Yemen Arab Republic

The Yemen Arab Republic (North Yemen) was an independent country that existed from 1962 to 1990. It was located in the northwestern region of modern-day Yemen. Its capital was Sana’a.

Yemen was once divided between the Ottoman and British Empires in the 1800s. After the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire in 1918, the Ottoman-occupied region of Yemen declared its independence and renamed itself as the Mutawakkilite Kingdom of Yemen. On 27 September 1962, revolutionaries deposed King Muhammad al-Badr and established the Yemen Arab Republic. The coup d’etat launched the North Yemen Civic War fought between the YAR troops, assisted by the United Arab Republic (Egypt), and the Badr royalists, assisted by Saudi Arabia and Jordan. The Civil War lasted until 1967 due to the withdrawal of Egyptian troops and support. By 1968, after a royalist siege, the opposing factions reached a reconciliation. Two years later in 1970, Saudi Arabia recognized the Republic. Relations between YAR and PDRY (South Yemen) were strained yet cordial, with the intent of unification. However, the unification efforts were delayed because of the two Yemenite Wars (1972 & 1979). The official Yemeni unification took place in 1990.  

The Yemen Arab Republic used the North Yemeni rial as its currency. The rial was divided into 160 zalat, 80 halala, or 40 buqsha. After the adoption of a decimal currency system in 1974, the rial was divided into 100 fils. The Yemen Arab Republic was one of the last countries to adopt decimalization.

The Yemen Currency Board issued banknotes and coins until the establishment of the Central Bank of Yemen in 1971.

The first banknotes were issued in 1964 as denominations of 1 rial, 5 rials, and 10 rials. These were followed by the 10 buqsha and 20 buqsha in 1966. Revisions for the rial notes were done in 1969. In 1971, the 20-rial note and the 50-rial note were introduced. After decimalization, the bank introduced the 100-rial note.  

After the unification of Yemen, North Yemen stopped using the North Yemeni rial and adopted the Yemeni rial at par. Both the central banks of the north and the south merged. This merged bank continued to use the name Central Bank of Yemen.

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