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Map of YemenFlag of YemenYemen /
South Yemen
Official: People's Democratic Republic of Yemen
Arabic: jumhūrīya al-yaman ad-dimuqratīya ash-sha'bīya

Flag of South Yemen

Detail from 1984 bank note.
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Detail from 1984 bank note.

Ali Salim al-Baidh

Last president of South Yemen, Ali Salim al-Baidh.

Qahtan Muhammad ash-Shaabi 1967-1969
Salim Ali Rubai 1969-1978
Ali Naser Muhammad 1978
Abdul Fattah Ismail 1978-1980
Ali Naser Muhammad 1980-1986
Haidar Abu Bakr al-Attas 1986-1990
Ali Salim al-Baidh 1994

Republic existing 1967-1990, now the southern and eastern part of Yemen.
In 1990, South Yemen had 2.6 million inhabitants and a territory of 332.970 km², divided into 6 governorates.
South Yemen was officially called People's Republic of South Yemen 1967-1970 and People's Democratic Republic of Yemen 1970-1990.
Capital of republic was Aden, the country's most important port.
South Yemen had close ties to the Soviet Union and other Communist states. It was by all means an undeveloped country with low GDP per capita. Literacy rate was only 25% and an infant mortality rate of 11%. The only city with proper services was Aden. Abuses on human rights were numerous.
The background for the unification were mainly two reasons. First, oil was found in both North and South, in about the same area. Second, the fall of Soviet-backed Socialism, was about to leave South Yemen completely isolated.

1832: The port of Aden is captured by the British East India Company.
1882-1918: The British increases its position into most of what became South Yemen (incl. Hadramawt).
1937: The Colony of Aden is established, which was the centre of the Aden Protectorate, into which the rest of future South Yemen belonged.
1963: The Federation of South Arabia is formed with the old protectorate except Hadramawt, which now was known as Protectorate of South Arabia.
1967 November 30: The Federation of South Arabia and the Protectorate of South Arabia jointly gain independence from Great Britain, and is named People's Republic of South Yemen.
1969 June: Communists win control of South Yemen, Salim Ali Rubai becomes president.
1970 December 1: Name is changed to include 'Democratic' and exclude 'South'.
1972: Clashes between North and South Yemen; President Salim Ali Rubai and President Abdurrahman al-Iryani of North Yemen reach an agreement to work towards a unification of the two countries.
1977 August: President Salim Ali Rubai agrees with Ibrahim Hamdi of North Yemen that their 2 countries should be unified within 4 years.
1978 October 31: A constitution is promulgated, and a one party system is introduced, only the Yemeni Socialist Party was permitted.
1979: Fighting between North and South Yemens, a full-scale war is only prevented by Arab League intervention.
1986 January: Armed struggle inside South Yemen, between the forces of the president and troops of the former president. It caused the death of thousands, and 60,000 refugees.
1989: Negotiations between South and North Yemen begin, proving to be more successful than any anticipation.
1990 May 22: South Yemen and North Yemen unites into Yemen, with Ali Abdullah Saleh of the north becoming its president, the president of South Yemen, Haidar Abu Bakr al-Attas, becomes Prime Minister, while Ali Salim al-Baidh, also of the south, becomes Vice President. A 30-month transition period followed.
1994 May 21: Forces of South Yemen breaks out of the united state, forming the Democratic Republic of Yemen.
July 7: Breakdown of the Democratic Republic of Yemen, and Yemen reunites.

By Tore Kjeilen