There are many postcards on the Internet from old Aden under British control. This continues the series with views of the camel caravans that came to Aden.

to be continued… for #10, click here.

There are many postcards on the Internet from old Aden under British control. This continues the series with views of Aden’s famous Tanks.

to be continued… for #9, click here.

There are many postcards on the Internet from old Aden under British control. This continues the series with views of the harbor.

to be continued… for #8, click here.

Alfred Thayer Mahan (1840-1914)

The American admiral Alfred Thayer Mahan is often noted as the man who coined the phrase “Middle East.” After he served in the U.S. Navy on the Union side, he sailed to Hong Kong and passed by the port of Aden in 1867. His comments are brief and reflective more of his own biases than anything significant about Aden. He does provide an interesting description of camels. His narrative is available on, but I attach here the relevant pages on Aden.

A husn or stronghold in Wadi Bayhan

The Telegraph, March 12, 2014

Nigel Groom, who has died aged 89, was an Arabist, historian, author, soldier, spy-catcher and perfume connoisseur. These pursuits saw him fend off a tribal assassination attempt in Aden, uncover a KGB spy embedded in the RAF and explain the association between frankincense and Christ’s divinity.

As a young Political Officer for the Colonial Service, Groom arrived in the British Protectorate of Aden in 1948. He was responsible for the north-eastern area, based in Bayhan, a remote emirate bordering the central Arabian Desert, and accessible only by small RAF aircraft. Two years later he took over the northern area, based in Al Dhali’, regarded at the time as a difficult, ungoverned tribal part of the Protectorate, riven by unrest fuelled by the Imam of Yemen in pursuance of his claims over the whole country.

At Christmas in 1950 the British agent for the western area of the Protectorate, Basil Seager, and his wife arrived to spend the holiday in Al Dhali’, unaware that a plot was afoot to assassinate both Seager and Groom (and their escort of Arab soldiers) at a Christmas Day lunch in a nearby village. However, while out for a walk with armed guards on Christmas Eve, Seager and his wife by chance met the chief assassin, a religious fanatic high on khat, and his party on their way to their assignment. The assassin stabbed Seager with his dagger, causing serious injury, and in the subsequent gunfight several of the escort and several assailants were killed. Groom signalled to Aden for a doctor, who arrived after a five-hour night-time journey over rough tracks, and for a substantial force of Aden Protectorate Levies, to leave early on Christmas morning to help counter a planned tribal uprising. (more…)

Yemen is about to shrink administratively, but there is hope for a resolution of the ongoing insecurity in the wake of the Arab spring toppling of Ali Abdullah Salih, who ruled Yemen for more than three decades. One result of the National Dialogue Conference is a recommendation that Yemen become a federalist state with six regions to replace the former major regional units. As described in the official Saba News agency of the Yemeni government, the existing governorates would be assigned as follows:

• Hadramout will include al-Mahra, Hadramawt, Shabwa and Socotra, with al-Muklâ as its capital.

• Saba will include al-Jawf, Ma’rib and Al-Baydha, with Marib as its capital.

• Aden will comprise Aden, Abyan, Lahj and Dhala‘, with the capital in Aden.

• Janad will comprise Taiz and Ibb, with Taiz as a capital.

• Azal will consist of Sa‘da, San‘a, Amran and Dhamar with the capital to be determined within the former San‘a governorate, but not San‘a city.

• Tihama will include al-Hudayda, Rayma, al-Mahwit and Hajja with its capital in the city of al-Hudayda.

For those who prefer to see the divisions in Arabic, here they are:

الإقليم الأول: محافظات المهرة حضرموت شبوة سقطرى، ويسمى إقليم «حضرموت» وعاصمته المكلا.

الإقليم الثاني: محافظات الجوف مارب البيضاء، ويسمى إقليم «سبأ» وعاصمته «سبأ».

الإقليم الثالث: محافظات عدن ابين لحج الضالع، ويسمى إقليم «عدن» وعاصمته عدن.

الإقليم الرابع: محافظتا تعز إب ويسمى إقليم «الجند» وعاصمته تعز.

الإقليم الخامس: محافظات صعدة صنعاء عمران ذمار، ويسمى إقليم «آزال» وعاصمته صنعاء.

الإقليم السادس: محافظات الحديدة ريمة المحويت حجة، ويسمى إقليم «تهامة» وعاصمته الحديدة.

The plan also calls for the city of San‘a being an independent capital area, perhaps like the District of Columbia in the United States, to guarantee its impartiality. Its geographical extent will be increased by some 40 percent. Aden will also have special status as an economic zone and its geographical extent as a city enlarged. (more…)

In the early 19th century there was a florescence of Protestant missionary interest in saving Muslim, Jewish and other kinds of Christian souls in the Middle East. This thread continues excerpts from one of the earliest accounts from the 19th century, that of Joseph Wolff (1795-1862), a convert from Judaism to Christianity. In 1837 he published a diary of his travels. Here are the passages related to a brief stop in several of Yemen’s ports:

to be continued…

and yet more camels of old Aden …

to be continued… for #6, click here.

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