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History of Armenia

The Armenian nation is one of the most ancient nations of the world. It comes from the depth of centuries when the nations of ancient antiquity – Romans and Hellenes – were just born. The historical fatherland of the Armenian nation was the Armenian plateau, which with the adjacent to it the territories of Asia Minor and Iranian plateau is considered to be the fatherland of the Indo-European nations.
The name of the Armenians is Hay and the country is Hayastan. The country Hayas with the nation of the same name are mentioned on a clay Hittite list founded during an archeological dig of the capital of the Hittite State related to the II millennium B.C. In I millennium B.C. the Assyrian cuneiforms refers to the State Urartu encircling the whole territory of the extensive Armenian plateau. The State Urartu (9-6 centuries B.C.) reached high level of civilization and left rich cultural heritage. Just by this concerns the construction of Erebuni fortress (782 B.C.) one of the outposts of ancient kingdom which gave name to the modern capital of Armenia – Yerevan. After Urartu the race of history took the Armenian Empire headed by the dynasty of Ervandunids, which afterwards came to the vassalage of Archimenidick Persia. As a result of Alexander Macedonian's conquests in IV century B.C., Armenia became a part of the united Hellenistic world. In II century B.C. a strong local ruler Artashes announced himself as an independent king of Armenia and united the lands of the Great and Minor Armenia, marking the dawn of a new tsarist dynasty of Artashesians.

The Great Armenia reached its height during the governing of Tigran the Great in I century B.C. Tigran's extensive empire reached from the Caspian Sea to the Meditteranean, from Tigris and Euphrates to the boothills of the Great Caucasus. By that time completed the forming of the Armenian language and the ethnic mounting of the Armenian nation. The Greek historian Strabon (I century B.C.) mentioned that the whole nation populated the Armenian plateau spoke one language – Armenian. The other ancient author Plutarque names the capital of Armenia Artashat as the Carthago of Armenia and writes about the beauty and the glory of that city settled on the Silk way, which in ancient times served as a bridge between East and West. The first centuries of new era passed in constant wars between Roman Empire and becoming strong Persian kingdom. The clash arena of two great states was Armenia which they divided between themselves in V century. But long before that, during the governing of the dynasty of Arshakians which came to the throne in I century of new era, an important event took place in life of the Armenian nation determined all its following history. In 301 Armenia took Christianity as a state religion thus becoming the first Christian state in the world (Up till now Armenian people remained very religious nation fairly thinking that just the Christianity allowed to keep its ethnic originality). After hundred years another fate event took place in life of the Armenian nation. In 405 an erudite Mesrop Mashtots by name created the letters of the Armenian alphabet, which faithfully serve the Armenian nation for a period of 16 centuries protecting it from foreign enslavement better than any weapon.

Armenia remained divided between Byzantium and Persia till the triumphal procession of new religion Islam started. The creation of powerful Arabian caliphate became a historical reality, and many nations and rulers of ancient world had to reckon with it. Armenia of the epoch of Bagratunids reached its highest prosperity in X-XI centuries. All that time the capital of medieval Armenia – Ani, obtained its final form, and its cathedral excites architectures and experts of the beautiful up to the present time. The invasion of Turk-Seldjoukids and faction resumed after weakening of caliphate between Byzantium and Persia, leaded Armenia to the loss of state independence and decline. In XIII century the Tatar-Mongolian invasion completed the distruction of the country. Escaping enemy incursions and intrigues of Byzantine rulers on south-west coast of Mediterranean Sea, Armenian princes managed to create here an independent princedom in XI century. In 1190 the emperor of Germany Frederick Red-Bearded admitted the existence of Armenian princedom. 1198 is the date of official declaration of Kilikian Kingdom. Hundreds years later Levon from the clan of Rubenians came to the throne of Kilikian Kingdom which existed till XIV century.

During three centuries the Armenian nation had an opportunity to develop its culture and science in relatively calm conditions. The last independent Armenian state serving as an outpost of Christianity in times of crusades was broken by Egyptian Mamelukes.

The darkest times came to the centuries-old history of the Armenian nation with the appearance of Turk-Osmans, who smashed Byzantine Empire and captured whole its territory. Over a period of XV-XVII centuries the territory of Armenia was an arena of constant wars between Osman Turkey and Persia which in 1639 divided it between themselves. The Turkish and Persian rule was a brake for the cultural development of Armenia and set aside life of the nation for a few centuries back. Only in impregnable upland regions of Sunick and Artsakh (Gharabagh) the Armenians managed to retain semi-independent principalities. From XVII century Russia began campaigns to Caucasus. In 1828 in the result of Russian-Persian war Eastern Armenia was affiliated to Russia. Thereby life of the Armenians in Western Armenia which remained under the rule of Turkey was in constant danger. The Armenian nation was on the edge of physical loss. Ant Armenian policy of Turkey reached its culmination in years of World War I. During 1915-1918 Turkish rulers alternated each other realized the annihilation and deportation of the Armenian population of Western Armenia. The awful result of the Armenians' genocide was the death of one and a half million people. Most part of historical Armenia lost its aboriginal population.

In 1918 on the territory of Eastern Armenia an independent Armenian republic was proclaimed, where in November 1920 the Soviet rule was established. 21 September 1991 is the date of formation of the Republic of Armenia.
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