Bab-el-Mandeb
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The Bab-el-Mandeb (
Arabic Arabic (, ' or , ' or ) is a Semitic language The Semitic languages are a branch of the Afroasiatic language family originating in the Middle East The Middle East is a list of transcontinental countries, transcontinental region ...

Arabic
: ,  'Gate of Tears') is a
strait A strait is a naturally formed, narrowing, typically navigable waterway that connects two larger bodies of water. The surface water generally flows at the same elevation on both sides and through the strait in either direction. Most commonly it ...

strait
between
Yemen ) , image_map = File:Yemen on the globe (Yemen centered).svg , map_caption = , image_map2 = , capital = Sana'a (''Houthi takeover in Yemen, De jure'')Aden (Temporary capital Yemeni government, in exile) , coordinates = , capital_exile = ...

Yemen
on the
Arabian Peninsula The Arabian Peninsula (; ar, شِبْهُ الْجَزِيرَةِ الْعَرَبِيَّة, , "Arabian Peninsula" or , , "Island of the Arabs The Arabs (singular Arab ; singular ar, عَرَبِيٌّ, ISO 233: , Arabic pronunciati ...
, and
Djibouti Djibouti, ar, جيبوتي ', french: link=no, Djibouti, so, Jabuuti officially the Republic of Djibouti, is a country located in the Horn of Africa. It is bordered by Somaliland in the south, Ethiopia in the southwest, Eritrea in the no ...

Djibouti
and
Eritrea Eritrea ( ), officially the State of Eritrea, is a country in the Horn of Africa The Horn of Africa (HoA) om, Gaafa Afrikaa, am, የአፍሪካ ቀንድ, yäafrika qänd, so, Geeska Afrika 𐒌𐒜𐒈𐒏𐒖 𐒖𐒍𐒇𐒘𐒏𐒖 ...

Eritrea
in the
Horn of Africa The Horn of Africa (HoA), also known as the Somali Peninsula, is a large peninsula A peninsula ( la, paeninsula from ' "almost" and ' "island") is a landform surrounded by water on most of its border while being connected to a mainland fro ...

Horn of Africa
. It connects the
Red Sea The Red Sea ( ar, البحر الأحمر, translit=al-Baḥr al-ʾAḥmar; or ; Coptic Coptic may refer to: Afro-Asia * Copts, an ethnoreligious group mainly in the area of modern Egypt but also in Sudan and Libya * Coptic language, a Northe ...

Red Sea
to the
Gulf of Aden The Gulf of Aden ( ar, خليج عدن, so, Gacanka Cadmeed 𐒅𐒖𐒐𐒕𐒌 𐒋𐒖𐒆𐒗𐒒) also known as the ''Gulf of Berbera Berbera (; so, Barbara, ar, بربرة) is the capital of the Sahil, Somaliland, Sahil region of Somali ...

Gulf of Aden
.


Name

The strait derives its name from the dangers attending its navigation or, according to an Arab
legend A legend is a genre of folklore that consists of a narrative A narrative, story or tale is any account of a series of related events or experiences, whether nonfictional ( memoir, biography, news report, documentary, Travel literature, tra ...

legend
, from the numbers who were drowned by an
earthquake An earthquake (also known as a quake, tremor or temblor) is the shaking of the surface of the Earth resulting from a sudden release of energy in the Earth's lithosphere that creates seismic waves. Earthquakes can range in size from those that ...

earthquake
that separated the
Arabian Peninsula The Arabian Peninsula (; ar, شِبْهُ الْجَزِيرَةِ الْعَرَبِيَّة, , "Arabian Peninsula" or , , "Island of the Arabs The Arabs (singular Arab ; singular ar, عَرَبِيٌّ, ISO 233: , Arabic pronunciati ...
from the
Horn of Africa The Horn of Africa (HoA), also known as the Somali Peninsula, is a large peninsula A peninsula ( la, paeninsula from ' "almost" and ' "island") is a landform surrounded by water on most of its border while being connected to a mainland fro ...

Horn of Africa
.


Geography

The Bab-el-Mandeb acts as a strategic link between the
Indian Ocean The Indian Ocean is the third-largest of the world's five oceanic divisions, covering or 19.8% of the water on Earth's surface. It is bounded by Asia to the north, Africa to the west and Australia (continent), Australia to the east. To the so ...

Indian Ocean
and the
Mediterranean Sea The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean, surrounded by the Mediterranean Basin and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by Western and Southern Europe and Anatolia, on the south by North Africa, and on the ...
via the Red Sea and the
Suez Canal The Suez Canal ( ar, قَنَاةُ ٱلسُّوَيْسِ, ') is an artificial sea-level waterway in Egypt, connecting the Mediterranean Sea to the Red Sea through the Isthmus of Suez and dividing Africa and Asia. The canal is part of the Silk ...
. In 2006, an estimated of oil passed through the strait per day, out of a world total of about moved by tankers.World Oil Transit Chokepoints
, Energy Information Administration, US Department of Energy
The distance across is about 20 miles (30 km) from Ras Menheli in Yemen to
Ras Siyyan Ras Siyyan or Ras Siyan ( ar, رأس سيان) is a peninsula in the Obock Region of Djibouti, on the Bab-el-Mandeb strait (between the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden), about 20 kilometre, km southwest of Perim, Perim Island. The peninsula consists o ...
in Djibouti. The island of
Perim Perim ( ar, بريم 'Barīm'', also called Mayyun in Arabic, is a volcanic island in the Bab-el-Mandeb, Strait of Mandeb at the south entrance into the Red Sea, off the south-west coast of Yemen and belonging to Yemen. It administratively b ...
divides the strait into two channels, of which the eastern, known as the Bab Iskender (Alexander's Strait), is 2 miles (3 km) wide and 16
fathom A fathom is a unit Unit may refer to: Arts and entertainment * UNIT, a fictional military organization in the science fiction television series ''Doctor Who'' * Unit of action, a discrete piece of action (or beat) in a theatrical presentation M ...
s (30 m) deep, while the western, or Dact-el-Mayun, has a width of about 16 miles (25 km) and a depth of 170 fathoms (310 m). Near the coast of Djibouti lies a group of smaller islands known as the "
Seven Brothers 7 is a number, numeral, and glyph. 7 or seven may also refer to: * AD 7, the seventh year of the AD era * 7 BC, the seventh year before the AD era * The month of July Music Artists * Seven (Swiss singer) (born 1978), a Swiss recording artist * Se ...

Seven Brothers
". There is a surface current inwards in the eastern channel, but a strong undercurrent outwards in the western channel.


History

Paleo-environmental and
tectonic Tectonics (; ) are the processes that control the structure and properties of the Earth's crust and its evolution through time. These include the processes of mountain building A mountain is an elevated portion of the Earth's crust, gene ...
events in the
Miocene The Miocene ( ) is the first of the Period and extends from about (Ma). The Miocene was named by Scottish geologist ; its name comes from the Greek words (', "less") and (', "new") and means "less recent" because it has 18% fewer modern sea s ...
epoch created the Danakil Isthmus, a land bridge forming a broad connection between Yemen and Ethiopia. During the last 100,000 years eustatic
sea level Mean sea level (MSL) (often shortened to sea level) is an average In colloquial, ordinary language, an average is a single number taken as representative of a list of numbers, usually the sum of the numbers divided by how many numbers are in the ...

sea level
fluctuations have led to alternate opening and closing of the straits. According to the recent single origin hypothesis, the straits of Bab-el-Mandeb were probably witness to the earliest migrations of
modern humans Early modern human (EMH) or anatomically modern human (AMH) are terms used to distinguish ''Homo sapiens'' (the only extant Hominina species) that are Human anatomy, anatomically consistent with the Human variability, range of phenotypes seen in ...
. It is presumed that the oceans were then much lower and the straits were much shallower or dry, which allowed a series of emigrations along the southern coast of Asia. According to
Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church ( am, የኢትዮጵያ ኦርቶዶክስ ተዋሕዶ ቤተ ክርስቲያን, ''Yäityop'ya ortodoks täwahedo bétäkrestyan'') is the largest Oriental Orthodox Church, Oriental Orthodox church. One ...
tradition, the straits of Bab-el-Mandeb were witness to the earliest migrations of Semitic speakers into Africa, occurring BC, roughly around the same time as the Hebrew patriarch
Jacob Jacob (; ; ar, يَعْقُوب, Yaʿqūb; gr, Ἰακώβ, Iakṓb), later given the name Israel Israel (; he, יִשְׂרָאֵל, translit=Yīsrāʾēl; ar, إِسْرَائِيل, translit=ʾIsrāʾīl), officially the State ...

Jacob
. The
Kingdom of Aksum The Kingdom of Aksum ( gez, መንግሥተ አኵስም), also known as the Kingdom of Axum or the Aksumite Empire, was an ancient kingdom, from the 2nd to the 10th century, with its capital at the city of Axum Aksum or Axum (; ti, ኣኽሱ ...

Kingdom of Aksum
was a major regional power in the
Horn of Africa The Horn of Africa (HoA), also known as the Somali Peninsula, is a large peninsula A peninsula ( la, paeninsula from ' "almost" and ' "island") is a landform surrounded by water on most of its border while being connected to a mainland fro ...

Horn of Africa
. It extended its rule across the strait with the conquest of the
Himyarite Kingdom The Himyarite Kingdom (Arabic: مملكة حِمْيَر, Mamlakat Ḥimyar, Hebrew: ממלכת חִמְיָר), or Himyar ( ar, حِمْيَر, ''Ḥimyar'', xsa, 𐩢𐩣𐩺𐩧𐩣) ( fl. 110 BCE–520s CE), historically referred to as th ...

Himyarite Kingdom
shortly before the
rise of Islam The history of the spread of Islam spans about 1,400 years. Muslim conquests following Muhammad ) , birth_date = , birth_place = , death_date = , death_place = , resting_place = , resting_place_ ...
. The
British East India Company The East India Company (EIC), also known as the Honourable East India Company (HEIC), East India Trading Company (EITC), the English East India Company or (after 1707) the British East India Company, and informally known as John Company, Comp ...
unilaterally seized the island of
Perim Perim ( ar, بريم 'Barīm'', also called Mayyun in Arabic, is a volcanic island in the Bab-el-Mandeb, Strait of Mandeb at the south entrance into the Red Sea, off the south-west coast of Yemen and belonging to Yemen. It administratively b ...
in 1799 on behalf of its
Indian empire The British Raj (; from ''rāj'', literally, "rule" in Sanskrit Sanskrit (, attributively , ''saṃskṛta-'', nominalization, nominally , ''saṃskṛtam'') is a classical language of South Asia belonging to the Indo-Aryan languages, ...

Indian empire
. The government of
Britain Britain usually refers to: * United Kingdom, a sovereign state in Europe comprising the island of Great Britain, the north-eastern part of the island of Ireland and many smaller islands * Great Britain, the largest island in the United Kingdom * Ro ...

Britain
asserted its ownership in 1857 and erected a lighthouse there in 1861, using it to command the
Red Sea The Red Sea ( ar, البحر الأحمر, translit=al-Baḥr al-ʾAḥmar; or ; Coptic Coptic may refer to: Afro-Asia * Copts, an ethnoreligious group mainly in the area of modern Egypt but also in Sudan and Libya * Coptic language, a Northe ...

Red Sea
and the trade routes through the Suez Canal. It was used as a coaling station to refuel steamships until 1935 when the reduced use of coal as fuel rendered the operation unprofitable.Gavin, p. 291. The British presence continued until 1967 when the island became part of the
People's Republic of South Yemen South Yemen, officially the People's Democratic Republic of Yemen ( ar, جمهورية اليمن الديمقراطية الشعبية '), also referred to as Democratic Yemen or Yemen (Aden), was a socialist country that existed from 1967 to ...

People's Republic of South Yemen
. Before the handover, the British government had put forward before the United Nations a proposal for the island to be internationalisedHakim, pp. 17-18. as a way to ensure the continued security of passage and navigation in the Bab-el-Mandeb, but this was refused. On February 22, 2008, a company owned by
Tarek bin Laden Tarek bin Mohammed bin 'Awad bin Laden ( ar, طارق بن محمد بن عوض بن لادن; born 1947) is the half-brother of Osama bin Laden, and a member of the Saudi Arabia business community. He was once called "the personification of the dic ...
unveiled plans to build a bridge named
Bridge of the Horns The Bridge of the Horns ( ar, جسر القرن الإفريقي, translit=Jisr al-Qarn al-ʾIfriqiyy, ) is a proposed construction project to build a bridge between the coasts of Djibouti Djibouti ar, جيبوتي ', french: link=no, Dj ...
across the strait, linking
Yemen ) , image_map = File:Yemen on the globe (Yemen centered).svg , map_caption = , image_map2 = , capital = Sana'a (''Houthi takeover in Yemen, De jure'')Aden (Temporary capital Yemeni government, in exile) , coordinates = , capital_exile = ...

Yemen
with
Djibouti Djibouti, ar, جيبوتي ', french: link=no, Djibouti, so, Jabuuti officially the Republic of Djibouti, is a country located in the Horn of Africa. It is bordered by Somaliland in the south, Ethiopia in the southwest, Eritrea in the no ...

Djibouti
. Middle East Development LLC has issued a notice to construct a bridge passing across the Red Sea that would be the longest suspended passing in the world. The project has been assigned to engineering company
COWICOWI A/S is an international Consultant, consulting group, specialising in engineering, environmental science and economics, with headquarters in Lyngby, Denmark. It has been involved in more than 50,000 projects in 175 countries and has approximate ...
in collaboration with architect studio
Dissing+Weitling Dissing+Weitling is an architecture and design practice in Copenhagen, Denmark. The founders and namesakes Hans Dissing and Otto Weitling founded the firm upon the death of Arne Jacobsen as a continuation of his office where both had been key employ ...
, both from Denmark. It was announced in 2010 that Phase 1 had been delayed and as of mid-2016 nothing more has been heard about the project.


Sub-region

The Bab-el-Mandeb is also a Geography of the Arab League, sub-region in the Arab League, which includes Djibouti, Yemen, and Eritrea.


Demographics


Population centers

The most significant towns and cities along both the Djiboutian and Yemeni sides of the Bab-el-Mandeb


Djibouti

* Khôr ‘Angar * Moulhoule * Fagal


Yemen

* At Turbah * Cheikh Saïd


See also

*
Bridge of the Horns The Bridge of the Horns ( ar, جسر القرن الإفريقي, translit=Jisr al-Qarn al-ʾIfriqiyy, ) is a proposed construction project to build a bridge between the coasts of Djibouti Djibouti ar, جيبوتي ', french: link=no, Dj ...
Strait: *Red Sea Dam Region: *
Horn of Africa The Horn of Africa (HoA), also known as the Somali Peninsula, is a large peninsula A peninsula ( la, paeninsula from ' "almost" and ' "island") is a landform surrounded by water on most of its border while being connected to a mainland fro ...

Horn of Africa
*Mashriq


References


External links

*
Notice-to-Proceed Launches Ambitious Red Sea Crossing

Sea crossing
{{DEFAULTSORT:Bab-El-Mandeb Bab-el-Mandeb, Straits of Asia Straits of Africa Straits of the Indian Ocean Arabian mythology Bodies of water of Yemen Bodies of water of Djibouti Bodies of water of the Red Sea Gulf of Aden Borders of Yemen Borders of Djibouti Borders of Eritrea International straits Djibouti–Eritrea border