The Republic of Yemen is a country located in the Middle East, occupying the south western and southern end of theArabian Peninsula. It is bordered by Saudi Arabia to the north, the Red Sea to the west, and Oman to the east.
Yemen has a land area of 555,000 square kilometers and a population of approximately 24 million (2010). Its capital and largest city is Sana'a. Yemen's territory includes over 200 islands, the largest of which is Socotra, about 415 km to the south of mainland Yemen, off the coast of Somalia. It is the only state in the Arabian Peninsula to have a purely republican form of government.


Yemen has long existed at the crossroads of cultures; it linked some of the oldest centers of civilization in the Near East by virtue of its location in South Arabia. Between the 12th century BC and the 6th century, it was part of the Minaean, Sabaean, Hadhramaut, Qataban, Ausan, and Himyarite kingdoms, which controlled the lucrative spice trade, and later came under Ethiopian and Persian rule. In the 6th century, the Himyarite king Abu-Karib Assad converted to Judaism. In the 7th century, Islamic caliphs began to exert control over the area. After this caliphate broke up, South Arabia came under the control of many dynasties who ruled part, or often all, of South Arabia.
Egyptian Shia caliphs occupied much of Yemen throughout the 11th century. By the 16th century and again in the 19th century, Yemen was part of the Ottoman Empire and in some periods Imams exerted control over all Yemen. 
The modern history of South Arabia and Yemen began in 1918 when Yemen gained independence from the Ottoman Empire. Between 1918 and 1962, Yemen was a monarchy ruled by the Hamidaddin family. In 1962, North Yemen then became a republic, but Britain still had a protective area around the South Arabia port of Aden, which it had created in the 19th century. Britain withdrew in 1967 and the area became South Yemen. In 1970, the southern government adopted a Communist governmental system. The two countries were formally united as the Republic of Yemen on May 22, 1990.
The 2011 Yemeni uprising followed the initial stages of the Tunisian Revolution and occurred simultaneously with the Egyptian Revolution and other mass protests in the Arab world in early 2011. The uprising was initially against unemployment, economic conditions and corruption, as well as against the government's proposals to modify the constitution of Yemen. The protestors' demands then escalated to calls for President Ali Abdullah Saleh to resign.


Yemen is in the Arab World, in the southern half of the Arabian Peninsula, bordering the Arabian Sea, Gulf of Aden, and theRed Sea. It lies south of Saudi Arabia and west of Oman, between latitudes 12° and 19° N and longitudes 42° and 55° E. At 527,970 km2 (203,850 sq mi), Yemen is the world's 50th-largest country. It is comparable in size to Thailand and larger than the U.S. state of California. 
Agriculture here is very diverse, with such crops as sorghum dominating. Cotton and many fruit trees are also grown, with mangoes being the most valuable. Temperatures are hot in the day but fall dramatically at night. There are perennial streams in the highlands but these never reach the sea because of high evaporation in the Tihamah.


Yemen is one of the poorest and least developed countries in the Arab World, with a formal 35% employment rate, dwindling natural resources, a young population and increasing population growth. Yemen's economy is weak compared to most countries in the Middle-East, mainly because Yemen has very small oil reserves. Yemen does have large proven reserves of natural gas.


Yemen is a presidential republic with a bicameral legislature. Under the constitution, an elected President, an elected 301-seat Assembly of Representatives, and an appointed 111-member Shura Council share power. The President is the head of state, and the Prime Minister is the head of government.
President Ali Abdullah Saleh became the first elected President in reunified Yemen in 1999 (though he had been President of unified Yemen since 1990 and President of North Yemen since 1978). 
Beginning in February and March 2011, an uprising against the government occurred, and clashes with police and pro-government supporters have steadily intensified. Many protestors demand the immediate resignation of the current leadership, and in particular that of President Saleh.

Administrative divisions

As of February 2004, Yemen is divided into twenty governorates and one municipality called "Amanat Al-Asemah" (the latter containing the capital, Sana'a). The governors are subdivided into 333 districts, which are subdivided into 2,210 sub-districts, and then into 38,284 villages (as of 2001).


The population of Yemen was about 24 million according to June 2011 estimates, with 46% of the population being under 15 years old and 2.7% above 65 years. In 1950, it was 4.3 million. By 2050; the population is estimated to increase to about 60 million. Yemen has one of the world's highest birth rates; the average Yemeni woman bears five children. 
Yemenis are mainly of Arab origin. Arabic is the official language, although English is increasingly understood by citizens in major cities. Yemen is still a largely tribal society. In the mountains of northern Yemen live some 400 Zaydi tribes.  Yemenite Jews once formed a sizable Jewish minority in Yemen with a distinct culture. 


Religion in Yemen consists primarily of two principal Islamic religious groups; 53% of the Muslim population is Sunni and 45% is Shi'a according to the UNHCR. Sunnis are primarily Shafi'i but also include significant groups of Malikis and Hanbalis. Shi'is are primarily Zaidis and also have significant minorities of Twelver Shias[64] and Musta'ali Western Isma'ili Shias.
The Sunnis are predominantly in the south and southeast. The Zaidis are predominantly in the north and northwest whilst the Ismailis are in the main centers such as Sana'a and Ma'rib. There are mixed communities in the larger cities. Less than 2% of Yemenis are non-Muslim, adhering to Hinduism, Christianity, Judaism

Human rights

Yemen's human rights record is seriously marred by substantial inconsistencies between its obligations under International Human Rights instruments (ratified by Yemen) and legal practice under the Shari'a and tribal law/habits. Human Rights Watch reported on discrimination and violence against women as well as on the abolition of the minimum marriage age of fifteen for women. 


The official language is Modern Standard Arabic. Yemeni Arabic is spoken in several regional dialects.

World Heritage sites

The Old Walled City of Shibam in Wadi Hadhramaut, inscribed by UNESCO in 1982, two years after Yemen joined the World Heritage Committee, is nicknamed "Manhattan of the Desert" because of its "skyscrapers." Surrounded by a fortified wall made of mud and straw, the 16th-century city is one of the oldest examples of urban planning based on the principle of vertical construction.
The ancient Old City of Sana’a, at an altitude of more than 7,000 feet (2,100 m), has been inhabited for over two and a half millennia and was inscribed in 1986. Sana’a became a major Islamic centre in the 7th century, and the 103 mosques, 14 hammams (traditional bath houses), and more than 6,000 houses that survive all date from before the 11th century.
Close to the Red Sea Coast, the Historic Town of Zabid, inscribed in 1993, was Yemen’s capital from the 13th to the 15th century, and is an archaeological and historical site. It played an important role for many centuries because of its university, which was a center of learning for the whole Arab and Islamic world. Algebra is said to have been invented there in the early 9th century by the little-known scholar Al-Jaladi.