Is Socotra a country, or does Socotra count as visiting Yemen? The short answer is that it is not a country and does count as visiting Yemen, but there are caveats and of course much more to this story!
To read our article on counting countries click here
What is the Socotra story?
Technically part of Africa the history of. the island has it passing hands and changing religions many times, with even Marco Polo telling tales about the place. In modern times it was part of the British colony the Aden Protectorate, before being part of the Federation of South Arabia.
Things were to change quickly though when it became part of the new Peoples Republic Yemen, which itself morphed into the Peoples Democratic Republic of Yemen.
Communist Times in Socotra
By 1969 an internal coup meant that Socotra was now part of the only Marxist- Leninist state in the Middle-East. This also meant that things improved greatly. Salaries went up. Religious freedom was increased and overall women benefited from being treated equally, something rare in the region.
Being part of the Soviet Bloc also had other advantages and the USSR made this a rest and seaport due its strategic location. Long story short from the country point of view it was part of the Peoples Republic of Yemen from 1967-69 and the Peoples Democratic Republic of Yemen from 1969- 90.
The end of Communism and the Unification of Yemen
In 1990 the Peoples Democratic Republic of Yemen unified with the Yemen Arab Republic unified as the Republic of Yemen, so Socotra was part of the Republic of Yemen from this point – technically.
In 1994 there was a brief sessions civil war, with South Yemen once again wanting to go their own way, this was crushed, but would start agin in 2007 and continue into the Yemeni civil-war which rages to this day.
In 2018 the Southern Transitional Council took over Aden, which has meant. There is although unrecognized a South Yemen state of sorts.
The status of Socotra
Socotra largely stayed out of things and in many respects became a safe haven during the civil strife within Yemen, but this also led it to be influenced by foreign forces. From 2016 the UAE started suppling the island with goods, but also southern rebels.
In 2018 the local branch of the Southern Transitional Council declared their support for the South Yemen government, a UAE military base was established and everywhere you will see the flag of South Yemen.
To read about Socotra being a haven from war click here.
So from 2018 to the present Socotra is officially part of rebel South Yemen government supported by the UAE.
Is Socotra a country?
Socotra is not a country peruse, but it does fit the criteria we usually use for something that is its own special zone. Socotra does exist outside of Yemeni control, partly due to UAE support of course, but it is also largely self-governing.
We’d therefore count it as Socotra, which according to many also wants to be a country one day, with our colleague Adam stating, “In reality we are independent and I feel like a Socotri, rather than a North, or South Yemeni.
So Is Socotra a country? Not a UN one, but perhaps counts as much as say the Cayman Islands.
Does Socotra Count as Visiting Yemen?
If you strictly count your countries using the United Nations barometer then yes Socotra does count as visiting the Republic of Yemen. If though you count South Yemen as a country, then it counts for that, but not the Republic of Yemen.
If you that Socotra a country is a thing, or recognize some form of Republic of Socotra then it counts as that. You can though, at least by our rules of engage only count one of the three. Of course though Socotra is amazing and about much more than country collecting!
Want to see if Socotra is a country for yourself? Join one of our Socotra Tours, which you can read about here.