2506) History Of Armenians

It is as a well-known fact that the Armenians are not autochthons on the territory of Asia Minor (historical Turkey), nor in Caucasus. According to specialists in history of the Armenian nation, the Armenian of the Phrygian tribes, .. originally habitants of the Balkans, joined the movement of the Kimmerians, and came to Asia Minor in the 8th century B. C. Later they set out East up to the Euphrates. ‘The history of the Armenian nation’, its latest edition, says that in the 12th century B. C. the territories of the Khurrites, Khetts and Luvians (the Upper Euphrates) were invaded by groups of Indo-European Armenian- speaking tribes, named, the Mushku and Urumu in Assyrian cuneiforms, the Arims in Greek ones, and later referred to As Armenians. Manuk Abegyan, another prominent armenist, writes: “What is the origin the Armenian people? When and how did it establish itself in Armenia? Where did it come from and what were its ways to get to its homeland? What tribes had it associated with before and after coming to Armenia? Who and in what way affected its language, its ethnic composition?-these are the questions which were still are debatable, since we have no exact and detailed information on this matter”.

We are going to give a brief study of the main turning points in the history of Armenian people, for it really is a true history of the nation, of Armenian colonies, scattered over a large geographical area. But that is not history of a state. Therefore every scientific publications concerned with this problem is titled “The History of the Armenian Nation”, though authors of those publications made quite ungrounded and illegitimate attempts to introduce a history of the Armenian state, Armenia. The concept of “Armenia” is used in two meanings - a geographical meaning and a political one. As a political concept Armenia has long become obsolete, ceased to be a country, the latter being defined as political entry.

The first Armenian state was established in Asia Minor in the 6th century B. C. and continued up to 428. From the 6th century B. C. to the 3rd century B. C. Armenia was composed of two satraps: Eastern Armenia and Western Armenia. These satraps were first governed by the Akhmenids, then by Alexander of Macedonia, and finally by the Selevkids. In the 2nd and 1stcenturies B. C. (under Artashes the 1st and Tigran the 2nd) the territory of the Armenian state was enlarged. After he had been defeated by Roman Commander Pompeii, Tigran the 2nd lost all lands conquered. He only retained Armenia as such, within the limits of the Armenian Plateau.

It is still an open question as to what territory is considered to be the Armenian Plateau.

Later, from the 1st century B. C. and the year of 428, in accordance with its political status, Armenia was a nominal state, being actually a province of Persia and Rome - Bysantium. Armenia was under the rule of Persian and Roman Governor- General represented either by Atropatenian or Iberian (Georgian) princes. During that period Armenia was repeatedly split into parts by the two Empires- Rome and Persia ( in the year of 66 B. C., years of 37, 298, 387). As a result of it, part of Armenia, turned over to Bysantium, was named Western Bysantine Armenia (to the west of the Euphrates), the other part, ceded to Persia, was called Eastern Persian Armenia (to the east of the Euphrates). The Armenians began sharing the history of those nations which had conquered the country.

From the 9th to the 11th centuries and in the 12th -14th centuries attempts were made to restore the Armenian kingdom.

In the 9th-11th centuries Armenian state ruled by the Bagaratides was set up in the area of Kars, with Any as capital city. According to the recent study of the Bagaratides Kingdom, Yuzfashyan K.N. claims that in the 9th-11th centuries a number of Armenian kingdoms were founded, among them: 1) “The Greater Armenian Kingdom”, with the capital in Kars, Shairakavan, Any, ruled by the Bagratides; 2) the Kingdom of Vaspurakan with Van as a capital city, ruled by the Astrunides; 3) the Kars or Vanad Kingdom (the capital city in Kars), seceded from the Greater Armenia and ruled by a collateral line of the Bagratides. In addition to the just mentioned Armenian kingdoms established on the “primordial Armenian soil”, there are some other states allegedly Armenian. K. Yuzfashyan makes an attempt to rang among Armenian states some Albanian ones of the synchronous period: the Sunik Kingdom (Syrian and Kafan as capital cities), ruled by Albanian kings of the Mikhranid line, and the Lory Kingdom, or Tashir, Dzagaret (Shahmshuld Lory as capital cities).

K. Yuzfashyan, as well as other Armenian historians are quite deliberate in making claims like those stated above doing this in purpose, so that in centuries to follow, when the Armenian people lost its statehood and lands, to make it possible to join foreign lands, the Albanian kingdom, i. e. the lands of historical Georgia (Gogarena). It should be noted that such a tendentious trend has always been typical of Armenian researches, over the whole period of making their history. One should keep in mind that a biased way of presenting was characteristic of the Early Medieval Armenian historians, Favstor Buzandaty and Movses Khorenatsy. That was a tendentious and absolutely groundless conception of a “Greater Armenia- from sea to sea”. As to the centuries that followed, Armenian scholars maintain that in the 12th -14th centuries there appeared Armenian Kilikian Kingdom, but it occupied another territory, that of the North-East Meditterranian shore. Since then no Armenian political formations have been found on the territory of historical Turkey.

As soon as the Ottoman Empire was formed, the Armenians lost any hope to found their own state in Asia Minor. They turn their eyes on the Caucasus, historical Azerbaijan, cherishing plans of purging Caucasus by making it free from Azerbaijan Turki. The makers of the "History of the Armenian nation" bring into scientific use the term of "Eastern Armenia" but quite in a different interpretation. Note that since the 16th century and up to now this term has implied Azerbaijani lands only - Yerevan, Ganja, Karabakh, Sunik. Thus, the concept of "Eastern Armenia" shifts both in time and space, from, the East of the Euphrates over to Caucasia.

About the 19th century, after Azerbaijan joined Russia, the first Armenian settlements appeared in Azerbaijan, and the first Armenian refugees came from Turkey, Iran.

As far as the backbone of the Armenians is concerned, it is known to be scattered all over the Minor-Asian part of Turkey and other countries. Thus, the latest edition of the "History of (he Armenian nation" (1980) says about the 16th-19th centuries: "According to the administrative composition of the Os-man Empire, Western Armenia was divided into pashalyks, among them the pashalyks of Ergezum, Kars, Sebastiya, Van, Diarbekir. A number of khanates were formed in Eastern Armenia and Azerbaijan, including the khanates of Yerevan, Nakhichevan, Karabakh, Shirvan and others". We can see that all of the above-mentionedkhanates were known to be Azerbaijani ones. And the question still remains open .as to what lands from Eastern Armenia. Moreover, the histories of the Armenian nation say nothing at all about the Azerbaijani beg-lar-beyates which preceded the khanates. In reality, in the 16th-17th centuries Azerbaijan was composed of the following bcglar-beyatcs: the Shirvan, Karabakh (or Ganja) beglar-beya-te, the Chukhur-Saad (or Yerevan) beglar-beyatc, the Azerbaijan (or Tebriz) beglar-beyate. Yerevan and Nakhichevan were places of residence ("ulka") for the Kyzylbash tribe Ustajlu, with Chukhur-Saad being their hereditary ulka. It follows then that there was no Eastern Armenia on those lands. It should be specifically noted that the Karabakh beglar-beyate included a vast area between the Araks and the Kure. Among the towns on this territory were Kazakh, Shamshadly, Lory and Pambak. After the Azerbaijan khanates had been formed, the Karabakh beglar-beyate was turned into the Karabakh khanate. At the same time, some smaller political administrative units were set up on the territory of Azerbaijan. They were called sultanates, among them were the Kazakh and Shamshadly sultanates. The reason I pay special attention to Kazakh, Shamshadly, Lory, Pambak and Yerevan is because it is exactly these regions that Armenian historians look upon and claim to be the so-called Eastern Armenia.

Now, back to the 19th century. Let's tern to the "History of the Armenian nation" and sec how it treats Caucasia's joining Russia: "In 1801, Eastern Georgia was annexed to Russia, and so were some Northern regions of Armenia, including Georgia-bordering Lory-Pambak and Shamshadly regions".

As it was pointed out above, these regions were Azerbaijani ones, Armenian historians deliberately make them part of Russia prior to Azerbaijan khanates' joining Russia in 1805 and 1828. The sole aim is to separate these lands from Azerbaijan and join them to Russia, thus claiming them to be the pseudo-Eastern Armenia as part of Russia. However, in reality the peace negotiations of 1805 resulted in the Karabakh, Sheky, Shirvan khanates' receiving Russian citizenship. Fierce wars during the period of 1806-1813 (Campaigns of Tsitianov, Gudovitch, General Kotlyarovsky) ended in conquering the Talysh, Baku, Kuba, Ganja, Derbent khanates. In 1826-1827 the Yerevan khanate (with the majority of population being Azerbaijan Turki) was conquered. The Khan of Yerevan together with his! brother (the Azerbaijan tine of the Maki Khans) fought desperately against Russian invaders in the North of the Southern Azerbaijan. In 1827 the Khan of Nakhichevan capitulated. I was in Russia's interest to increase the Armenian population in the Caucasus, amass more Russia-oriented Armenian-christians' in the regions bordering Turkey and Persia. In this way Russia intended to win the Turkish Armenians'' favour and get sup port in Asia Minor. Thus, special articles were embodied into the Turkmenchai and Adrianopol treaties, which granted the Armenians the right to move to Caucasus- the lands of Georgia and Azerbaijan. It was then that the first Armenian refugees came to Karabakh, Zangazur. A special Committee was set up to solve this problem. In 1828-1830 alone, 130.000 Armenians moved there. Following the 1828 Turkmenchai treaty, the Tzarist Government forms up a new political division - an Armenian region composed of Yerevan uyezds, Nakhichevan uyezd and Ordubady district, governed by the Tzarist officials In 1849 the Armenian region was abolished, and four provinces were formed, among them the Yerevan province (including Yerevan uyezd, Nakhichevan uyezd and Ordubady district), Tiflis province, Yelizavetpol and Baku provinces. But the Tzarist government cherished the idea of establishing an Armenian region on the soils of Minor-Asian Turkey, thus making an attempt to "secure a firm footing on the Armenian Plateau".

The slogan of (the "struggle for Christians'' liberation from I the yoke of Moslem Turkey" served as a cover for the Russian Tzarism's ambitions to conquer the Black Sea, the Bosphorus and the Dardanneles. There was a special paragraph No 16 which Russia entered into the San-Stefano treaty of 1878, according to which Turkey took up the responsibility to carry out necessary reforms in Armenian regions. Until the reforms had been performed, the Russian troops kept the conquered Turkish regions under occupation. A number of European states, first of all England, demanded that the treaty be reconsidered. In 1878, June 1, a Congress was held in Berlin, where paragraph No 16 was replaced by Article 61 to confirm the Turkish Government's responsibility for carrying out necessary reforms in the Armenian provinces. But there was an essential amendment: now the control over the reforms was passed over to Six Powers, So, the problem of Western Armenia was turned into the "Armenian question" during the San-Stephano and Berlin talks in 1878. Actually, it was only the Tzarist Russia who spoke definitely for solving the Armenian question. With this end in view, two political parties were founded - "Gnchak" ("Bell"), 1887, and "Dashnaktsutyun", 1890. Having settled in the Russian Transcaucasia, they sent out their propagandists to Turkey, formed insurgent detachments to attract attention of Great Powers to the fate of the Armenians. In-the strive to reach its goals, the "Dashnaktsutyun" Party frequently changes its orientation -from the Russian and European states to the All-Turkey revolutionary movement, then to Russia again. According to Milyukov, the Armenians', "stuck at the cross-roads between Russia and Turkey", on the eve of World War I acquired great political significance. During the Balkans war (1912-1914) Russia put forward a program on creation of an autonomous Armenian region in Turkey, the so-called Western Armenia, made up of a number of vilayets, among them: Erzurum, Van, Bitlis, Diyarbekir, Kharput, Sivas. Western Armenia was to be governed by a Christian governor-general appointed by Turkey by consent of European countries. But Europe did not back up this program.

The February and October revolutions of 1917 marked a new turning point in the Armenian question. In October, 1917, Armenian National Congress was held in Tiflis, which demanded on behalf of all Armenians that Russia keep those territories of Turkish Armenia which had been occupied by the Russian troops during World War 1. The idea of setting up Western Armenia was also favoured by V. I. Lenin, who signed a Decree in 1917, October 28, under which Soviet Russia declared the right of the so-called Western Armenia to self-determination.

In May, 1918, when the Transcaucasian Seim broke up to give rise to the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic and the Georgian Democratic Republic, the Armenian Bourgeois Independent Republic was proclaimed in Tiflis, having neither territory nor capital city. The Azerbaijan Democratic Republic on May 29, 1918, yielded Erivan to the Armenian Republic, this city later becoming its capital.

The territory of the Armenian Republic was actually reduced to the uyezds of Erivan and Echmiadzin, with the population of 400.000.

After World War 1, the Great Powers looked upon the Armenians as a support against both Turkey (in Kilikiya) and Soviet Russia (in Transcaucasia). The Entente passed the Kars region over to the Armenian Republic. The uyezds of the Erivan province, which had been seized by Turkey, were also transferred to the Armenian Republic. The population of the Armenian Republic amounted to 1.510.000, including 795.000 Armenians, 575.000 Moslems (Azerbaijan Turks), 140.000 other nationalities. Being not satisfied with this, the dashnaks made territorial claims on Akhalkalak and Gocharly, included into the Georgian Republic, as well as some Azerbaijan lands - Karabakh, Nakhichevan area. Zangezur (Southern part of the Yelizavetpol province), being part of Azerbaijan. These attempts led to a war with Georgia and a bloody protracted war with Azerbaijan. The Armenian Republic, unlawfully as usual, by brute force began annexing Azerbaijan lands. In summer 1918, the Armenian Army headed by Andronik invaded Zangezur, presenting an ultimatum either to submit to their rule, or abandon the long occupied lands. According toMikhailov's committee of inquiry, during the summer of 1918 alone, 115 Azerbaijan villages were destroyed, more than 7.000 Azerbaijan killed and 50.000 left Zangezur. The war waged in Karabakh was particularly outrageous. In 1919-1920 Europe lost any interest in Armenia, and put the problem of Armenia's fate into the hands of the North-American imperialists. The Supreme Council of the League of Nations admitted that Armenia couldn't exist "without support".

US President Wilson was charged with the League's mission to determine Armenia's boundaries, and generously gave Armenia the greater pan of the Erzurum and Trapezund vilayets, as well as the whole of the Billis and Van vilayets, total area of 30.000 square miles, with the coastline of 150 miles, American politicians considered the Armenian question to be a European question, and by a majority of votes it was rejected by the Senate. A similar slop was taken by the French Government with respect to the Armenians of Kilikiya, occupied by France in 1919. When the Turks launched hostilities against the French, the latter recommended that the Armenians establish an independent stale in Kilikiya under the French protectorate. They also charged the Armenians with mounting punitive expeditions against the rebellious Moslem population. After the French had been defeated, in l921 France signed a peace treaty with Turkey, according to which it withdrew its claims on Kilikiya. The Armenians were defeated, part of them killed (20.000). the rest, being not numerous, fled to Syria, Cyprus, Egypt. Thus, one of the two "Armenian bases" was done away with. The Armenian question focused on the Transcaucasia, where dashnaks pursued the policy of bellicose nationalism. In May 1919, the dashnaks assumed the offensive, which entailed the downfall of the puppet "Araks Republic". Soon they were forced out of Nakhichevan, and in August, 1919 they were compelled to sing a cease-fire agreement In March, 1920, there were skirmishes with the dashnaks in Karabakh, Nakhichevan, Ordubad. Shusha. The fightings broke out in Khankendy, Terter, Askeran, in the Zangezur, Gebrayil, Nakhichevan, Ganja uyezds. Dozens of Azerbaijan villages were destroyed. Upon receiving weapons from Great Britain and Italy, the dashnaks perpetrated a mass massacre of the Moslem Turkic population throughout the Kars and Erivan provinces. In October, 1920, the Eastern Turkish Army, headed by Karabekir and Khali-Pasha defeated the troops of the Erivan Government, having taken Kars, Alexandropol and forced the Armenians to make a most crushing peace. Twice the dashnaks called on the governments of the USA, Great Britain, France, Italy, to render aid, but got no positive answer. It November, 1920 the dashnaks were overthrown and the Soviet Power was established. The remnants of Dashnaks in Zangezur formed a "Sunic Government" (Republic of the Mountainside Armenia) in December, 1920. And it was only in June-July, 1921 that Zangezur was free from dashnaks.

The Russian-Turkey agreement of 1921 denounced the Alexandropol peace treaty and fixed the borderline between the Armenian Republic and Turkey the way we have it today. Since then the statehood of the Armenian nation has started.

In this article 1 do not touch upon the Turkish government's wise policy on the Armenian question, which helped to remove the problem of creation of the so-called Western Armenia on the Turkish territory. This issue should be given an individual treatment. Within the limits of the present article 1 have tried to make a brief survey of other aspects of Armenian stale formation.

After the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic had fallen, Soviet Russia become well aware of the fact that the idea of founding Western Armenia was not feasible and decided to form the so-called Eastern Armenia from the Azerbaijan lands of the former Erivan khanate, Zangezur lands, when hundreds of, thousands of Armenians had been relocated by that moment. Research papers by Armenian historians give false interpretation to the historical fads and events of 1918-1920 and those of all the preceding periods of history. Thus, they claim that the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic made frequent attempts to conquer Nagorny Karabakh Nakhichevan and Zangezur. But in reality these regions had Committee, spoke against the declaration and slated that the Revolutionary Committee had betrayed the interests of Nakhichevan. B. Shakhtatinsky called upon the Nakhichevan population to assume Turkish orientation. He said: "Now you turn your eyes on the Turks, they are our sole salvation. Hold on firm to them".

In 1921, March 16, according to the treaty signed by Turkey and Soviet Russia, legal foundation was laid for establishing Nakhichevan Autonomous Republic in Azerbaijan Article 3 of the above-mentioned treaty reads: "The Nakhichevan region, within the borders stated in Appendix 1(c) of the present treaty, forms an autonomous territory under the protectorate of Azerbaijan, provided Azerbaijan shall not turn the protectorate over to a third country". Soon, under pressure of the Azerbaijan population, N. Narimanov, Chairman of the Azerbaijan Council of People's Commissars, demanded that Nagorny Karabakh remain part of Azerbaijan. N. Narimanov stated that "... should Nagorny Karabakh be annexed to Armenia, the Council of People's Commissars waives any responsibility, since if this is a case, we thus regenerate anti-Soviet groups in Azerbaijan". On the basis of this statement, on July 5, 1921 a meeting of Caucasian Bureau look a decision to leave Nagorny Karabakh within the territory of the Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic, providing it with wide autonomy, thus forming an autonomous region in Azerbaijan.


1. History of the Armenian nation. Yerevan, 1980.

2. Manuk Abegyan. History of the old Armenian literature. Yerevan, 1975, p.11.

3. K. N. Yuzbasyan. Armenian states in the times of the Bagratides and Bysanthium of the 9th-11th centuries. Moscow, 1988, p.72.

4. P.T. Arutyunuan. Armenian Liberation movement Early in the 17th century Moscow, 1954.

5. 0. Efendiyev. Territory and boundaries of the1 Azerbaijan states in the 15th-16th centuries. In. "Historical geography of Azerbaijan", Baku. 1987, pp. 114-116

6. K. Rochbon. "Nizam-i-cyalat dar dovre-yi" Sefeviye. Tehran 1970. p.6

7. A. Rakahmany. Azerbaijan boundaries and administrative division In the 16th -17th centuries. In "Historical geography of Azerbaijan". p. 123

8. Big Soviet Encyclopaedia. Moscow 1926. v. III Armenian question. p.430.

9. Nagorny Karabakh. Yerevan, 1988. p. 23.

Source: http://www.azerigenocide.org/hist/hist05.htm

Source: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Azerbaijani Republic


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