Mutawakkilite Kingdom of Yemen

Mutawakkilite Kingdom of Yemen
Mutawakkilite Kingdom of Yemen
المملكة ‏المتوكلية اليمنية
al-Mamlakah al-Mutawakkilīyah al-Yamanīyah



Royal Salute
Capital Ta'izz, Sana'a
Language(s) Arabic, Persian
Religion Shia Islam
Government Absolute monarchy
 - 1926-1948 Yahya Muhammad Hamid ed-Din
 - 1948-1962 Ahmad bin Yahya
 - 1962-1970 Muhammad al-Badr
 - Independence November 1, 1916
 - UN membership September 30, 1947
 - Coup d'etat and Civil War September 26, 1962
 - Royalist forces defeated 1968
Area 195,000 km2 (75,290 sq mi)
Currency North Yemeni rial
Calling code +967

The Mutawakkilite Kingdom of Yemen (Arabic: المملكة ‏المتوكلية اليمنية [al-Mamlakah al-Mutawakkilīyah al-Yamanīyah]), sometimes spelled Mutawakelite Kingdom of Yemen, also known as the Kingdom of Yemen or (retrospectively) as North Yemen, was a country from 1918 to 1962 in the northern part of what is now Yemen. Its capital was at Taiz.

Religious leaders of the Zaydi sect of Shi'ite Islam expelled forces of the Ottoman Empire from what is now northern Yemen by the middle of the 17th century but, within a century, the unity of Yemen was fractured due to the difficulty of governing Yemen's mountainous terrain. In 1849, the Ottoman Empire occupied the coastal Tihamah region and pressured the Zaydi imam to sign a treaty recognizing Ottoman suzerainty and allowing for a small Ottoman force to be stationed in Sanaa. However, the Ottomans were slow to gain control over Yemen and never managed to eliminate all resistance from local Zaydis. In 1913, shortly before World War I, the Ottoman Empire was forced to cede some power formally to highland Zaydis.

On 30 October 1918, following the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, Imam Yahya Muhammad of the al-Qasimi dynasty declared northern Yemen an independent state. In 1926, Imam Yahya declared himself king of the Mutawakkilite Kingdom of Yemen, becoming a temporal as well as a (Zaydi) spiritual leader, and won international recognition for the state.

In the 1920s, Yahya had expanded Yemeni power to the north into southern Tihamah and southern 'Asir but collided with the rising influence of the Saudi king of Nejd and Hejaz, Abdul Aziz ibn Sa'ud. In the early 1930s, Saudi forces retook much of these gains before withdrawing from some of the area, including the southern Tihamah city of Al Hudaydah. The present-day boundary with Saudi Arabia was established by the 20 May 1934 Treaty of Taif, following the Saudi-Yemeni War of 1934. Yahya's non-recognition of his kingdom's southern boundary with the British Aden Protectorate (later the People's Democratic Republic of Yemen) that had been negotiated by his Ottoman predecessors resulted in occasional clashes with the British.

Yemen became a founding member of the Arab League in 1945 and the United Nations on 30 September 1947.

Imam Yahya died during a coup in 1948 and was succeeded by a firm heir. Yahya's son, Ahmad bin Yahya, regained power several months later. His reign was marked by growing development, openness and renewed friction with the United Kingdom over the British presence in the south that stood in the way of his aspirations for the creation of Greater Yemen. In March 1955, a coup by a group of officers and two of Ahmad's brothers briefly deposed the king but was quickly suppressed.

Imam Ahmad faced growing pressures to support the Arab nationalist objectives of Egyptian President Gamal Abdul Nasser and, in April 1956, he signed a mutual defense pact with Egypt. In 1958, Yemen joined the United Arab Republic (Egypt and Syria) in a loose confederation known as the United Arab States but it was dissolved in September 1961 and relations between the United Arab Republic (Egypt) and Yemen subsequently deteriorated.

Ahmad died in September 1962, and was succeeded by his son, the Crown Prince Muhammad al-Badr; however, Muhammad al-Badr's reign was brief. Egyptian-trained military officers inspired by Nasser and led by the commander of the royal guard, Abdullah as-Sallal, deposed him the same year of his coronation, took control of Sana'a, and created the Yemen Arab Republic (YAR). Egypt assisted the YAR with troops and supplies to combat forces loyal to the Imamate, while Saudi Arabia and Jordan supported Badr's royalist forces opposing the newly formed republic sparking the North Yemen Civil War. Conflict continued periodically until 1967 when Egyptian troops were withdrawn. By 1968, following a final royalist siege of Sana'a, most of the opposing leaders reached a reconciliation; Saudi Arabia recognized the Republic in 1970.

The YAR united with the People's Democratic Republic of Yemen (South Yemen) on May 22, 1990, to form the Republic of Yemen.

See also


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