Armenia History

Armenia History

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 Achaemenid Empire.

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.

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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.

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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 dissolved.

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.

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