The Republic of Yemen is a country in the Arabian Peninsula in Southwest Asia, and is a part of the Middle East, bordering the Arabian Sea, Gulf of Aden, and Red Sea, between Oman and Saudi Arabia.
Main article: History of Yemen
Yemen’s history extends back 3,500 years, its pre-Islamic ancient culture still in evidence today - especially in its unique architecture (the old part of the capital Sana'a has been declared Universal Cultural Patrimony by UNESCO). In 1000 BC territories that today form part of the Yemen Arab Republic were dominated by three successive civilisations – Minean, Sabaean and Himyarite. Yemen’s relatively fertile land and adequate rainfall could sustain stable populations, and led the ancient Greek geographer Ptolemy to describe Yemen as Eudaimon Arabia (in Latin it was later translated as Arabia Felix) meaning "fortunate Arabia". Much wealth was generated from the trade in myrrh and frankincense.
By the first century BC, the Romans had conquered certain coastal areas and Christianity reached the region. Ethiopians occupied other parts of the region until the Himyarites, in alliance with the Persians, drove them out. Islam was introduced while Mohammed was still alive, and thereafter Yemen was ruled as part of Arab caliphates. Under the Ummayyad and Abbasid caliphates, Yemen became little more than a remote province governed by successive local dynasties. The most important of these were the Shiite Zaydis of Sa'da, founded in 897 by Yayha bin Husayn bin Qasim ar-Rassi, which lasted well into the 20th century.
After 1517 the country became a nominal part of the Ottoman Empire albeit real power rested with the Zaydi imams. By the 19th century British colonialism led to the creation in the region’s south, of the "South Arabian Protectorate of Great Britain". Meanwhile in the North, following the collapse of the Ottoman Empire in 1918 Imam Yahya established the modern Kingdom of Yemen. His family kept control until Crown Prince Mohammed al-Badr was overthrown by a regime of revolutionaries, who founded the Yemen Arab Republic. In the south the 1960’s were a period of intense nationalist violence and British repression, which ended in 1967 with independence from the British. Under Soviet influence, the new nation declared itself an independent communist state, the People's Democratic Republic of Yemen, with its capital at Aden. Two decades of hostility followed between the two states.
On 22 May 1990 the Yemen Arab Republic (North) were united with the People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen (South) and the current Republic of Yemen was declared. Following a brief civil war, which led to the defeat of "southern" secessionist forces, stability was eventually achieved. From inception, the contemporary Republic of Yemen adopted a democratic constitution with elections taking place regularly and franchise extending to both sexes.
In late 2000, Yemen received worldwide attention when the American ship USS Cole was attacked in the port of Aden by suicide bombers who were later found to be part of the Al-Qaida terrorist network. Since then the Yemeni government has applied itself to the task of solidifying its control of tribal areas and suppressing militant fundamentalists.
Main article: Politics of Yemen
Main article: Governorates of Yemen
Main article: Geography of Yemen
Main article: Economy of Yemen
Yemen, one of the poorest countries in the Arab world, reported strong growth in the mid-1990s with the onset of oil production, but was harmed by low oil prices in 1998. Yemen has embarked on an IMF-supported structural adjustment program designed to modernize and streamline the economy, which has led to foreign debt relief and restructuring. Aided by higher oil prices in 1999, Yemen worked to maintain tight control over spending and implement additional components of the IMF program. The high population growth rate of 3.4% and internal political dissension complicate the government's task.
Main article: Demographics of Yemen
Main article: Culture of Yemen
Yemenite Jews are the Jewish people who live, or whose recent ancestors lived, in Yemen. They are known as Teimanim, and are considered to be a subdivision of Mizrahi Jews.