General Information

officially Al-Yaman,  or Al-Jumhuriyah al-Yamaniyah,  country situated at the southwestern corner of the Arabian Peninsula.  Most of the country's northern frontier with Saudi Arabia traverses the great desert of the peninsula, the Rub' al-Khali (Empty Quarter), and remains undemarcated, as does the eastern frontier with Oman. In the west and the south, the country is bounded by the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden, respectively. Its territory includes a number of islands as well, including the Kamaran group, located in the Red Sea near Al-Hudaydah; Perim (Barim), in the Bab el-Mandeb, which separates the Arabian Peninsula from Africa; the most important and largest island, Socotra (Suqutra), located in the Arabian Sea nearly 620 miles (1,000 kilometres) east of Aden; and The Brothers, small islets near Socotra.

The region's uncharted desert marches make its precise area impossible to determine. Most observers suggest a figure of about 156,000 sq mi (405,000 square kilometres); the area of Socotra is 1,400 sq mi.

The present government came into being in May 1990, when the former Yemen Arab Republic merged with the former Democratic Republic. By stipulation of the reunification agreement of 1990, San'a', formerly the capital in the north North, functions as the political capital of the new government, while Aden, formerly the capital of the South, functions as the economic centre.

The area resides in a strategic location at the southern entrance of the Red Sea—a crossroads of both ancient and modern trade and communications routes. In the ancient world, the states that occupied the area known today in fact controlled the supply of such important commodities as frankincense and myrrh and dominated the trade in many other valuable items, such as the spices and medicines. Because of its fertility as well as its commercial prosperity, The region was known in the ancient world as Arabia Felix (Latin: “Fortunate Arabia”) to distinguish it from the vast forbidding reaches of Arabia Deserta (“Desert Arabia”).

The two components of the Republic underwent strikingly different directions: The North never experienced any period of colonial administration at the hands of a European power, while the South was a part of the British Empire from 1839 to 1967. The contemporary borders are the consequence of British, Ottoman Empire, and Saudi Arabian foreign policy goals and actions, some of which date to the 18th and 19th centuries. These have had a substantial impact on many aspects of the 21st-century.



OFFICIAL NAME(S)
Al-Jumhuriyah al-Yamaniyah
 
CAPITAL:
U>San'a`
 
FORM OF GOVERNMENT:
multiparty republic with one legislative house (House of Representatives [301])
 
HEAD OF STATE:
President
 
HEAD OF GOVERNMENT:
Prime Minister
 
MONETARY UNIT:
1 Rial (YRls) = 100 fils; valuation: 1 U.S.$ = YRls 133.82, 1 £ = YRls 227.83.
 
OFFICIAL LANGUAGES:
Arabic
 
POPULATION :
23,013,376
 
RELIGIOUS AFFILIATION :
Islam
 
ETHNIC COMPOSITION :
predominantly Arab.
 
LIFE EXPECTANCY AT BIRTH :
male 55.9 yrs; female 59.1

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