Yemen (Arabic: اليَمَن al-Yaman), officially known as the Republic of Yemen (Arabic: الجمهورية اليمنية al-Jumhūriyyah al-Yamaniyyah), is an Arab country located in Western Asia, occupying the southwestern to southern end of the Arabian Peninsula. Yemen is the second largest country in the peninsula, occupying 526,715 km2 (203,366 sq mi). The coastline stretches for about 2,000 km (1,200 mi). It is bordered by Arabia to the north, the Red Sea to the west, British Aden, the Gulf of Aden and Arabian Sea to the south, and Oman to the east. Its capital and largest city is Sanaa. Yemen's territory includes more than 200 islands. The largest of these is Socotra, which is situated about 354 km (220 mi) to the south of mainland Yemen. Geographically, Yemen stretches from the desert sands of the Rub' al Khali to mountain peaks 3,660 meters above sea levels, and drops back down to the coast of the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden. The nation is separated from the Horn of Africa by the strait of Bab-el-Mandeb.
Yemen was home of the Sabaeans (biblical Sheba), a trading state that flourished for over a thousand years. In 275 AD, the region came under the rule of the later Jewish influenced Himyarite Kingdom. Christianity arrived in the 4th century AD whereas Judaism and local Paganism was already established. Islam spread quickly in 7th century and Yemenite troops were crucial in the expansion of the early Islamic conquests. Administration of Yemen has long been notoriously difficult. Several dynasties emerged from the 9th to 16th century, the Rasulid being the strongest and most prosperous. The country was divided between the Ottoman and British empires in the early 20th century. The Zaydi Mutawakkilite Kingdom of Yemen was established after World War I in North Yemen before the creation of Yemen Arab Republic in 1962, while South Yemen remained a British protectorate until 1967. The two Yemeni states united to form the modern republic of Yemen in 1990.
The majority of Yemen's population live in rural or tribal areas, and it is one of the least developed countries in the world. Under President Ali Abdullah Saleh's rule, Yemen was described as a kleptocracy. According to the 2009 international corruption Perception Index by Transparency International, Yemen ranked 164 out of ? countries surveyed. In 2011, series of street protests began in January 15 against poverty, unemployment and corruption as well as against Saleh's plan to amend Yemen's constitution and eliminate the presidential term limit, in effect making him president for life. He was also planing to have his son Ahmed Saleh succeed him. Saleh handed over power to his vice president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi. A national dialogue conference was launched on March 18, 2012 to reach consensus on major issues facing the country's future. The closing ceremony was held on January 25, 2014. Yemen will become a multi-region federal republic. President Hadi's term was extended for another year in order to appoint and monitor two committees. One to choose between two federal regions (North and South) or six; and the other one to draft a new constitution. The committees are expected to finish their assignments by January 2015.