Hadhramaut, Hadhramout or Hadramawt ( _ar. حضرموت [Unicode|Ḥaḍramawt] ) is a historical region of the south
Arabian Peninsulaalong the Gulf of Adenin the Arabian Sea, extending eastwards from Yemen(proper) to the Dhofarregion of Oman. The name of the region is currently retained in the smaller Hadhramaut Governorateof the Republic of Yemen. The people of Hadhramaut are called "Hadhramis".
The origin of the name is not exactly known. There are various theories. One (Islamic) theory, is that the region is named after a nickname of
Amar bin Qahtan(عامر بن قحطان), meaning "death has come" from /Unicode|ḥaḍara/ (Arabic for "has come") and /maut/ ("death"), the reason being that whenever he entered a battle, there are always many people who died.
Another theory is that it is related to
Hazarmavethin Genesis10:26 and 1 Chronicles1:20 in the Bible(meaning "court of death", according to various Bible dictionaries). There, Hazarmaveth is the name of a son of Joktan, one of the sons of Shemin the table of the Sons of Noahin Genesis 10 - i.e. the founders of nearby nations including Sheba, also a son of Joktan. As Southern Arabia was and is one of the homelands of the South Semiticlanguage subfamily, a Semiticorigin for the name is highly likely. If the name did reflect a biblical- or pre-biblical-era naming convention in the Near East, this would make it ancient indeed, pre-dating both Islamand Greco-Romancivilization.
A third theory is that the name derives from the Greek υδρευματα ("hydreumata"), or enclosed (and often fortified) 'watering stations' at wadis. A "hydreuma" (singular) is a manned and fortified watering hole or way station along a caravan route.
Juris Zarins, rediscoverer of the city claimed to be ancient Incense Roadtrade capital Ubarin Oman, described that site in a "Nova" interview:
Narrowly, Hadhramaut refers to the historical
Qu'aitiand Kathiri sultanates, which were British protectorates in the Aden Protectorateoverseen by the British Residentat Adenuntil their abolition upon the independence of South Yemenin 1967. The current governorate of Hadhramaut roughly incorporates the former territory of the two sultanates. It consists of a narrow, arid coastal plainbounded by the steep escarpmentof a broad plateau("al-Jol", averaging 1,370 m [4,500 feet] ), with a very sparse network of deeply sunk wadis (seasonal watercourses). The undefined northern edge of Hadhramaut slopes down to the desert Empty Quarterof Saudi Arabia.
In a wider sense, Hadhramaut includes the territory of Mahra to the east all the way to the contemporary border with
Oman. This encompasses the current governorates of Hadramaut and Mahra in their entirety as well as parts of the ShabwahGovernorate.
The Hadhramis live in densely-built towns centered on traditional watering stations along the wadis. Hadhramis harvest crops of
wheatand millet, tend date palmand coconutgroves, and grow some coffee. On the plateau, Bedouins tend sheep and goats. Society is still highly tribal, with the old Seyyid aristocracy, descended from Prophet Muhammad, traditionally educated and strict in their Islamic observance and highly respected in religious and secular affairs. Since the early 19th century, large scale Hadhramaut emigrationhas established sizable Hadhrami minorities in South and South East Asia, namely Hyderabad, Bhatkal, Malabar, Java, Sumatra, Malaccaand Singapore. For example, several Indonesian ministers, including former Foreign Minister, Ali Alatas, and former Finance Minister Mari'e Muhammadare of Hadhrami descent, as is the former Prime Minister of East Timor Marí Alkatiri. Hadhramis have also settled along the East African coast, and two former ministers in Kenya, Shariff Nasserand Najib Balala, are of Hadhrami descent.
Modern history of the Wadi Hadhramaut
Qu'aiti sultans ruled most of Hadramaut, under a loose British protectorate, the Aden Protectorate, from 1882 to 1967, when the Hadhramaut was annexed by South Yemen.
The Qu'aiti dynasty was founded by
'Umar bin Awadh al-Qu’aiti, a Yafa’itribesman from Southern Arabia, whose wealth and influence as hereditary Jemadarof the Nizamof Hyderabad’s armed forces enabled him to establish the Qu’aiti dynasty in the latter half of the 19th century, winning British recognition of his paramount status in the region, in 1882. The British Government and the traditional and scholarly sultan Ali bin Salah signed a treaty in 1937 appointing the British government as "advisors" in Hadhramaut. The British exiled him to Aden in 1945, but the Protectorate lasted until 1967.
In 1967, the former British
Colony of Adenand the former Aden Protectorateincluding Hadramaut became an independent Communiststate, the People's Republic of South Yemen, later the People's Democratic Republic of Yemen. South Yemen along with Hadramaut was united with North Yemenin 1990 as the Republic of Yemen. See Yemenfor recent history.
The capital and largest city of Hadhramaut is the port
Al Mukalla. The population of Yemen is crowding into its Hadramaut cities: Al Mukalla had a 1994 population of 122,400 and a 2003 population of 174,700, while the port city of Ash-Shahirhas grown from 48,600 to 69,400 in the same time.
Notable people from Hadhramaut
Bin Laden family
History of Yemen
* [http://www.un.org/Depts/Cartographic/map/profile/yemen.pdf UN map of Yemen showing Hadhramaut (.pdf file)]
* [http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/ubar/zarins/zarins2.html Nova special on Ubar illustating a "hydreuma".]
* [http://www.hdrmut.net/ Hadhramout Network (شبكة حضرموت).]
* [http://www.hadhramaut.info/ Hadhramaut Official Governorate website (موقع محافظة حضرموت ).]
* [http://www.al-bab.com/bys/books/qaddal.htm Book review of a biography of Qu'aiti sultan Alin din Salah.]
* [http://www.al-bab.com/bys/articles/freitag99.htm Hadhrami migration in the 19th and 20th centuries]
* [http://www.multilingual-matters.net/beb/009/beb0090075.htm The Linguistics of Loanwords in Hadrami Arabic]
* [http://www.ucpress.edu/books/pages/10385.html The Graves of Tarim: Genealogy and Mobility across the Indian Ocean,] by Engseng Ho, a professor at Harvard. California World History series. A 500-year history of Hadramawt's diaspora, the most comprehensive account to date. Beautiful photos.
* [http://www.brill.nl/m_catalogue_sub6_id2860.htm Hadhrami Traders, Scholars and Statesmen in the Indian Ocean, 1750s-1960s Edited by Ulrike Freitag and William G. Clarence-Smith ]
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.