The Ottomans and The Yemen

March 10, 2008 § 2 Comments

The early history of the Yemen is rich and full of influences of migrations of peoples from Akkad, Sumer and other ancient Mesopotamian Kingdoms. Historians have recorded these migrations as far back as the 8th century B.C.. However, the medieval period is just as rich, complex and perhaps more significant with respect to the socio-political landscape of the Yemen today.

For example, the Mamluks captured and added Yemen to their controlled territories after the Turkmen ruler’s Sultanate, known as the Rasulid Sultanate which governed from the mid 1200s to 1500s, collapsed.

However, when the Mamluk Governor Al-Ashraf Qansuh al-Ghawri handed over authority to the Ottoman Sultan, Selim I in 1517 the Ottomans quickly moved into to the Yemen and controlled the region for a time until the Zaydis, also know as Qasimis, organized a resistance against the Ottomans. Thereafter, the Ottomans slowly withdrew from the mountainous interior, and by 1630 the coastal perimeter and ports were the Ottomans primary interest in the region.
In 1565 Yemen split into two provinces. One with Sa’dah as its capital and the other with Ta’izz. This split proved to have disasterous consequences for the Ottoman control as it created two rival authorities. Al-Mutahhar shrewdly exploited the new situation, and his forces attempted to drive out all of the Ottoman troops from the country. The newly appointed beglerbegi Hasan repulsed with difficulty a Zaydi attack against the important strategic center of Zabid. From there, the Ottomans in 1567 started to restore their control in Yemen. In 1569 massive regular Ottoman forces under Sinan Pasha arrived, and in the years 1569-70 Sinan Pasha completely restored Ottoman rule in Yemen and Aden. (H. Inalick)
Finally, in the early 1800s the short-lived Zaydi influence of the interior completely collapsed and the Ottomans, moved into the interior of the Yemen developing and establishing San’a as the capital city of the Yemen. The British were the next in line looking to control the Yemen and the rest is history.

Below you will find an article of Ottoman architecture existing in present day Yemen.

clipped from

A Turkish expert who visited Yemen recently documented 71 Ottoman archaeological milestones in the secretariat of the capital, which together constitute a pattern architecturally unique in the old Islamic style adopted by the Ottomans to build forts and castles, water centers, baths and mosques[…]

[…]Al-Theeb noted that the Turkish delegation had visited the state government building, which was built by Sultan Abdul-Hamid II in 1317 AH in the west of old Sana’a city, and the Ottoman parliament building to Yemen, and other Ottoman buildings deployed in the region.� There are remaining Ottoman buildings in Showb area, west Old Sana’a city. “they are eight buildings include Ozdemr Basha Mosque built by the Viceroy Ozdemr Basha in mid-tenth century and al-Roshedyiah school, the collage of administrators and accounting and senior staff[…]
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