Before the Indo-European people of the Armenians took
over the territory of today's Armenia from the 7th
century BC. populated there already existed the Urartu
empire, which had been founded by churritic tribes.
There was a mixture of the peoples, hereinafter referred
to as the Medes, from 550 BC. were ruled by the Persian
Like almost all of the Persian Empire, the Armenian
region was conquered by Alexander the Great on his
victorious campaign from 336 BC. conquered. After his
death, the area fell under the sovereignty of Seleukos,
one of the so-called "Diadochen" (successor) of
Alexander the Great, and became part of the Seleucid
Empire, which in its greatest extent occupied the
Persian eastern regions, the rest of the Middle East and
the entire Caucasus region.
From 188 BC An independent Armenian empire was
created under the governor Artaxes, which extended
approximately over the area of today's Armenia. Under
the artaxid Tigranes (95-55 BC) the empire was briefly
extended from the Mediterranean in the southwest to the
Caspian Sea in the east, but Tigranes had to surrender
to the Romans. Until the 3rd century AD The Armenian
area remained an object of controversy between the
Romans and the Persians, before beginning in 238 AD. the
Sassanids (Persians) were largely able to prevail.
After a brief expulsion of the Sassanids, under the
Armenian leader Tiridates III. around 301 AD
Christianity became the state religion in Armenia and
was able to survive despite the following centuries of
foreign rule. AD 387 Romans and Sassanids divided the
Armenian empire among themselves.
From the 7th century the area came under the rule of
the Islamic Arabs. The Armenian Prince Ashot I (founder
of the Bagratid dynasty) founded the independent kingdom
of Armenia in 885, which was recognized by both the
Caliph of Baghdad and the Byzantine emperor. In its
largest extent, the kingdom encompassed today's Georgia,
the west coast of the Caspian Sea and parts of Asia
Minor. In the first half of the 11th century, the empire
was again subjugated by Byzantium, before the Byzantine
armies of the Islamic Seljuks were expelled around 1071.
Many Armenians fled, and a small Armenian kingdom was
founded in Cilicia in the southwest, which existed until
the 14th century and whose leaders were able to maintain
a certain degree of independence from the foreign
powers. The Seljuks were followed by the Mongols in the
13th century, for a short time the Armenian area
belonged to the great Mongol empire Timur-Leng
(1370-1405). From the 15th century, Armenia became an
object of controversy between the Persian Safavids and
the Ottoman Empire (Turks).
At the end of the 18th century, the Russian tsarist
empire also claimed Armenian territory, which it took
from the Persians. The western and southern parts of
Armenia remained with the Ottoman Empire. In the course
of the 19th century, the Tsar's "Russification policy"
towards the Armenian people intensified, churches and
schools were closed and the Armenian language was
banned. In the Ottoman-occupied part (Turkey had to
surrender parts of Turkish-Armenia to Russia after the
end of the Russo-Turkish War in 1878) Christian
Armenians were persecuted and murdered: in the campaign
of extermination against the Armenians living in Eastern
Anatolia in June 1915 alone, an estimated one million
were killed people murdered, including the Armenian
upper class.Large parts of the population were relocated
to desert areas.
In 1916, during the First World War, almost the
entire area of the Transcaucasus and parts of Eastern
Anatolia were temporarily occupied by Russian troops.
According to AbbreviationFinder,
the Russian part of Armenia declared its independence in
1918, but was again occupied by Russian troops in 1920
and officially annexed to the USSR ("Union of Soviet
Socialist Republics", Soviet Union) in 1922 and merged
with today's Georgia and Azerbaijan to form the "Transcaucasian
Socialist Federative Soviet Republic". The western part
(Turkish-Armenia) became part of the newly emerging
Turkey in 1923.
In both parts of the former Armenia, Christian
Armenian uprisings were bloodily suppressed. In the
Soviet part, there was a rigorous "Sovietization" of
society, including the abolition of private property,
the introduction of a centrally controlled planned
economy, the introduction of the Russian school system
and the closure of almost all churches. Dissenters and
opposition figures were persecuted and victims of the
political purges of the Soviet dictator Josef Stalins.
Despite the Soviet oppression, the Armenian church was
able to assert itself in the communist era.
In 1936 Armenia, like Georgia and Azerbaijan, became
an independent Soviet republic. The Nagorno-Karabakh
region (Armenian: Arzach), which is mainly inhabited by
Armenians, fell to the Muslim Azerbaijan in the east of
the country, as did the Nakhchwan region (Armenian:
Naxiçvan). During the years of communist rule, the
country's industry in particular was expanded and
numerous Russians settled in Armenia, while many
Armenians were relocated to other Soviet republics.
Around 1.5 million Armenians still live in the successor
states of the Soviet Union today.
In the 1980s, the Armenian independence movement
against the communist leadership strengthened. The
conflict of nationalities between Armenians and
Azerbaijanis came to a head in the Nagorno-Karabakh
region. When the region, which was largely inhabited by
Armenians, declared independence from Azerbaijan in
1988, the war broke out between the two countries. In
the same year, a devastating earthquake in the Caucasus
claimed more than 50,000 lives and caused severe
devastation on Armenian soil (around 10% of all
industrial plants were destroyed). The conflict in
Nagorno-Karabakh could not be resolved by Russian
intervention either. The hostile countries of Armenia
and Azerbaijan both declared their detachment from the
USSR in 1991, when the imminent dissolution of the
Eastern Bloc was recognizable through the politics of
"Perestroika" and "Glasnost". As a result, the Russian
troops had to withdraw from the contested area.
Nationalist Lewon Ter-Petrosyan was elected President of
Armenia. In December 1991, the country joined the
"Commonwealth of Independent States" (CIS), which was
founded from eleven former Soviet republics and declared
the USSR to be dissolved. which was founded from eleven
former Soviet republics and declared the USSR to be
The Armenian leadership supported the Armenian troops
in Nagorno-Karabakh with arms and materials, even if
they did not officially recognize their unilaterally
declared independence. Azerbaijan imposed an economic
embargo on Armenia, which Turkey joined. As a result,
the country, which was dependent on energy and food
supplies from abroad, faced serious supply difficulties.
The emergency had to be declared. In 1993, the Armenian
troops from Nagorno-Karabakh conquered a third of
Azerbaijan. A ceasefire brokered by Russia and the UN
broke out in 1994, but the international legal status of
the Nagorno-Karabakh region has not yet been clarified.
There are also different opinions within Armenia about
the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh. In 1998, President
Lewon Ter-Petrojsan had to resign because of his
complacency towards Azerbaijan. His successor was the
nationalist Robert Kocharian, who refused to make any
concessions to Azerbaijan regarding Nagorno-Karabakh. At
the end of 1998 Kocharian (as well as his Azerbaijani
counterpart) agreed to start official peace
negotiations, but no solution to the conflict is in
sight to this day.
In January 2001, Armenia was admitted to the Council
of Europe with Azerbaijan.
In February 2008, after the presidential election in
which Prime Minister Serge Sarkisjan won, there was
bloody unrest in the capital. The Constitutional Court
described Sarkisjan's victory in mid-March as
legitimate. OSCE observers were also unable to find any
election fraud, but criticized an unfair election
campaign and incorrect voter lists. Many opposition
politicians were still in political captivity months
after the election.