The Ancient History of Yemen Conflict with Saudi Arabia Timeline

The History of Yemen Timeline

A History of Yemen Timeline: Yemen is located south of Saudi Arabia and west of Oman with borders on the Red Sea, the Gulf of Aden and the Arabian Sea. It is specifically located in the Bab el Mandeb Strait, which links the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden, and is one of the busiest shipping areas in the world. For reference, the area of Yemen is almost twice the size of the state of Wyoming. The topography of Yemen is varied with coastal plains adjacent to hills and mountains. In addition, Yemen also has desert plains that extend inland into the Arabian Peninsula and into Saudi Arabia.

History of Yemen
History of Yemen

History on Yemen

  • Official name:Republic of Yemen
  • Capital:Sana’a
  • Official language:Arabic
  • Currency:Yemeni Rial (YER)
  • Form of Government:In transition
  • Climate: Mostly desert; warm and humid along the west coast; temperate in the western mountains affected by the seasonal monsoon; Extraordinarily hot, dry and harsh desert in the east
  • Total area:203,849 square miles (527,968 square kilometers)
  • Highest point:Jabal an Nabi Shu’ayb at 12,027 feet (3,666 meters)
  • Lowest point:Arabian Sea at 0 feet (0 meters)

Early Yemen History 

The history of the Yemen stretches back over 3,000 years, and its unique culture is still in evidence today in the architecture of its towns and villages. From about 1000 BC this region of the Southern Arabian Peninsula was ruled by three successive civilisations — Minean, Sabaean and Himyarite. These three kingdoms all depended for their wealth on the spice trade. Aromatics such as myrrh and frankincense were greatly prized in the ancient civilised world and were used as part of various rituals in many cultures, including Egyptian, Greek and Roman.

In the 11th century BC, land routes through Arabia were greatly improved by using the camel as a beast of burden, and frankincense was carried from its production centre at Qana (now known as Bir ‘Ali) to Gaza in Egypt. The camel caravans also carried gold and other precious goods which arrived in Qana by sea from India.

The history of Yemen dates back to 1200 BC to 650 BC and 750 BC to 115 BC with the kingdoms of Minaean and Sabaean. During this time, society in Yemen focused on trade. In the first century it was invaded by the Romans, followed by Persia and Ethiopia in the sixth century. Yemen then converted to Islam in 628 CE, and in the tenth century it came under the control of the Rassite dynasty, a part of the Zaidi sect, which remained powerful in Yemeni politics until the 1960s. History of Yemen. 

A History of Yemen

The Ottoman Empire also extended to Yemen from 1538 to 1918, but due to separate loyalties in terms of political power, Yemen was divided into North Yemen and South Yemen. In 1918, North Yemen gained independence from the Ottoman Empire and followed a religious or theocratic political structure until a military overthrow occurred in 1962, at which point the area became the Yemen Arab Republic (YAR). South Yemen was colonized by Britain in 1839 and in 1937 became known as the Aden Protectorate. However, in the 1960s, the Nationalist Liberation Front fought against the British government and the People’s Republic of South Yemen was established on November 30, 1967.

In 1979, the formerSoviet Unionbegan to influence South Yemen and became the only Marxist nation of the Arab countries. However, with the beginning of the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1989, South Yemen joined the Yemen Arab Republic and on May 20, 1990, the two formed the Republic of Yemen. However, cooperation between Yemen’s two former nations was short-lived and in 1994 a civil war began between north and south. Shortly after the start of the civil war and an attempted succession by the south, the north won the war.

In the years since Yemen’s civil war, instability in Yemen itself and militant actions by terrorist groups in the country have continued. For example, in the late 1990s, an Islamic militant group, the Islamic Army of Aden-Abyan, kidnapped several Western tour groups and in 2000, suicide bombers attacked the U.S. Navy ship, the USS. School. Throughout the 2000s, several other terrorist attacks occurred on or near the coast of Yemen.

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In the late 2000s, in addition to terrorist actions, several radical groups emerged in Yemen and further increased the country’s instability. More recently, members of al-Qaeda began establishing itself in Yemen and, in January 2009, al-Qaeda groups in Saudi Arabia and Yemen united to create a group called al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. History of Yemen. 


The Islamic era, which began in the 7th century, contains many events critical to the formation of Yemen and the Yemeni people. The force with which Islam spread from its origins in Mecca and Medina in the nearby region of Al Hijaz (the Hejaz) led to Yemen’s rapid and thorough conversion to Islam. Yemenis were well-represented among the first soldiers of Islam who marched north, west, and east of Arabia to expand Muslim territory. History of Yemen. 

Yemen was ruled by a series of Muslim caliphs, beginning with the Umayyad dynasty, which ruled from Damascus in the latter part of the 7th century; Umayyad rule was followed by the Abbasid caliphs in the early 8th century. The founding of a local Yemeni dynasty in the 9th century effectively ended both Abbasid rule from Baghdad and the authority of the Arab caliphate. This allowed Yemen to develop its own variant of Arab-Islamic culture and society in relative isolation. History of Yemen. 

In the 10th century, the establishment of the Zaydi imamate, essentially a theocracy, in the far north of Yemen forged a deep, lasting link between the towns and tribes of the northern highlands and the Zaydi Shiite sect of Islam. By contrast, the two-century-long rule of the Rasulids, beginning in the 1200s and initially based in Aden, identified the coastal regions and the southern uplands with Shafi’i Islam. The Rasulids, one of the major dynasties in the history of Yemen, broke from the Egyptian Ayyubid dynasty to rule independently. Their capital, later located at Ta’izz, was famous for its diverse artistic and intellectual achievements. History of Yemen. 

History of North Yemen

Its strategic location and the fertility of its lands (Happy Arabia or Yemen) attracted the greed of many peoples and it fell prey to the Abisnians, Sassanids and Arabs. In 893, the Zaydi imam Yahyá b al-Fiusayn established in Sa’da, in the north of the country, the dynasty that reigned until 1962.

In the struggle with the Ottomans (1905-1911), Imam Yahyá regained supremacy after the period of Turkish administration. Conflicts with neighboring countries ended in 1934, when a period of peace began and the country was unified.

Yahyá imposed his son Ahmad as successor, transforming a hitherto elective monarchy into a hereditary one. The opposition of the nobility led to his assassination and riots that Ahmad quelled with extreme cruelty. Ahmad imposed his son Muhammad al-Badr as heir, prompting a failed coup in March 1955.

To try to overcome the isolation of the country, the imam established a union with EgyptandSyria (March 1958) that took the name of United Arab Republic, and that had little repercussion on the life of the country. History of Yemen. 

Upon succeeding his father in September 1962, al-Badr faced an uprising by officers attempting to proclaim the republic. Taking refuge in the mountains, he rallied his followers and engaged in a long and bloody Saudi-backed civil war, while the Republicans received reinforcements of arms and men from Egypt. History of Yemen. 

After the Jeddah conference (March 1970) an agreement was reached between republicans and royalists and the country moved towards civil peace, ratified by the promulgation of a Constitution in December 1970, which established the republic. History of Yemen. 

In the following years there were border incidents with South Yemen, which turned into open war in October 1972. In it, North Yemen received help from Saudi Arabia, while the South had Soviet weapons. History of Yemen. 

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The ceasefire was achieved under the auspices of the Arab League and both sides agreed in Cairo (24 October 1972) the union of both Yemen. But the implementation of this agreement ran into serious difficulties, especially because of the opposition of Saudi Arabia. History of Yemen. 

The commander-in-chief of the army, Ibrahim al-Hamdi, led a pro-Saudi coup d’état, which seized power (June 13, 1974). Al-Hamdi promoted a policy of good neighbourliness with the other States of the Arabian Peninsula and visited Oman (1976). He also strengthened relations withChinaand kept his distance from the USSR, and when he seemed ready to resume efforts for reunification with South Yemen, he was assassinated in October 1977. History of Yemen. 

The presidency of the Republic was assumed by the head of the army, Ahmed Hussein al-Ghashmi, who, in turn, was assassinated by a South Yemeni agent (June 1978). Commander Ali Abdullah Saleh, elected president of the republic, broke relations with South Yemen, whose government he accused of organizing the assassination of his predecessor.

At the meeting held in Kuwait (March 1979) the Arab League promoted anagreement between North Yemen and South Yemen, which led (December 1981) to the signing of a draftConstitution for a unified State. History of Yemen. 

In 1980 Abdul Karim al-Yryani replaced Abdel-Aziz Abdel-Ghani as Prime Minister, but in 1983 he was reinstated. Moreover, in July of that same year President Saleh was re-elected by the People’s Constituent Assembly. Palestinian guerrillas evacuated from Tripoli (Lebanon) in 1983took refuge in North Yemen, where Yasser Arafat made Sana’a the headquarters of thePalestine Liberation Organization (PLO). Saleh was re-elected again in 1988 and led the negotiations that led to the unification of the two Yemens. History of Yemen. 

History of South Yemen

The history of South Yemen after the British occupation of Aden in 1839 was quite different. After the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869, Aden became a vitally important port along the sea lanes to India. In order to protect Aden from Ottoman takeover, the British signed treaties with tribal leaders in the interior, promising military protection and subsidies in exchange for loyalty; gradually British authority was extended to other mainland areas to the east of Aden. In 1937 the area was designated the Aden Protectorates. In 1958 six small states within the protectorates formed a British-sponsored federation.

This federation was later expanded to include Aden and the remaining states of the region and was renamed the Federation of South Arabia in 1965.

During the 1960s British colonial policy as a whole came under increasing challenge from a nationalist movement centred primarily in Aden. Great Britain finally withdrew from the area in 1967, when the dominant opposition group, the National Liberation Front (NLF), forced the collapse of the federation and assumed political control. South Yemen became independent as the People’s Republic of South Yemen in November of that year.

The NLF became the only recognized political party and its leader, Qahtan Muhammad al-Shaabi, was installed as president. In 1969 al-Shaabi was ousted and replaced by Salem Ali Rubayi; until 1978, South Yemen was governed under the co-leadership of Rubayi and his rival, Abdel Fattah Ismail, both of whom made efforts to organize the country according to their versions of Marxism.

In 1970 the country was renamed the People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen (PDRY). Foreign-owned properties were nationalized, and close ties were established with the USSR. Rubayi was deposed and executed in 1978; under the prevailing authority of Ismail, Soviet influence intensified in South Yemen. Ismail was replaced by Ali Nasser Muhammad al-Hasani in 1980. In 1986 a civil war erupted within the government of South Yemen; the war ended after 12 days, and al-Hasani fled into exile. Former premier Haydar Bakr al-Attas was elected president in October. History of Yemen. 


Relations between North Yemen and South Yemen grew increasingly conciliatory after 1980. Border wars between the two countries in 1972 and 1979 both had ended surprisingly with agreements for Yemeni unification, though in each case the agreement was quickly shelved. During the 1980s the two countries cooperated increasingly in economic and administrative matters. In December 1989 their respective leaders met and prepared a final unification agreement. History of Yemen. 

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On May 22, 1990, North and South Yemen officially merged to become the Republic of Yemen. Ali Abdullah Saleh, then leader of North Yemen, became president of unified Yemen, while Ali Salem al-Beidh and Haydar Bakr al-Attas of South Yemen became vice president and prime minister, respectively. Sanaa was declared the political capital of the Republic of Yemen, and Aden the economic capital. By the summer of 1990 more than 30 new political parties had formed in Yemen. Rising oil revenues and financial assistance from many foreign countries, including Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and the United States, brought hope that Yemen could begin to strengthen and expand its economy.

Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait in 1990 and the events that followed in the Persian Gulf took a serious toll on Yemen’s economy and newfound political stability. Yemen’s critical response to the presence of foreign military forces massed in Saudi Arabia led the Saudi government to expel 850,000 Yemeni workers; the return of the workers and the loss of remittance payments produced widespread unemployment and economic upheaval, which led in turn to domestic political unrest.

Bomb attacks, political killings, and violent demonstrations occurred throughout 1991 and 1992, and in December 1992 a rise in consumer prices precipitated riots in several of Yemen’s major cities. Concern arose that declining economic and social conditions would give rise to Islamic fundamentalist activities in Yemen.

Political turmoil forced the government to postpone general elections, which were finally held on April 27, 1993, completing the Yemeni unification process begun three years earlier. The General People’s Congress (GPC), the former ruling party in North Yemen, won 121 seats in parliament; the Yemen Socialist party (YSP), the former ruling party of South Yemen, won 56 seats; a new Islamic coalition party, al-Islah, won 62 seats; and the remaining 62 seats were won by minor parties and independents. The president and prime minister remained in office after the election, and the three major parties formed a legislative coalition. History of Yemen. 

Government of Yemen

Today, Yemen’s government is a republic with a bicameral legislative body composed of the House of Representatives and the Shura Council. Its executive branch has its head of state and head of government. Yemen’s head of state is its president, while the head of government is its prime minister. Suffrage is universal from the age of 18 and the country is divided into 21 governorates for local administration. History of Yemen. 

Intervention by Saudi Arabia

History of Saudi Yemen conflict: At the end of 2014 the town was immersed in harsh demonstrations over the rise in the price of gasoline. On 21 September 2014, Houthi rebels seized control of the capital Sana’a, and on 19 January 2015 dissolved parliament.

President Hadi resigned, although on February 21 he managed to flee to Aden, and once safe, withdrew his resignation. On March 9, 2015, the Arab League sent Saudi-led military personnel, withU.S. approval, to return Haidi to power.

The Islamic State terror group carried out a wave of suicide bombings on March 21. The result was 142 people killed in Shiite mosques in Sanaa. On March 26, the bombing of Yemen began, executed by the military coalition with Saudi Arabia at the front. Subsequently, Egyptian troops landed on the shores of Yemen. History of Yemen. 


History of Yemen – YCA Sandwell (

Origin and History of Yemen | CurioSfera-History (

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