Armenian diaspora is a very huge, significant and, of course, a very powerful phenomenon. There is even a fun fact: there are more Armenians living outside Armenia then in Armenia, about 5 million Armenians in Armenian diaspora in the world (the USA, Canada, France, Australia, Russia and many more big or small countries) and only around 3 million in Armenia.
Armenian diaspora, throughout the history, has been formed by the Armenian communities in the world’s different parts.
But, nowadays, Armenian diaspora is largely a result of the Armenian Genocide when millions of Armenians were either killed or forced to flee their homes in Western Armenia (territory of Turkey then) because of systematic exterminations policies by the Turkish government.
Presently, there are various, both large and small, Armenian communities in the world. All of them are different and have something common at the same time. All the Armenians or their ancestors, forming the nowadays huge diaspora, have been forced to leave their homes and fight for their life in a totally new and different country and community.
Largest Armenian Diaspora Communities in the World
Armenian Diaspora in the USA
The Armenian community of the USA is the second largest community of Armenian Diaspora, totaling to around 500,000 people, as of 2011. These numbers are widely criticized, suggesting there are 800,000 to 1,5 million Armenians, living in the US.
The largest center of the Armenians’ American community is Greater Los Angeles Area, particularly the city of Glendale, where the majority of the population is Armenian. Other large centers are New York, Chicago, Boston, San Francisco and several others.
Armenians of Canada
The number of Armenians, living in Canada, is not so big but still, there are about 50,500 Armenians, living in Canada. The unofficial data suggests their number equals to 100,000.
The center of the Armenian Canadian community is the Greater Montreal Area. This is partially because there is the largest number of Armenians and partially because there are two Armenian Apostolic churches there. Other huge centers include Toronto and Vancouver.
How was the Armenian diaspora formed in the USA and Canada?
Armenians’ first rush to the North America took place during the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century. This was because of the Hamidian massacres and the Armenian Genocide by the Ottoman Turks.
Later on, large numbers of Armenians from the Middle East fled to the US and Canada, because of the very unstable situation in their countries. The other large migration group came when the Soviet Union collapsed. These were the main factors and reasons for the formation of the Armenian communities in The USA and Canada.
In recent years, as a result of the Syrian conflict, large numbers of Syrian of Armenian decent refugees move to the North American countries with hopes for a better future.
As we talked about the unity of the community, it is important to mention that the Armenian community of the United States of America is the most politically influenced community of the Armenian Diaspora.
Effrots by Organizations of Armenian Diasporas in the US
There are such organizations, as the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) and Armenian Assembly of America that spare no efforts to advocate for the recognition of the Armenian Genocide by the US Government. They also try to create stronger US-Armenian ties.
The Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU) financially supports and promotes the Armenian culture in the US, as well as supports the Armenian language schools.
As we can see, this community was formed owing to some tragedies, and people, who have formed these communities, were united with mutual cause which differentiates them from other Armenian diaspora communities in the world.
Armenian Diaspora in the Russian Federation
The largest community of the Armenian diaspora is in the Russian Federation. According to official calculations, there are about 1,1 million Armenians, living in Russia. According to unofficial data, the number is around 1,5-2 million.
Largest centers of Armenian diaspora have become the capital city, Moscow, as well as Krasnodar, Stavropol and Rostov regions.
How this community was formed
Armenians and Russians have always been connected with more or less similar histories: Armenia has been part of Russian Empire, it has been part of the Soviet Union and, today, the economic and political ties of the Russian Federation and Armenia are deep and comprehensive.
Nowadays, Russia is the top destination for Armenians who leave Armenia and go there to work. This is the so-called “khopan” for Armenians (“Khopan” literally is translated as ragged land but, now, it has the meaning of a place which is usually in Russia, where the father of the family goes to make money and send it back to his family).
Because the community has been formed as a result of poor social conditions of Armenia, people, living in Russia, are not really united by a mutual cause (this can be seen in the community of the USA, in contrast). Of course, we are not overgeneralizing but the community in the Russian Federation is very different from that of other countries, also because there are usually first generation migrants and they still hold the customs and traditions of the life in Armenia.
Other Communities of the Armenian Diaspora in the World
Armenian Diaspora in France
Officially, there are about 500,000 Armenians, living in France (unofficially, the number reaches up to 750,000). The largest centers of French-Armenian communities are Paris, Lyon and Marseille.
Armenians moved to France, again, due to the same reasons: mainly the Armenian Genocide of the early 20th century, later on, due to the collapse of the USSR. Nowadays, more and more Armenians migrate to France, hoping to find better living for themselves and their families.
Armenian Diaspora in Australia
Australian-Armenian community is among the largest ones in the English speaking world. Even though this community is very young, it has been very successful and outstanding.
Australians of Armenian heritage are about 16,000 in Australia, majority of them mainly concentrated in Sydney. Other centers include Melbourne, Ryde and Warringah.
Actually, the background of Armenians in Australia is very diverse. According to the official statistics, the members of Armenian community were born in up to 43 different countries. Armenians in Australia are usually recognized for their success in business, politics, finance and law.
Repat Armenia – Organization for Armenian Diaspora
Armenians not only migrate to other countries, but also repatriate to their homeland. So, there is a foundation, called “Repat Armenia” which promotes repatriation to Armenia and works very hard to take it to a new level.
The foundation of “Repat Armenia” was established in 2012, with the mission to inform, initiate and promote the repatriation of high-impact Armenian individuals and families back to Armenia, in order to secure a better and brighter future for Armenia.
Repat Armenia tries to promote repatriation by providing assistance and help to repatriates. Repat Armenia Foundation helps them integrate into the Armenian society, as well as work closely with the government of Armenia to influence policies which makes the environment in Armenia more pro-repatriate.
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