The village was built around the ruins of an old fortress that stood on a hilltop and overlooked the Mediterranean to the west. Wadi Jiddin, a deep wadi, passed to the south of the village through a heavily wooded area. The fortress was built by the Crusaders toward the end of the twelfth century; they called it Judyn. It was destroyed in 1288 by Muslim armies, who sought to deprive the Crusaders of this fortification. It was not used again until 1780, when Zahir al-Umar, who was the de facto ruler of northern Palestine for a short period in the second half of the eighteenth century, renovated it, along with other forts, to enhance his military position. His successor, Ahmad Pasha al-Jazzar, razed the fortress at Khirbat Jiddin in about 1770. Until 1948 the Arab al-Suwaytat Bedouin lived in the ruined fortress, making its buildings into dwellings and also pitching their tents around it. The Arab al-Suwaytat were Muslims. Their primary occupation was animal husbandry, but they also cultivated barley and tobacco on a tiny plot of 22 dunums in 1944/45.
The date of the occupation of this village can be determined by examining the record of Israeli military operations in the area. While Israeli troops occupied the village of Amqa, a few km to the southwest, in early July 1948 (during Operation Dekel; see 'Amqa, Acre sub-disctrict), they did not reach Yanuh, 2 km to the southeast, until the end of October (during Operation Hiram; see Arab al-Samniyya, Acre sub-disctrict). However, it is also recorded that the settlement of Ga'ton was established to the northwest of the village early in October 1948 , which would indicate that the village was occupied in the earlier operation. In that case, it was probably seized shortly after the capture of'Amqa on 10–11 July, and remained on the front lines between July and October. Many villages in the area were heavily bombarded before being attacked by units of the Sheva' (Seventh) and Carmeli brigades.
The settlement organization for Yechi'am was established in 1946 by members of the urban settlement of Qiryat Chayyim; the settlement itself was built in November 1947 on village land to the north of the site. The settlement of Ga'ton was built on village land in October 1948.
The fortress has been preserved as a tourist attraction. It is surrounded by eucalyptus trees and brush.