Yemen Old History

By | January 2, 2023

Yemen is an independent nation in Western Asia. With the capital city of Sanaa, Yemen 2020 population is estimated at 29,825,975 according to countryaah. Yemen’s oldest history has left traces in the Qur’an, the Bible and ancient sources. In the 600s, the area became Muslim. Large parts of the country were ruled by the Shiite Muslim breakaway group, the Zaydites, from the 8th century, whose leaders fought with the Ottoman Empire for power from the 16th century. This part later became the independent state of North Yemen. Britain colonized Aden in southwestern Yemen in the 19th century and later united Aden and the eastern deserts into what would later become South Yemen.

  • Comprehensive guide to and popular abbreviations of Yemen, covering history, economy, and social conditions.

In ancient times, Yemen belonged to what the Romans called Arabia felix, “happy Arabia”. In southern Arabia, high cultures flourished through trade between India and the Mediterranean. Incense, gold and spices were transported by camel caravans through the desert or the sea route over the Red Sea. For Yemen political system, please check carswers.

During the centuries before our era, the Kingdom of Saba had essentially the same borders as today’s Yemen. The kingdom was self-sufficient with food thanks to a sophisticated irrigation system. The most famous dam was already built around 500 BC near Marib, which was then the capital of Shaba and is east of Sanaa. Ruins of temples and palaces testify to advanced architecture.

The himyaritic kingdom dominated southern Arabia from the first century AD. From the 300s to the mid-500s, the Himyarites fought with Ethiopian kingship over dominion. At the end of the 500s, the Persians took power. In 628, the Persian governor Badhan converted to Islam. Since then, Yemen has been Muslim.

At the end of the 8th century, a Zaydite imamate was formed in northern Yemen, after warring clans joined together. The leader became imam, that is, religious and worldly head. The Imamate existed until 1962.

In 1517, the Arabian Peninsula was invaded by the Ottoman Empire, based in present-day Turkey. European colonial powers also began to search for the area. The Portuguese conquered Aden in 1551, but the city was taken back the following year by the Ottomans. In 1618, the British began to establish a trading center in Mocha on the Red Sea.

At this time, the Imamate in northern Yemen was given a new imam that fought against the Ottomans. In 1636 the Ottomans gave up and retreated north. The new Imam and his successors regained all the territory that had once belonged to the kingdom of the Himalayas, but gradually lost control.

In 1798, the British occupied the island of Perim at the entrance to the Red Sea and in 1839 they also conquered Aden. After the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869, Aden’s strategic importance increased. The Ottomans in the north and the British in the south became increasingly in conflict with each other. In the early 1900s, they agreed to divide the region between themselves. The border was established in 1914 and divided the area into North and South Yemen.



Civilians die in attack against the market

December 26

At least 17 civilians lose their lives in an attack on a market in Saada in the north. Twelve of the victims are Ethiopians, according to the UN. It is reported to be the third time in a month that the site is being attacked, at the same time as the fighting in Yemen has otherwise had less intensity. The Saudi-led alliance confirms that it has made an effort in the skin-dominated area where the market is located.

Prison exchange in Taizz

December 19

The Huthi rebels and the government side conduct a prison exchange in the city of Taizz. A total of 135 prisoners are exchanged: the Huthi release 75 and forces fighting for the government release 60.

IS takes on assaults

December 12

The Saudi-backed security forces set up roadblocks around the city of Aden and banned motorcycle traffic as a result of the assassination of a security chief on December 7. The Islamic State (IS) is taking on the murder, and jihadists are accused of several assaults that have taken place since Yemen’s internationally backed government returned to Aden (see October 25). The events are interpreted as IS, and perhaps also al-Qaeda’s Yemeni branch, have been able to take advantage of the fact that the government and southern parties have had a hard time evening.

Tough cooperation on agreements

December 5

It has been a month since the government and southern separatists signed agreements to resume their cooperation, appoint a joint ministry and coordinate their military forces. But when the time limit of the Riyadh agreement, one month, expires, it has not happened. The parties accuse each other of failing to fulfill the agreement. Soon it has also been a year since the government side and the huthirebels agreed on a ceasefire in the port city of al-Hudayda (see December 13, 2018), but even in that case not all parts of the agreement have been implemented.


Saudi Arabia releases huthier

November 28

Nearly 130 detainees detained in Saudi Arabia are flown home to Yemen. As part of peace efforts, the Saudis have pledged to release 200 detainees. Yemen is still fighting on the ground in Yemen. The day before the home transport of the Huthis, at least ten civilians died in an attack on a market in Sada near the Saudi border.

The United States seizes weapons

November 25

The United States is bringing what is said to be a large cargo of sophisticated Iranian weapons on its way to the huhire rebels in Yemen. The seizure, made off the coast of Yemen, is announced ten days later and the US is accusing Iran of violating the UN arms embargo, which has been in effect for more than a decade.

The government returns to Aden

November 18

Prime Minister Muin Abd al-Malik Said and four other ministers in the Saudi-led government are returning from Riyadh to Aden as part of the settlement with the separatist movement in the south. The president does not follow: he has stayed in Saudi Arabia since the huthirbeles took the capital Sanaa, although his side in the conflict has had Aden as headquarters in his home country.

New government is formed by agreement

November 5

Yemen’s internationally recognized government and representatives of South Yemen sign their new cooperation agreement. According to the so-called Riyadh agreement, they will also form a new government with twelve ministers from each camp. Their combined military forces are supported by the Ministry of Defense and the Interior. Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince promises continued Saudi support, while the UN peace coordinator hopes that it will now also be easier to achieve a broader peace settlement, between the Yemeni government and the Huhira rebels.


Agreement between the government and southern separatists

October 25th

Negotiations have led to an agreement between the opponents of the huhirebells: Yemen’s internationally recognized government and the separatist movement in the south. This occurs after a time of open fighting between the parties that forced the government to leave the port city of Aden (see August 2019). Losing Aden was a severe hardship for the Saudi-backed government, previously driven away from the capital Sanaa by the Huthi. The new agreement will lead Saudi Arabia to take overall command of the forces of the government and the southern separatists, which will resume their cooperation. The United Arab Emirates, which supported the separatists (and thus ended up in Saudi resistance camps) during the fighting in the south, has also agreed to leave posts. Thus, there is once again a major line of conflict in Yemen: on the one hand, the Shiite Muslim Huthirbels with the support of Iran, on the other, the government and southern separatists with the support of the nearest neighbors.


The Huthis release prisoners

September 30th

The Huthirebels have unilaterally released 290 prisoners as part of the UN peace initiative, according to the International Committee of the Red Cross. The UN peace coordinator says he hopes to see more measures of this kind. In the agreement reached by the warring parties in Sweden in December 2018, the exchange of prisoners was one of the points. The day before the message, the Houthis have given their picture of the situation after fighting at the border with Saudi Arabia, near Najran: where the Houthis say they killed 200 opponents and captured 2,000.

Grand family died in aviation crashes

September 24th

Following attacks that have been carried out by Saudi fighter jets in Qatabah in southern Yemen, the UN reports that 15 civilians lost their lives, including seven children. All the victims belonged to the same family. Qatabah has witnessed bitter battles between huthirebels and forces supporting the Yemeni government.

Peace striker from huthier

September 20

The Huthi movement puts out a peace striker to Saudi Arabia. Mahdi al-Mashat, who is part of the political leadership of the movement, offers a halt to all attacks on Saudi territory. The statement is being made ahead of the anniversary of the huthirbeles’ entry into Yemen’s capital Sanaa. The offer is met with skepticism from Saudi Arabia but welcomed by the UN. Just two days earlier, the Houthis have threatened to attack the United Arab Emirates, where the targets could be skyscrapers in Dubai or Abu Dhabi (see August 30).

Drone attacks interfere with oil production

September 14

Two major oil plants in eastern Saudi Arabia are hit by drone attacks. Almost half of the country’s oil production is knocked out. There are large quantities of oil in stock, but as Saudi Arabia is one of the world’s largest producers, international oil prices are rising after the attacks. The Huthi rebels in Yemen assume responsibility for the attacks, but the US accuses Iran of supporting the Huthis. Iran denies interference.

More than 100 dead in air strikes

1 September

More than 100 people are reported to have been killed in an air raid carried out by the Saudi-led alliance against a Huthi-controlled prison in Dhamar south of Sanaa. According to information from the International Red Cross Committee (ICRC), at least 40 people were injured in the attack. The Saudi-led alliance says the attack was aimed at a military establishment and accuses the Huthis of using human shields.


United Arab Emirates behind air strikes in Aden

August 30th

The Government of the United Arab Emirates confirms information that the country conducted air strikes in Aden, August 28 and 29. According to the statement, it was a matter of self-defense, as the target was “terrorist militia” with the intent to attack the Saudi-led Alliance in which the United Arab Emirates is a part. The Yemeni Minister of Information has stated that 40 soldiers were killed and 70 civilians injured in the attacks.

Separatists regain full control over Aden

August 29th

South Yemeni separatists regain control of all of Aden, just one day after President Abd Rabbu Mansur Hadi said that the government side has now taken back the city after barely a month in the hands of the rebels (see August 10, 2019). The Separatists have received extensive reinforcements from other regions and a spokesman for the South Transitional Council says the aim is to capture the provinces of Abyan Shabwa, which government forces resumed earlier this week.

Huthier opens mission in Iran

August 17th

The Huthi movement appoints an ambassador to Iran, as representative of Yemen. The country’s internationally supported government storms the decision, which it considers violates international law. In the fall of 2015, the government broke Yemen’s diplomatic relations with Iran, under allegations that the regime in Tehran provided military support to the rebels.

Neighboring countries are looking for one opponent in the south

August 17th

Separatist forces from southern Yemen leave the offices and other premises in Aden that they occupied a week earlier. Among other things, they evacuate the Riksbank, the Supreme Court and the Presidential Palace, but they remain in military posts. Hadi’s internationally-backed government has refused to negotiate with the separatists before retiring. Against the skin movement in the north, the Hadi government has been supported by both Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, but in southern Yemen the two neighboring countries each support each other – the United Arab Emirates has even trained the separatist forces. However, it is now reported that a Saudi-emirate commission has been in place in Aden to get government forces and separatists to avoid mutual fighting.

Split on the government side, Aden is consumed by South Yemenis

10th August

Separate forces from southern Yemen occupy the presidential palace and other important places in the port city of Aden, which has been controlled by government-backed forces. After a long time of dissatisfaction, the South Yemenis – gathered behind the Södern Transitional Council, who would prefer to see an independent South Yemen – have tired and taken a fight against their former arms brothers (see October 3, 2018). The Saudi-backed government, which in 2014 lost the capital Sanaa to the hut movement from the north, is now also being pushed away from its alternative capital, Aden.

Attacks against police in Aden

1 August

About 50 people lose their lives in several attacks on a government-controlled area in Aden, where it has been relatively quiet over the past year. Many of the victims are new police officers, who have been trained and equipped by the United Arab Emirates. First, a suicide bomber from a jihadist group is said to have blown up his car at a police station. Thereafter, huthirebeller should have fired a training camp west of the city from the air. The following day, al-Qaeda attacks the Arabian Peninsula (Aqap) in an army base in Abyan province, east of Aden, killing 19 soldiers.


Assistance promises to Yemen not fulfilled

July 29

The UN appeals to the world not to forget Yemen which – with the description given by the administrative head of the UNDP aid agency – has been displaced by the war for 20 years. Only 36 percent of the amounts promised at a donor conference in February have been transferred to the UN, says Chief Achim Steiner (see February 26, 2019).

Emirates soldiers home from Yemen

July 10

The United Arab Emirates participates in the civil war in Yemen, against the Houthi rebels, with its own troops and has trained about 90,000 Yemenites militarily since 2015. But now the Emirate announces that its military presence will decrease, soldiers withdrawn mainly from northern Yemen. Earlier, emirates have been criticized for how prisoners are treated in Yemen (see July 11, 2018). With the retreat, the Emirate is at risk of clashing with Saudi Arabia, whose southern border is employed by Houthi attacks.

The Huthi court orders the death penalty

July 9

In a court run by the huthirebels, 30 people are sentenced to death accused of spying for Saudi Arabia. Among those sentenced to death are academics, union activists and religious leaders. Six people are acquitted. All have been detained for at least one year. Since the Houthis took control of the capital Sanaa and central authorities in 2014, a number of death sentences have been issued. As far as is known, the penalty has not been enforced.


IS leaders are reported to be arrested

June 25

Saudi and Yemeni special forces have seized the leader of the Islamic State terrorist group in Yemen, states representatives of the Saudi-led alliance fighting for the Yemeni government. The man is called Abu Usama al-Muhajir and is said to have been arrested in early June.

UN anger against cutting off emergency aid

June 20

The United Nations Food Program (WFP) is setting up some food aid deliveries to areas controlled by the huhira bells, as food shipments to hungry people are coming to a standstill. WFP chief David Beasley also tells the UN Security Council that the Huthi people must “change their attitude” (see also April 2). Only on August 4 is there a new agreement between the Huthi and WFP, which has demanded that the distribution of food assistance be done with full transparency.

Calmer in ports, but attacks along the border

June 12

The head of UN observers in Yemen confirms that the Huthirbels have withdrawn militarily from three ports at al-Hudayda (see May 11). At least no military presence has been detected during UN patrolling. But while the Hutians have thus fulfilled a step in the peace plan from the negotiations in Sweden, recurring combat actions are reported from the border with Saudi Arabia. 26 people are injured when a civilian airport in the resort of Abha in southwestern Saudi Arabia is shot by rebels. When the airport is shot again on June 23, a person loses their lives.

Yemenite remains in Guantánamo camps

June 10th

The US Supreme Court gives the go-ahead to continue holding a Yemeni citizen in prison on the Guantánamo base that the United States has in Cuba. The man was arrested in Pakistan at the end of 2001 and has been held without trial ever since. He is believed to have acted as a bodyguard to the terror network al-Qaeda’s leader Usama bin Ladin, charges he himself denies. The Yemeni are classified as “hostile combatants” in a conflict that is still ongoing. About 40 prisoners remain in the camp since the United States since 2008 not for new prisoners.


Attack against forces besieging the city

May 25

In the city of Taizz, which is held by government forces but besieged by the Huthirbells, at least nine civilians lose their lives when the Saudi-led alliance carries out air strikes.

Drone attack and tanker sabotage

May 14

A large Saudi oil pipeline pumping oil from fields in the east to a port on the Red Sea is closed for review following a drone attack carried out by Yemeni squirrels. The 120-mile-long pipeline is built for use even if Saudi oil ports in the Persian Gulf are blocked. The attack takes place a few days after the damage to four tankers, two of them Saudi, near the entrance to the Persian Gulf. No one has been singled out for the sabotage of the vessels, but many theories are circulating: everything from Iran – supporting the Houthis – behind it to the fact that it was carried out by someone who just wants suspicions to be directed at Iran, so that it provides a pretext for attack Iran militarily.

The right of lease from ports is started

May 11

The Huthirbells begin to withdraw from the three ports of al-Hudayda, Salif and Ras Isa. That was what they promised at the peace talks in Sweden in December. According to UN staff, the ports are now being handed over to the Coast Guard. The military equipment of the rebels must also be moved, but mine clearance must first take place, the UN force points out. The skepticism is obvious on the government side, which claims that the retreat only means that the ports will be controlled by huthis in the Coast Guard and police uniforms. The issue is not only about the goods being passed through in the ports (but also for the UN), but also about whether the ports provide income that can be used for salaries for Yemen’s public servants.

The clinic opens a month after the patient’s murder

May 5th

MSF resumes work in the city of Aden. The work has been down for a month after a patient was kidnapped from the organization’s hospital and murdered. MSF personnel have also been exposed to threats and violence in Yemen during the war years.


Explosion requires the life of miners

April 25

Six miners lose their lives in an explosion when they disarm explosives at an armory in the city of Mocka (see also January 20, 2019). The message is provided by the Saudi organization, which is the employer of the miners.

US support for Yemen war continues after Trump veto

April 16

Donald Trump is using the president’s veto power to back up the regime in Saudi Arabia. US elected officials have made several attempts to end support for the Saudi-led war effort in Yemen, and what Trump’s veto stops is a proposal passed by both congressional chambers. Party mates for Trump have also voted to stop the support. The United States has previously sold weapons to Saudi Arabia, but also helped with, among other things, intelligence information prior to the Saudi-led alliance’s airstrikes. It is very uncommon for Congress to vote to limit the president’s power over war efforts.

UN: The parties promise a retreat

April 15

According to the UN, the Yemeni government and the Huhira rebels have agreed on a detailed plan for the withdrawal of troops from al-Hudayda. Promises of local retreat already gave the parties in connection with peace negotiations in Sweden at the end of 2018, but the promises have not yet been fulfilled. UN envoy Marin Griffiths does not publish a timetable.

Attacking alliance promises food during fasting

April 8

Yemen’s starving population will just receive food aid for $ 200 million from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates for the fasting month of Ramadan, which starts this year in early May. Both countries are part of the military alliance that is fighting a Shiite rebel movement in Yemen and is running the war that is disrupting food supplies and sending food prices up in the sky. The tradition during the Ramadan is, everywhere in the Muslim world, that daytime fasting is replaced by banquet meals after dusk.

Emergency relief stocks are blocked

2 April

The UN Food Program WFP is forced to suspend work at an emergency relief camp near al-Hudayda “for security reasons”. According to the government page – which controls the magazines themselves – the reason is that the hirah bells do not give aid workers access. This means that measures planned to save the grain from insect infestation cannot be implemented (see March 20). In the agreement concluded in Sweden, the warring parties commit themselves not to impede humanitarian efforts and the grain stock is explicitly mentioned. Only in early May, when even more of the stock may have been destroyed, WFP will have access to the magazines.


Four years of air strikes – children die in clinic

March 26

Four children and seven adults die at a rural hospital near the Saudi border when a gas station is shot next to it. It has been four years since a Saudi-led military alliance launched an attack on the Shi’ite Hut movement that controls important parts of Yemen – but the alliance has failed to defeat the Hutis. In the port city of al-Hudyada, essentially, a local ceasefire is held by the parties in Sweden (see December 13, 2018), but all parts of the agreement have not been fulfilled: local troop withdrawal and exchange of prisoners has not taken place.

Cholera is spread again

March 25th

About 110,000 suspected cases of the water-borne disease of cholera have been discovered since New Year. One-third of those who are ill are children under the age of five, according to the UN organization Ocha, which counts 190 deaths. The port city of al-Hudayda and the province around the capital Sanaa are among the areas where the infection spreads.

Insects destroy emergency relief

March 20

Thousands of tonnes of grain destined for distress are destroyed by insects near the port city of al-Hudayda. Wheat must be sprayed with pesticides before it can be ground into flour, the UN says. These are stocks that the WFP food program has now been able to inspect for the first time since September. Before the fighting made the stock inaccessible, there were 51,000 tonnes of wheat that would have reached 3.7 million people in a month. How much is useful after the insect infestation is not yet known.

New UN plan for troops retreat

March 19

The UN is working on a new plan for how the conflicting parties’ troop uprising from al-Hudayda – which was promised when the parties met in Sweden in December – should be implemented. Elsewhere, especially in the province of Hajjah in the north, the war actions have also increased. The Norwegian Refugee Council states that 348 civilians have lost their lives in Hajjah and Taizz alone since the al-Hudayda agreement was concluded.

UN salaries to teachers

March 10

Two million students (out of a total of about seven million) stand without school as a result of the war. The UN Children’s Fund Unicef ​​has now set aside money for wages – low wages – for almost 100,000 teachers and other school staff, and the number is to be increased to 136,000. and the war escalated.


Yemen’s record appeal

February 26th

The UN is holding a donor meeting for Yemen in Geneva, and is launching a plea for humanitarian aid, which is the world’s largest organization to date: The UN hopes that member states will contribute $ 4.2 billion. The grants will be enough for emergency aid for 19 million Yemenites. When the meeting ends, pledges worth $ 2.6 billion have been issued by participating countries.

UN requirements for retreat

February 22

At least eight fatalities were reported during the week in an artillery attack in al-Hudayda province. Ocha, the UN humanitarian coordinator, has received reports of 96 deaths across the country for war events from the beginning of the year to mid-February. A United Nations Security Council calls for the belligerent parties to immediately fulfill their promises of retreat, which aim to secure port areas and bread barns.

Dramatic increase in need for help

February 14th

Eighty percent of Yemen’s population or 24 million people now need some kind of humanitarian aid or support, according to the UN aid coordinator in the organization Ocha. 14.4 million Yemenis are estimated to be in urgent need of assistance. This is a sharp increase and even worse than UN assessors fear (see November 8 and November 21, 2018). In two-thirds of the country, the situation is described as precursors to famine. In January, the UNHCR set the number of internally displaced (Yemeni refugees in the country) at 3.9 million.

The UN is trying to save a ceasefire

February 7

The UN states that the government side and the Huhirebels have agreed on a “preliminary compromise” regarding the troupe retreat from the port city of al-Hudayda. Disagreement over the withdrawal has threatened to end the agreement on local ceasefire and prisoner exchange reached in Sweden at the end of 2018.


Promised retreat from port city is delayed

January 29th

The timetable drawn up with peace negotiations in Sweden as a basis does not hold, announces UN Yemen’s messenger Martin Griffiths. This applies both to the conditions of the local ceasefire in al-Hudayda and to a planned exchange of prisoners. In the port city, according to the agreement, the armed forces are to be withdrawn, but this has not yet happened. On January 30, at least, the Huthir rebels release a first prisoner, a sick Saudi, while seven Huthis are released by the Saudi-led alliance.

Miners die in explosion

January 20th

Five foreign miners are killed when their vehicles, which are loaded with mines about to be disarmed, explode in Marib. The five worked for a Saudi aid organization, which clears mines in areas that were previously rebel-controlled. The Nobel Prize-winning organization ICBL, the International Campaign for Banning Mines, states that at least 160 people died or were injured by mines or other war-related explosives in Yemen in 2017.

UN investigators are calling for war

January 18

Iranian oil export revenues have been used to finance the wars of the Hirehirbel in Yemen. The information can be found in a UN report on events in 2018 to be submitted to the Security Council. The UN experts have identified companies that were used to hide the real purpose of the business. Loads have been forged documents to avoid UN inspections. The expert panel has also concluded that the Saudi-led alliance is guilty of at least four air strikes against a health-controlled area, including a bombing of a bus that claimed the lives of many children (see August 9, 2018).

The UN is expanding its observer base

January 16

The UN Security Council agrees to increase the number of observers in Yemen from 20 to 75. The unarmed observers monitor the ceasefire in the port city of al-Hudayda, which was decided during a call in Sweden. The assignment, which also applies to the ports of Ras Isa and al-Salif, is mandated for six months (see December 13 and December 21, 2018). All three ports are on the Red Sea.

Attack drones against airbase

January 10

An attack drone from the huthira rebels detonates al-Anad airbase north of Aden during a military parade. At least seven government supporters die, among them army and intelligence service commanders. The base, the country’s largest, was built by the Soviet Union during the Cold War and later used by US forces in search of al-Qaeda. It has been controlled by the Yemeni government since 2015. The base is not located in the area where, according to the peace talks in Sweden, there will be a ceasefire, but the attack is still believed to be able to disrupt continued peace negotiations.

Yemen Old History