October 14, 2012 - Anniversary of the October Revolution in Yemen

Parts of Yemen were ruled by Britain. But on this date in 1963, the Yemeni fought against the British and eventually won their independence.

Being independent isn't easy. Even though the nation of Yemen is fairly small (smaller than the state of Texas), it divided into North and South Yemen, and later reunited, and then split again; theocratic governments were followed by a Communist government, and last year a citizens' revolt attempted to put in place more democratic governmental structures.

Yemen is considered one of the poorest Arab nations. This is surprising to me, because it seems it would control southern access to the Red Sea. The nation's strategic position paid off a long time ago: it was rich, based on the spice trade and trading frankincense and myrrh.

So why is Yemen poorer than its neighbors, nowadays? You may have guessed that Yemen has little oil—and you'd be right!

Even though Yemen's oil reserves are small, its economy depends heavily on this oil production, and the government depends on oil taxes.

But, guess what? Those oil reserves are expected to run out in about five years. And this will cause one of the poorest Arab countries to become a whole lot poorer!

Also on this date:

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