|Armenia, CIA World Factbook|
|Capital Yerevan (Serouj Ourishian, Wiki)|
A very brief outline of Armenian History
Extent of the Kura Araxes cultural tradition,
|Wiki, Armenians at the start of the Ottoman Empire|
The Armenians (and Georgians), were closer allies to the White Russians, and they didn't agree. After deteriorating relations, the Armenian Genocide began inside Turkey at the start of WW1 (and continued until the overthrow of the last Sultan and the establishment of Ataturk's Republic in 1923).
|Initial division, rejected by Kemal Atatürk|
The Turkish National Movement under Kemal Atatürk rebelled against the partition of Turkey. They drove the Armenians and others from their territory and proclaimed the Republic of Turkey, ending the Ottoman era.
The Armenians were forced to seek an Armistice with the new Republic of Turkey, conceding the loss of Western Armenia.
After the genocide, only few Armenians remained in their ancestral lands in old 'Western Armenia' Eastern Turkey.
From the Arab conquest (mid 7th century) through to the Russian conquest (1822) Nagorno-Karabakh was self governed by various Armenian meliks (princes) with Arabian, Turkish and Iranian overlords and had periods of relative independence.
At the time of the Russian conquest it was part of the territory of a local Azeri overlord (Ibrahim Khalil Khan) who had been forced to acknowledge Iranian supremacy. So it was Armenian province with an Azeri (middle-man) overlord.
|Azeri victims in Baku, Azerbaijan State Archive|
The fighting continued off and on till Nov 1920 with a big incursion by the Armenians into the region.
In the 'lead up' to this, the Armenian and Azeri conflict over the disputed region re-awakened. The parliament of 'the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast' in Azerbaijan voted to unify the region with Armenia (20 February 1988). Karabakh Armenians began demonstrating in the new Nagorno-Karabakh capital, Stepanakert and there were demonstrations in the capital of Armenia, Yervan.
It's hard to know when the war exactly started as it followed a period of escalations but by late winter of 1992 there was full scale fighting, the Armenian Republic joining with Russian equipment. By the 1994 cease fire the Armenians were in full control of most of the enclave (now an autonomous republic, but with troops from the Armenia Republic) and another 9% of Azerbaijan's territory between the enclave and the Armenian border. Shusha, the previous capital, which had been cleansed of Armenians became an Azeri stronghold and was (for a time) almost destroyed with the Azeri population fleeing.
Both sides claim atrocities.
These events triggered an exodus of Azeris and Armenians from each others territories.
Armenia and Azerbaijan are technically still at war, with a negotiated cease fire, and there are still border incidents. Armenia is now in de facto control of 14% of the territory that Azerbaijan claimed in its formation in 1991. Internationally Armenia is seen as the aggressor and there are demands that it withdraw.
Armenian History and Nationalism.
Some see it as the cradle of all civilisation in the Biblical story, since Noah's Ark landed on Mountain Ararat.
They claim a direct descent from the Urartians and maybe even Caucasian cultures in the region. The longer the presence of the Armenians, the greater the claim to their land.
Indo-European Armenian was the only Armenian spoken by the 2nd century BC. It is neither closer to the Anatolian or 'Persian' variants, adding to the puzzle of where it came from.
Linguists have suggested that it was present in the general region much earlier and it was already spoken in parts of the Urartu Kingdom. This is highly plausible but there is no direct evidence of this.
There is an Armenian hypothesis (Armenia was the source of the Indo-European language and culture). If so, this is quite a stretch.
Next Month : The Fall of Ottoman Turkey and the Background to the Armenian Genocide
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