Armenian history comes from the early cradle of development of all nations. Belonging one of the oldest nations of the world, there are quite a lot of fascinating facts about Armenian history and its culture. Here are some of them, which, we find, are worth knowing.
Armenia is such an ancient country that it’s almost impossible to go through all history even in a book.
It will take collections of books. This question “Tell us about your country” faces every Armenian somehow in their lives.
To be honest, it’s kind of a torture, just because they don’t even know where to start from.
But, Armenians found a solution for that too. The whole history is too big and long, but still in case of a good will we can dig in and find some of the most important highlights.
So, Armenians usually will tell you about some important historical stages, not the whole history itself.
In the piece, we went through the timeline of the Armenian history and marked the breakthrough highlights of it, for you get a basic understanding. Let’s discover one of the oldest civilizations!
Armenian History Highlight #1: Battle of Hayk and Bell
Did you know that Armenians call themselves Hay, and their motherland Hayastan? Hayastan is translated as the land of Hayk. The reason is because Armenians consider their legendary patriarch and founder of all Armenians was Hayk Nahapet.
The legend of Hayk Nahapet has been written and preserved till our days thanks to ancient Armenian Historian Moses of Chrone. This fearless warrior was described to be as a very handsome, smart and friendly man on the contrary to his rival arrogant Titanid Bell, who has named him as the king of all.
Hayk couldn’t bear being under the domination of someone else and called him for a battle. During the battle, Hayk killed Bell with a long bow. This battle is accepted to call “The Battle of Giants”. Afterwards Hayk established his own land near the region of Mount Ararat and called it Hayk, which is remained Hayastan nowadays.
Armenian History Highlight #2: Armenia – One of the Oldest Countries on Earth
Armenian history starts from an earliest period, when lots of countries existing in our days didn’t even exist. Armenia was first mentioned in the Behistun inscription by Persian King Dareh III 520 BC.
Armenia together with Iran, China, Greece, Egypt and Japan, belongs to those countries that passed hundreds of centuries and survived till our days. Ancient Greek historians of 5th century BC, like Herodotus and Xenopon, also mentioned Armenia in their works. They stated about already formed Armenian culture.
Armenian History Highlight #3: Armenia is the First Christian Country
This might be the most important fact you should know about Armenian history: Armenia is the first country to adopt Christianity as a State Religion. Christian religion spread in Armenia soon after Jesus’s death.
The devoted apostles St. Thaddeus and St. Bartholomew did their best to spread Christianity in Armenia. Their efforts were not in vain. In 301 Armenian King Tiridates III established Christianity as a State religion. The name of Armenian Apostolic Church comes from the apostles who spread Christianity in Armenia.
Armenian History Highlight #4: Yerevan is one of the oldest Cities of the world
The capital of Armenia, present-day Yerevan belongs to the oldest cities of the world, which is situated on the north-western side of Ararat valley.
Erivan (the ancient name of Yerevan) is founded by the Urartian King Argishti I in 782 BC.
Armenian History Highlight #5: The Creation of Armenian Alphabet
The creation of Armenian alphabet was a revolutionary event for Armenian History. Thanks to this event Armenia preserved its culture till our days. Armenian Alphabet was created by Armenian linguist and ecclesiastical leader Mesrop Mashtots.
The alphabet originally included 36 letters. Now the number of letters is 39, the last 3 of which are derived from foreign alphabets. Not once has Armenian Alphabet been the object of research. Lots of scientists from various countries have claimed it to be one of the perfect alphabets existing in the world.
Armenian History Highlight #6: Mount Ararat is So Important to Armenians.
While being in Armenia, don’t be surprised to meet the image of Mount Ararat everywhere. According to the Holy Bible, Noah rested with his ark on this Mount. That’s the reason why Ararat is the holy mountain of Armenia.
Unfortunately, Ararat is not in the borders of Armenia today. According to the treaty of Kars, signed in 1921, Turkey obtained the huge territory of Armenia including Mount Ararat. Armenian side has never recognized this treaty.
Armenian History Highlight #7: Areni 1at Shoe in the World
Archeological researches held in 2007, brought to a booming discovery for Armenian History. During the archeological researches the 5500- year-old leather footwear was discovered. This once again states that already in this early period Armenians had a developed culture.
This blown leather well preserved footwear is considered the oldest shoe in the world. This fact drove the whole world go mad. All social media was discussing this event, as it was a historical discovery for not only Armenia, but also for the whole world.
Scientists claim it to be a woman’s shoe, which was deliberately buried in the cave during a mysterious ritual.
Armenian History Highlight #8: Battle of Sevan
This legendary battle brought a turning point to Armenian history. The battle was held between Armenian and Arab forces in 921, in extremely unfair conditions. The number of Armenian soldiers was too little.
During the battle, Armenian forces together with King Ashot Erkat were on the island situated in Lake Sevan. Thanks to the brilliant tactics of the Armenian king, they won the battle. Using weather conditions in favor of them, Armenians attacked Arab Army in the morning when the sun was rising.
The sun was behind Armenian forces and was blinding Arab forces, so they weren’t able to fight. Thanks to this epic win Armenian king Ashot Erkat cleared the central and northern part of the city from foreign invaders.
Armenian History Highlight #9: Treaty of Gulistan
Armenian history is full of episodes where Armenia had been under the rule of different empires. This fact reflected on Armenian culture, mentality and traditions a lot. Due to different treaties, Armenia has been under the rule of Persian Empire, Byzantine Empire, Ottoman Empire and Russian Empire.
One of the most memorable of those was the treaty of Gulsutan. The treaty of Gulistan portioned Armenia once again, this time between Persian and Russian Empires. According to the treaty Armenia remained under the Rule of Persian Empire and Karabakh became the part of Russia.
Armenian History Highlight #10: Armenian Genocide
The most tragic page of Armenian history: Armenian genocide, or as it accepted to also call, Armenian Holocaust belongs to one of the greatest mass murders against humanity, held by Ottoman Empire.
In 1915 the leaders of Ottoman Empire started fulfilling their aim of expelling and motioning all Armenian citizens living in Ottoman Empire. On April 24, 1915 hundreds of Armenian intellectuals were arrested and executed.
After that followed mass murder of 1.5 million innocent Armenians who were forcefully set out of their homes and sent to death marches to Der ez-Zhor dessert, where they were killed.
Armenian History Highlight #11: Armenia Declares Its Long-Awaited Independence
The First Armenian Republic was declared on May 28, 1918. According to this declaration Armenia was becoming free and independent republic.
Though the independence of Armenia barely lasted 2 years, it was an essential historical fact, as due to this declaration Armenia demonstrated its sovereignty, which was lacking in Armenia for several hundred years. After those two years, Armenia forcefully joined Soviet Union.
In 1991, after the collapse of Soviet Union, Armenia again declared independence on September 21.
Armenian History Highlight #12: Nagorno-Karabakh War
The conflict and war of Nagorno-Karabakh is the modern page of Armenian history. This ethnic conflict between Armenian SSR and Azerbaijan SSR started in late 1980s.
After the collapse of Soviet, this conflict resulted to a war between newly independent states of Armenia and Azerbaijan. The whole idea of Nagorno-Karabakh war was the Liberation of Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) with the help of Armenia.
The treaty of ceasefire was signed by two sides in 1994, the situation sometimes gets heated on the Nagorno-Karabakh border between these two sides.
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