Middle East, Yemen
Yemen, Republic of, country in southwestern Asia, on the southwestern corner of the Arabian Peninsula. It is bounded on the west by the Red Sea and on the south by the Gulf of Aden (an arm of the Arabian Sea, which is part of the Indian Ocean), and is separated from Africa by the narrow strait of Bab el Mandeb. To the north and northeast lies Saudi Arabia and to the east is Oman; these two countries are Yemen's only contiguous neighbors. Yemen includes several sizable islands, most notably Socotra in the Indian Ocean, Perim in the Bab el Mandeb, and Kamaran in the Red Sea. Yemen covers about 527,970 sq km (about 203,850 sq mi). Sana‘a (Sanaa) is Yemen's capital and largest city.
The Republic of Yemen was created in 1990 out of the peaceful unification of the Yemen Arab Republic (YAR) and the People's Democratic Republic of Yemen (PDRY). The YAR was commonly called North Yemen, and the PDRY was generally referred to as South Yemen, although South Yemen was actually less to the south than to the east and southeast of North Yemen. In May 1994, civil war broke out between the ruling powers of northern and southern Yemen, which had maintained separate armies and security forces as well as political differences. The fighting, which lasted more than two months and produced thousands of casualties and major economic and infrastructural damage, resulted in the defeat of southern secessionists and the survival of unified Yemen.
Prosperous and famed in ancient times, historic Yemen has been a very poor and unknown land for more than the last thousand years. The discovery of oil in both Yemens in the mid-1980s held out the prospect of economic development and an easier life for the people of Yemen.
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