Lower Yafa

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Sultanate of Lower Yafa
Arabic: يافع السفلىYāfi‘ as-Suflá
State of the Federation of South Arabia
ca. 1800–1967

Flag of Lower Yafa


Location of Lower Yafa
Map of the Federation of South Arabia
Capital Jaʿār
Government Sultanate
HRH Sultan Mahmud ibn Aidrus Al Afifi
Historical era 20th century
 •  Established ca. 1800
 •  Disestablished 1967

Lower Yafa, Lower Yafa'i (Arabic: يافع السفلىYāfi‘ as-Suflá), or the Sultanate of Lower Yafa (Arabic: سلطنة يافع السفلىSalṭanat Yāfi‘ as-Suflá), was a state in the British Aden Protectorate.

Lower Yafa was ruled by the Al Afifi dynasty and its capital was at Jaar. This former sultanate is now part of the Republic of Yemen.


Yafa and the Himyarite Empire[edit]

Yafa was the seat of the ancient Himyarite dynasty, which lasted from 110 BCE to 632 CE when it was fully integrated into the Rashidun Caliphate.

The Yafai tribe was traditionally divided into 10 branches or sheikhdoms of which 5 are in Lower Yafa and the other 5 are in Upper Yafa. These sheikhdoms are broken down to many smaller branches and extended families.

Modern times[edit]

A treaty of Protection was signed between the British and the Sultan of Lower Yafa in 1895.[1]

Lower Yafa included some fertile areas of Abyan belonging to the sheikhdoms of Al Saadi, Yaher, Kalad, Thi Nakheb, and Yazidi. Its capital was the former residence of the Banū Afīf Sultans.[2] There was a second capital in Al Qara where a picturesque palace, the mountain retreat of the Sultan, was located.[3]

The Lower Yafa Sultanate was a founding member of the Federation of Arab Emirates of the South in 1959 and its successor, the Federation of South Arabia, in 1963. Its last sultan, Mahmūd ibn Aidrūs Al Afīfi, was deposed and his state abolished in 1967 upon the founding of the People's Republic of South Yemen. Eventually South Yemen united with North Yemen in 1990 to form the Republic of Yemen.[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The British-Yemeni Society, Passage to Yafa’ (1891–1967)
  2. ^ R.J. Gavin, Aden Under British Rule: 1839-1967. London: C. Hurst & Company, 1975
  3. ^ Frank Edwards, The Gaysh: A History of the Aden Protectorate Levies 1927-61, and the Federal Regular Army of South Arabia 1961-67, Helion & Co Ltd, 2004, p. 16 ISBN 978-1874622963
  4. ^ Paul Dresch, A History of Modern Yemen. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2000

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 13°13′0″N 45°18′0″E / 13.21667°N 45.30000°E / 13.21667; 45.30000