History of Artsakh Redirected from History of the Republic of Artsakh

  (Redirected from History of Artsakh)

Nagorno-Karabakh is located in the southern part of the Lesser Caucasus range, at the eastern edge of the Armenian Highlands, encompassing the highland part of the wider geographical region known as Karabakh.[1] Under Russian and Soviet rule, the region came to be known as Nagorno-Karabakh, meaning "Mountainous Karabakh" in Russian. The name Karabakh itself (derived from Persian and Turkic, and meaning "Black Vineyard") was first encountered in Georgian and Persian sources from the 13th and 14th centuries to refer to lowlands between the Kura and Aras rivers and adjacent mountainous territory.

Following the collapse of Soviet Union, most of this area came under the control of the de facto Artsakh Republic, which had economic, political, and military support from Armenia but has been internationally recognized as the de jure part of Azerbaijan. As a result of the 2020 war, all surrounding territories and some areas within Nagorno-Karabakh were retrieved by Azerbaijan, yet the final status of the region is still a subject of negotiations between Russia, Armenia and Azerbaijan. This article encompasses the history of the region from the ancient to the modern period.

Ancient history

The region of Nagorno-Karabakh was occupied by the people known to modern archaeologists as the Kura-Araxes, and is located between the two rivers bearing those names. Little is known about the ancient history of the region, primarily because of the scarcity of historical sources. Jewelry has been found within the present confines of Nagorno-Karabakh inscribed with the cuneiform name of Adad-Nirari, King of Assyria (c. 800 BCE).[citation needed]

The first mention of the territory of modern Nagorno Karabakh is in the inscriptions of Sardur II, King of Urartu (763–734 BC), found in the village of Tsovk in Armenia, where the region is referred to as Urtekhini. There are no additional documents until the Roman epoch.

By the beginning of the Hellenistic period the population of Nagorno-Karabakh was neither Armenian nor even Indo-European and it was Armenized only in the aftermath of Armenian conquest.[2] Robert Hewsen does not exclude the possibility of the Armenian Orontid dynasty exercising control over Nagorno-Karabakh in the 4th century BC, however, it is disputed by many other scholars, who limit Orontid Armenia with Sevan lake.[3][4][5]

Similarly, Robert Hewsen in the earlier work[6] and Soviet historiography[7][8] date inclusion of Nagorno-Karabakh to Armenia to the 2nd century BC.

Legend of Aran

According to the local traditions held by many people in the area, the two river valleys in Nagorno-Karabakh were among the first to be settled by Noah's descendants.[9] According to a 5th-century CE Armenian tradition, a local chieftain named Aran (Առան) was appointed by the Parthian King Vologases I (Vagharsh I) to be the first governor of this province. Ancient Armenian authors, Movses Khorenatsi and Movses Kaghankatvatsi, name of it Aran the ancestor inhabitants of Artsakh and next province Utik, the descendant of Sisak (the ancestor and eponym next province Sisakan, differently Siunik),[10][11] and through it—the descendant of Haik, the ancestor and eponym of all Armenians.[12][13][clarification needed]

Artsakh as province of the Kingdom of Armenia

Royal Standard of the Principality of Khachen (Kingdom of Artsakh) during the reign of Grand Prince Hasan Jalal Vahtangyan (1214–1261)

Strabo characterizes "Orchistenê" (Artsakh) as "the area of Armenia exposing the greatest number of horsemen".[14] It is unclear when Orchistenê became part of Armenia. Strabo, carefully listing all gains of Armenian kings since 189 BC, does not mention Orchistenê, which indirectly shows that it probably has been transferred to the Armenian empire from the Persian satrapy of "East Armenia". There are ruins of the city of Tigranakert near the modern city of Agdam. It is one of four cities with this name that were built in the beginning of 1 BC by the king of Armenia, Tigranes the Great. Recently Armenian archaeologists have conducted excavation at the site of this city. Fragments of a fortress, and also hundreds of artifacts similar to those found in excavations of ancient sites in Armenia proper, have been unearthed. The outlines of a citadel and a basilica dated to the 5th–6th centuries AD have been revealed. Excavation have shown that the city existed since the 1st century BC until the 13th or 14th century AD.[15]

Ancient inhabitants of Artsakh spoke a special dialect of the Armenian language; this is attested by the author of the Armenian grammar Stepanos Siunetsi who lived around AD 700.[16]

Strabo, Pliny the Elder, and Claudius Ptolemaeus all state that the border between Greater Armenia and Caucasian Albania is the river Cyrus (Kura).[17][18] Authoritative encyclopedias on antiquity also name Kura as the southern border of Albania.[19] Artsakh lies significantly to the south of this river. No contemporary evidence of its inclusion into Caucasus Albania or any other country exists until at least the end of the 4th century.[20]

Armenian historian Faustus of Byzantium wrote that during an epoch of the upheavals which followed the intrusion of the Persians into Armenia (about 370), Artsakh was among the provinces risen in revolt, whereas Utik has been seized by the Caucasus Albanians. Armenian military commander Mushegh Mamikonian defeated Artsakh in a massive battle, took many inhabitants of the region prisoner and hostage, and imposed a tribute on the rest. In 372 Mushegh defeated the Caucasus Albanians, took Utik from them, and restored the border along the Kura, "as was earlier".[21]

According to the "Geography" (Ashkharatsuyts) of 7th-century Armenian geographer Anania Shirakatsi, Artsakh was the 10th among the 15 provinces (nahangs) of Armenia, and consisted of 12 districts (gavars): Myus Haband (Second Haband, as opposed to Haband of Siunik), Vaykunik (Tsar), Berdadzor, Mets Arank, Mets Kvenk, Harjlank, Mukhank, Piank, Parsakank (Parzvank), Kusti, Parnes and Koght. However Anania predicts that even during his time Artsakh together with the neighboring regions "will tear away from Armenia". This is exactly what happened in 387 when Armenia was divided between the Roman Empire and Persia, when Artsakh, together with the Armenian provinces of Utik and Paytakaran, was attached to Caucasian Albania.[citation needed]

Mashtots and Aranshakhik periods

Amaras Monastery (4th century), the 19th-century Church of Saint Grigoris replacing destroyed older building

In 469 the kingdom of Albania[citation needed] was reformed into a Sassanid Persian marzpanate (frontier province). In the early 4th century Christianity spread in Artsakh. At the beginning of the 5th century, thanks to the creation of the Armenian alphabet by Mesrop Mashtots, an unprecedented rise of culture began in whole Armenia, in particular also in Artsakh, Mesrop Mashtots having founded one of the first Armenian schools at the Artsakh Amaras Monastery.

In the 5th century the eastern part of Armenia, including Artsakh, remained under Persian rule. In 451 the Armenians in response to the policy of compulsion of their Zoroastrian Persian overlords organized a powerful revolt known as the Vardan war. Artsakh took part in that war, its cavalry having particularly distinguished itself. After the suppression of the revolt by Persia, a considerable part of the Armenian forces took shelter in the impregnable fortresses and thick woods of Artsakh to continue further struggle against the foreign yoke.[22]

At the end of the 5th century, Artsakh and neighboring Utik united under the rule of the Aranshakhiks with Vachagan the Devout at the head (487–510s). Under the latter a considerable rise in culture and science is observed in Artsakh. According to the evidence of a contemporary, in those years in the land there were built as many churches and monasteries as there are days in a year. At the turn of the 7th century the Albanian marzpanate broke up into several small principalities. In the south, Artsakh and Utik created a separate Armenian principality, that of the Aranshakhiks. In the 7th century the Armenian Aranshakhiks were replaced by the Migranians or Mihranids, a dynasty of Persian origin which, becoming related with the Aranshakhiks, turned to Christianity and became rapidly Armenicized. In the second half of the 7th century in the initial period of the Arab dominion, political and cultural life in Artsakh did not cease. In the 7th and 8th centuries a distinctive Christian culture was shaped. The monasteries Amaras, Orek, Katarovank, Djrvshtik and others acquired a significance that transcended the local area and spread across the Armenian lands.[citation needed]

Armenian princedoms of Dizak and Khachen

Gandzasar Monastery (13th century), northern side of the church

From the beginning of the 9th century, Armenian[23][24][25][26][27] princely houses of Khachen and Dizak were storing up strength. {The prince of Khachen, Sahl Smbatean}[dubious (October 2014)

Map of Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast with main cities shown
Map of Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast and Kurdistani District in 1930

On July 4, 1921, the Plenum of the Caucasian Bureau of the Central Committee of Russian Communist Party decided that Karabakh would be integrated to Armenia. However, on the next day, July 5, 1921, Stalin intervened and thus it was decided that Karabakh be retained in Soviet Azerbaijan – this decision was taken without local deliberation or plebiscite.[90][91][92][93] As a result, the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast (NKAO) was established within the Azerbaijan SSR in 1923. Most of the decisions on the transfer of the territories, and the establishment of new autonomous entities, were made under pressure from Joseph Stalin, who is still blamed by Armenians for this decision made against their national interests

"The Soviet Union created the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region within Azerbaijan in 1924 when over 94 percent of the region's population was Armenian. (The term Nagorno-Karabakh originates from the Russian for "mountainous Karabakh.") As the Azerbaijani population grew, the Karabakh Armenians chafed under the discriminatory rule, and by 1960 hostilities had begun between the two populations of the region."

— Azerbaijan, A Country Study. ISBN 1-4191-0862-X, US Library of Congress Federal Research Division

For 65 years of the NKAO's existence, the Karabakh Armenians felt they were the object of various restrictions on the part of Azerbaijan. The essence of Armenian discontent lay in the fact that the Azerbaijani authorities deliberately severed the ties between the oblast and Armenia and pursued a policy of cultural de-Armenization in the region, of planned Azeri settlement, squeezing the Armenian population out of the NKAO and neglecting its economic needs.[94] The census of 1979 showed that the general number of inhabitants of Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region was counted as 162,200 persons, from them 123,100 Armenians (75.9%) and 37,300 Azerbaijanians (22.9%)[95] Armenians marked this fact, comparing with it with data of 1923 (94% of Armenians). In addition to that they marked, that " to 1980 in Nagorno-Karabakh 85 Armenian villages (30%) have been liquidated and none at all Azerbaijanian "[96] Also, Armenians accused the government of Azerbaijan "to the purposeful policy of discrimination and replacement". They believed that Baku's plan was to supersede absolutely all Armenians from Nagorno-Karabakh.

Azerbaijani residents of the NKAO, meanwhile, were complaining about discrimination by the Armenian majority of the autonomous oblast and their economic marginalization.[97] De Waal in his Black Garden points out that NKAO economically was worse off than Armenia SSR. However, he adds that economically Azerbaijan SSR overall was poorest in South Caucasus; nevertheless, NKAO's economic indicators were better than overall Azerbaijan, which might be a motivation for Karabakh Armenians to join Armenia SSR.[98] With the beginning of the dissolution of the Soviet Union in the late 1980s and early 1990s, the question of Nagorno-Karabakh re-emerged. On February 20, 1988, the Oblast Soviet of the NKAO weighed up the results of an unofficial referendum on the reattachment of Nagorno-Karabakh to Armenia, held in the form of a petition signed by 80,000 people. On the basis of that referendum, the session of the Oblast Soviet of Nagorno-Karabakh adopted the appeals to the Supreme Soviets of the USSR, Azerbaijan, and Armenia, asking them to authorize the secession of Karabakh from Azerbaijan and its attachment to Armenia.[94]

It has caused indignation among the neighboring Azerbaijan population, which began to gather crowds to go and "put things in order" in Nagorno-Karabakh. On February 24, 1988, a direct confrontation between Armenians and gone "to put things in order" the Azerbaijanians, occurred near Askeran (border of Nagorno-Karabakh, on the road Stepanakert – Agdam) degenerated into a skirmish. During the clashes, which left about 50 Armenians wounded, a local policeman, in accordance with information from International Historical-enlightenment Human rights Society – Memorial[99] he was an Azeri, shot dead two Azerbaijanis – Bakhtiyar Guliyev, 16, and Ali Hajiyev, 23. On February 27, 1988, while speaking on Central TV, the USSR Deputy Prosecutor General A. Katusev mentioned the nationality of those killed. Within hours, a pogrom against Armenian residents began in the city of Sumgait, 25 km north of Baku, where many Azerbaijani refugees resided. The pogrom lasted for three days. The exact figures for the dead are disputed. The official investigation reported 32 deaths – 6 Azerbaijanis and 26 Armenians,[100] while the US Library of Congress places the number of Armenian victims at over 100.[101]

A similar attack on Azerbaijanis occurred in the Armenian towns of Spitak,[101] Gugark, during the Gugark pogrom[102] and others. Azerbaijani sources put the number of Azerbaijanis killed in clashes in Armenia at 216 in total, including 57 women, 5 infants and 18 children of different ages.[94] KGB of Armenia, however, approves, that it has tracked the destiny of all those from the Azerbaijan list-of-dead and the majority of them – earlier died, living in other regions USSR, from the earthquake of 1988 in Spitak etc.; the figure of Armenian KGB – 25 killed – originally was not challenged and in Azerbaijan.[103][104]

Large numbers of refugees left Armenia and Azerbaijan as pogroms began against the minority populations of the respective countries. In the fall of 1989, intensified inter-ethnic conflict in and around Nagorno-Karabakh led Moscow to grant Azerbaijani authorities greater leeway in controlling that region. The Soviet policy backfired, however, when a joint session of the Armenian Supreme Soviet and the National Council, the legislative body of Nagorno-Karabakh, proclaimed the unification of Nagorno-Karabakh with Armenia. In mid-January 1990, Azerbaijani protesters in Baku went on a rampage against remaining Armenians. Moscow intervened only after there were almost no Armenian population left in Baku, sending army troops, who violently suppressed the Azerbaijan Popular Front (APF) and installed Mutalibov as president. The troops reportedly killed 122 Azerbaijanis in what is known as Black January in quelling the uprising, and Gorbachev denounced the APF for striving to establish an Islamic Republic.

In a December 1991 referendum, that was taking place along with similar referendums all around the USSR, and boycotted by most of the local Azerbaijanis, the yet majority population of Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh approved the creation of an independent state. However, the Constitution of the USSR was the instrument in accordance to which only the 15 Soviet Republics could vote for independence and Nagorno-Karabakh was not one of the Soviet Republics. A Soviet proposal for enhanced autonomy for Nagorno-Karabakh within Azerbaijan satisfied neither side and subsequently led to the eruption of war between Armenia-backed Nagorno-Karabakh and Azerbaijan.

Nagorno-Karabakh War, 1991

Ethnic groups of the region (CIA, 1995). (See entire map)
Map of the Republic of Artsakh in 1994-2020

The struggle over Nagorno-Karabakh escalated after both Armenia and Azerbaijan attained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. In the post-Soviet power vacuum, military action between Azerbaijan and Armenia was heavily influenced by the Russian military. Extensive Russian military support was exposed by the Head of the Standing Commission of the Russian Duma, General Lev Rokhlin, who was subsequently allegedly killed by his wife in unknown circumstances. He had claimed that munitions (worth one billion US dollars) had been illegally transferred to Armenia between 1992 and 1996.[105] According to Armenian news agency Noyan Tapan, Rokhlin openly lobbied for the interests of Azerbaijan.[106] According to The Washington Times, Western intelligence sources said that the weapons played a crucial role in Armenia's seizure of large areas of Azerbaijan. Other Western sources dispute that assessment, because Russia continued to provide military support to Azerbaijan, as well, throughout the military conflict.[107] Russian Minister of Defense Igor Rodionov in his letter to Aman Tuleyev, Minister of cooperation with CIS countries, said that a Defense Ministry commission had determined that a large quantity of Russian weapons, including 84 T-72 tanks and 50 armored personnel carriers, were illegally transferred to Armenia between 1994 and 96, after the ceasefire, for free and without authorization by the Russian government.[108] The Washington Times article suggested that Russia's military support for Armenia was aimed to force "pro-Western Azerbaijan and its strategic oil reserves into Russia's orbit".[109] Armenia has officially denied any such weapons delivery.[105]

Both sides used mercenaries. Mercenaries from Russia and other CIS countries fought on the Armenian side,[110] and some of them were killed or captured by the Azerbaijan army.[111] According to The Wall Street Journal, Azerbaijani President Heydər Əliyev recruited thousands of mujahedeen fighters from Afghanistan (and mercenaries from Iran and elsewhere) and brought in even more Turkish officers to organize his army.[112] The Washington Post discovered that Azerbaijan hired more than 1,000 guerrilla fighters from Afghanistan's radical prime minister, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar. Meanwhile, Turkey and Iran supplied trainers, and the republic also was aided by 200 Russian officers who taught basic tactics to Azerbaijani soldiers in the northwest city of Barda.[113] Chechen warlord Shamil Basayev, generally considered a notorious terrorist,[114] personally engaged Armenian forces in NKR. According to EurasiaNet, unidentified sources have stated that Arab guerrilla Ibn al-Khattab joined Basayev in Azerbaijan between 1992 and 1993, although that is dismissed by the Azerbaijani Ministry of Defense.[115] In addition, officers from the Russian 4th Army participated in combat missions for Azerbaijan on a mercenary basis.[116]

According to Human Rights Watch, "from the beginning of the Karabakh conflict, Armenia provided aid, weapons, and volunteers which were taken from Russia. In February 1992, 161 ethnic Azerbaijani civilians were murdered by ethnic Armenian armed forces in what is known as the Khojaly Massacre. Armenian involvement in Karabakh escalated after a December 1993 Azerbaijani offensive. The Republic of Armenia began sending conscripts and regular Army and Interior Ministry troops to fight in Karabakh. In January 1994, several active-duty Armenian Army soldiers were captured near the village of Chaply, Azerbaijan. To bolster the ranks of its army, the Armenian government resorted to press-gang raids to enlist recruits. Draft raids intensified in early spring, after Decree no. 129 was issued, instituting a three-month call-up for men up to age 45. Military police would seal off public areas, such as squares, and round up anyone who looked to be draft age".[117]

By the end of 1993, the conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh had caused thousands of casualties and created hundreds of thousands of refugees on both sides. In a national address in November 1993, Əliyev stated that 16,000 Azerbaijani troops had died and 22,000 had been injured in nearly six years of fighting. The UN estimated that just under 1 million Azerbaijani[118] refugees and internally displaced person were in Azerbaijan at the end of 1993. Mediation was attempted by officials from Russia, Kazakhstan, and Iran, among other countries, and by organizations, including the UN and the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe, which began sponsoring peace talks in mid-1992. All negotiations met with little success, and several cease-fires broke down. In mid-1993, Əliyev launched efforts to negotiate a solution directly with the Karabakh Armenians, a step which Elchibey had refused to take. Əliyev's efforts achieved several relatively long cease-fires in Nagorno-Karabakh, but outside the region Armenians occupied large sections of southwestern Azerbaijan near the Iranian border during offensives in August and October 1993. Iran and Turkey warned the Nagorno-Karabakh Armenians to cease the offensive operations that threatened to spill over into foreign territory. The Armenians responded by claiming that they were driving back Azerbaijani forces to protect Nagorno-Karabakh from shelling.

In 1993, the UN Security Council called for Armenian forces to cease their attacks on and occupation of a number of Azerbaijani regions. In September 1993, Turkey strengthened its forces along its border with Armenia and issued a warning to Armenia to withdraw its troops from Azerbaijan immediately and unconditionally. At the same time, Iran was conducting military maneuvers near the Nakhichevan Autonomous Republic in a move widely regarded as a warning to Armenia.[119] Iran proposed creation of a twenty-kilometer security zone along the Iranian-Azerbaijani border, where Azerbaijanis would be protected by Iranian firepower. Iran also contributed to the upkeep of camps in southwestern Azerbaijan to house and feed up to 200,000 Azerbaijanis fleeing the fighting.

Fighting continued into early 1994, with Azerbaijani forces reportedly winning some engagements and regaining some territory lost in previous months. In January 1994, Əliyev pledged that in the coming year occupied territory would be liberated and Azerbaijani refugees would return to their homes. At that point, Armenian forces held an estimated 14 percent of the area recognized as Azerbaijan, with Nagorno-Karabakh proper comprising 5 percent.[120]

However, during the first three months of 1994 the Nagorno-Karabakh Defense Army started a new offensive campaign and captured some areas thus creating a wider safety and buffer zone around Nagorno-Karabakh. By May 1994 the Armenians were in control of 20% of the territory of Azerbaijan. At that stage the Government of Azerbaijan for the first time during the conflict recognised Nagorno-Karabakh as a third party of the war and started direct negotiations with the Karabakhi authorities. As a result a cease-fire was reached on May 12, 1994, through Russian negotiation, which ended entirely with the outbreak of the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh war.

As a result of the war for Nagorno-Karabakh safety and independence, Azerbaijanis were driven out of Nagorno-Karabakh and territories adjacent to Nagorno-Karabakh. Those are still under control of the Nagorno-Karabakh Armenian military. With the support of Soviet/Russian military forces, Azerbaijanis forced out tens of thousand Armenians from Shahumyan region. Armenians remain in control of the Soviet-era autonomous region, and a strip of land called the Lachin corridor linking it with the Republic of Armenia; as well as the so-called 'security zone'—strips of territory along the region's borders that had been used by Azerbaijani artillery during the war. The Shahumyan region remains under the control of Azerbaijan.


Timeline of Artsakh history
Starting Date Sovereign State/Region Artsakh Proper
592 BC [121] Iran (Medes) Unknown (Urtekhini?)
549 BC Iran (Achaemenid dynasty)
321 BC
200 BC [122] Armenia (Artaxiad dynasty) Province of Artsakh [note 1]
53 BC [123] Iran (Arsacid dynasty) Armenia (Artaxiad dynasty)
36 BC  Rome
35 BC Armenia (Artaxiad dynasty)
33 BC  Rome Armenia (Artaxiad dynasty)
36 Iran (Arsacid dynasty)
47  Rome
51 [124] Iberia (Pharnavazid dynasty)
58 Armenia (Arsacid dynasty)
62 Iran (Arsacid dynasty)
63  Rome
64 Iran (Arsacid dynasty)
114 [125]  Rome Province of Armenia
118 Armenia (Arsacid dynasty)
252 Iran (Sassanian dynasty) Armenia (Arsacid dynasty)
287  Rome
363 Iran (Sassanian dynasty) Albania (Mihranid dynasty)
376 Armenia (Arsacid dynasty)
387 Iran (Sassanian dynasty) Albania (Mihranid dynasty)
654 Arab Caliphate Arminiya II — Albania (Mihranid dynasty),


850 Artsakh
884 Armenia (Bagratid dynasty) Artsakh
1045 Artsakh
1063 Seljuk Empire Artsakh
1092 Eldiguzids
1124 Georgia (Bagratid dynasty) Eldiguzids
1201 Armenia (Zakarid dynasty)
1214 [126][127]  Artsakh (Hasan-Jalalyan dynasty)
1236 Mongol Empire
1256 Ilkhanate
1261  Khachen (Hasan-Jalalyan dynasty)
1360 Karabakh
1337 Chobanids
1357 Jalayirids
1375 Kara Koyunlu
1387 Timurid Empire
1409 Kara Koyunlu
1468 Ak Koyunlu
1501  Iran (Safavid dynasty) Province of Karabakh Melikdoms of Karabakh (Khamsa) [note 2]
1583 Ottoman Empire
1603  Iran (Safavid dynasty)
1736  Iran (Afsharid dynasty)
1747 [127] Karabakh Khanate
1751  Iran (Zand dynasty)
1797 Iran (Qajar dynasty)
1805-05 [127][note 3]  Russia (Romanov dynasty)
1822 [127]
1846 Shemakha Governorate [note 4]
1868 [127] Elisabethpol Governorate
1917-11-11 Transcaucasian Commissariat
1918-04-22 Transcaucasia [note 5]
1918-05-28 [127] Armenian rebels
1918-06-04 [note 6]
1918-07-27 People's Government of Karabakh
1918-09  Ottoman Empire
1918-10-30 [note 7]  British Empire Mountainous Karabakh was placed under the jurisdiction of  Azerbaijan until the final delimitation agreement would be reached at the Paris Peace Conference.
1919-08-22 [note 8]
1919-08-23 [note 9]
1920-03-04 [note 10]  Azerbaijan
1920-04-13 [note 11]
1920-04-22 [note 12]
1920-04-28 [note 13]
1920-05-12 [127] Red Army  Azerbaijan SSR
1920-05-26 The final status of Mountainous Karabakh was still being debated.
1920-12-01 [note 14]
1921-07-04 [127][note 15]
1922-03-12  Azerbaijan SSR,

 Transcaucasian SFSR

1922-12-30 [127]  Soviet Union
1923-07-07 [127][note 16] Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast
1936-12-05  Azerbaijan SSR
1991 First Nagorno-Karabakh War
1991-04-30 [note 17]
1991-09-02 [note 18]
1991-11-26 [127][note 19]
1994-05-12 [note 20] De facto  Artsakh, de jure  Azerbaijan
2020-09-27 Second Nagorno-Karabakh War
2020-11-10[note 21]

Control over Nagorno-Karabakh is divided between  Azerbaijan and  Artsakh with Russian peacekeeping forces. Final status to be determined.[131]

  1. ^ The exact date of the establishment of the Province of Artsakh is not known, but it's believed to be sometime before 189 BC.
  2. ^ The Hasan-Jalalyan dynasty branches out sometime in the 16th century.
  3. ^ The Russian Empire occupies the lands, but they're formally annexed only in 1813 by the Treaty of Gulistan.
  4. ^ Shemakha Governorate was renamed to Baku Governorate in 1859.
  5. ^ The Transcaucasian Democratic Federal Republic was a multi-national entity established by Armenian, Azerbaijani and Georgian leaders.
  6. ^ Treaty of Batum
  7. ^ Armistice of Mudros
  8. ^ Seventh Assembly of Mountainous Karabakh
  9. ^ British withdrawal.
  10. ^ Eighth Assembly of Mountainous Karabakh
  11. ^ General Dro (Drastamat Kanayan) takes parts of Mountainous Karabakh on behalf of the Republic of Armenia.
  12. ^ Ninth Assembly of Mountainous Karabakh
  13. ^ Azerbaijan is invaded by the Red Army.
  14. ^  Azerbaijan SSR's revolutionary committee declares Mountainous Karabakh to be transferred to  Armenian SSR.
  15. ^ Kavbiuro decides to leave Mountainous-Karabakh within  Azerbaijan SSR.
  16. ^ Declared, and then implemented in November of 1924.
  17. ^ Operation Ring
  18. ^ The Armenians of the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast declare their independence.
  19. ^ Azerbaijan abolishes the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast.
  20. ^ Bishkek Protocol ceasefire.
  21. ^ 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh ceasefire agreement.


  1. ^ Journal of the Society for Armenian Studies: JSAS., Volume 8. University of Michigan, 1997, p 54.
  2. ^ Robert H. Hewsen, "Ethno-History and the Armenian Influence upon the Caucasian Albanians", in Thomas J. Samuelian, ed., Classical Armenian Culture: Influences and Creativity. Pennsylvania: Scholars Press, 1982. "What do we know of the native population of these regions — Arc'ax and Utik — prior to the Armenian conquest? Unfortunately, not very much. Greek, Roman, and Armenian authors together provide us with the names of several peoples living there, however — Utians, in Otene, Mycians, Caspians, Gargarians, Sakasenians, Gelians, Sodians, Lupenians, Balas[ak]anians, Parsians and Parrasians — and these names are sufficient to tell us that, whatever their origin, they were certainly not Armenian. Moreover, although certain Iranian peoples must have settled here during the long period of Persian and Median rule, most of the natives were not even Indo-Europeans."
  3. ^ Susan M. Sherwin-White, Amalie Kuhrt. From Samarkhand to Sardis: A New Approach to the Seleucid Empire, p. 16. "There are many problems over the boundaries of Seleucid Armenia, which have not be studied, but could be illuminated by the accounts of the expansion of the Armenian Kingdom beyond the limits of Armenia after Antiochus III's defeat by the Romans in 189. The frontiers on the south and south-west are roughly, the Seleucid satrapies of Seleucid Cappadocia, Mesopotamia and Syria, and of Commagene; in the north, Iberia in the Lower Caucasus, north of the river Araxes and Lake Sevan, and western Media Atropatene — roughly equivalent to modern Azerbaijan; in the north-west, separating Armenia from the Black Sea, were independent tribes"
  4. ^ George A. Bournoutian. A Concise History of the Armenian People: (from Ancient Times to the Present), p. 33. "After the death of Alexander, the Armenians maintained this stance towards the governors imposed by the Seleucids. The Yervandunis gained control of the Arax Valley, reached Lake Sevan, and constructed a new capital at Yervandashat."
  5. ^ Elisabeth Bauer-Manndorff. Armenia: Past and Present, p. 54. "Armenia Major, under the rule of the Ervantids consisted of the central area east of the upper Euphrates, around Lake Van and the Araxes as far as Lake Sevan."
  6. ^ Robert H. Hewsen, "Ethno-History and the Armenian Influence upon the Caucasian Albanians", in Thomas J. Samuelian, ed., Classical Armenian Culture: Influences and Creativity. Pennsylvania: Scholars Press, 1982. "From Strabo we learn that under King Artashes (188-ca. 161 B. C.), the Armenians expanded in all directions at the expense of their neighbors. Specifically we are told that at this time they acquired Caspiane and 'Phaunitis', the second of which can only be a copyist's error for Saunitis, i. e. the principality of Siwnik '.Thus, it was only under Artashes, in the second century B. C., that the Armenians conquered Siwnik' and Caspiane and, obviously, the lands of Arc'ax and Utik', which lay between them. These lands, we are told, were taken from the Medes. Mnac'akanyan's notion that these lands were already Armenian and were re-conquered by the Armenians at this time thus rests on no evidence at all and indeed contradicts what little we do know of Armenian expansion to the east."
  7. ^ Trever, Kamilla (1959). Очерки по истории и культуре Кавказской Албании IV в. до н. э.- VII в. н. э. [Essays on the History and Culture of Caucasian Albania, IV BC-VII AD.].
  8. ^ Новосельцев, А. П. "К вопросу о политической границе Армении и Кавказской Албании в античный период" [On the Political Border of Armenia and Caucasian Albania in Antique Period]. Кавказ и Византия [Caucasus and Byzantium] (1): 10–18.
  9. ^ Thomas J. Samuelian. "Armenian Origins: An Overview of Ancient and Modern Sources and Theories" (PDF).
  10. ^ Movses Khorenatsi. "History of Armenia". I.12, II.8.
  11. ^ Movses Kaghankatvatsi, "History of Aluank". I.4.
  12. ^ Movses Khorenatsi, "History of Armenia," I.12
  13. ^ Movses Kaghankatvatsi, "History of Aluank". I.15.
  14. ^ Strabo, "Geography", 11.14.4
  15. ^ Кавказ Мемо.Ру :: kavkaz-uzel.ru :: Армения, Нагорный Карабах | На территории Нагорного Карабаха обнаружены руины древнего армянского города
  16. ^ Историко-политические аспекты карабахского конфликта
  17. ^ Claudius Ptolemaeus. Geography, 5, 12
  18. ^ Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 6, 39
  19. ^ Paulys Realencyclopädie der classischen Altertumswissenschaft. Volume I. Stuttgart 1894". p. 1303
  20. ^ Nagorno Karabakh: History
  21. ^ Faustus of Byzantium, IV, 50; V,12
  22. ^ Elishe. History, 276–277
  23. ^ "Armenia". Encyclopædia Britannica. "A few native Armenian rulers survived for a time in the Kiurikian kingdom of Lori, the Siuniqian kingdom of Baghq or Kapan, and the principates of Khachen (Artzakh) and Sasun."
  24. ^ Abū-Dulaf Misʻar Ibn Muhalhil's Travels in Iran (circa A.D. 950) / Ed. and trans. by V. Minorsky. — Cairo University Press, 1955. — p. 74:"Khajin (Armenian Khachen) was an Armenian principality immediately south of Barda'a."
  25. ^ Howorth, Henry Hoyle (1876). History of the Mongols: From the 9th to the 19th Century Longmans, Green, and Co. p. 14
  26. ^ "Russian scholar V. Shnirelman: Khachen was a medieval Armenian feudal principality in the territory of modern Karabakh, which played a significant role in the political history of Armenia and the region in the 10th–16th centuries". В.А. Шнирельман, Албанский миф, 2006, Библиотека «Вeхи»
  27. ^ The New Encyclopædia Britannica by Robert MacHenry, Encyclopædia Britannica, inc, Robert MacHenry, (1993) p. 761
  28. ^ А. Л. Якобсон, Из истории армянского средневекового зодчества (Гандзасарский монастырь)
  29. ^ "Azerbaijan". Encyclopædia Britannica.
  30. ^ a b Olcott, M.; Malashenko, M. (1998). Традиционное землепользование кочевников исторического Карабаха и современный армяно-азербайджанский этнотерриториальный конфликт (Анатолий Ямсков) [The Traditional Land-use of the Nomads of Historical Karabakh and the Modern Armenian-Azerbaijani Ethno-territorial Conflict (by Anatoly N. Yamskov)]. Фактор этноконфессиональной самобытности в постсоветском обществе [The Factor of Ethno-confessional Identity in the Post-Soviet Society]. Московский Центр Карнеги (The Moscow Center of Carnegie). pp. 179–180. ISBN 0-87003-140-6. This seasonal coexistence in the mountains of historical Karabakh with a sedentary Armenian population and a nomadic Turkic one, as well as some Kurdish, completely assimilated by Azerbaijanis in the 19th–20th centuries, arose a long time ago, simultaneously with the great movement of nomadic pastoralists into the plains of Azerbaijan.

    Указанная ситуация сезонного сосуществования в горах исторического Карабаха оседлого армянского и кочевого тюркского населения, а также частично и курдского, полностью ассимилированного азербайджанцами в XIX—XX вв., возникла очень давно, одновременно с массовым проникновением кочевых скотоводов на равнины Азербайджана.

  31. ^ Yamskov, A. N. (June 22, 2014). "Ethnic Conflict in the Transcausasus: The Case of Nagorno-Karabakh". Theory and Society (published October 1991). 20 (5, Special Issue on Ethnic Conflict in the Soviet Union): 650 – via JSTOR. The Azeri conception of Karabakh as an inseparable part of Azerbaijan is based on other considerations than the oblast's ethnic composition. The Armenians have resided in Karabakh for a long time, and they represented an absolute majority of its population at the time that the autonomous oblast was formed. However, for centuries the entire high mountain zone of this region belonged to the nomadic Turkic herdsmen, from whom the Khans of Karabakh were descended. Traditionally, these direct ancestors of the Azeris of the Agdamskii raion (and of the other raions between the mountains of Karabakh and the Kura and Araks Rivers) lived in Karabakh for the four or five warm months of the year, and spent the winter in the Mil'sko-Karabakh plains. The descendants of this nomadic herding population therefore claim a historic right to Karabakh and consider it as much their native land as that of the settled agricultural population that lived there year-round.
  32. ^ Еремян, С. Т. (1961). "Армения накануне монгольского завоевания" [Armenia on the Eve of the Mongol Conquest]. Атлас Армянской ССР [The Atlas of Armenian SSR]. Yerevan. pp. 102–106.
  33. ^ (in Armenian) Ulubabyan, Bagrat. «Ղարաբաղ» [Gharabagh]. Armenian Soviet Encyclopedia. Yerevan: Armenian Academy of Sciences, 1981, vol. 7, p. 26.
  34. ^ Minorsky, Vladimir (1943). Tadhkirt Al-muluk. p. 174.
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  38. ^ a b c d Raffi. Melikdoms of Khamsa
  39. ^ Britannica:"In mountainous Karabakh a group of five Armenian maliks (princes) succeeded in conserving their autonomy and maintained a short period of independence (1722–30) during the struggle between Persia and Turkey at the beginning of the 18th century; despite the heroic resistance of the Armenian leader David Beg, the Turks occupied the region but were driven out by the Persians under the general Nādr Qolī Beg (from 1736–47, Nādir Shah) in 1735."
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