Yemen is one of the oldest civilizations in the world, dating back to the Minaean (1200 – 600 B.C.) and Sabaean (750-115 B.C.) kingdoms. Yemen lies at the tip of the Arabian Peninsula and is the only democracy in the region. Its neighbors are either kingdoms or emirates. Yemen is centered on the port of Aden, and its major cities are Sana, Aden, Taiz, Hodeida and al-Mukalla. In 630, during the lifetime of the Prophet Muhammad, Islam was introduced in Yemen, after which the country was ruled as an Arab-Islamic caliphate and Yemen became part of the Islamic empire. In the beginning most Yemenis became Sunnis, but later during the succeeding centuries there were many Shiites in the country. During this period, various smaller states were ruled by the Sulayhids and Rasulids. Yemenis are quite proud of the fact that although several powers ruled part of their country, no power could rule over the entire country during any given period. Shiite sects such as the Zaidis acquired prominence and ruled part of the country for till modern times. Between the 12 th century BCE and the 6 th century CE, six different civilizations subjugated Yemen who either were competitors with each other or were allies in controlling the money-spinning spice trade
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