Hadramaut , a district of S. Arabia, lying along the shores of the Indian ocean. Its limits are not well defined, but it is bounded generally N. by the Dahna or great desert, N. E. by Oman, S. by the sea, and W. by Yemen. Its coast line extends in a N. E. direction from Ion. 45° to 56° 30' E., but some authorities limit it to less than 200 m. It is supposed to extend inland about 120 m. The coast is low, excepting where some spur from the mountains inland forms a projecting cape. Back of the lowlands a range of mountains, which stretches from Yemen to the regions bordering on Oman, rises in terraces to a considerable height, and behind it an elevated plateau, diversified by occasional peaks and numerous valleys, descends gradually into the desert. But little was known of the interior until the explorations of the baron von Wrede, who visited the wady .Doan in 1843. He describes this valley as a deep gap which bisects the table land, beginning about 80 m. N. W. of Makallah and ending 120 m. E. of it on the Tehama or lowland near the sea. Its length is about 150 m., and its breadth in its widest part from 25 to 35 m. It has many branches, and is studded with towns and villages throughout its extent.
The slopes of the hills and most of the level tracts are well cultivated, the fields being irrigated from a small stream which runs through it. This river, though sometimes a raging flood, is frequently dry. In 1870 the W. part of Ha-dramaut was visited by Capt. S. B. Miles of the British army, in company with Werner Munzinger, the German traveller, who landed at Hisu Ghorab, about Ion. 48° 30', and passed through the country between that point and Aden. The lowland about Hisu Ghorab consists of barren sand and rocks to the hills, about 10 m. inland. In the uplands anthracite is found, with bitumen in abundance and signs of copper. Dates are the chief product, and a little indigo is raised, but no coffee. No game was seen, excepting a few gazelles, but singing birds were numerous. - The coast between there and Aden is peopled by four tribes, settled in towns and villages and not nomadic, who have been independent about 100 years, having been previously subjects of the imam of Sana. The most easterly tribe, the Wa-hidi, occupy the greater part of the wady Maifah, in a sand and limestone region, which is very productive. They are the least aggressive of any of the tribes, and are mostly settled down as peaceful tillers of the soil.
Their chief towns are Hota, with 8,000 inhabitants, and Habban, with 3,000. No coffee or cotton is cultivated, and cattle, sheep, and goats are scarce and dear. They are divided into three sections, each under the rule of a sultan, who has little more than patriarchal authority. Their founder was Abdul Wahid, a Koreish chief who conquered the territory. Next W. of them are the Deaybi, who are called by their neighbors Himyars, and claim to be the descendants of the ancient Himyarites. Their language is a dialect of the Sabaean. They occupy a portion of the wady Maifah and a part of the coast to about 50 m. inland. Each of their seven divisions is ruled by an abu (father). They are said to be rapacious and marauding in their habits. The Owlaki hold about 60 m. of the coast from the Deaybi to Mugatein. They have two divisions, the Owlaki Ali Nasir and the Owlaki el-Nisab, each having a sultan. The former, who number about 15,000, hold the coast; the latter the interior. Their coun-try is well cultivated, and they own numerous flocks of sheep, goats, and camels. They are the only tribe possessing horses, of which they have a fine breed.
From Mugatein to Iwad, near Aden, about 100 m., the coast is possessed by the Fudthli, a restless, warlike,; and ambitious tribe, numbering about 17,000. Their country is intersected by two wadies, the Hassan and the Bunna, which are well watered. Along the sea is a thick forest of mimosas, and beyond, toward the hills, are fields of grass and corn. Ambergris is sometimes found on the coast. The agricultural products are wheat, barley, millet, sesamum, and cotton. No coffee is cultivated, but it might easily be raised with proper irrigation. Indigo is grown, but not to any extent. Myrrh trees abound, and frankincense trees are found in the Himyar hills, but the gum is scarcely known to the Arabs. The E. part of the coast, next to Oman, is occupied by the Mahra tribe. - The principal seaport of Hadramaut is Ma-kallah, which has a considerable trade with India and Yemen, exporting to the former vegetable products, and to the latter carpets, silk shawls, linen, and yambeas or girdle knives. The people of the coast are fond of going abroad, and many of them are seen in India and Egypt, serving as soldiers or sailors; but they usually return to their country when they have acquired a competence. - Hadramaut, in the narrower sense, constituted a part of the ancient Arabia Felix. It derived its name from the Adrainitse, an Arabian tribe, who were actively engaged in the drug, spice, and silk trade, of which their capital Sabatha was the emporium.