Seaport city (pop., 2004 prelim.: 580,000), southern Yemen, on the Gulf of Aden. It was a principal terminus of the spice road of western Arabia for about 1,000 years before the 3rd century AD. It then became a trading centre under Yemeni, Ethiopian, and Arab control. The Ottoman Empire captured the city in 1538, and the British (who established a garrison there around 1800) governed it from India (1839–1937). It grew in importance as a coaling station and transshipment point after the opening of the Suez Canal. It was made a crown colony in 1937, incorporated in the Federation of South Arabia (1963–67), and served as the capital of South Yemen until that republic's merger with North Yemen in 1990.

This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
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