After Aden came under British rule (1839) its Jewish community was reinforced by Jewish immigrants from inland Yemen and also from other Middle Eastern countries. Some of the Adeni Jews, most of them British subjects, entered the Indian-British commercial network and expanded it to East Africa, mainly to Ethiopia, founding commercial strongholds there. From the late nineteenth century, Jews coming from Yemen joined the existing Adeni settlements.
This paper compares the reasons for the emigration to Ethiopia of Adeni Jews and Yemeni Jews, and their economic and social status under Italian colonial regime (established in Eritrea in the 1880s). It discusses relations between these Jews, which it argues, were determined by the position of each group in the colonial hierarchy, and by the necessity of sustaining religious-communal life. Thus, in spite of their shared Yemeni origin and attendance at the same communal institutions, ethnicity and religion proved weaker than social and economic considerations, and the two groups cultivated a separate identity.