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CULTURAL STUDIES 12

HOST COUNTRY OUTCOME

"YEMEN"


  1. TSW show the location of Yemen and the countries bordering it on the map.




  1. TSW construct a cross-section of Yemen showing main cities, mountains, and other geographic features.




  1. TSW read and discuss the articles "Queen of the South" and "Queen Arwa of Jibla."



  1. TSW Write an essay or make a timeline highlighting the major historical events of Yemen.




  1. TSW list the main industries and resources of Yemen.




  1. TSW write an essay on problems and hopes for Yemen's future.




  1. TSW participate in a field trip to Marib, Jibla, or another historical site in Yemen. Alternatively the student may visit the National Museum in Sana'a and summarize what he learns there about Yemeni history.

MYSTERIOUS QUEEN OF THE SOUTH

by

Brenda S. Cox


Almost 3,000 years ago--so long ago that no-one is sure of her name or homeland--a mysterious queen ruled Arabia.

The people of Yemen call her Bilqis (say it, "Bill-keece") and claim she ruled the Sabaeans, transforming the desert into "a land of two gardens." Ethiopians call her Makeda, ruler of Ethiopia and Yemen, and maintain that all their kings descended from her and King Solomon. Eritreans name her Eteye Azéb, and say Solomon healed her of a donkey's foot!



SPICES AND JEWELS

The earliest historical account of this queen is in the Bible, in the books of I Kings and II Chronicles. The Bible calls her the Queen of Sheba or the Queen of the South. It says, "Now when the Queen of Sheba heard about the fame of Solomon concerning the name of the Lord, she came to test him with difficult questions. So she came to Jerusalem with a very large retinue, with camels carrying spices and very much gold and precious stones. When she came to Solomon, she spoke with him about all that was in her heart. And Solomon answered all her questions; nothing was hidden from the king which he did not explain to her. . . Never again did such abundance of spices come in as that which the queen of Sheba gave King Solomon. . .And King Solomon gave to the queen of Sheba all her desire which she requested, besides what he gave her according to his royal bounty. Then she turned and went to her own land together with her servants." (I Kings 10:1-3, 10b, 13)

This rich, powerful woman had been pondering the secrets of life, and went to Solomon to learn wisdom. She also probably made a trade agreement.

Spices and silks, gold and precious stones from India, the Far East, and Africa came to southern Arabia, brought by boat to the ports of Aden and Qana (near modern-day Bir Ali). Frankincense and myrrh, resins collected from special trees growing only in southern Arabia and Somalia, were added to these goods. Camel caravans carried this rich merchandise across the desert to Jerusalem, Egypt, and other markets. Tribes and states along the caravan routes, like the Sabaeans, grew rich by taxing these caravans.

King Solomon controlled part of this trade, as his merchant ships sailed from the port of Ezion-Geber, near Aqaba, to trade with Somalia and southern Arabia. The Queen of Sheba (Sheba is another way to write Saba, the name of the Sabaean kingdom) was probably agreeing with Solomon to send him the goods he wanted (such as frankincense and myrrh, used in large quantities in the temple in Jerusalem). In exchange, he sent her goods produced by his country, perhaps wheat, olive oil, or other foods. They may have agreed to secure the trade routes passing through both their countries.

THE TALKING BIRD

The Qur'an, the holy book of Islam, tells a more detailed story. It says the little hoopoe bird told Solomon about a queen who ruled from a mighty throne. Her people worshipped the sun instead of God. Solomon sent the hoopoe with a letter commanding the queen to visit him. She consulted her noblemen, setting a pattern of rulers listening to their people's advice. The queen sent an expensive gift to Solomon, as a test to see if he would accept it. He sent it back, saying he had much more than she did. Under threat of invasion she went to visit Solomon. She was amazed to find her throne there, which one of the jinn had stolen from her country. Then she "surrendered to God."

During her visit, the queen entered a hall whose floor was made of glass, which looked like water. She lifted her dress and bared her legs, shaming herself. Later storytellers add that Solomon was disgusted by the queen's hairy legs. The jinn told him how to make a lime paste that removes hair. That problem solved, Solomon married the queen.

YEMENI QUEEN BILQIS

Neither the Bible nor the Qur'an tells the Queen's name or homeland. According to Yemeni tradition, she was Queen Bilqis who ruled in Ma'rib, at the edge of the Arabian desert. A few ancient ruins there bear names like "The Throne of Bilqis" and "The Temple of Bilqis." However archaeologists believe that these buildings, as well as the impressive dam and irrigation system which once provided water for the area, were erected hundreds of years after the Queen of Sheba's time. They have found many writings in the ancient South Arabian script. But none refer to the great queen, or even go back farther than about 800 B.C. (Some experts say not even that far.) The Queen of Sheba lived during about 950 B.C., when Solomon was ruling Israel. Earlier inscriptions and ruins may remain to be found in Yemen. Some scholars, though, believe the Sabaeans moved down to Yemen about 650 B.C. In the Queen of Sheba's time they may have lived farther north, perhaps in what is now Saudi Arabia or Syria. So it is not certain, though it is possible, that the Queen of Sheba came from Yemen.

Why do the Arabs call her Bilqis? Almost 1300 years later, about 300 A.D., there was a Sabaean princess or queen named Bilqis. Perhaps she was confused with the earlier queen; or perhaps the later Bilqia was named after the queen! Another possibile explanation is that Arab scholars borrowed the Greek name for the queen, Balakiis. That means a woman whose husband has other wives. It was an appropriate name; Solomon had seven hundred other wives!

ETHIOPIAN QUEEN MAKEDA AND THE LOST ARK

Ethiopian legend tells a different story. Ethiopians say that Solomon tricked the Queen, whom they call Makeda, into marrying him. The king fed her a very spicy meal. He put the only pitcher of water in his room, so that she came to him at night. After dreaming that she would bear him a son, he gave her a ring. When Makeda and Solomon's son, Menelik, was 21 years old, he brought the ring to Solomon in Jerusalem. Solomon wanted to raise the boy there, but jealous noblemen would not allow it. Solomon sent Menelek with the eldest sons of his noblemen to establish a kingdom in Ethiopia. Before leaving for Ethiopia, Menelik and his friends stole the holy Ark of the Covenant from the temple in Jerusalem.

Some Ethiopians claim they still have the Ark, although only one priest, who spends his lifetime guarding it, is ever allowed to see it. All the Ethiopian kings, down to the last emperor, Haile Selasie, trace their ancestors to Menelik, the son of Solomon and the Queen of Sheba. Ethiopia and Yemen are only separated by a narrow strait of water, and it is possible that they were once one country, ruled by the Queen of Sheba.

ETEYE AZEB AND THE DRAGON

The Eritreans, who live in northern Ethiopia, have a more exciting story. They say Eteye Azéb (which means "Queen of the South") was to be sacrificed to a dragon. When seven saints appeared and killed the dragon, a few drops of its blood landed on the girl's foot. Her foot became a donkey's hoof. She went to King Solomon. He healed her foot (probably after he saw it at the glass pool!) and married her. Other legends say Makeda was to be sacrificed to a snake. A stranger came, rescued her, and made her queen.

Some Eritreans, Ethiopians, and south Arabians did worship snakes in ancient times, as a symbol of the rivers and floods that sometimes caused great destruction. It is also true that the Sabaeans of south Arabia once worshipped the sun and moon, among many other gods, as Bilqis was supposed to have done.

WHO WAS SHE?

Throughout history the Queen of Sheba has caught people's imaginations. Poets from many countries, including English poets from Shakespeare to Yeats, have written poems and ballads to her. Artists of many cultures have painted her momentous meeting with Solomon. Who was this queen?

Certainly she was a powerful woman ruler, probably in Arabia. Assyrian inscriptions in the eight century B.C. mention "queens of the Arabs" being defeated in battle and bringing tribute. So it is not unlikely that there was an Arab queen 200 years before that. She must have been a rich woman, who loved wisdom, and whose people traded with King Solomon.

Did she marry King Solomon and have his child? Who were her parents? Some legends say her mother was of the jinn, a magical being! Was she from Yemen, Saudi Arabia, or Ethiopia? Perhaps archaeology will one day answer these mysteries. But for today, just as her Yemeni daughters are covered in black, the Queen of Sheba remains veiled in the mists of history.

© 1992 Brenda S. Cox

Notes:


Eritrea: an area of northern Ethiopia (in northeast Africa) which has recently achieved its independence.

Jinn: Supernatural beings, believed by Muslims to be either good or evil; called genies in the west.


SUGGESTIONS FOR CLASS DISCUSSION QUESTIONS ON "QUEEN OF THE SOUTH"
Does your country have any legends about the queen of Sheba?

Legends often are based on some historical truth. What do you think is true, and what do you think is fiction, in the stories about the Queen of Sheba told in Yemen? In Ethiopia? In Eritrea?

How do you think these stories started?

Do you think the Queen of Sheba was a real person? Why or why not? (This may come down to the student's faith in the Bible or the Qur'an, or they may believe that there must be some historical occurrence behind so many stories.)

Where do you think the Queen of Sheba came from?

How did the Sabaean, Minaean, and other early empires in Yemen become rich? What would you have wanted to buy from them: frankincense and myrrh from Arabia and Somalia; ostrich feathers or ivory from Africa; spices, precious stones, sandalwood, or fabric from India; silk from China?

Why is the Queen of Sheba important in Yemeni history? (She shows us the wealth of the early trade routes through Yemen; she gives Yemen an early connection with three major world religions, being in the Jewish, Christian, and Muslim scriptures)

Many Yemeni businesses, like the Taj Sheba hotel, are named Saba or Sheba after the Queen of Sheba. Many Yemeni girls are also named Bilqis after this queen. What does that show you about how Yemenis feel about their traditional connection with the Queen of Sheba?

QUEEN ARWA OF JIBLA

by

Brenda S. Cox


Deep in the Yemeni mountains, a small town clings to the side of a mountain. A woman covered in black, carrying a jar of water on her head, steps carefully down its narrow streets. She stops to point out a ruined building to some visitors. Five stories high and covering almost a block, with ornate carving over the windows, the building stands out among the narrow houses of the town. The woman shakes her head over the crumbling plant-covered walls and tumbled archways.

"That was our Queen Arwa's palace," she says proudly. "But there is no one who will pay to keep it up now. It's falling down," she adds sadly. She goes on her way, carrying water up steep paths to her home.

A thousand years ago, during the time of knights and castles in Europe, women were already carrying water to their homes in this Arab country. But the women of one family, at least, were considered so far above ordinary men that they did not have to veil their faces.

This family was the ruling family of Yemen, the Sulayhis. King Ali and Queen Asma were beloved and respected by most Yemenis. King Ali carefully supervised his governors around the country. He made sure that they were honest and just, during a time when corruption was the rule in other countries. He was a deeply religious man, but did not force any of his subjects to believe as he did.

When Arwa's father died in an accident, her relative Queen Asma took her in and raised her in the royal household. The Sulayhi family educated their daughters just as they did their sons.

When it came time for crown prince Mukarram to marry, Queen Asma's first choice was Arwa. Arwa was the ideal beauty of the time: white-skinned, pink-cheeked, tall, clear-voiced, and tending to plumpness! An intelligent woman and a skillful writer, she knew the "news, poems, history, and chronicles of the Arabs." She even had the wisdom to "read between the lines and distinguish between the literal and the true meaning."

King Ali gave Arwa a whole city, the port of Aden, as her dowry* when she was married at age 18. She soon had children, and devoted herself for a few years to her sons Ali and Muhammad and her daughters Fatima and Um Hamdaan.

But Arwa, a woman who loved peace, had been born into a bloody time of history. The tribes of Yemen were constantly fighting each other. Two rival caliphs** were ruling the Muslim world. Arwa's family followed the Fatimid*** caliph, who wasn't popular in Yemen.

Arwa's father-in-law, King Ali, had won the people's trust by leading the Hajj, the religious pilgrimage to Mecca, each year. In 1067 A.D., as he traveled north, his caravan was set upon by his enemies and he was murdered. His beloved queen Asma was taken captive. She was made to live in an apartment where, looking out her window, she could see her husband's head on display.

Her son Mukarram, after putting down rebellions around the country, finally rescued her. Asma's captor's wife then had to live where she could see her own husband's head.

Mukarram fell ill during the campaign to rescue his mother, and became paralyzed. Depressed, he withdrew from people. After his mother died he gave Arwa authority over the kingdom.

One of Arwa's first decisions was to move the capital. King Ali had ruled from Sana'a, the largest and most ancient city of Yemen. Yemenis still tell the story of how Arwa asked her husband to call together the people of Sana'a in the public square, and look down and tell her what he saw.

"Flashing swords and the glint of spears everywhere," he said.

Then they traveled south for days through winding mountain passes to the little village of Jibla. Here they again called the people together.

"What do you see?" Arwa asked her husband.

"Men leading sheep, and carrying jars of oil and honey!" he answered.

"Life is better among industrious people such as these," Arwa said.

Thus the capital of Yemen moved to Jibla, a warm, green, and fertile part of the country. There Arwa built her castle, "The House of Glory."

Mukarram eventually died from his illness, and Queen Arwa was acknowledged by the Caliph and the people as ruler of Yemen. She was considered regent, ruling for her son Ali. Sadly, both her sons died as children. The religious leadership of the country passed to a distant cousin, Sultan Saba.

Wanting to take charge, Saba sent a message to Arwa asking for her hand in marriage. When she refused, he brought an army to besiege her city until she should agree. Her wise uncle persuaded him that, rather than start a civil war, he should appeal to the Caliph for a decision.

Saba's minister convinced the Caliph that Arwa really wanted to marry Saba. The caliph sent her a message ordering her to marry Saba. Now Arwa had a problem. She was a pious woman, who would not disobey her religious leader. But Saba was a short, ugly man. It was said of him, "even on horseback he didn't appear tall." She in any case knew she could rule better than he could. So she resorted to a trick.

She demanded a large dowry from Saba, who willingly paid it. Then his followers and army came and encamped near Jibla. For a month they waited before the closed castle gates. Every day Arwa sent sumptuous feasts to Saba and his followers, using the money he had paid her. Finally she sent a message to him, saying the dowry had been spent. Obviously he was not able to support her for any length of time in her royal lifestyle!

Saba saw that the people continued to accept her as their ruler, and not him as their king. He begged her, for the sake of his pride, to at least pretend to marry him. So she allowed him to come to the palace for one night. She sent a slave girl, who looked like her, to stand in his room all night, and leave in the morning. Humbly, Saba left the next day, and remained her faithful follower, from his fort in a distant part of the country, until he died.

Queen Arwa was a wise and good ruler who loved her people. She worked hard and spent much money to improve people's lives. She built markets and schools. She encouraged poets and architects. There are still remains near Jibla of roads that she built, and an aqueduct that brought water down from the top of the mountains to the villages. It is said she spent a whole year's income to improve the terraces, necessary for farming in the mountains, and build new ones. She continued King Ali's practices of making sure her governors were honest and just, and allowing religious freedom.

Unfortunately fighting between the tribes continued during her reign. She continually tried to work out compromises and make peace using diplomacy and wit rather than force. When the men of Sana'a rebelled, she lost half her kingdom, but kept on ruling the south from Jibla.

Queen Arwa died in about 1138 A.D. at age 92,. She had ruled for forty years. She was the last of her line, and with her death her family ended their rule in Yemen.

Arwa had many names. She was "AlSayyida alHurra Arwa bint Ahmad alSulayhi," "The Free Lady Arwa daughter of Ahmad Sulayhi." She was also called "Little Bilqis" after Bilqis the Queen of Sheba who ruled many years before she did. The Caliph called her "Lady over the Kings of Yemen" and "Guardian of the Prince of the Faithful."

The people of Jibla still worship in a beautiful mosque, with a wide courtyard and two minarets. Queen Arwa built it almost a thousand years ago. They say their prayers on red carpets in a room full of pillars. In one corner stands a small enclosure with a carved wooden door. Black-veiled women and white-robed men still open that door and throw sprigs of sweet herbs onto the tomb of their beloved Queen Arwa.


NOTES:

*Dowry: Money paid when a person gets married. In the Middle East, the dowry is paid by the groom's family to the bride and her family.

**Caliph: One of a series of religious leaders who led Muslims in Muhammad's place after Muhammad, who started Islam, died.

***Fatimid: A family who ruled as Caliphs in the tenth and eleventh century. They claimed to be descendants of Fatima, the daughter of Muhammad. They believed the Qur'an had deep, secret meanings. The Abbasid family were rival caliphs who also ruled parts of the Middle East at the same time. They eventually conquered the Fatimids.


© 1992 Brenda S. Cox

SUGGESTED CLASS DISCUSSION QUESTIONS FOR "QUEEN ARWA OF JIBLA":

Has anyone in the class visited Jibla and seen Queen Arwa's castle and mosque? What did you think of it?

How were the Fatimids, also called Isma'iilis, different from the more orthodox Muslims of their time (who followed the Abbasid caliphs)? (They disagreed on the series of caliphs who were the Muslim leaders, and they believed that the Qur'an had deep, secret meanings.)

Why did the Yemeni people love Queen Arwa? Why did they not want to accept a king instead of Queen Arwa?

Why do Yemenis still love her?

In what ways was Queen Arwa unusual as an Arab woman of her time? (educated, unveiled, powerful)

How was she different from Yemeni women today? (Note that Yemeni women are gradually becoming more educated and are gaining a small measure of political power.)

There were many rulers of Yemen during the Middle Ages, who fought each other and controlled different areas at different times. Why do you think Queen Arwa is remembered when so many of these other rulers have been forgotten?

Why did people compare Queen Arwa with Queen "Bilqis," the Queen of Sheba?

What do you think makes a ruler a good ruler?

DATA FOR TIMELINE ON YEMENI HISTORY

NOTES FOR THE TEACHER:

The following timeline data has been put together from a variety of sources. A long version, with explanatory information, and a brief version, which may be more appropriate to hand out to students, are included. You may choose how much or how little of this information you wish to use. Finally there is a list of other dates in world history which you may want to include for reference; alternatively you may want to substitute dates referring to other events the class is studying. Doing a class timeline is not required for this outcome, but is suggested as a good way for students with different learning styles to assimilate the information.


SUGGESTIONS FOR ILLUSTRATIONS ON TIMELINES:

Students could fill in small outline maps of united Yemen, labeling or highlighting areas ruled by each leader or civilization.

Stookey's book Yemen: the Politics of the Yemen Arab Republic has a good map of the trade routes of ancient Yemen. Other resources probably contain similar maps.

Postcards, photographs, or drawings of:

Marib or nearby ruins, for the ancient civilizations of Yemen

A cross or church for the introduction of Christianity

Fire for the persecution of Abu Nawas

The AlJanad mosque near Taiz (supposedly the oldest mosque in Yemen, built during the time of Mohammad) or another mosque, for the introduction of Islam

Jibla, especially the Grand Mosque or the Palace, for the reign of the Sulayhis.

One of the Imams' palaces, or one of the imams, for their rule.

Photos of Aden, ships, a church, or other remaining symbols of the British, for the British occupation of Aden

Tahriir Square, a school, the president, Saba'iin parade ground or other modern structure to symbolize the Revolution and Independence.

A pair of pictures of Sana'a and Aden, or any other northern and southern cities, could symbolize unity. Or photos of north Yemeni and south Yemeni people.

TIMELINE DATES AND SUMMARY OF YEMENI HISTORY:

3rd mil. B.C. Earliest water conservation and control measures in the area around Marib

10th c. BC Queen of Sheba may have ruled Sabaeans in Yemen

10th c. BC-6th c. AD Era of the great pre-islamic empires: the Sabaean (Saba), Minaean (Ma'iin), Qataban, Hadhramawt

6th c. BC Great dam at Ma'rib built

6th c. BC-2d C. AD Highpoint of Yemeni power: control of trade in frankincense, myrrh, and imports from Africa, India, and China desired by Mediterranean states

110 BC Himyarite kingdom arises

24 BC Roman legions under Aelius Gallus attempt to conquer Yemen, but are defeated.

1st c. AD first Jewish immigrants to Yemen; St. Bartholomew allegedly visits Yemen; Roman ships begin sailing directly to India, bypassing Yemen.

2d c. AD First Christians in Yemen (?)

356 AD Constantine II sends mission to Himyarites; Christian churches established at Zafar, Aden

490 AD Dhu Nawas seizes Himyarite throne, proclaims himself Jewish

Fiercely persecutes Christians

523 Massacre of 20,000 Christians at Najran by the Jewish king, Dhu Nuwas

525 Abyssinian (Ethiopian) Christians retaliate by attacking and defeating Dhu Nuwas, and occupying Yemen. Cathedral built in Sanaa.

mid-6th century AD* Abyssinian commander Abraha in Yemen defeated when he tries to attack Mecca, supposedly using elephants.

570's Great dam at Ma'rib ruptures. Himyarites invited Persian help to eject Abyssinians, ended up with a Persian ruler. 50 years of Persian rule.

622 Muhammad's hijra; year one of the Muslim calendar

628 Last Persian governor of Yemen, Badhan, converts to Islam

631 AD Ali ibn Abu Talib, Mohammad's son-in-law, comes to Yemen. Mass conversions of Yemeni tribes to Islam.

8th c. Widespread unrest; various groups battle for control of Yemen

822 AD Governor Muhammad ibn Ziyad declares himself independent from Baghdad caliphate. Builds Zabid as the Banu Ziyad capital.

897 AD Al-Hadi ila'l-Haqq invited in to mediate tribal disputes in Sa'da; becomes first Zaydi Imam of Yemen. He and his descendants continue to control northern mountain area for centuries.

9-12th c. Various dynasties in the Tihama and highlands: Ziyadids, Yu'firids, Sulayhids, Mahdids, etc.

1037-1138 Fatimid family unites Yemen for a time: Ali al-Sulayhi, Al-Mukarram, and Sayyida Arwa bint Ahmad. (Fatimids, or Isma'iilis, disagreed with mainstream Islam about the identity of the eighth imam and his successors; also believed in secret, mysterious meanings of the Qur'an)

1173-1228 or 9 Representatives of Ayyubids (caliphs in Egypt) control Yemen. Aden center of trade; first walls of Aden built.

1228 or 9-1454 Rasulid dynasty: Nur-al-Din Umar ibn al-Rasul takes independent control of Yemen while the Ayyubid leaders quarell among themselves; he and his descendants, the Rasulid dynasty, control Yemen with prosperity, flamboyance, and violence.

1323 Zaydis take Sana'a.

1454-1517 Tahirids control Yemen

Early 14th -15th c. Traditional date for discovery of coffee as a beverage by the Shadhili Sufis of southern Arabia; spread of coffee drinking

1504 First Portuguese ships in the Red Sea; beginning of western influence in Yemen

1505 Banu Tahir of Lahej-Abyan area capture Sana'a.

1507 Portuguese occupy Socotra

1513 Portuguese attack Aden and are defeated

1517 Qansuh al-Ghawri, last Mamluk sultan, takes Yemen, with cooperation of Zaydis

1538 Ottoman Empire (Turkey) enters Red Sea; takes Yemeni Tihama

1548 Turks capture Sanaa

1600's and 1700's English, Dutch, and French traders coming to Yemen to buy coffee; trade center moves from Aden to Mokha.

1598-1636 Zaydi Imams led by Qasim "the Great" ibn Muhammad, then al-Muayyad Muhammad, revolt against Ottoman Turks.

1636 Ottomans leave Yemen to Imam Al-Muayyad

1728 Governor of Lahej proclaims himself independent Sultan, controlling Lahej and Aden.

Early 19th c. Yemen conquered by the Wahhabis and then the Egyptians and Turks:

about 1750-1812 Wahhabis and ibn-Saud conquer Saudi Arabia. Also raid the Tihamah.

1803 First American ships arrive at Mocha to obtain coffee

1818 Ottoman Sultan recaptures Saudi, returns Tihamah to Imam in return for annual tribute.

1833-1840 Muhammad Ali Pasha of Egypt takes Mocha and Taiz

(Here you may separate timeline into two streams, perhaps writing in red for North Yemen and blue for South Yemen)



1838-9 British take Aden. British buy Aden from the Sultan of Lahej, then, encountering resistance, take it by force. At that time Aden was about 90 run-down buildings, with a population of 600 people. Commander Haines develops it as Political Agent. A series of "Residents," sent by the British government in Bombay, govern Aden.

1848/1849 Ottoman Empire recovers the Yemeni Tihama

1869 Suez Canal opens

1872 Ottomans conquer the Yemeni highlands (incl. Sanaa)

1872-1919 Ottoman Turks occupy North Yemen

1873 Nine tribes outside of Yemen listed as protected by Britain; beginning of the "Protectorate" of Aden.

1891-1913 Fighting between the Imam (Muhammad, then Yahya from 1904) and the Turks for control of North Yemen. 1913 Treaty left Imam in charge with Turkish help. During Turkish occupation Turks started schools, hospital, pharmacy, postal services, newspaper.

1914-1918 World War I Some fighting between British and Turks in Yemen. North Yemen only Arab state to side with Ottoman Empire

1918- 1920 British occupy Hodeidah

1918 Ottoman forces leave; de facto independence of North Yemen under Imam Yahya ibn Muhammad

1919-1959 British controlling Aden. Education greatly expanded. Adeni culture becomes quite different from North Yemeni culture as boys and girls go to school, get married later, live independently from parents. Medical facilities and airport built. Aden Broadcasting Service created. Large amount of trade through Aden free port. Surrounding areas, Protectorate, loosely bound to Aden.

1919-1948 Imam Yahya ruling North Yemen. All political and religious power in his hands. Very accessible to his people. Held hostages in Sanaa from various tribes so the tribes would behave. Kept his country as isolated from foreign influence as possible.

1934 Yemen loses Asir Province to Saudi Arabia after brief war

1939-1945 World War II: North Yemen declares neutrality

1946 Yemen joins Arab League and the United Nations

1948 Imam Yahya assassinated; son Ahmad becomes imam and king, governing from Taiz, following his father's ways but allowing slightly more development and foreign influence.

1949-1950 Majority of North Yemen's Jews leave for new state of Israel

1959 Treaty signed setting up Federation of South Arabia, under British protection, "advice," and aid

1962, Sept. 19 Imam Ahmad dies; his son Muhammad al-Badr becomes imam and king

1962, Sept. 26 Deposition of the imam; declaration of a republic

1962-1970 Civil war: "republicans" supported by Egypt vs. "royalists" (Supporters of the imamate) supported by Saudi Arabia

1963 Aden colony merged with Federation of South Arabia (against the wishes of some Adeni leaders). Aden prosperous, subsidized by British. Good educational and medical facilities set up.

Oct. 14, 1963 Beginning of struggle for independence in South Yemen. Terrorism increases.

Nov.1967 Independence of southern Arabia from Great Britain; Britain completes withdrawal of troops.

June, 1967 Six Days' War



1967 Egyptian troops withdraw from North Yemen

Dec. 1, 1967 - Feb. 8 1968 "The Seventy Days": Sana'a surrounded and bombarded by Royalists; ends with Republican victory.

1968 People's Republic of Southern Yemen established; socialist government; first goal is unity of southern Yemen

1970 South Yemen becomes People's Democratic Republic of Yemen (PDRY) with socialist constitution; in North Yemen compromise ends civil war and creates a government of both republicans and royalists; constitution based on Islamic law.

1972 Border conflict between YAR and PDRY; first unity agreement signed; not implemented.



1968-1980's South Yemen: increasing state control, fixed prices, import duties, bribery forbidden, nationalization of houses and business, stress on education and women's equality, rigid censorship, dependence on Russian aid. Advances in health care, communications, agriculture.

North Yemen: Tribal power and influence of traditional leaders maintained. Education and medical facilities expanded, University opened in 1970. Improvements in transportation, communication, industry. Electricity and water provided to some rural areas. Conflicts with northern tribes and NDF opposition movement.

1977 Assassination of President Ibrahim al-Hamdi

1978 Assassination of President Ahmad al-Ghashmi, al-Hamdi's successor; Ali Abdullah Salih becomes president

1979 Border conflict between YAR and PDRY



Jan. 13-24, 1986 Civil war in Aden, change of government. (10,000 people said to have died in the conflict.)

1985 Discovery of oil in Ma'rib region

late 1980's PDRY becomes less communist, begins returning nationalized properties.

1990, May 22 YAR and PDRY unite in the Republic of Yemen

* Inscriptions indicate this occurred between 540 and 550 AD; Arab tradition places it at 570 AD.
BRIEF TIMELINE OF YEMEN HISTORY:

10th c. BC Queen of Sheba

10th c. BC-6th c. AD Sabaean (Saba), Minaean (Ma'iin), Qataban, Hadhramawt, Himyarite Empires control trade through Yemen

6th c. BC Great dam at Ma'rib built

24 BC Roman legions attempt to conquer Yemen, are defeated.

356 AD Christian churches established at Zafar, Aden

490 AD Dhu Nawas seizes Himyarite throne, proclaims himself Jewish

Fiercely persecutes and massacres Christians

525 Abyssinian (Ethiopian) Christians defeat Dhu Nuwas, occupy Yemen. mid-6th century AD Abyssinian commander Abraha in Yemen defeated when he tries to attack Mecca, supposedly using elephants.

570's Great dam at Ma'rib ruptures. 50 years of Persian rule begins.

622 Muhammad's hijra; year one of the Muslim calendar

628 Last Persian governor of Yemen, Badhan, converts to Islam

631 Ali ibn Abu Talib, Mohammad's son-in-law, comes to Yemen. Mass conversions to Islam.

8th c. Widespread unrest; various groups battle for control of Yemen

897 AD Al-Hadi ila'l-Haqq invited to Sa'da; first Zaydi Imam of Yemen.

9-12th c. Dynasties in Tihama and highlands: Ziyadids, Yu'firids, Sulayhids, Mahdids, etc.

1037-1138 Sulayhids, incl. Queen Arwa, unite Yemen

1173-1228 Ayyubids control Yemen. Aden center of trade.

1228-1454 Rasulid dynasty: Nur-al-Din Umar ibn al-Rasul takes independent control of Yemen.

1500's Turks take parts of Yemen

1598-1636 Zaydi Imams revolt against Ottoman Turks, force them out.

1600's and 1700's English, Dutch, and French traders buy coffee; trade center moves from Aden to Mokha.

Early 19th c. Yemen conquered by Wahhabis, then Egyptians, then Turks

(Here you may separate timeline into two streams, perhaps writing in red for North Yemen and blue for South Yemen)



1872-1919 Ottoman Turks occupy North Yemen

1838-9 British take Aden.

1873 Beginning of the "Protectorate" of Aden.

1891-1913 Fighting between the Imam (Muhammad, then Yahya from 1904) and the Turks for control of North Yemen.

1914-1918 World War I



1918 Ottoman forces leave; independence of North Yemen under Imam Yahya ibn Muhammad

1939-1945 World War II



1948 Imam Yahya assassinated; son Ahmad becomes imam and king

1949-1950 Majority of North Yemen's Jews leave for new state of Israel

1959 Treaty signed setting up Federation of South Arabia, under British protection, "advice," and aid

1962, Sept. 19 Imam Ahmad dies; his son Muhammad al-Badr becomes imam and king

1962, Sept. 26 Deposition of the imam; declaration of a republic

1962-1970 Civil war: "republicans" vs. "royalists" (Supporters of imam)

1963 Aden colony merged with Federation of South Arabia

Oct. 14, 1963 Beginning of struggle for independence in South Yemen. Terrorism increases.

Nov.1967 Independence of South Yemen from Great Britain

June, 1967 Six Days' War leads to Egyptian troops withdrawing from North Yemen

Dec. 1, 1967 - Feb. 8 1968 "The Seventy Days": Sana'a surrounded and bombarded by Royalists; ends with Republican victory.

1968 People's Republic of Southern Yemen established; socialist government

1970 South Yemen becomes People's Democratic Republic of Yemen (PDRY) with socialist constitution; in North Yemen compromise ends civil war and creates a government of both republicans and royalists; constitution based on Islamic law.

1972 Border conflict between YAR and PDRY; first unity agreement signed; not implemented.



1978 Ali Abdullah Salih becomes president

1979 Border conflict between YAR and PDRY



Jan. 13-24, 1986 Civil war in Aden, change of government.

1985 Discovery of oil in Ma'rib region

May 22,1990 YAR and PDRY unite in the Republic of Yemen


REFERENCE DATES (EVENTS IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD:

(B.C. dates are approximate)

1000-960 B.C. Reign of King David in Israel

960-925 B.C. Reign of King Solomon in Israel

776 B.C. First recorded Olympic Games in Greece

600 B.C. Work begins on the first Suez Canal

600 B.C. Aesop's fables become famous

500-338 B.C. Classical age in Greece

300 B.C.-285 A.D. Roman empire rules much of western world

4 B.C. -30 A.D. Life of Jesus Christ

570-632 A.D. Life of Mohammad

660-750 A.D. Omayyad Caliphs rule Muslim Arab empire

750 A.D. Abbasid Caliphs, claiming descent from Mohammad's uncle Abbas, kill the Omayyads and build a new capital at Baghdad in 762.

800 A.D. and following: Feudalism in Europe

1000 A.D. Leif Ericsson lands in North America

1066 William of Normandy invades and conquers England

1096-1270 Crusades: Christian Europeans try to take Jerusalem from Muslim rulers

1000-1400 A.D. Age of castles and monasteries in Europe

1285-1923 Ottoman empire: Turkish Muslims and their king, Osman I, and his successors, conquer much of the Meditteranean and the Middle East.

1337-1453 Hundred Years' War between England and France over disputed territory

1492 Columbus arrives in America

1509-1547 Henry VIII rules England, breaks with Catholic Church to start Church of England

1519 Magellan starts on expedition around the world

1642-1727 Isaac Newton's life; develops law of gravity

1776-1781 American Revolution begins

1792-1815 Napoleon conquers much of Europe and Egypt

1837-1901 Queen Victoria reigns over England; Britain controls about a quarter of the world's population, including India.

1861-1865 American Civil War

1908 Henry Ford makes first Model "T" car

1923 Turkey becomes a republic under Ataturk

1924 Stalin takes over USSR

1926 Ibn Saud becomes King of Saudi Arabia

1948 Beginning of "state of Israel"

1949 Fighting between Arabs and Israelis

1947 India becomes independent of Britain; separates into India and Pakistan

1963 John F. Kennedy assassinated in USA

1964-1975 Vietnam War

1969 First men land on moon

1973 War between Arabs and Israelis

1981 First space shuttle orbits earth

1990 USSR begins to disintegrate

YEMEN TIMELINE COMPILED MOSTLY FROM:

Bidwell, Robin. The Two Yemens. Essex: Longman, 1983.

Stookey, Robert W. Yemen: The Politics of the Yemen Arab Republic. Boulder: Westview Press, 1978.

Vogel, Dieter, ed. Insight Guides: Yemen. Singapore: APA Publications, 1992.

Wenner, Manfred W. The Yemen Arab Republic: Development and Change in an Ancient Land. Boulder: Westview Press, 1991.


WORLD TIMELINE DATA COMPILED FROM:

Grun, Bernard. The Timetables of History. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1991.

Kondeatis, Christos. The Junior Wall Chart of History. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1990.

FIELD TRIP SUGGESTIONS:

If you decide to take the class to Jibla, you will want to find a Yemeni guide if you can. The people at the Hospital may be able to suggest someone. It would be helpful to have someone in your group who speaks Arabic, in case you can't find a guide who speaks English. I suggest you see the Queen Arwa palace and the Queen Arwa mosque. You can go from one to the other via a series of confusing alleyways, which is why I suggest a guide.

The mosque has two minarets and is easily seen. The queen's tomb inside the main room of the mosque is very interesting, but the guard may or may not let you in. He will certainly expect baksheesh payment if he does let you in. In any case you can go into the courtyard of the mosque, and you can go around back and see washing areas that were supposedly built in the time of Queen Arwa.

I suggest you have girls in your group wear scarves on their heads to visit the village. You will have a better chance of being able to look around the mosque if the girls' heads are covered and the whole group has been cautioned to be quiet and respectful. Of course they will need to remove their shoes when they enter the mosque; they can carry the shoes with them. Do not try to visit the mosque during a prayer time (i.e. noon, 3-3:30 PM or sunset.)

If you drive up the mountain behind Jibla, you will eventually get to areas where you can see the remains of Queen Arwa's aqueduct system. Most of what you see is just holes in the side of the mountain, though. It is difficult to see and the road is rough, so I don't recommend it unless you have a good vehicle and lots of time.

The trip from Sana'a to Jibla takes 3-4 hours. Take the bypass around Ibb, and you will soon reach the turnoff (on the right) to Jibla, which is indicated by a sign.

All Yemen tour books (Traveller's Guide, Travel Survival Kit, Insight Guide) give tour information about Jibla and Marib. The National Museum, just past Tahriir Square, is well set-up and self-explanatory. A visit there would be good preparation for a trip to Marib, as information and artifacts from that area are included in the displays.



If you go to Marib, I recommend you look at the book The Two Gardens by David Tatham. It is a small, spiral-bound book available from the British Council. Several copies are kept in the cabinet of Yemen materials there. It gives details on Marib's history and sites.



CULTURAL STUDIES-YEMEN 12 YR. Copyright © 1997


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