North Yemen

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North Yemen
اليمن الشمالي (Arabic)
al-Yaman al-šamāliyy
Flag of the Mutawakkilite Kingdom of Yemen.svg
Flag of North Yemen.svg
السلام الوطني
(Royal Salute) (1918–1962)

Peace to the Land (1962–1978)
A Nation's Will (1978–1990)
Coat of arms of North Yemen:[note 1]
Coat of arms of the kingdom of Yemen (1956-1962).svg Coat of arms of Yemen Arab Republic (1974–1990).svg
Location of North Yemen on the Arabian Peninsula after shrinking in 1934.
Location of North Yemen
on the Arabian Peninsula after shrinking in 1934.
StatusMember of the United Nations (1947–1990)
Member of the United Arab States (1958–1961)
CapitalSanaa (1918–1948, 1962–1990)
Taiz (1948–1962)
Largest citySanaa
Official languagesArabic
Islam (official), predominantly ~55% Zaidi Shia (official 1918–1970) and ~45% Sunni
GovernmentMutawakkilite Kingdom of Yemen (1918–1970)
Yemen Arab Republic (1962–1990)
• Independence from the Ottoman Empire
October 30 1918
• Admitted to the United Nations
September 30, 1947
26 September 1962
December 1, 1970
May 22 1990
September 21, 2014
• Total
195,000 km2 (75,000 sq mi)
CurrencyNorth Yemeni rial
Time zoneUTC+3
Calling code967
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Yemen Vilayet
Today part ofYemen

North Yemen (Arabic: اليمن الشمالي, romanizedal-Yaman al-šamāliyya) was a country that existed in the Arabian Peninsula from 1918 to 1990 in the northern part of what is now Yemen. Its capital was Sanaa from 1918 to 1948 and again from 1962 to 1990. In 1962, the country fought a bloody civil war that ended with the abolition of the monarchy and the creation of a republic in 1970. North Yemen was admitted to the United Nations on September 30, 1947, and was one of the predecessor states of Yemen, alongside South Yemen, until its eventual unification. In 2014, the Houthi movement took control parts of North Yemen, which eventually escalated into a civil war.


Following the collapse of the Ottoman Empire in 1918 after the Great War, northern Yemen became an independent state as the Mutawakkilite Kingdom of Yemen. On September 27, 1962, revolutionaries inspired by the Arab nationalist ideology of United Arab Republic (Egyptian) President Gamal Abdel Nasser deposed the newly crowned King Muhammad al-Badr, took control of Sanaʽa, and established the Yemen Arab Republic (YAR). This coup d'état marked the beginning of the North Yemen Civil War that pitted YAR troops, assisted by the United Arab Republic (Egypt), against Badr's royalist forces, supported by Saudi Arabia and Jordan. Conflict continued periodically until 1967, when Egyptian troops were withdrawn to join the conflict of the Six-Day War. By 1968, following a failed royalist siege of Sanaʽa, most of the opposing leaders reached a reconciliation. Saudi Arabia recognized the Republic in 1970.

Unlike East and West Germany or North and South Korea, the YAR and its southern neighbor, the People's Democratic Republic of Yemen (PDRY), also known as South Yemen, remained relatively cordial, though relations were often strained. Following the Yemenite War of 1972, the two nations declared that unification would eventually occur. However, these plans were put on hold due to the Yemenite War of 1979, and war was stopped only 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.


North Yemen was a republic governed nominally under a constitution adopted in 1970, suspended in 1974, and largely restored between 1978 and the late 1980s. Although a succession of bodies carried out some of the functions of a legislature, they exercised little real power until the late 1980s. During that period, policy making remained in the hands of a relatively progressive military elite that worked closely with a variety of civilians that included a large and growing group of technocrats, the major tribal leaders, and other traditional conservative notables. Although political parties were formally banned, several parties did exist and operated with varying degrees of influence during and between elections.


In May 1988, the YAR and PDRY governments came to an understanding that considerably reduced tensions. They agreed 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 a national identification card.

Official Yemeni unification took place on May 22, 1990, with a planned, 30-month process, scheduled for completion in November 1992. The first stamp bearing the inscription "Yemen Republic" was issued in October 1990.[3] While government ministries proceeded to merge, both currencies remained valid until June 11, 1996. A civil war in 1994 delayed the completion of the final merger.

Reviving North Yemen[edit]

After unification, the Houthi movement began a rebellion against President Saleh's regime that escalated into a violent insurgency in parts of the former North Yemen. Ultimately, it led to a takeover in 2014[4] which was led by a eventual civil war and the subsequent intervention by Saudi Arabia.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The coat of arms on the right was used by the Yemen Arab Republic (1970–1990); the version on the left was used by the Kingdom of Yemen (1918–1970).


  1. ^ "Constitution of the Yemen Arab Republic, 1970". Retrieved February 8, 2018.
  2. ^ Bühler, Konrad G. (February 8, 2001). State Succession and Membership in International Organizations. ISBN 9041115536. Retrieved February 13, 2018.
  3. ^ Scott (2008) "Yemen," Scott 2009 Standard Postage Stamp Catalogue Volume 6 (165th edition) Scott Publishing Co., Sidney, Ohio, page 1081. ISBN 978-0-89487-422-2
  4. ^ Mona El-naggar (2015). "Shifting Alliances Play Out Behind Closed Doors in Yemen". New York Times. Retrieved February 15, 2015.
  5. ^ "Yemeni leader Hadi leaves country as Saudi Arabia keeps up air strikes". Reuters. March 26, 2015.

Coordinates: 15°21′17″N 44°12′24″E / 15.35472°N 44.20667°E / 15.35472; 44.20667