Yemen, a province of the Turkish empire, in Arabia, bounded N. by Hedjaz and the desert, E. by the desert and Hadramaut, S. by the gulf of Aden, and W. by the Red sea; pop., according to Turkish authorities, about 2,250,000. The coast line, which is about 750 m. long, is bordered with coral reefs, within which is good anchorage. These sometimes form islands, of which the largest is Farsan. A range of mountains, the continuation of the Hedjaz chain, extends through Yemen from N. to S., 20 to 50 m. from the coast, dividing it into the Tehama, or lowland between the mountains and the sea, and the Jebel, a mountainous plateau E. of the chain. The Tehama is a flat sandy desert, with scarcely any vegetation except where watered by mountain torrents. Rain falls there only at intervals of several years, and the climate is intensely hot. The mountains, which rise abruptly from the lowlands, enclose valleys of great fertility and beauty, and their slopes are covered with luxuriant forests. The table land has an estimated general elevation of 4,000 ft., but some of the peaks are from 5,000 to 6,000 ft. high.

Jebel Sabir, near Taiz, one of the highest, is an immense mass of volcanic rocks, covered with groves and verdure nearly to its summit; the Arabs assert that all the herbs of the earth grow on its slopes. Numerous villages are perched among its cliffs, and within its precints are said to be more than 100 independent sheikhs. Water is abundant in the highlands in the rainy season, which lasts from June to September, but in the hot season most of the streams are dry. Few of the rivers reach the sea; among them are the Laa, Heidan, and Kebir on the W. coast, and the Aden, Bonna, and Meran on the S. coast. Several large streams flow toward the interior, and are probably lost in the desert. The Kharid, supposed to be identical with a river mentioned by Strabo, which the Roman army crossed before entering the Sabaean territory, is more than 120 m. long, and flows N. E. from the mountains N. of Sana. The Shibwan or Dana, further S., pursues a similar course, and waters the plain in which is Mareb or Marib, the ancient Mariaba, the capital of the Himyaritic kingdom of Saba, the supposed Sheba of the Bible. Near it are the remains of the great dike, built, as is supposed, about 1750 B. C. This immense work was constructed at a place where two mountains approach each other, was two miles long and 120 ft. high, and was of cut stones secured by metal clasps and cemented with bitumen.

The surrounding country, irrigated with the waters from this reservoir, was very fertile and sustained a vast population; and the catastrophe of the bursting of the dike, which is generally placed some time after the Christian era, marks an epoch in Arab history. The plain, from which the flood swept the ancient city, now contains but a few small villages inhabited by shepherd Bedouins. In the highlands the art of irrigation is still carried to a perfection unknown in other parts of Arabia. Artificial canals are built to convey the waters of the mountain torrents to the plains, and cisterns are constructed on all the cultivated slopes. When these are exhausted water is drawn from wells in the valleys and carried up the hills in skin bags on donkeys. Trees, grass, and cultivated fields exist wherever water can be procured. In the valleys the villages are embellished with gardens and palm groves, and most of the fertile slopes and even steep mountain sides are covered with coffee plantations, rising in terraces sometimes to a height of 3,000 ft. above the sea; higher up the cultivation of the tree is unprofitable. From these plantations comes the celebrated Mocha coffee.

Khat (celastrus edulis), a small shrub the leaves of which resemble the willow, and when dried taste something like tea, is also cultivated extensively; the Arabs chew it as a stimulant. Wheat, barley, rice, and durra yield in abundance. Among the fruits are the date, fig, tamarind, grape, peach, apricot, and pomegranate. The banana, mangosteen, and other Indian fruits have been introduced and naturalized. Melons grow in great variety and abundance, and constitute in their season a large part of the food of the people. Many leguminous plants, carrots, radishes, lettuce, and other vegetables are cultivated, and aromatic herbs and flowers grow in profusion. The trees yielding gums and balsamic resins are more numerous here than in any other part of the globe. Wild animals are few; but the panther, hyaena, wolf, jackal, fox, wild boar, wild dog, and monkey are sometimes found in the mountains. Singing birds frequent the groves. There are many kinds of lizards, and the land tortoise is common. The principal domestic animals are the camel, ass, sheep, and goat.

Horses are imported from Nedjed, and cattle from Nubia and India. - Yemen is divided into the livas or districts of Sana, Asir, Taiz, and Hodeida. Sana has succeeded Hodeida as the capital of Yemen. The chief coast towns are Hodeida, Jezan, Loheia, and Mocha. Aden, on the S. coast, and the island of Perim belong to Great Britain. The principal inland towns, besides Sana, are Zebid and Beit el-Fakih in the Tehama, Dhamar, Taiz, Mahail, El-Hauta in Lahej, Khamir, Khaiwan, Saadeh, and Abu Arish. There are many small walled towns, and several strong fortresses, the principal of which are El-Atarah in the Harraz mountains, and Kokaban, 18 m. W. of Sana. At Zebid is a school for the Sunnis, and at Dhamar is another for the Zeidis, the prevailing sect. The inhabitants of the mountains are slight but well built, and of lighter color than the people of the Tehama. Their dialects are numerous and differ materially from those of the latter. The merchants in the towns are generally rich, and the peasantry of the rural districts are in comfortable circumstances.

Banian merchants are numerous in the interior, and many of the artisans are Jews. - For the early history of Yemen, see Arabia. It formed a province of the Arabian caliphate till 930, when the yoke of the Abbassides was thrown off and an independent imamate was founded, with Sana for its capital. In 1173 Turan Shah, brother of the celebrated Saladin, the Egyptian sultan, invaded the country, captured Sana and the ports, and erected strong fortifications at Aden. In 1503, after a period of anarchy, the imamate was again established at Sana, and it remained independent till 1538, when the Turkish sultan Solyman sent a fleet down the Red sea, conquered the entire coast, and made Sana the seat of an Ottoman pashalic. In 1630 the people drove out the Turks, and a new dynasty of imams was established with Sana as the capital. In 1728 a chief in the south threw off the yoke of the imam of Sana and established the sultanate of Lahej. The Turks obtained no further foothold in Yemen till 1832, when a mutinous officer of Mehemet Ali, encouraged by the Porte, marched from Jiddah, and captured Hodeida, Zebid, and Mocha; but in the following year the Egyptians took Mocha by assault, drove out the Turks, and held the Tehama till 1840, when they evacuated the country.

In 1849 the Turks again seized upon all the chief towns of the Tehama, and in July of the same year the imam of Sana, who had lost the power to control his subordinate chiefs, signed a treaty at Hodeida, acknowledging himself a vassal of the Porte. A garrison of 1,000 men was sent to Sana, but the exasperated inhabitants massacred them. For more than 20 years the Turks were confined to the Tehama, where they ruined all the towns by their exactions and drove the greater part of the trade to Aden; but in March, 1872, an expedition invaded the interior from Hodeida. The Arabs made a gallant resistance, but the fortresses of ElAtarah and Kokaban were captured, and Sana was once more occupied by a Turkish garrison. The dynasty of the imams had previously come to an end, and independent chiefs were then ruling in their several districts. The Turks have since, with more or less success, overrun the interior, with the exception of Lahej and the country held by the Arab tribes in the vicinity of Aden, with whom the British have treaty relations. - A Turkish history and geographical account of Yemen, by Colonel Hadji Reshid Bey, entitled Tarikh-iYemen ve-Sana, was published in 1875 (2 vols., Constantinople).