Islam is state religion in Yemen, the area was Islamized as early as 628. From the 8th century the Zaydites have dominated, today more than 50% of the country’s population probably belong to this branch of Shia Islam, see Zaydites. According to Countryaah data, the others are Sunni Muslims, called Shafi’ites, because they belong to the Shafi’i school. The country also has an Ishmaelite minority. The Jewish minority is today greatly reduced in number due to. emigration to Israel. Some Christian and Hindu immigrants have lived in the south, and a few Christian, Western relief organizations are active in the country. When civilization in Crete was at its peak, a different culture developed on the southern tip of the Arabian Peninsula, also based on trade, but in this case land-based. This trade quickly led to the development of a large number of cities. The most important of these were not on the coasts, but on the interior of the country: Ma’in, Marib, Timna and Nagram. They were on the caravan routes from which perfumes were transported from Dhufar (now part of Oman) and Punt (Somalia). The routes later continued up the Red Sea coast to the Mediterranean markets and from Taima to Mesopotamia.
These cities joined together in kingdoms. First in Mina and later the more familiar (because of the biblical account) Saba, whose connection to the African coast provided the basis for the formation of the Ethiopian kingdom Axum (see Ethiopia).
For centuries, the Saba merchants had relations with Africa despite their ship’s poor constitution. One of the consequences of this was that Ethiopian priests from especially the 4th century spread Christianity among the Yemenites. When the Hebrew sect Himyarit shortly after brought the southern peninsula under its control and established Judaism as an official religion, it triggered conflicts between the various groups that led to foreign occupations.
The Ethiopians conquered the country in 525, and in 570 were expelled by the Persians. They thus got their first contact with trade with black Africa.
By the time the Arab rally under Mahoma began, the region had already lost much of its luster – after nearly 3 centuries of conflicts and invasions. Even the Marib dam – a monumental building that was the cornerstone of the irrigation of agriculture – was due for lack of maintenance. The crisis led to emigration, both to Africa and to the eastern part of the Arabian Peninsula.
Towards the end of the 8th century, the Arab empire extended from northern Africa to Spain in the west and to Pakistan and Afghanistan in the east. Damascus in Syria became the capital of the empire, creating the basis for a new culture. Greco-Roman elements merged with Persian and Indian into a new dominant culture, within whose framework the Arabs contributed science and philosophy. The Arabs constituted the social elite, the ruling class, though not much changed in the lives of the Yemenites or other oppressed peoples.
In the 16th century the Ottoman conquest began. According to thesciencetutor, the Turks occupied a few posts out to the Red Sea, while the interior of the country and the south coast remained independent, ruled by an iman.
A short time later, the British made their way onto the scene. In 1618, their East India Company established a branch in the port of Mukha (Mokka, the name denoting the coffee variety).
Their presence was reinforced in the 19th century. Following Mohamed Ali’s conquest of the country, the British occupied the southwest corner (see Egypt) and settled in Aden – the region’s best port – from which to keep an eye on the Turks. These, in turn, sought to preserve their hegemony in the interior of the country, which they only succeeded in 1872. In order to do so, they had to ally with the imman, who even strengthened his position by making his post hereditary rather than subject. for elections as before.
Around 1870, the Suez Canal opened and this, together with the Turks’ control of the northern part of the country, gave Aden a new strategic importance for the British. The city was the key to the Red Sea and thus to the new canal.
The British began to make friendship agreements or protectorate agreements with the local tribal chiefs. A slow and patient process culminating in 1934, when the English had gained control of the entire southern part of the country up to the border with Oman.
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The two countries were formally united on May 22, 1990. Ali Abdullah Saleh became president and leader of the South Yemeni Socialist Party, Ali Salim al-Bayd (born 1939), vice president. In 1993, organized and relatively free elections were held for a joint parliament, where Saleh’s party of the General People’s Congress (GPC) gained a majority and a new power factor in the form of a conservative Islamic party, the Yemeni Reform Alliance (al-Islah), sailed. The contradictions between socialists from the south and power groups in the north could not be bridged and exacerbated by the economic development after the Kuwait war (1990-91), where Yemen supported Iraq. In May 1994, civil war broke out, ending in July with the North side’s complete victory. Ali Abdullah Saleh’s power seemed fortified, but no improvement in the disastrous economy was in sight.