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former British dependency on the southern tip of the Arabian Peninsula
In 1839, British forces occupied the town of Aden, a strategic port on the Red Sea. Between 1886 and 1914 the British signed treaties of protection with the tribal states around Aden. The areas under British protection were eventually consolidated into Aden Protectorate (renamed the Protectorate of South Arabia in 1963), which was divided for administrative purposes into the Western Aden Protectorate and the Eastern Aden Protectorate, or Hadhramaut.
In 1959 six states in the Western Aden Protectorate formed the Federation of Arab Emirates of the South. On April 4, 1962, this federation was joined by nine other states and was renamed the Federation of South Arabia. The State of Aden joined the federation in 1963. By 1965, 16 more tribal states had joined the federation. In 1966 South Arabia sent a team to the Commonwealth Games in Kingston, Jamaica.
Meanwhile, nationalists, based mainly in Aden, conducted a campaign of terror against the British and the British-supported government of the federation. Fighting also occurred between the two leading nationalist groups, the National Liberation Front (NLF) and the Front for the Liberation of Occupied South Yemen (FLOSY). In 1965 the British promised to withdraw from the federation by 1968. By autumn 1967 NLF had taken over all the states in the federation, and those outside as well, had forced the collapse of the federal government, and had defeated FLOSY. To protect its interests, Britain decided to speed up its withdrawal from the region and to transfer sovereignty to the NLF, which on November 30, 1967, established Southern Yemen.
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This page was last updated on April 16, 2017.