Azerbaijan History

Azerbaijan History


Already thousands of years before the beginning of the Christian era, the historical landscape of Azerbaijan between the southern Caucasus, the Armenian highlands and the Caspian Sea was inhabited by nomadic tribes. In pre-Christian times, the Medes’ empire followed, which in the 6th century BC. was conquered by the Persian king Cyrus II. In the 4th century it was the Macedonian Alexander the Great who first conquered Anatolia and then the Caucasus region and thus large parts of Azerbaijan. After his early death, his former generals, especially Ptolemy and Seleucus (diadoches) divided the empire. Seleukos came to power in Mesopotamia and finally in Azerbaijan. The diadoches were followed by the epigones (Greek for the newborn) as a new Hellenistic ruler generation.

Mid-2nd century BC Parthians penetrated the country from what is now Iran and fought centuries of battles with the Romans, who advanced from Anatolia to the Near East and called the Albania region. The struggles for supremacy in the Near East ended in the 3rd century AD. with the establishment of the Sassanian Empire. The great empire of this Persian ruling dynasty was destroyed in the 7th century by the conquest of the Arabs. With the Arab conquerors, Islam also came into the country as a religion.

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Medieval and early modern times

In the 11th century Turkish tribes immigrated to what is now Azerbaijan and the Seljuks, an ancient Turkish ruling class in the Near East, established the Seljuq rule. After the invasion of the Mongols in the 13th century, Azerbaijan was able to maintain relative independence, but from the 16th to the 18th century it became a subject of dispute between Persia and Turkey.

A decisive turning point for the further fate of the region came when in 1723 the Russian Tsar Peter I, also known as the Great, had the northern part of Azerbaijan occupied.

19th and early 20th centuries

About a century later, Tsar Nicholas I completed the occupation by conquering almost the entire state of Azerbaijan after another war. The Arax River became the border river between Persia and Russia. Nearly another century later, Russian troops brought the entire Transcaucasus under their rule during the First World War, but were withdrawn from Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan after the October Revolution in 1917.

The Soviet domination

In 1918 Azerbaijan declared itself an independent republic and was first recognized in 1920, but then occupied by Stalin and then declared the Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic. The following years saw a rapid Sovietization of the Islamic country, which was accompanied by the abolition of private property, compulsory collectivization, planned economy and political cleansing. According to AbbreviationFinder, rebellions were bloodily suppressed; Thousands of Azerbaijanis were among the millions of Soviet citizens who were murdered during the Stalin era or taken to forced labor camps. After the Autonomous Soviet Republic merged to form the Transcaucasian SFSR (together with Georgia and Armenia), it became an integral part of the USSR in 1936 as the Soviet Socialist Republic.

At the end of the 1980s, the Soviet Union showed clear signs of disintegration. It was unable to prevent the outbreak of war between the Soviet Republics of Armenia and Azerbaijan over the Nagorno-Karabakh region inhabited by Christian Armenians, nor to bring it under control with a military presence. In 1990 Russian troops occupied the capital, Baku, to stop the clashes, and Nagorno-Karabakh was declared a state of emergency.

From independence to today

In 1991 the Republic of Azerbaijan proclaimed independence and the former communist Ajas Mutalibow was declared the first president and Baku on the Caspian Sea the capital. In the same year the republic joined the successor organization of the USSR, the CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States). However, this could not prevent the outbreak of an open war between Azerbaijan and the Nagorno-Karabakh region.

In mid-1992 the country elected Abulfas Elchibej from the “National People’s Front” (NFA) to the state president and Azerbaijan left the CIS and turned politically and economically to Turkey and the Turkic-speaking countries of Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Turkmenistan. In 1993, however, repeated defeats against the Armenians led to a further change in political direction. KP leader Heydar Aliyev was appointed head of state by the National Council. For his part, he made Surat Hasseinow head of government and the republic rejoined the CIS, and Aliyev was confirmed in elections. The situation in the Nagorno-Karabakh region had meanwhile changed to the disadvantage of the central government in Baku. The insurgents managed to get control of the entire southwest of the country in 1994, which led to a refugee movement of Muslim Azerbaijanis from the region. The ongoing costs of the war for the region had also brought Azerbaijan into a very difficult economic situation. The government was therefore pleased to be able to agree with twelve foreign oil companies on the extraction of newly discovered oil deposits in the Caspian Sea, which should bring the urgently needed foreign currency.that should bring the much needed foreign exchange.that should bring the much needed foreign exchange.

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An armistice followed with the Nagorno-Karabakhs, but the domestic political situation remained confusing. Aliyev removed Sarat Husseinow and Fuad Gulijew became the new prime minister. Attempts to overthrow Aliyev failed and in late 1996 Artur Rasisade was appointed the new head of government. The following year, arrests were made as a counter-reaction to attempted coups. Nonetheless, in 1998 Hejdar Alijew succeeded in being directly confirmed as President. As early as 1995, a new constitution had established a presidential system that grants the president extensive powers. In 2002, an overwhelming majority of the population voted to change the constitution by 39 points, further strengthening President Aliyev’s power. After Prime Minister Artur Rasisade resigned in August 2004 due to – according to his information – health reasons, President’s son Ilham Aliyev was elected as the new Prime Minister by Parliament. He was elected President in October 2003 (confirmed in 2008) to succeed his father Heydar Aliyev. Since then, the office of Prime Minister has again been filled by Artur Rasisade. Foreign observers have repeatedly reported gross election irregularities.Foreign observers have repeatedly reported gross election irregularities.Foreign observers have repeatedly reported gross election irregularities.

In March 2008, the conflict over the Nagorno-Karabakh region led to the most serious clashes since the 1991-1994. There are repeated armed clashes along the armistice line, in which several soldiers have been killed. Official peace negotiations started in late 1998, but armed Armenians continue to occupy the territory of Azerbaijan.

Azerbaijan President