Azerbaijan is a country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. It is bounded by Caspian Sea to the east, Russia's Daghestan region to the north, Georgia to the north-west, Armenia and Turkey to the south-west, and Iran to the south. Azerbaijan is a home to various ethnicities, majority of which are Azerbaijani, a Turkic ethnic group which numbers close to 9 million in the independent Republic of Azerbaijan.
During Median and Persian rule, many Caucasian Albanians adopted Zoroastrianism and then switched to Christianity prior to coming of Muslim Arabs and more importantly Muslim Turks. The Turkic tribes are believed to have arrived as small bands of ghazis whose conquests led to the Turkification of the population as largely native Caucasian and Iranian tribes adopted the Turkic language of the Oghuz and converted to Islam over a period of several hundred years.
Following the Russo-Persian Wars of 1813 and 1828, the Qajar Empire was forced to cede all its Caucasian territories to the Russian Empire and the treaties of Gulistan in 1813 and Turkmenchay in 1828 finalized the borders between Czarist Russia and Qajar Iran. The area to the North of the river Aras, among which the territory of the contemporary republic of Azerbaijan were Iranian territory until they were occupied by Russia in the course of the 19th century. Under the Treaty of Turkmenchay, Qajar Iran recognized Russian sovereignty over the Erivan Khanate, the Nakhchivan Khanate and the remainder of the Lankaran Khanate, comprising the last parts of the soil of the modern-day Azerbaijani Republic that were still in Iranian hands.
After more than 80 years of being under the Russian Empire in the Caucasus, the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic was established in 1918. The name of "Azerbaijan" which the leading Musavat party adopted, for political reasons, was, prior to the establishment of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic in 1918, exclusively used to identify the adjacent region of contemporary northwestern Iran. The state was invaded by Soviet forces in 1920 and remained under Soviet rule until the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, after which the modern-day Republic got founded.
References[edit | edit source]
- Seyahatname by Evliya Çelebi (1611–1682)
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- Yilmaz, Harun (2015). National Identities in Soviet Historiography: The Rise of Nations Under Stalin. Routledge. p. 21. ISBN 978-1317596646. "On May 27, the Democratic Republic of Azerbaijan (DRA) was declared with Ottoman military support. The rulers of the DRA refused to identify themselves as [Transcaucasian] Tatar, which they rightfully considered to be a Russian colonial definition. (...) Neighboring Iran did not welcome did not welcome the DRA's adoptation of the name of "Azerbaijan" for the country because it could also refer to Iranian Azerbaijan and implied a territorial claim."
- Barthold, Vasily (1963). Sochineniya, vol II/1. Moscow. p. 706. ""(...) whenever it is necessary to choose a name that will encompass all regions of the republic of Azerbaijan, name Arran can be chosen. But the term Azerbaijan was chosen because when the Azerbaijan republic was created, it was assumed that this and the Persian Azerbaijan will be one entity, because the population of both has a big similarity. On this basis, the word Azerbaijan was chosen. Of course right now when the word Azerbaijan is used, it has two meanings as Persian Azerbaijan and as a republic, its confusing and a question rises as to which Azerbaijan is talked about.""
- Atabaki, Touraj (2000). Azerbaijan: Ethnicity and the Struggle for Power in Iran. I.B.Tauris. p. 25. ISBN 9781860645549.
- Dekmejian, R. Hrair; Simonian, Hovann H. (2003). Troubled Waters: The Geopolitics of the Caspian Region. I.B. Tauris. p. 60. ISBN 978-1860649226. https://books.google.nl/books?id=4_jdnke35AgC&dq=azerbaijan+name+used+1918&hl=nl&source=gbs_navlinks_s. "Until 1918, when the Musavat regime decided to name the newly independent state Azerbaijan, this designation had been used exclusively to identify the Iranian province of Azerbaijan."
- Rezvani, Babak (2014). Ethno-territorial conflict and coexistence in the caucasus, Central Asia and Fereydan: academisch proefschrift. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press. p. 356. ISBN 978-9048519286. ""The region to the north of the river Araxes was not called Azerbaijan prior to 1918, unlike the region in northwestern Iran that has been called since so long ago.""