Socotra, an island in the Indian ocean, belonging to the sultan of Oman, about 130 m. E. N. E. of Cape Guardafui, the eastern extremity of Africa; length about 75 m., breadth about 25 m.; area, 1,309 sq. m.; pop. about 3,000. Tamarida, the capital, is in lat. 12° 39' K., Ion. 54° 1' E. The surface is generally about 800 ft. above the sea, and the shores are bold. Toward the north there is a ridge of mountains with several peaks rising to the height of 5,000 ft. There are some small streams, and where there is sufficient moisture vegetation is remarkably luxuriant. Date trees and cotton are cultivated; but Socotra is particularly famous for aloes and the gum of the dragon's blood tree, both of which are said to be the finest in the world. Camels, horned cattle, sheep, asses, and goats are reared. There is some trade with Muscat. - Christianity appears to have been planted on this island during the apostolic age, and it remained Christian until the end of the 15th century, sharing the fate of the Nestorian church, which the Socotrans had joined.
The Portuguese several times attempted to occupy the island and to revive Christianity. In 1834 the English explored Socotra and appeared disposed to occupy it; but they abandoned the design when they occupied Aden. There are two peculiar tribes on the island, one said to be descendants of Jews, and the other of the Portuguese.