Yemen History and Politics

By | June 26, 2021

Yemen was on the Frankincense Route

We know little about the very early history of Yemen. But contacts between this region in southern Arabia and the Mediterranean were probably very early on. Frankincense in particular was traded because the famous Frankincense Route ran through the Yemen region. Dromedaries carried frankincense and myrrh, but also spices and fabrics.

At the same time there were trade relations with India and East Africa, especially Eritrea. The Middle East also influenced Yemen, which for example adopted the Phoenician alphabet. The influence of Hellenism has also been proven on the basis of finds.

From the Queen of Sheba and a happy Arabia

Several ancient kingdoms were in what is now Yemen, the most famous of which was that of the Queen of Sheba, of which the Old Testament speaks. This is said to be in the time of 2000 BC. To have existed until 260 AD. However, we do not know whether this fabulous queen really existed and where she lived exactly.

The Romans called Yemen “happy Arabia”, in Latin Arabia felix. Why this? Yemen was a very fertile country. Irrigation systems had been developed very early on, which enabled agriculture to be carried out in areas with little rain. The decline of the Roman Empire was followed by the economic decline of the empires in southern Arabia.

Islam in Yemen

Before Islam found its way into Yemen from 632, the most important kingdom was the kingdom of the Himjarites, also known as the “Himyars”. Their territory was mainly in the west of what is now Yemen. With a few exceptions, they also remained independent.

Yemen was seldom a single area, mostly several Yemeni tribes took turns in rule. An important tribe was the Zaidite tribe, which was able to unite the tribes in the north. Imams in Yemen came from this tribe again and again. In 1324 Sanaa became the capital. Even if other tribes took power in between, the Zaidite imams were ultimately able to prevail again and again. The Zaidites still exist today.

Differences between north and south

Northern Yemen developed differently from southern Yemen, which became part of the British colonial empire in January 1839, while the north remained independent. The remaining parts were occupied by the Ottomans, so the British and Ottomans set the Yemeni borders. The Ottoman occupation came to an end with the end of the First World War.

But the conflict between the north and south remained. The still Zaidite North Yemen fought against the British in the south from 1926, but had to recognize the border with South Yemen in 1934. This remained under the occupation of the British until 1967. There were also disputes with Saudi Arabia over the demarcation of the border with North Yemen, a dispute that was only settled a few years ago – in 2000.

The union of the north and the south

Yemen in its current borders has only existed since May 1990. On that day, the former South Yemen and North Yemen united to form the Republic of Yemen. North Yemen, which is much more conservative, was heavily influenced by Saudi Arabia. South Yemen was supported by socialist states for many years.

Yemen History

Why is there war in Yemen at all?

There is war going on in Yemen. At first it was a war inside the country, then with the intervention of Saudi Arabia it was also waged from outside. But why did this war even come about?

And how did it go on?

According to best-medical-schools, this civil war has been going on in Yemen since 2015. Houthi rebels who are Shiites are fighting against the government, which is Sunni. The Yemeni government is supported by Saudi Arabia, who are against the Shiites. These are in turn supported by the USA, Great Britain and France, also with the delivery of weapons. The Houthi rebels are supported by Iran. The majority of Iran is Shiite.

But it would be too easy to see this as just a conflict between Shiites and Sunnis. This has long since grown into a so-called “proxy war” in which other countries want to assert their influence. The Yemeni population and especially the children suffer from this.

Donor conferences

In April 2017, various donor conferences were held in rich countries, including Germany, to consider how much money would have to go to a country like Yemen in order to support the people. At the same time, it would be necessary to talk about a peaceful solution. This is the only way to prevent the terrible famine and the dying of so many people. But it is difficult to come to a solution here. And as long as foreign states put their own interests first, the people of Yemen suffer.

Situation in Yemen in 2020: hunger and hardship

The situation in Yemen deteriorated further in the course of 2020. On the one hand, because the five-year civil war is still not over. Then there was the Corana crisis, which made the situation of the people in Yemen even worse. And the bad diseases malaria and dengue fever also come. To the Corona- The country was not prepared for the virus and has few opportunities to help the people. Time and again the sea ports are blocked and the airports closed, so that aid organizations have little chance of getting into the country. There are also many internally displaced persons in the country, because where else should people flee to? If you look at the map, you can see for yourself that there are no options. Many aid organizations, especially those who take care of children, warn that the famine in Yemen will only increase.