Socotra

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Socotra

(səkō`trə, sō–), island, 1,383 sq mi (3,582 sq km), S Yemen, at the mouth of the Gulf of Aden. With three much smaller islands to the west it forms the Socotra Archipelago governorate. Socotra's mountainous interior rises to c.5,000 ft (1,520 m). Its unusual plants and animals, many of them unique to the island, make Socotra one of the most biologically diverse locations in the world. The inhabitants speak Socotri, a South Semitic language. Most farm, fish, or herd; exports include fish, ghee, aloes, and frankincense.

Known to the ancient Greeks, Socotra shared the political fortunes of S Arabia, though it remained predominantly Christian until the 17th cent. The Portuguese briefly occupied the island in the early 1500s, and it was occupied by the East India Company in 1834. In 1886 it became part of Britain's Aden protectorate and was used as a refueling station. In 1967, Socotra was joined to the newly formed nation of South Yemen, which merged with northern Yemen in 1990. The island was the site of a Soviet base in the 1970s and 80s.

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Socotra

 

(also Sokotra, Soqotra), a group of islands in the Indian Ocean, the largest of which is Socotra. The islands, located east of Cape Guardafui in Africa, belong to the People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen. They cover an area of 3,600 sq km and are composed chiefly of crystalline rocks. The maximum elevation is 1,503 m, on the island of Socotra. The climate is tropical and dry. The average temperature is 21°C in January and 28°C in June. Annual precipitation is between 250 and 300 mm. The islands have semidesert vegetation, with groves of xerophytic trees in the east and in the mountainous regions. The population engages in the cultivation of date palms, the raising of sheep and goats, and fishing.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

Socotra

, Sokotra, Suqutra
an island in the Indian Ocean, about 240 km (150 miles) off Cape Guardafui, Somalia: administratively part of Yemen. Capital: Tamrida. Area: 3100 sq. km (1200 sq. miles)
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
Although Arabic and Socotri share many phonetic sounds, Socotri has letters that are unique to it, and which are difficult for beginners to learn.
In a town east of Hadibu, the island's capital, an elderly Socotri woman claims she never interacts with native Arabic speakers: She doesn't speak or understand the language.
But the picture is rather different only 45 minutes away here in Hadibu, where Socotris speak a mix of Arabic and Socotri, with Arabic usually dominating conversations.
"Our children do not know Socotri now," says Ahmad Abdallah, 50, a Socotri poet.
Socotri poetry is usually sung and sometimes improvised.
A Socotri living in the city says that his young daughter replaces the Socotri-specific letters with closely-related Arabic ones.
Many business owners are from the Yemeni mainland and do not speak Socotri. The language of instruction in schools is Arabic, with no Socotri component.
As more and more Socotris go to school or move from the mountainous areas to the capital, they increasingly speak Arabic as a sign of progress and prestige, abandoning Socotri altogether.
The Loss of the Person-Marker t- in Jibbali and Socotri. Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies 55.3:445-50.
They recited poems that they had composed in the traditional Socotri language.
Ahmed was delighted that the majority of the audience comprised young boys and men from villages where the Socotri language has been spoken and Socotri traditions observed.
Along the coast of Socotra island, inhabitants speak both languages fluently, but in the mountains there are uneducated older folk and people who still communicate in Socotri. The 2010 Socotri poetry competition was kindly supported by Abdulkareem Al-Eryani, a special adviser to the president of Yemen, and Ali Saed Sheibani, the sheikh of Socotris living in the Emirates, and by a Socotri poetry lover Yahya Beidhobo.