The island measures 5.63 kilometres (3.50 mi) long and 2.85 kilometres (1.77 mi) wide; it has a surface area of 13 square kilometres (5.0 sq mi) and rises to an altitude of 65 metres (213 ft). The distance from Perim Island to Djibouti is 20.3 kilometres (12.6 mi). There is a natural harbour on the southwestern coast. The fishing village of Mayyun is located at the back shore the southern bay.
The absence of fresh water on the island has always been one of the major difficulties impeding permanent settlement. Although there are occasional heavy rains, there may be stretches of eight months or more without rain; the long-term average rainfall (in 1821–1912) was about 60 mm per year. Vegetation is very scarce.
Afonso de Albuquerque, Portuguese governor of India, landed on Perim in 1513, but did not stay in the face of opposition from the Ottoman Empire, whose naval base at Suez dominated the Red Sea. France occupied Perim in 1738. In 1799, the island was briefly occupied by the British East India Company in preparation for the invasion of Egypt.
From 1869 onward, the island was used as a coaling station for ships using the Suez Canal. In 1916, Turkish forces attempted to seize the island but were pushed back. British occupation continued until 1967, when the island was handed over to the Democratic People's Republic of Yemen.
Yemen-Djibouti Bridge Project
A proposed bridge linking Yemen and Djibouti via Perim Island, the Bridge of the Horns, was announced in 2008 by a Dubai-based company, Al Noor Holding Investments. At around 28.5 kilometres (17.7 mi), it would be one of the longest bridges in the world.
- Perim Island: The Last Colonial Outpost
- Peter Pickering & Ingleby Jefferson (2012), Rainfall, section of Perim Island - The Last Colonial Outpost. Forum Gallery Aden. Accessed on 2012-07-06.
- Peter Pickering & Ingleby Jefferson (2012), Perim Lighthouse, section of Perim Island - The Last Colonial Outpost. Forum Gallery Aden. Accessed on 2012-07-06.
- Peter Pickering & Ingleby Jefferson (2012), Introduction, section of Perim Island - The Last Colonial Outpost. Accessed on 2012-07-06.
- The Times, London, 1799, 1857, 1858, 1963