South Yemen: Wikis


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جمهورية اليَمَنْ الديمُقراطية الشَعْبِيّة
Jumhūrīyyat al-Yaman ad-Dīmuqrāţīyyah ash-Sha'bīyyah
People's Democratic Republic of Yemen


Flag Coat of arms
Capital Aden
Language(s) Arabic
Government Socialist republic,
Single-party communist state
President Ali Salim al-Beidh
Prime Minister Haidar Abu Baker Al Attas
Historical era Cold War
 - Independence November 30, 1967
 - UN membership December 14, 1967
 - Constitution October 31, 1978
 - unification May 22, 1990
 - 1990 332,970 km2 (128,560 sq mi)
 - 1990 est. 2,585,484 
     Density 7.8 /km2  (20.1 /sq mi)
Currency South Yemeni dinar
Calling code +969
ISO 3166-1=YD, ISO 3166-3=YDYE

The People's Democratic Republic of Yemen — also referred to as Democratic Yemen, South Yemen, or Yemen (Aden) — was a socialist republic in the present-day southern and eastern Provinces of Yemen. It united with the Yemen Arab Republic, commonly known as North Yemen, on May 22, 1990 to form the current Republic of Yemen.However, the agreement did not go through as expected, thus resulting in the 1994 war between the two countries resulting in the invasion of the South.

As of 2007, massive protests and rallies by citizens demanding a return to the former southern state have been common, both in the southern provinces of Yemen and internationally. Many southern Yemenis complain that the government (compromised mainly of northern officials) is abusing the unity agreement, claiming unfair distribution of resources and discrimination against them.[1]



British interests in the area which would later become the People's Democratic Republic of Yemen (PDRY) began to grow when on January 19, 1839, British East India Company forces captured the port of Aden, to provide a coaling station for ships en route to India. Aden was ruled as part of British India until 1937, when the city of Aden became the Colony of Aden. The Aden hinterland and Hadhramaut to the east formed the remainder of what would become South Yemen and was not administered directly by Aden but were tied to Britain by treaties of protection with local rulers of traditional polities that, together, became known as the Aden Protectorate. Economic development was largely centred in Aden, and while the city flourished, the states of the Aden Protectorate stagnated.

In 1963, Aden and much of the Protectorate were joined to form the Federation of South Arabia with the remaining states that declined to join, mainly in Hadhramaut, forming the Protectorate of South Arabia. Both of these polities were still tied to Britain with promises of total independence in 1968.

Two nationalist groups, the Front for the Liberation of Occupied South Yemen (FLOSY) and the National Front, الجبهة القوميّة (NF), began an armed struggle on 14 October 1963 against British control and, with the temporary closure of the Suez Canal in 1967, the British began to withdraw. Southern Yemen became independent as the People's Republic of South Yemen on 30 November 1967, and the NF consolidated its control in the country.

In June 1969, a radical Marxist wing of NF gained power and changed the country's name on 1 December 1970, to the People's Democratic Republic of Yemen. In the PDRY, all political parties were amalgamated into the Yemeni Socialist Party (YSP), which became the only legal party. The PDRY established close ties with the Soviet Union, the People's Republic of China, Cuba, East Germany, and radical Palestinians.

The major communist powers assisted in the building of the PDRY's armed forces. Strong support from Moscow resulted in Soviet naval forces gaining access to naval facilities in South Yemen.


Unlike East and West Germany or North and South Korea, the northern Yemen Arab Republic (YAR) and the PDRY remained relatively friendly, though relations were often strained. In 1972 it was declared unification would eventually occur.

However, these plans were put on hold in 1979, and war was only prevented by an Arab League intervention. The goal of unity was reaffirmed by the northern and southern heads of state during a summit meeting in Kuwait in March 1979.

In 1980, PDRY president Abdul Fattah Ismail resigned and went into exile. His successor, Ali Nasir Muhammad, took a less interventionist stance toward both North Yemen and neighbouring Oman. On January 13, 1986, a violent struggle began in Aden between Ali Nasir's supporters and supporters of the returned Ismail, who wanted power back. Fighting lasted for more than a month and resulted in thousands of casualties, Ali Nasir's ouster, and Ismail's death. Some 60,000 people, including the deposed Ali Nasir, fled to the YAR.

In May 1988, the YAR and PDRY governments came to an understanding that considerably reduced tensions including agreement to renew discussions concerning unification, to establish a joint oil exploration area along their undefined border, to demilitarize the border, and to allow Yemenis unrestricted border passage on the basis of only a national identification card.

Politics and social life

The only recognised political party in South Yemen was the Yemeni Socialist Party, which ran the country and the economy along lines they described as Marxist, modelled on the Soviet Union.[citation needed]

The constitution prescribed universal suffrage although very few exercised power beyond the elite of the Socialist Party.[citation needed]

The Supreme People's Council was appointed by the general command of the National Liberation Front in 1971.

In Aden, there was a structured judicial system, with a supreme court.

Education was paid for through general taxation.

There was no housing crisis in South Yemen. Surplus housing built by the British meant that there were few homeless people in Aden, and people built their own houses out of adobe and mud in the rural areas.

Finally in 1988, the South Yemen Olympic team made its debut in Seoul. Sending only eight athletes, the country won no medals. This was the only time the country went to the Olympics until unification in 1990.


Map of the governorates

Following independence, South Yemen was divided into six governorates (Arabic sg. muhafazah), with roughly natural boundaries, each given a name by numeral. From 1967 to 1978 they were named officially by numerals only, from 1979 to 1990 - by new official names. The islands: Kamaran (until 1972, when it was seized by North Yemen), Perim (Meyun), Socotra, Abd-el-Kuri, Samha (inhabited), Darsah and others uninhabitated from the Socotra archipelago were district (mudiriyah) of the First/Aden Governorate being under Prime-Minister of the state supervision.[2]

Numeral Name Approximate Area (km.²) Capital
I 'Adan 6,980 Aden
II Lahij 12,766 Hawatah
III Abyan 21,489 Zinjibar
IV Shabwah 73,908 'Ataq
V Hadhramawt 155,376 Al Mukalla
VI al-Mahrah 66,350 Al Ghaydah


There was little industrial output, or mineral wealth exploitation, in South Yemen, until the mid-1980s, following the discovery of significant petroleum reserves in the central regions near Shibam and Mukalla. The main sources of income were agriculture, mostly fruit, cereal crops, cattle and sheep, fishing and later, oil exports.

The national budget was 13.43 million dinars in 1976, and the gross national product was USD $150 million. The total national debt was $52.4 million.


The following airlines had operated from the PDRY:[3]

Statistics as of 1990

See also


  1. ^ "Five killed at secessionist protest in south Yemen". BBC News. 2009-11-25. 
  2. ^ Ismael, Tareq Y.; Jacqueline S. Ismael (1986). The People's Democratic Republic of Yemen: Politics, Economics, and Society; The Politics of Socialist Transformation. Lynne Rienner Pub. ISBN 0931477964. 
  3. ^ Airlines - South Yemen
  4. ^ Aden Airways - History
  5. ^ Yemen, CIA World Factbook

 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the CIA World Factbook.



Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary



Proper noun

Wikipedia has an article on:


South Yemen


South Yemen

  1. A country in the Middle East from 1967 until 1990, full name People's Democratic Republic of Yemen.


  • Japanese: 南イエメン ja(ja) (Minami Iemen)

See also


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