Aden, a free port since 1850, has been the chief entrepôt and trading center of S Arabia since ancient times. It enjoyed commercial importance until the discovery (late 15th cent.) of an all-water route around Africa to India. With the opening of the Suez Canal (1869), Aden regained its importance and again became a major trading center and also an important refueling stop; the harbor was deepened to accommodate the largest vessels able to use the canal. Aden's economy, which depends heavily on canal traffic, suffered from the closing of the canal during and after the 1956 and 1967 Arab-Israeli wars.
Sections in this article:
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
See more Encyclopedia articles on: Arabian Peninsula Political Geography