Yemen (ٱلْيَمَن), officially known as the Republic of Yemen (ٱلْجُمْهُورِيَّة ٱلْيَمَنِيَّة), is a country at the southern end of the Arabian Peninsula in Western Asia. Yemen is the second-largest Arab sovereign state in the peninsula, occupying 527,970 km2. The coastline stretches for about 2000 km. It is bordered by Saudi Arabia to the north, the Red Sea to the west, the Gulf of Aden and Guardafui Channel to the south, and the Arabian Sea and Oman to the east. Yemen's territory includes more than 200 islands.
Yemen's constitutionally stated capital is the city of Sana'a, but the city has been under Houthi rebel control since February 2015.
Yemen was the home of the Sabaeans, a trading state that flourished for over a thousand years and also included parts of modern-day Ethiopia and Eritrea. In 275 CE, the region came under the rule of the later Jewish-influenced Himyarite Kingdom. Christianity arrived in the fourth century. Islam spread quickly in the seventh century and Yemenite troops were crucial in the expansion of the early Islamic conquests. Administration of Yemen has long been notoriously difficult. Several dynasties emerged from the ninth to 16th centuries, the Rasulid dynasty being the strongest and most prosperous. The country was divided between the Ottoman and British empires in the early twentieth century. The Zaydi Mutawakkilite Kingdom of Yemen was established after World War I in North Yemen before the creation of the Yemen Arab Republic in 1962. South Yemen remained a British protectorate known as the Aden Protectorate until 1967 when it became an independent state and later, a Marxist-Leninist state. The two Yemeni states united to form the modern republic of Yemen in 1990.
Yemen is a developing country and the poorest country in the Middle East. Under the rule of President Ali Abdullah Saleh, Yemen was described by critics as a kleptocracy. According to the 2009 International Corruption Perceptions Index by Transparency International, Yemen ranked 164 out of 182 countries surveyed. In the absence of strong state institutions, elite politics in Yemen constituted a de facto form of collaborative governance, where competing tribal, regional, religious, and political interests agreed to hold themselves in check through tacit acceptance of the balance it produced. The informal political settlement was held together by a power-sharing deal among three men: President Saleh, who controlled the state; major general Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar, who controlled the largest share of the Republic of Yemen Armed Forces; and Abdullah ibn Husayn al-Ahmar, figurehead of the Islamist al-Islah party and Saudi Arabia's chosen broker of transnational patronage payments to various political players, including tribal sheikhs. The Saudi payments have been intended to facilitate the tribes' autonomy from the Yemeni government and to give the Saudi government a mechanism with which to weigh in on Yemen's political decision-making.
It is a member of the United Nations, Arab League, Organisation of the Islamic Cooperation, G-77, Non-Aligned Movement, Arab Satellite Communications Organization, Arab Monetary Fund and the World Federation of Trade Unions.
Since 2011, Yemen has been in a state of political crisis starting with street protests against poverty, unemployment, corruption, and president Saleh's plan to amend Yemen's constitution and eliminate the presidential term limit, in effect making him president for life. President Saleh stepped down and the powers of the presidency were transferred to Vice President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi, who was formally elected president on 21 February 2012 in a one-man election. The total absence of central government during this transitional process engendered the escalation of the several clashes on-going in the country, like the armed conflict between the Houthis rebels of Ansar Allah militia and the al-Islah forces, as well as the al-Qaeda insurgency. In September 2014, the Houthis took over Sana'a with the help of the ousted president Saleh, later declaring themselves in control of the country after a coup d'état; Saleh was shot dead by a sniper in Sana'a in December 2017. This resulted in a new civil war and a Saudi Arabian-led military intervention aimed at restoring Hadi's government. At least 56,000 civilians and combatants have been killed in armed violence in Yemen since January 2016.
The conflict has resulted in a famine that is affecting 17 million people. The lack of safe drinking water, caused by depleted aquifers and the destruction of the country's water infrastructure, has also caused the world's worst outbreak of cholera, with the number of suspected cases exceeding 994,751. Over 2,226 people have died since the outbreak began to spread rapidly at the end of April 2017. In 2016 the United Nations reported that Yemen is the country with the most people in need of humanitarian aid in the world with 21.2 million.
The term Yamnat was mentioned in Old South Arabian inscriptions on the title of one of the kings of the second Himyarite kingdom known as Shammar Yahrʽish II. The term was probably referring to the southwestern coastline of the Arabian peninsula and the southern coastline between Aden and Hadramout. The historical Yemen includes much greater territory than that of the current republic of Yemen. It stretches from the northern 'Asir Region in southwestern Saudi Arabia to Dhofar Governorate in southern Oman. One etymology derives Yemen from ymnt, meaning "South", and significantly plays on the notion of the land to the right (𐩺𐩣𐩬). Other sources claim that Yemen is related to yamn or yumn, meaning "felicity" or "blessed", as much of the country is fertile. The Romans called it Arabia Felix (happy Arabia), as opposed to Arabia Deserta (deserted Arabia). Latin and Greek writers used the name "India" to refer to South Arabia (ancient Yemen). The use of the term "India" arise from the fact that the Persians called the Abyssinians whom they came into contact in South Arabia by the name of the dark-skinned people who lived next to them, i.e., Indians.