1922 Encyclopædia Britannica/Aden

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ADEN (see 1.190). The territory comprises the peninsulas of Aden proper and Little Aden, a strip of mainland including the villages of Sheikh 'Othman, 6 m. inland, 'Imad and Hiswa, and Perim Island. The town of Aden and its port Tawahi, 4 m. westward, are connected by a good carriage-road with the Somali settlement of Ma'la about midway. The harbour—known as Bandar Tawiya or Aden-West Bay—lies between the main and Little Aden peninsulas (Jebel Ihsan or Hasan); it extends 8 m. from E. to W. and 3 m. from N. to S. and is divided into a western and an inner bay by a spit of land. The depth of water at the main entrance is 41/2 to 5 fathoms and in the western bay 3 to 4 fathoms. For lack of docks and quayage, large vessels lie off Steamer Point and all cargo is handled by means of lighters, the labour being either Somali or Arab. Sailing and small craft load and unload at Ma'la. The population of Aden proper in 1915 was 36,900 and of the whole settlement 46,000, of whom about 23,000 were Arabs and a large part of the remainder Somalis. European residents and Christians numbered 2,000 to 3,000, Mohammedans about 34,000 and Jews 3,700.

On March 1 1921 the administration of Aden was transferred from the India Office to the Colonial Office, which also exercises political influence, in varying degrees, over the confederations of tribes inhabiting the interior as far as the Yemen frontier and over certain tribes of the Hadhramaut. The revenue in 1914–5 amounted to 871/2 lakhs of rupees (approx. £580,000), derived mainly from the Aden Port Trust Fund (£34,000), Aden Settlement Fund (£28,000), Local Supply Bills (£257,000), imperial and municipal receipts (£215,700), Post Office (£34,000), excise, customs and income tax. The expenditure in the same year was £556,000.

The value of the total trade (including specie) amounted to £8,526,000 (1913–4), and had increased to £10,045,000 in 1918–9 and £13,641,000 in 1919–20. Of the last amount, £7,124,000 represented exports and £6,517,000 imports. A very large proportion represents simple transhipment; but Aden is also the centre of the exporting and importing business of the Red Sea commercial region made up of the Hejaz, Asir, Yemen, Hadhramaut, Eritrea, Abyssinia and British and French Somaliland. The principal articles of import in 1919–20 were: cotton piece-goods and yarn £2,180,000, hides and skins £1,291,000, coal £626,000, grain and flour £541,000, coffee, sugar, tobacco, hardware, petroleum and provisions. The exports were: hides and skins £2,123,000, cotton foods £2,112,000, coffee £456,000, grain and pulse £329,000, tobacco £213,000 and salt £151,000. Local products, including kat, firewood, live animals, ghi, dates, honey, wax, gums and sesame oil, to the value of about £125,000, were exported in 1919–20. 1,065 steam vessels of aggregate tonnage 2,736,391 and sailing craft of tonnage 365,569 cleared in the year ending March 1919. The port is free except for a small duty on alcoholic liquors and intoxicating drugs. Licenses are required for the importation of petroleum and small arms and ammunition.

The water supply, formerly very uncertain and unsatisfactory, is mainly from reservoirs and from condensation. The reservoirs have a storage capacity of 8,000,000 gal. but the most effective supply is obtained by condensation of sea water. Six condensers yield 52,000 gal. daily.

Aden produces no foodstuffs. The only local industries are the preparation of salt (Italian and Indian concessions, with an output of 124,000 tons in 1916–7), the unhusking of Arabian coffee berries and the making of cigarettes from tobacco imported from Egypt. The main trade routes are:—to San'a, via Lahej, 227 m.; to Mocha and Hodeida, via Ta'izz, 299 m.; and to Makalla, via Nisab, 413 m.

During the World War, Turkey brought pressure to bear on certain of the tribes of the Aden Protectorate (see Arabia) and in July 1915 a Turkish army several thousand strong advanced on Lahej, the 'Abdali capital (21 m. N.). A small British force sent to assist in its defence proved altogether inadequate and had to retreat to Aden. The Turks occupied Sheikh 'Othman, but were unable to threaten Aden itself. The loyal Sultan was killed. On July 20 of the same year reinforced Aden troops surprised the Turks at Sheikh 'Othman, inflicted on them considerable loss and they retired to Lahej. In Oct. and in Dec. cavalry had small affairs with enemy reconnoitring parties in which the latter were driven off. In Jan. 1916, owing to the Turks again despatching troops to coerce the tribes in the east of the Protectorate, a demonstration in support of the latter was made by the Aden column. It located the enemy force near the village of Subar (4 m. S.S.E. of Lahej), inflicted considerable loss on it, and the Turkish pressure was relieved. In Dec. 1917 the defensive line at Aden described an arc of about 11 m. radius and there had been constant patrol skirmishes and small actions which continued until the Armistice.