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YemenThe origin of the name "Yemen" is unknown. It likely derives from one of three words: yamnat, which is a historic name for the region means the "southern land"; yamin, which means "on the right side" which is in reference to the rising sun; & yumn, which roughly translates to mean "fertile" as the lands are quite fertile.

WARNING: Terrorist threats continue in Yemen, please read this travel warning before going!


The people of Yemen are and always have been isolated. This small mountainous country is surrounded by water on two sides and desert on the other two, creating a culture that has been almost entirely isolated over history. More than this isolation, the interior mountains have divided the people amongst themselves, but they have also given rise to numerous cultures and clans that are all unique.

Due to these mountains in Yemen, people are separated from each other and the outside world. In this environment the people have learned to fend for themselves as they turn to family and regional relations for protection and trust as they have a great deal of distrust in outsiders. The people of Yemen tend to live off of the few resources they have (dates and camel milk mostly) and rarely travel outside their small region or mountain valley, which helps maintain their traditional cultures.

Over time the world has seemed to gain new technology and communication, but Yemen remains much as they were hundreds of years ago. Only in the major cities like Sana'a and Aden are there a fair number of computers, technology, and other modern-day luxuries. However, even in these cities the architecture, construction, and most aspects of life are still done how they were in the past as nearly every building in the capital was built by hand.

The greatest outside influence in Yemen is Islam. Most people in Yemen are fairly devout Muslims and interpret religious laws in a very conservative manner with strict punishments for disobeying. Relationships between the sexes are very restricted and no man can touch a woman unless they are married. These conservative measures are also carried over to other aspects of daily life and their diet. While Islam greatly alters the culture, it also unites the fragmented society with this similarity in faith and lifestyle.

Today little has changed in Yemen as most people prefer to remain isolated, live off the land, defend themselves locally, and are conservative Muslims. The largest change in recent decades is the people's awareness that there is a national government and that this government is trying to control them. Among many people, the government is viewed as unnecessary and every action taken is fought by some people, especially if the changes help or support any competing groups of people. To many Yemenis, their government is seen as a foreign occupier messing with their internal affairs and it is not needed or wanted. However, most people in some parts of the country have managed to avoid the government and their rule over time as little has changed in recent decades.

The flag of Yemen is based on the Arab Liberation flag, which included the same colors. The black represents oppression, red the bloody struggles, and white symbolizes a bright future.

Name: Republic of Yemen
Independence: May 22, 1990
Capital: Sana'a
Currency: Yemeni Rial
Population: 25,408,288 (2013 estimate)
Ethnicity: Arab
Language: Arabic
Religion: Muslim

Information for Yemen was last updated: March, 2014 ● View our: Sources & Special Thanks