Historical OverviewКраткий исторический экскурсGeschichte

Armenia is an ancient country with a very interesting and rich history. The first signs of population in this country are discovered on the hills of Mount Artin and belong to the Paleolithic times. During the Neolithic times, agriculture develops on the territory of modern Armenia, and starting from the Eneolithic times – cattle breeding and metallurgy, barter emerges. In the 9th century B.C., the people of the Armenian plateau unite into a single state, ruled by the king of Urartu super-state. According to the theories of origination of the Armenian nation specifically, proto-Armenians constituted a significant part of Urartu’s population, and after its collapse became the main ethnic element.

The first mentioning of a country named “Armenia” is found among the countries captured by Persian King Darius (522-486 B.C.). Two centuries later, Persian domination changed to a short period of submission to Alexander the Macedonian. After his death, the originated 3 states – Little Armenia, Sophena, and Big Armenia – acquired independence. In 189 BC  the main lands of Armenia were united with the neighboring lands having Armenian-speaking population into the Big, or Great Armenia. 

The first four centuries of the new era became a period of Armenia’s gradual loss of independence and division of the kingdom between the Roman Empire and the Parthian Kingdom. In 301 Armenia became the first country in the world to adopt Christianity as an official religion. 

2000 year old Tree in Karabagh
Ruins of Zvartnots Cathedral
Stone Carvings at Holy See Mother Echmiadzin

During the following two centuries, being split between Byzantium and Persia, the Armenian people firmly strived for preserving their culture. Creation of the Armenian alphabet in the 5th century by an Ejmiadzin monk Mesrop Mashtots became a great contribution. In the last years of the 7th century, Armenia was conquered by successors of Prophet Mohammed. Those years became years of repressions for Armenians.

In the second half of the 9th century, the reign of Armenia was taken up by Prince Ashot, whose kingdom is considered an age of prosperity. However, by the second half of the 11th century, Armenia was again divided between the Muslim East and the Christian West. During four centuries conquerors under the command of Batu Khan and then Timur, kept devastating the towns and killing the people of Armenia. In the 15th- 16th centuries Osmanian Turks and new Persian conquerors came in their place. Armenia’s attempts to become free from the foreign domination were supported by Russia, whose goal was recovery of the Armenian independence. Positive results were achieved in the beginning of the 19th century. The Eastern part of Armenia passed to Russia, and the Western part – to the Osmanian Empire, later Turkey.

"Casting Shadows"
"Zorats Karer" Armenian Stonehenge
Gandzasar Monastery

With the victory of the socialist revolution of November 2, 1917, “Declaration of the people of Russia” was adopted. On May 26, 1918, after self-dismissal of the Transcaucasian Seym which declared about the separation of Transcaucasus from Soviet Russia, Armenia became independent, and on May 28 the National Council announced the Republic of Armenia. Half a year later, disputes with Azerbaijan flared up, and in March 1920 Armenian-Azeri was began. As a result, the ruling power in the country passed to the revolutionary committee. At the negotiations between Armenia and Azerbaijan headed by Stalin, borders of these republics were set.

From March 12, 1922, Armenia was included in the Transcaucasian Federation, and from December 5, 1936 became part of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.  

Since September 21, 1991, the Republic Armenia is a sovereign democratic, social and legal state headed by a president. Authority is exercised in accordance with the Constitution adopted on July 5, 1995 during the National referendum.