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[ah' dn] port and city on the Red Sea

Aden is located at the tip of the Arabian Peninsula on two small peninsulas of volcanic origin that rise to more than 1,000 ft (300 m) in height. The eastern peninsula is known as Aden and the western peninsula as Little Aden. The Port of Aden consists of the city of Aden and its harbor, as well as a number of small towns around the harbor and two large suburbs -- Khormaksar and Sheikh Othman. It currently has a population of about 590,000.

map of Aden and Vicinity


Its position near the entrance to the Red Sea makes the city one of the busiest fueling stations in the world, servicing most of the ships that pass through the Suez Canal. It is also a transshipment center for the region. A large oil refinery is located at Little Aden. The principal sources of employment are the refinery and the port complex. International air service is provided at the Aden International Airport, located at Khormaksar.

Port of Aden


An ancient trade center, the city of Aden was under Egyptian control from the 3rd century B.C. until it became a Roman colony in 24 B.C. It fell successively under Ethiopian and Persian control and became associated with Yemen about the 7th century A.D. It fell to the Turks in 1538, and was incorporated into the Sultanate of Lahej in 1728.

Aden Settlement

In 1838, Sultan Muhsin bin Fadl ceded 75 square miles (194 square kilometers), including Aden, to the British. On January 19, 1839, the British East India Company landed Royal Marines at Aden to occupy the territory. Until 1937, Aden was ruled as part of the Bombay Presidency of British India and was known as Aden Settlement. Its original territory was enlarged in 1857 by the island of Perim, in 1868 by the Khuriya Muriya Islands, and in 1915 by the island of Kamaran.

Aden Colony

In 1937, Aden Settlement was detached from India and became the Colony of Aden, a British crown colony. The hinterlands of Aden and Hadhramaut were also loosely tied to Britain as the Aden Protectorate, of which the city of Aden became the capital.

This flag was used as the flag of Aden until January 18, 1963. It incorporates the British Union Jack in the upper left corner, on a navy blue field; the "badge" in the right-hand half of the flag depicts an Arab dhow sailing on a sea, a reference to Aden's importance as a shipping center.
the flag of Aden Colony

State of Aden

flag of the State of Aden

In order to stabilize Aden and the surrounding Aden Protectorate from attacks by North Yemen, the British decided to unite the several states of the region in preparation for eventual independence. On January 18, 1963, Aden Colony was incorporated into the Federation of Arab Emirates of the South as the State of Aden and the Federation was renamed the Federation of South Arabia. In 1964, Britain announced its intention to grant independence to the Federation of South Arabia in 1968, but increasing violence prompted Britain to speed up the process.

Capital of Yemen

When the Federation of South Arabia won its independence on November 30, 1967, Aden became the capital of the People's Democratic Republic of South Yemen, which became the People's Democratic Republic of Yemen in 1970.

Aden Governorate and Aden Free Zone

With the unification of Northern and Southern Yemen into the Republic of Yemen in 1990, Aden became the capital of Aden Governorate, which covered an area similar to that of the Aden Colony. In 1991, Resolution No. 209 was issued, establishing the Aden Free Zone, within which the import and export of goods can be conducted without imposition of duties or tariffs on those goods.

Funk & Wagnalls New Encyclopedia Funk & Wagnalls Corporation, 1993

Suez Canal
British East India Company
Aden Protectorate
Federation of South Arabia
Republic of Yemen

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This page was last updated on June 13, 2018.