‘Aqrabi (Arabic: عقربي ‘Aqrabī), or the Aqrabi Sheikhdom (Arabic: مشيخة العقربي Mashyakhat al-‘Aqrabī), was a state in the British Aden Protectorate, the Federation of Arab Emirates of the South, and its successor, the Federation of South Arabia. Its capital was Bir Ahmad. The state was abolished in 1967 with the independence of the People's Republic of South Yemen. The area is now part of the Republic of Yemen.[2]

‘Aqrabi Sheikhdom
مشيخة عقربي
State of the Federation of South Arabia
18th century–1967

Map of the Federation of South Arabia
CapitalBir Ahmad
Historical era20th century
18th century
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Federation of Arab Emirates of the South
South Yemen


The `Aqrabi inhabited a district the coast-line of which stretched from Bir Ahmad to Ras Amran. This tribe had a high reputation for courage.[3] The `Aqrabi sheikhs separated from the Sultanate of Lahej in the 18th century. In 1839, the nearby port of Aden became an outpost of British Empire and British influence on the `Aqrabis began to grow. The sheikhdom was one of the original "Nine Cantons" that signed protection agreements with Great Britain in the late 19th century and became part of the Aden Protectorate. It became a British protectorate in 1888.

The state joined the Federation of Arab Emirates of the South in February 1960 and the Federation of South Arabia in January 1963. The last sheikh, Mahmud ibn Muhammad Al `Aqrabi, was deposed on 28 August 1967 and the sheikhdom was abolished in November 1967 upon the founding of the People's Republic of South Yemen.


The rulers of the Aqrabi Sheikhdom had the style of Shaykh al-Mashyakha al-`Aqrabiyya.[4]


  • 1770 - 1833 al-Mahdi ibn `Ali al-`Aqrabi
  • 1833 - 1858 Haydara ibn al-Mahdi al-`Aqrabi
  • 1858 - 8 Mar 1905 `Abd Allah ibn Haydara al-`Aqrabi
  • 1905 - 1940 al-Fadl ibn `Abd Allah al-`Aqrabi
  • 1940 - 1957 Muhammad ibn al-Fadl al-`Aqrabi
  • 1957 - 28 Aug 1967 Mahmud ibn Muhammad al-`Aqrabi

See also


  1. Colonial. H.M. Stationery Office. 1952. p. 134.
  2. Paul Dresch. A History of Modern Yemen. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2000
  3. Imperial gazetteer of India
  4. States of the Aden Protectorates

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