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Home :: History of Armenia
History of Armenia

Korikos Fortress
In XVII-XIX c., Armenia was divided between Persia and Turkey. At the beginning of XIX c. die Persian part of Armenia was, in conformity with the Treaty of Turkmencha (1828), ceded to Russia. After a millennium, Armenia was once again halved into Eastern (Russian) and Western (Turkish) Armenias. The roles changed: Eastern Armenia found itself within the sphere of influence of a Christian state. During these centuries (XTV-XIX c.), the Armenian people refused to denounce their love of freedom and their decisive character but did their best in politics, economy and diplomacy to regain their freedom.

This is how the centuries have tested and shaped the flexibility of the Armenian character, its wisdom, endurance and efficiency, its strategic thinking and vitally creative powers. The world was changing, reshaping, but the Armenian faith in the noble ideals of goodness and truth had remained unchanged. It had room for both military courage and for confessions of the 'eloquent lyre.'

Passing through the space and time of history, Armenians have left behind the famous and powerful Cilician Kingdom and a dozen of affluent capitals. Armenia has often been called a country of wandering capitals. The Armenian nation, alongside the land of Armenia, reached XX c. torn apart, devastated and emaciated. During this period of history, the first political parties emerged. In Tsarist Russia and Ottoman Turkey, Rostom, Raffi, the Nazarbekyans, G Artsrouni, and many others stockpiled the experience for the struggle and reunification of the nation.

At the end of XIX c. and the beginning of XX c., Armenians were struggling for physical survival. Not only did the Armenian people lose more than 2 million of their compatriots but also their homeland - Western Armenia, the cradle of their national life and creative mind. The age-old creative spirit stoppedbeating in this part of the country. This happened in the Ottoman Empire in 1915.

Different socio-political conditions and the influence of different languages, cultures and political ideas have distorted the national ideals. It was necessary to reunite the nation's will, including its intellectual and financial resources. Both the Mets Yeghern (Genocide), which has not been duly condemned by the whole of the community, as well as its consequences were  sad. The Armenian Diaspora spread all over the world. Western Armenia disintegrated and its found themselves in the vast territory spreading Argentina to Canada, from Great Britain to Siberia and Australia. The body and will of the nation were dismembered and crushed. It was necessary to put everything together once again and, more importantly, to resist through creativity.

In 1917, the Russian Empire collapsed, or to be more precise, was transformed into the USSR.

At the time, the Armenian nation founded the Republic of Armenia in a small Armenian territory. The aim was to preserve the national identity in the struggle against the vanishing empires and the Communists. The best sons of the nation mobilized their ideas, will and spirit for the survival of the First Republic (1918- 1920). However, it fell apart at the end of 1920. Soviet Armenia was founded in one part of its territory (1920-1991). The Bolsheviks, under direct orders from Lenin and Stalin, chopped up Eastern Armenia. Its historic territories - Nakhijevan and Artsakh together with the people living there - were given to Soviet Azerbaijan, which until then had not known what statehood was. At that time 50% of the population of Nakhijevan and 94% of Artsakh (Nagomo Karabagh) were Armenians. Red Russia left the region of Kars and the province of Sourmalou to Turkey. The years 1937 and 1949 of the Soviet rule saw innumerable persecutions, whereupon tens of thousand Armenians were murdered or perished in Stalin's concentration camps. During World War II Armenians fought against the Nazis on all fronts. They took part in the Resistance in different countries and formed national divisions in the Soviet Army.

In the region where Armenia and the interests of the Armenian people established themselves, the processes have always been extremely difficult. Even though the region is one of the oldest in the world, new nations arc still born in it. They want to place their rights and aspirations on the world map. Powerful states, empires, and smaller countries emerge, change shapes and vanish... Hence, it becomes extremely difficult to resist the challenges of the region in the absence of any single framework for collective security. In addition to this, the interests of Europe and the USA on the one hand and those of Russia, on the other, are not clear yet and are more colonial in nature.

Despite the fact that they are spread all over the world, Armenians have an acute feeling that they belong to Armenia. The third generation of Armenians was born abroad. The daughters and sons of Armenia do their best to make their homeland find the place it deserves in world history. The problem of Nagorno Karabagh is high on the agenda now. For over 70 years, Artsakh has been fighting for its lost rights and reunification with its homeland. The nation opted for self-determination on 2 September 1991 and proclaimed a State. The Armenians of Nagorno Karabagh have exhibited unsurpassed political and spiritual maturity. They do everything possible to eradicate all injustice, including towards Azerbaijanis. This reminds everybody that the Armenian people are capable of living and creating in extreme conditions. The nation can set itself high goals and cleverly achieve them. As for any other nation, for Armenians as well, homeland is the place where all hopes and deeds materialize.

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