Armenia in History
By „Armenia“ one implies
the area where the Armenian people was shaped as a nation, lived
and made its history. Greek historians called this country Armenia
about 3000 years ago.
year of 1993 was the 4100th anniversary of the Armenian statehood.
According to the History of the Armenians by Movses
Khorenatsi in 2107 B.C. the legendary archer Haik defeated
the army of the Assyrian king Belus and established the first Armenian
kingdom. In 1824 B.C. the Armenian princedoms united and came under
one authority thus giving birth to the geographic and political
concept of Armenia.
first indications of Armenia can be traces in Sumerian cuneiform
inscriptions dating back to 3rd millennium B.C., and the Hittites
testify the existence of a country called Hayasa which is believed
to be the cradle of Armenians. According to Assiro-Babylonian cuneiform
inscriptions (13rd – 7rd cc. B.C.) Armenia was also called
Nairi (country of rivers). That legendary country consisted of kingdoms
of over 60 tribes and included hundreds of towns. The Armenian kingdom
is called Ararat kingdom in the Bible.
Check also these Armenia
related links below
Archeological excavations have revealed a unique and
highly developed civilization in the kingdom of Urartu (Ararat).
One proof of that civilization is the town-fortress of Erebuni founded
in 782 B.C. on the territory of Armenia’s present capital
city of Yerevan (Read
more about Yerevan here
the fall of Urartu again an Armenian kingdom emerges in the region.
The Armenians are the descendants of a branch of Indo-Europeans.
According to Strabo, a Greek geographer and historian, the Armenians
living in the Armenian Highland spoke one language: Armenian.
In the Hellenistic period, with the strengthening
of ties and relations between countries and peoples, and international
trade becoming more active, Armenia began to trade with neighboring
and faraway countries and acting as a transit route. The Hellenic
influence was notable also in social and economic sphere, the Greek
language being the literary, commercial and legal medium of communication
in the entire region. Many Armenian towns were founded during this
period. The countries ancient capital Artashat
(founded in 166 B.C.) was on a main road that bridged the Black
Sea ports with India and Central Asia. Plutarchos calls Artashat
the Armenian Cartagena and mentions that Euripides’s
Bacchae was performed in Artashat in 53 B.C.
first century B.C. is considered as Armenia’s Golden Age with
its flourishing towns, arts and literature. Being in the crossroads
of East and West Armenia was always a linking bridge in the region.
One of the routes of the famous Silk Road crossed Armenia. This
favorable geographical position adversely made Armenia an apple
of discord between competing powers. Under such cruel historical
conditions the Armenian people suffered innumerable tribulations
but also became stronger in spirit. Armenians acquired such traits
of national character as bravery, perseverance, and succeeded through
hard work and creative effort in giving birth to magnificent masterpieces
A very difficult period for Armenia was the first
century A.D. The destructive policies of successive Parthian rulers
lead the country to decline. Beginning from the second half of the
first century Rome exhausted its influence in Armenia and stronger
became the neighboring Parthian state. At that time founded was
the Armenian Arshakouni dynasty which ruled until 4th century.
a long struggle against Rome the Armenian king Trdat 1st was crowned
by Nero in 66 A.D. and a period of revival started in Armenia. Many
fortresses and towns were founded or rebuilt, and a notable advance
was made both in arts and science. One of the newly emerged cities
was Vagharshapat which later was became the cradle of Christianity
According to historians already in 33 A.D. the Armenian
king Abgar Arshakouni adopted Christianity which was after his death
rejected by his court.
In 301 Armenia adopted Christianity thus becoming
the first country in the world to proclaim it state religion. For
comparison, Christianity was legalized in the Roman Empire in 313
by the Edict of Milan.
The invention of the Armenian alphabet in 405 by St.
Mesrop Mashtots seems to be a landmark in the millennial history
of the Armenian people that resulted in a powerful cultural bang.
In 449 a rebellion to liberate the country divided
between Byzantine and Sasanid Persia burst out. Through great heroism
and heavy losses the 66.000 strong Armenian troops were able to
resist about 220.000 Persians in the battle of Avarair in 451. Afterwards
the Armenians succeeded in further weakening the Persian state in
In the 7th century Sasanid Persia collapsed under
the invasions of the Arabs. Armenia this time fell under the yoke
of the Arab Caliphate. A lengthy national liberation movement ended
with the victory of Armenians and in 859 Ashot Bagratouni of the
Bagratouni dynasty was recognized Prince of Pinces, and in 885 he
granted the title of the Armenian king by the Caliph.
Beginning from mid-9th century a notable rise in the
country’s economic, spiritual, cultural and political life
was marked. Fortress Ani, known from the 5th century,
becomes the nation’s capital in 961. Ani was known as a town
of „thousand and one churches“. It
had mighty ramparts, gardens and suburbs.
In the 11th century the Armenian kingdom weakens due
to both inner instability and under the influence of exterior forces,
and Seljuk turks that had already appeared on the historical scene
in the 11th century invaded Northern Armenia in 1064.
While Armenia proper lost sovereignty, on the southern
costs of the Mediterranean rose another Armenian kingdom –
Cilicia – and it lasted for about 300 years (1080-1375).
Armenians first set foot in Cilicia in 96-95 B.C.
and in the course of time they spread along the Mediterranean costs.
The Armenian princedom of Cilicia grew so rapidly and became so
powerful that in 1198, with the consent of Byzantium and the crusaders,
it was recognized as a sovereign kingdom.
During the 300 years of existence the Cilician kingdom
was seldom lucky to enjoy peaceful days. Beginning from the 20s
of the 14th century, the Armenians of Cilicia had to fight for their
independence against Egyptian Mameluks and the Sultanate of Iconia.
Yet, the Cilician kingdom left a rich cultural heritage achieving
heights in arts and sciences, namely, architecture, literature,
manuscript illumination, etc.
After the fall of the Tatar Empire invasions into
Armenia by different plunderers did not cease. The troops of Lenk
Timur (Tamerlane, 1386) and the Persian Shah Abbas the Great (1604)
invaded Armenia devastating the country. After a lengthy struggle
Western Armenia passes in 1639 to Turkey, and Eastern Armenia to
Persia. This situation lasted until the 20s of the 19th century.
Armenian-Russian relationship starts from 10-13th
centuries. Starting from mid of the 17th century the key issue in
the political relations with Russia was the liberation of Armenia
from Turkish and Persian tyranny. In 1804 war broke out between
Russia and Persia, and in 1813 a number of historically Armenian
districts (marzes) were joined to Russia by the Giulistan Accord.
In 1828 the Turkmencha Accord came to finally unify
Eastern Armenia with Russia, and in the result of the 1877-1878
Russo-Turkish war the Western Armenian marz of Kars was unified
with Russia as well.
Starting from the end of the XIX century the Ottoman
government planned and carried out massacres of Armenians. The reflections
of heroic resistance in Sassoun, Zeitoun, Van and elsewhere still
fresh, in 1915 the Turkish government carried out the Genocide of
the Armenian nation to which around 1.5 Armenians fell victims.
The survivors were scattered all over the world, and a part of them
found refuge in the Eastern Armenia.
On may 28, 1918, Armenia was declared independent
In 1920 Armenian Soviet Socialist Republic was established.
In 1991 Armenia regained independent statehood.
The Armenian Alphabet
One of the most important events in the history of
Armenia happened in 405 AD, when the new Armenian alphabet was created.
Before that, for about 16 hundred years, various forms of cuneiforms
had been used in Armenia. After the adoption of Christianity as
the state religion of Armenia in 301 AD, the Church regarded the
old systems of writing as inappropriate for religious use. An attempt
was made to use the Greek and Syriac languages as the official languages
of the Church and the state, but this was rejected after several
decades, mainly because the ordinary people did not understand those
languages, which made the spread of the new religion more difficult,
and also because of the resistance of the nationalistically minded
aristocracy and bureaucracy.
At the end of the IV century there were several attempts to adjust
the old systems of writing to the needs of the Church, but they
all failed, because the proposed versions did not reflect correctly
the phonetic system of the language. In the nineties of the century
king Vramshapuh asked a high-ranking official in his chancellery
and a prominent scholar Mesrop Mashtots to make another attempt.
Mesrop Mashtots travelled to Alexandria, then the biggest cultural
and scientific centre of the world, and studied there various principles
of writing. He came to the conclusion that the Greek alphabet was
the most advanced one of that time since it had one letter for each
sound and was easy to memorise and to use. So he created an alphabet
which followed the principle of 'one letter for one sound' and was
written from left to right and had capital letters, unlike all other
languages of Eastern Anatolia and the Middle East, which were mostly
written from right to left and had no capitals.
In 405 Mesrop Mashtots returned to Armenia, bringing with him the
36 new letters of the Armenian alphabet. The same year the Bible
was translated anew and re-written in the new alphabet. The Armenian
translation of the Bible, which contains more words than the Hebrew
and Greek originals, was so perfect that it soon came to be known
as the 'Queen of Translations'. The new alphabet stimulated an unprecedented
boom in literature, and the V century was later called the 'Golden
Age of Armenian Literature'.
The alphabet created by Mesrop Mashtots was so perfect that it has
not been changed or reformed since 405 AD. The letters used today
look exactly as Mesrop Mashtots created them. The Armenian alphabet
played an enormous role in the preserving of the national and cultural
identity of the Armenian people, and enjoys a very special love
and respect. For the creation of the alphabet Mesrop Mashtots was
later canonised by the Armenian Apostolic Church.
Economy of Armenia
Economy of Armenia-overview: Under
the old Soviet central planning system, Armenia had developed a
modern industrial sector, supplying machine tools, textiles, and
other manufactured goods to sister republics in exchange for raw
materials and energy.
Since the implosion of the USSR in December 1991,
Armenia has switched to small-scale agriculture away from the large
agro industrial complexes of the Soviet area. The agricultural sector
has long-term needs for more investment and updated technology.
The privatization of industry has been at a slower pace, but has
been given renewed emphasis by the current administration.
Armenia is a food importer, and its mineral deposits
(gold, bauxite) are small. The ongoing conflict with Azerbaijan
over the ethnic Armenian-dominated region of Nagorno-Karabakh and
the breakup of the centrally directed economic system of the former
Soviet Union contributed to a severe economic decline in the early
By 1994, however, the Armenian Government had launched
an ambitious IMF-sponsored economic program that has resulted in
positive growth rates in 1995-98. Armenia also managed to slash
inflation and to privatize most small- and medium-sized enterprises.
The chronic energy shortages Armenia suffered in recent
years have been largely offset by the energy supplied by one of
its nuclear power plants at Metsamor. The Russian financial crisis
generated concerns about Armenia's economic performance in 1998.
Although inflation dropped to 10% and GDP grew about 6%, the industrial
sector remained moribund.
In order to be able to view Armenian language Internet
pages you would need to install Armenian fonts. Please click here
for getting Armenian
Fonts and install them following the instructions below:
- Download and unzip the file with WinZip or WinRAR.
- Open Control Panel (Start>Settings>Control Panel)
- Open Fonts folder.
- File>Install New Font
- Choose directory, where you unzipped the ArmenianFonts.rar
- Many Armenian fonts should appear in the window of the dialog
- Select any of the fonts or all of them and press OK
- The font or fonts should be installed.
Now you are ready for viewing web-pages in Armenian
If you would like also to type Armenian, create documents
in the Armenian language, you would need to install and run KDWin95,
a program that works in Windows (95, 98, 2000, NT, XP) environment.
Please follow the instructions below how to download, install and
- Download KDWin95.zip in your computer and unzip
with WinZip or WinRAR.
- In the folder of KDWin95 find the application
file Setup.exe and run it. This application will
install KDWin95 in your computer.
- To start to type Armenian change the set language from US (the
default language is US) to Armenian by pressing Alt+Shift, choose
an installed Armenian font from the list of the fonts in your
text editor and start typing Armenian.
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