egyptian viceroy intervened in northern Yemen in the 1830s, and in 1849 Ottoman troops secured Tihama. In 1872 they eventually took San'a' which they made the Yemeni district capital. The Ottomans were aided by the adoption of modern weapons which they were acquainted with since the Crimean War.

British interests in the area which would later become South Yemen, began to grow when in 1839, British East India Company forces captured the port of Aden, to provide a coaling station for ships en route to India. The British interest in reducing pirate attacks on British merchants led to their creating a protectorate over the town of Aden in 1839, and adding the surrounding lands over the following years.[15][16] The colony gained much political and strategic importance after the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869 and the increased traffic on the Red Sea route to India

The Ottomans and the British eventually established a de facto border between north and south Yemen, which was formalized in a treaty in 1904. However the interior boundaries were never clearly established. However the presence of the Ottomans, and to a lesser extent the British, allowed the Zaydi Imamate to rebuild against a common enemy. Guerrilla warfare and banditry erupted into the rebellion of the Zaydi tribes in 1905.

Starting in the latter decades of the 19th century and continuing into the 20th century, Britain signed agreements with local rulers of traditional polities that, together, became known as the Aden Protectorate. The area was divided into numerous sultanates, emirates, and sheikhdoms, and was divided for administrative purposes into the East Aden Protectorate and the West Aden Protectorate. The eastern protectorate consisted of the three Hadhramaut states (Qu'aiti State of Shihr and Mukalla, Kathiri State of Seiyun, Mahra State of Qishn and Socotra) with the remaining states comprising the west.

Ottoman suzerainty was reestablished in northern Yemen in the late 19th century but its control was largely confined to cities, and the Zaidi imam's rule over Upper Yemen was formally recognized. Turkish forces withdrew in 1918, and Imam Yahya Muhammad strengthened his control over northern Yemen creating the Mutawakkilite Kingdom of Yemen.

Mutawakkilite kingdom and southern protectoratesEdit

The Mutawakkilite Kingdom of Yemen (Arabic: المملكة المتوكلية اليمنية) engaged in hostilities with the House of Saud, feuding over Asir. The conflict escalated into a full fledged war between the two in 1934, though it did not result in any territorial changes.

Aden was ruled as part of British India until 1937, when the city of Aden became the Colony of Aden, a crown colony in its own right. The Aden hinterland and Hadhramaut to the east formed the remainder of what would become South Yemen and were not administered directly by Aden but were tied to Britain by treaties of protection. Economic development was largely centered in Aden, and while the city flourished partly due to the discovery of crude oil on the Peninsula in the 1930s, the states of the Aden Protectorate stagnated.

Yemen became a member of the Arab League in 1945 and the United Nations in 1947.

Imam Yahya died during an unsuccessful coup attempt in 1948 and was succeeded by his son Ahmad. Ahmad bin Yahya's reign was marked by growing economic and political reforms, renewed friction with the United Kingdom over the British presence in the south, and growing pressures to support the Arab nationalist objectives of Egyptian President Gamal Abdul Nasser. He died in September 1962.

Encouraged by the rhetoric of President Nasser of Egypt against British colonial rule in the Middle East, pressure for the British to leave South Yemen grew. Following Nasser's creation of the United Arab Republic, attempts to incorporate Yemen in turn threatened Aden and the Protectorate. To counter this, the British attempted to unite the various states under its protection and, on 11 February 1959, six of the West Aden Protectorate states formed the Federation of Arab Emirates of the South to which nine other states were subsequently added.

Shortly after assuming power in 1962, Ahmad's son, the Crown Prince Muhammad al-Badr was deposed by coup forces, who took control of Sana'a and created the Yemen Arab Republic (YAR). Egypt assisted the YAR with troops and supplies to combat forces loyal to the Kingdom. Saudi Arabia and Jordan supported Badr's royalist forces to oppose the newly formed republic starting the North Yemen Civil War. Conflict continued periodically until 1967 when Egyptian troops were withdrawn.

During the 1960s, the British sought to incorporate all of the Aden Protectorate territories into the Federation. On 18 January 1963, the Colony of Aden was incorporated against the wishes of much of the city's populace as the State of Aden and the Federation was renamed the Federation of South Arabia. Several more states subsequently joined the Federation and the remaining states that declined to join, mainly in Hadhramaut, formed the Protectorate of South Arabia.

In 1963 fighting between Egyptian forces and British-led Saudi-financed guerrillas in the Yemen Arab Republic spread to South Arabia with the formation of the National Liberation Front (NLF), who hoped to force the British out of South Arabia. Hostilities started with a grenade attack by the NLF against the British High Commissioner on 10 December 1963, killing one person and injuring fifty, and a state of emergency was declared, becoming known as the Aden Emergency.

In January 1964, the British moved into the Radfan hills in the border region to confront Egyptian-backed guerrillas, later reinforced by the NLF. By October they had largely been suppressed, and the NLF switched to grenade attacks against off-duty military personnel and police officers elsewhere in the Aden Colony.

In 1964, the new British government under Harold Wilson announced their intention to hand over power to the Federation of South Arabia in 1968, but that the British military would remain. In 1964, there were around 280 guerrilla attacks and over 500 in 1965. In 1966 the British Government announced that all British forces would be withdrawn at independence. In response, the security situation deteriorated with the creation of the socialist Front for the Liberation of Occupied South Yemen (FLOSY) which started to attack the NLF in a bid for power, as well as attacking the British.

In January 1967, there were mass riots by NLF and FLOSY supporters in the old Arab quarter of Aden town, which continued until mid February, despite the intervention of British troops. During the period there were many attacks on the troops, and an Aden Airlines Douglas DC-3 plane was destroyed in the air with no survivors. At the same time, the members of FLOSY and the NLF were also killing each other in large numbers.

The temporary closure of the Suez Canal in 1967 effectively negated the last reason that British had kept hold of the colonies in Yemen, and, in the face of uncontrollable violence, they began to withdraw.

On 20 June 1967, there was a mutiny in the Federation of South Arabia Army, which also spread to the police. Order was restored by the British, mainly due to the efforts of the 1st Battalion Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, under the command of Lt-Col. Colin Campbell Mitchell.

Nevertheless, deadly guerrilla attacks particularly by the NLF soon resumed against British forces once again, with the British being defeated and driven from Aden by the end of November 1967, earlier than had been planned by British Prime Minister Harold Wilson and without an agreement on the succeeding governance. Their enemies, the NLF, managed to seize power, with Aden itself under NLF control. The Royal Marines, who had been the first British troops to occupy Aden in 1839, were the last to leave. The Federation of South Arabia collapsed and Southern Yemen became independent as the People's Republic of South Yemen. The NLF, with the support of the army, attained total control of the new state after defeating the FLOSY and the states of the former Federation in a drawn out campaign of terror.[citation needed]

Most of the opposing leaders reconciled by 1968, in the aftermath of a final royalist siege of San'a'. In 1970, Saudi Arabia recognized the Yemen Arab Republic and a ceasefire was effected.

A radical (Marxist) wing of the NLF gained power in South Yemen in June 1969.

Political Division of YemenEdit

The NLF changed the name of South Yemen on 1 December 1970 to the People's Democratic Republic of
North and South Yemen

North Yemen (in orange) and South Yemen (in blue) before 1990.

Yemen (PDRY). In the PDRY, all political parties were amalgamated into the Yemeni Socialist Party (YSP), which became the only legal party. The PDRY established close ties with the Soviet Union, People's Republic of China, Cuba, and radical Palestinians.

The major communist powers assisted in the building of the PDRYs armed forces. Strong support from Moscow resulted in Soviet naval forces gaining access to naval facilities in South Yemen.

Unlike East and West Germany, the two Yemens remained relatively friendly, though relations were often strained. In 1972 it was declared unification would eventually occur.[citation needed]

However, in October 1972 fighting erupted between North Yemen and South Yemen; North Yemen was supplied by Saudi Arabia and South Yemen by the USSR. Fighting was short-lived and the conflict led to the October 28, 1972 Cairo Agreement, which set forth a plan to unify the two countries.[17][18]

Fighting broke out again in February and March 1979, with South Yemen allegedly supplying aid to rebels in the north through the National Democratic Front and crossing the border.[19] Southern forces made it as far as the city of Taizz before withdrawing.[20][21] This conflict was also short-lived.[22]

The war was only stopped by an Arab League intervention. The goal of unity was reaffirmed by the northern and southern heads of state during a summit meeting in Kuwait in March 1979.

What the PDRY government failed to tell the YAR government was that it wished to be the dominant power in any unification, and left wing rebels in North Yemen began to receive extensive funding and arms from South Yemen.

In 1980, PDRY president Abdul Fattah Ismail resigned and went into exile. His successor, Ali Nasir Muhammad, took a less interventionist stance toward both North Yemen and neighbouring Oman. On January 13, 1986, a violent struggle, known as South Yemen Civil War began in Aden between Ali Nasir's supporters and supporters of the returned Ismail, who wanted power back. Fighting lasted for more than a month and resulted in thousands of casualties, Ali Nasir's ouster, and Ismail's death. Some 60,000 people, including the deposed Ali Nasir, fled to the YAR.

Efforts toward unification proceeded from 1988.

Although the governments of the PDRY and the YAR declared that they approved a future union in 1972, little progress was made toward unification, and relations were often strained.

In May 1988, the YAR and PDRY governments came to an understanding that considerably reduced tensions including agreement to renew discussions concerning unification, to establish a joint oil exploration area along their undefined border, to demilitarize the border, and to allow Yemenis unrestricted border passage on the basis of only a national identification card.

In November 1989, the leaders of the YAR (Ali Abdullah Saleh) and the PDRY (Ali Salim al-Baidh) agreed on a draft unity constitution originally drawn up in 1981.

Unification of YemenEdit

The Republic of Yemen (ROY) was declared on 22 May 1990 with Saleh becoming President and al-Baidh Vice President. For the first time in centuries, much of Greater Yemen was politically united.

A unity constitution was agreed upon in May 1990 and ratified by the populace in May 1991. It affirmed Yemen's commitment to free elections, a multiparty political system, the right to own private property, equality under the law, and respect of basic human rights. Parliamentary elections were held on 27 April 1993. International groups assisted in the organization of the elections and observed actual balloting.

In late 1991 through early 1992, deteriorating economic conditions led to significant domestic unrest, including several riots. Legislative elections were nonetheless held in early 1993, and in May the two former ruling parties, the GPC and the YSP, merged to create a single political party with an overall majority in the new House of Representatives. In August Vice President al Baydh exiled himself voluntarily to Aden, and the country’s general security situation deteriorated as political rivals settled scores and tribal elements took advantage of the widespread unrest. In January 1994, representatives of the main political parties signed a document of pledge and accord in Amman, Jordan, that was designed to resolve the ongoing crisis. Despite this, clashes intensified until civil war broke out in early May 1994.

1994 Civil WarEdit

Almost all of the actual fighting in the 1994 civil war occurred in the southern part of the country despite air and missile attacks against cities and major installations in the north. Southerners sought support from neighboring states and received billions of dollars of equipment and financial assistance, mostly from Saudi Arabia, which felt threatened by a united Yemen. The United States strongly supported Yemeni unity, but repeatedly called for a cease-fire and a return to the negotiating table. Various attempts, including by a UN special envoy, were unsuccessful to effect a cease-fire.

Southern leaders declared secession and the establishment of the Democratic Republic of Yemen (DRY) on 21 May 1994, but the DRY was not recognized by the international community. Ali Nasir Muhammad supporters greatly assisted military operations against the secessionists and Aden was captured on 7 July 1994. Other resistance quickly collapsed and thousands of southern leaders and military went into exile. Early during the fighting, President Ali Abdallah Salih announced a general amnesty which applied to everyone except a list of 16 persons. Most southerners returned to Yemen after a short exile.

An armed opposition was announced from Saudi Arabia, but no significant incidents within Yemen materialized.

In the aftermath of the civil war, YSP leaders within Yemen reorganized the party and elected a new politburo in July 1994. However, the party remained disheartened and without its former influence. Islaah held a party convention in September 1994. The GPC did the same in June 1995.

In 1994, amendments to the unity constitution eliminated the presidential council. President Ali Abdallah Saleh was elected by Parliament on 1 October 1994 to a 5-year term. The constitution provides that henceforth the President will be elected by popular vote from at least two candidates selected by the legislature. Yemen held its first direct presidential elections in September 1999, electing President Ali Abdallah Salih to a 5-year term in what were generally considered free and fair elections. Yemen held its second multiparty parliamentary elections in April 1997.

2011 Arab SpringEdit

In 2010-2011, a series of revolutions began to erupt all over the Arab World. The Yemeni Revolution[23] followed the initial stages of the Tunisian Revolution and occurred simultaneously with the Egyptian Revolution of 2011[24] and other mass protests in the Middle East in 2011. In its early phase, protests in Yemen were initially against unemployment, economic conditions[25] and corruption,[26] as well as against the government's proposals to modify Yemen's constitution. The protestors' demands then escalated to calls for Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh to resign. Mass defections from the military, as well as from Saleh's government, effectively rendered much of the country outside of the government's control, and protesters vowed to defy its authority.

On 23 November, Saleh signed a power-transfer agreement brokered by the Gulf Cooperation Council in Riyadh, under which he would transfer his power to his Vice-President within 30 days and leave his post as president by February 2012, in exchange for immunity from prosecution.[27][28] Although the GCC deal was accepted by the JMP, it was rejected by many of the protesters and the Houthis.[29][30]

A presidential election was held in Yemen on 21 February 2012. With a report claims that it has 65 percent of its turnout, Hadi won 99.8% of the vote. Abd Rabbuh Mansur al-Hadi took the oath of office in Yemen's parliament on 25 February 2012. Saleh returned home at the same day to attend Hadi's presidency inauguration.[31] After months of protests, Saleh had resigned from the presidency and formally transferred power to his successor, marking the end of his 33-year rule.[32]


Yemen was home to many native historical South Arabian languages. Out of the Arab World, Yemen's historical native dialects had their own writing systems, which were mostly pictographs. Most Yemenis today are speakers of Arabic, a Semitic language that is the unifying language of Arabs as a whole, although it is not a solidified language and has countless amounts of dialects.


Modern Standard Arabic is the official state language of Yemen. It is a central Semitic language with approximately 422,000,000 speakers. Standard Arabic however is simply the lingua franca of the Arab states, most Yemenis are native speakers of their Arabic dialects collectively known as Yemeni Arabic which is also spoken in Somalia and Djibouti in the Horn of Africa, due to the centuries-long ties between Yemen and the Horn of Africa. The remaining Yemenite Jews speak the dialect known as Judeo-Arabic, or Judeo-Yemeni Arabic.

Modern South ArabianEdit

Some tribes and local communities in Yemen still speak Southern Semitic languages native to the region. They are closely related to the Ethiopian Semitic languages. The largest spoken South Arabian language is the Mehri language, with approximately 70,000-120,000 native speakers. Due to the domineering influence of Arabic, Mehri is considered to be in danger of extinction and offers no written form of literature.


Hebrew is spoken by the Yemenite Jews, whom now mostly reside in Israel where Hebrew is one out of two official languages. They speak a dialect known as Yemenite Hebrew (Hebrew: עִבְֿרִיתֿ תֵּימָנִיתֿ ) (Arabic: العبرية اليمن) or "Temani Hebrew", which is different from the Hebrew spoken by the rest of Israel's Mizrahi Jews, or in fact any of Israel's other Jews at all. Yemenite Hebrew is regarded by many linguists to be influenced by Yemeni Arabic. There is also some influence from the Hebrew spoken by Babylonian Jews.


Mosque in Yemen

Sanaa Al Saleh Mosque Yemen

Most of all of Yemen or people descended from Yemen are Muslims. Yemen and East Africa were one of the first places to experience the expansion of Islam. Most Yemenites are Sunni Muslims, about 70% and 30% are Shiite Muslims. However, Yemen is known to be a radical Islamic nation and generally intolerant of other faiths.

Historically, Judaism and Christianity were the montheistic religions in South Arabia prior to Islam. The existance of Judaism in South Arabia was known to have increased during the reign of the Israelite king Solomon, and after the Queen of Sheba's visit to him.

Many of the Yemenite tribes that migrated to the Levant adopted Christianity. However, Christianity today is
Mizrahi Jews

Yemenite Jews

no longer a significant religion practiced by Yemenites.

Judaism however, remains well-known with Yemenites. Yemenite Jews, practiced a culture that is distinct from both their Muslim counterparts in the Arab World and their other Jewish counterparts in Israel. Unlike other Jews from Israel, who underwent partial or total assimilation, Yemenite Jews continue to preserve their culture and Yemeni heritage. They also follow their own form of liturgy than other Jews, while others follow the works of the famous Jewish philosapher Moses Maimonides.


Most of art in Yemen is overtly Arab and Islamic. Arabic calligraphies is probably one of Yemen's most used
Stained glass

Creation of stained-glass art in Yemen

forms of art. One of Yemen's most attracting forms of art is its stained glass windows, known as takhrim (Arabic: تاخريم). They are made with plaster and each individual cut-to-fit colored glass. The windows are made separately and then put into the wall as a complete piece.

Yemenite Jewish ArtEdit

Yemenite bride

A bride in traditional Yemenite Jewish bridal vestment, in Israel 1958.

Yemenite Jewish artistic traditions and culture is very distinguishable, from both the majority Muslim population in Yemen or the other Jews of Israel. During a Yemenite Jewish wedding, the bride was bedecked with jewelry and wore a traditional wedding costume, including an elaborate headdress decorated with flowers and rue leaves, which were believed to ward off evil. Gold threads were woven into the fabric of her clothing. Songs were sung as part of a seven-day wedding celebration, with lyrics about friendship and love in alternating verses of Hebrew and Arabic.[33]

After immigration to Israel, the regional varieties of Yemenite bridal jewelry were replaced by a uniform item that became identified with the community: the splendid bridal garb of Sana'a.[34]

Before the wedding, Yemenite and other Eastern Jewish communities perform the henna ceremony, an ancient ritual with Bronze Age origins.[35] The family of the bride mixes a paste derived from the henna plant
Israeli Yemenites

Israelis in traditional Yemenite Jewish attire

that is placed on the palms of the bride and groom, and their guests. After the paste is washed off, a deep orange stain remains that gradually fades over the next week.[36]

Yemenites had a special affinity for Henna due to biblical and Talmudic references. Henna, in the Bible, is Camphire, and is mentioned in the Song of Solomon, as well as in the Talmud.

A Yemenite Jewish wedding custom specific only to the community of Aden is the Talbis, revolving around the groom. A number of special songs are sung by the men while holding candles, and the groom is dressed in a golden garment.[37]




Yemeni cuisine is entirely distinct from the more widely known Middle Eastern cuisines and even differs slightly from region to region. Throughout history Yemeni cuisine has had a little bit of Ottoman influence in some parts of the north and very little Mughlai-style Indian influence in Aden and the surrounding areas in the south, but these influences have only come within the last 300 years. Yemeni Cuisine is extremely popular among the Arab States of the Persian Gulf. Chicken, goat, and lamb are eaten more often than beef, which is expensive. Fish is also eaten, especially in the coastal areas. Cheese, butter, and other dairy products are less common in the Yemeni diet. Buttermilk is enjoyed almost daily in some villages where it is most available. The most commonly used fats are vegetable oil and ghee used in


savory dishes, and clarified butter, known as semn (Arabic: سمن) used in pastries. A spice mixture known as hawaij is employed in many Yemeni dishes. Hawaij includes aniseed, fennel seeds, ginger, and cardamom. Although each region has their own variation, Saltah (Arabic: سلتة) is considered the national dish. The base is a brown meat stew called maraq (Arabic: مرق), a dollop of fenugreek froth, and sahawiq (Arabic: سحاوق) or sahowqa (a mixture of chili peppers, tomatoes, garlic, and herbs ground into a salsa). Rice, potatoes, scrambled eggs, and vegetables are common additions to saltah. It is eaten traditionally with Yemeni flat bread, which serves as a utensil to scoop up the food.

Malooga (Arabic: ملوجة‎) is a Yemeni flatbread eaten with bean dishes, scrambled, spiced buttermilk and many other Yemeni savory dishes. Malawach (Arabic: ملوح) (Hebrew: מלווח) is a bread snack, particularily made by Yemenite Jews and has become popular in Israel.

Milk tea "Shahi Haleeb" (after qat), black tea (with clove, cardamom, or mint), qishr (coffee husks), Qahwa (coffee),


Karkadin (an infusion of dried hibiscus flowers), Naqe'e Al Zabib (cold raisin drink), and diba'a (squash nectar) are examples of Yemeni drinks. Mango and guava juice are also popular.

Although coffee and tea are consumed throughout Yemen, coffee is the preferred drink in Sana'a, whereas black tea is the beverage of choice in Aden and Hadhramaut. Tea is consumed along with breakfast, after lunch (occasionally with sweets and pastries), and along with dinner. Popular flavorings include cloves with cardamom and mint. A drink made from coffee husks called qishr is also enjoyed.

Notable Yemenites Or People of Yemeni DescentEdit

Philip the Arab
فيليب العربى
Philip the Arab
Roman emperor from Syria, then the Roman province of Arabia Petraea who made peace with the Sassanid Empire upon Rome's millenial celebration - he was the 33rd Emperor "ceasar" of the Roman Empire, came from a prominent family known as the Baleed that is descended from an Arabian tribe that migrated from Yemen to Syria
Queen of Sheba
ملكة سبأ‎
Queen of Sheba
An un-named monarch who ruled the Kingdom of Saba (Sheba according to Biblical sources) of some prominence who made the famous visit to King Solomon documented in Biblical sources. Her true ancestry and domain is in debate between historians from Yemen and Ethiopia. Arab and Islamic sources, which identify her name as Bilquis claims she was native South Arabian monarch while Ethiopian and African sources claim she was an Ethiopian. She could possibly be of mixed origin of both, as evidence exists for both claims.
Yūsuf Dhū Nuwās
يوسف ذو نواس‎
Joseph Dhu Nuwas Portrait

A Jewish warlord in Yemen between 517 to 525-27 AD, Dhū Nuwās is mentioned in a number of contemporary Old South Arabian, Syriac and Byzantine sources. Many later Jewish, Christian (such as the Book of the Ḥimyarites and the Kebra Negast) and Islamic sources (such as the Quran 85:4) also refer to his war with the Axumites.

A medieval mathematician, musician, and philospher from Iraq who adopted Greek and Hellenistic traditions into the Muslim and Arab World, known as the father of Arab philosaphy
Arwa al-Sulayhi
أروى الصليحي
Yemenite queen

The long-reigning ruler of Yemen, firstly through her first two husbands and then as sole ruler, from 1067 until her death in 1138. She was the greatest of the rulers of the Sulayhid Dynasty and was also the first woman to be accorded the prestigious title of hujja in Ismāʿīlī branch of Shi'a Islam, signifying her as the closest living image of God's will in her lifetime.

Ibn Khaldun
ابن خلدون
Ibn Khaldun
A historian and historiographer from Tunisia, who is considered a founding father of modern-day economics, sociology and historiography and is appreciated by European historians as one of the greatest Muslim philosophers, he according to an autobiography is of descent from Yemen
Imam Yahya
الأمام يحيى
Imam Yahya

Full name was Yahya Muhammad Hamid ed-Din, Imam of the Zaydis in 1904 and Imam of Yemen in 1918. He was born in Sanaa into the Hamidaddin branch of the al-Qasimi dynasty who ruled most of Yemen proper and South Saudi Arabia today for over 900 years. Upon the death of his father in 1904, Yahya became Imam, effectively ruler over the mountainous areas of the future North Yemen. However, the Ottomans who made claim on the area did not recognize the rule of the Imams of Yemen since their entry into Yemen.

Tawakkol Karman
توكل كرمان
A Yemeni journalist, politician and and member of the reformist Al-Islah party who became the face of the Yemeni Uprising of 2011, she won the Nobel Peace Prize in the same year becoming the only Arab woman to ever win the prize
Isra Girgah
الإسراء جيرجة
Isra Girgah

A Yemeni-born American female world champion professional boxer. She has a record of 28 wins, 3 losses and 2 draws in 33 bouts as a professional boxer, with 11 wins by knockout. Her record includes holding 4 World Class Belts. IBF Lightweight Champion, UBA Lightweight Champion, IWBF Jr. Lightweight Champion, WIBF Jr. Lightweight Champion.

Shaher Abdulhak
شاهر عبد الحق

A Yemeni businessman, he is one of the most famous men in Yemen and regarded as one of Yemen's wealthiest men. The Abdulhaq family are the owners of many company's in Yemen and throughout the middle east such as Coca-Cola, Mercedes,and Philips.

Sadam Ali
صدام علي
Sadam Ali

An American professional welterweight boxer. He is a Junior Olympic National Champion, a PAL National Champion, a U-19 National Champion, and a two-time New York City Golden Gloves champion. He was born in the United States to Yemeni migrants.

Shoshana Damari
שושנה דמארי

A Yemeni-born Israeli singer known as the "Queen of Hebrew Music. In 2005, she was voted the 78th-greatest Israeli of all time, in a poll by the Israeli news website Ynet to determine whom the general public considered the 200 Greatest Israelis.

Dana International
דנה אינטרנשיונל
150px-Dana International 2008 Eurovision
An Israeli pop singer of Yemenite Jewish ancestry. She has released eight albums and three additional compilation albums, positioning herself as one of Israel's most successful musical acts ever. She is most famous for having won the Eurovision Song Contest 1998 in Birmingham with the song "Diva".
Ofra Haza
עפרה חזה

An Israeli singer, actress and international recording artist. Her voice has been described as a "tender" mezzo-soprano. Inspired by a love of her Yemenite and Hebrew culture, her music quickly spread to a wider Middle Eastern audience, somehow bridging the divide between Israel and the Arab countries. As her career progressed, Haza was able to switch between traditional and more commercial singing styles without jeopardizing her credibility.

Shara Tzuberi
שרע צוברי
An Israeli windsurfer and Olympic bronze medalist, surfing in the "Neil Pryde" RS:X discipline. He is a nephew of Gad Tsobari, the 1972 Olympic wrestler who escaped from terrorists in the early moments of the Munich massacre, he is of Yemenite Jewish origin
Boaz Mauda
בועז מעודה
Boaz Moada
An Israeli singer and songwriter. He won the fifth season of Kokhav Nolad, the Israeli version of Pop Idol, and represented Israel in the Eurovision Song Contest 2008 finishing in 9th place, he is of Yemenite Jewish descent
Eyal Golan
אייל גולן
A popular Israeli singer of Yemenite and Moroccan Jewish origins who sings in the Mizrahi style and considered one of the most successful singers of the genre in Israel.
Amnon Yitzchak
אמנון יצחק
Amnon Yitchak
A Haredi Israeli rabbi who is best known for his involvement in activities which are centered on helping Jews to become more religious or observant. In public speaking in Israel and around the world and his 'Shofar' organization distributes his lectures in various media and on the internet. He is a Mizrahi Jew, born to a secular family of Yemenite Jewish background in the Israeli city of Tel Aviv
Harel Skaat
הראל סקעת
An Israeli singer and songwriter. He represented Israel in the Eurovision Song Contest 2010 with the song "Milim" ("Words"). Skaat has been singing and performing in public since he was a child. At the age of six, he won a children's song festival competition. He is of Iraqi Jewish and Yemenite Jewish descent.


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