Armenian Travel Bureau

Inbound travel to the Republic of Armenia

Armenia History Setting Roots for Independence

Setting roots for Independence

The 15th century is marked by decline and decay. The great cultural achievements of the previous century and a half were never to be reproduced, as wave after wave of Turkmen tribes invaded the Armenian lands.

The struggle over Armenia and the Caucasus between the Persian Safavid dynasty, who invaded in the 16th century, and the Ottoman Turks, who had taken Constantinople in 1453 was resolved in 1514-1516, when the Ottomans took over most of Armenia.

In 1578 they overran the rest of the Caucasus but were driven from Azerbaijan, Tbilisi, Yerevan Nakhichevan and Karabakh by the Safavid Shah Abbas I (1587-1629). With the annexation of the Armenian plateau, the Armenians lost all vestige of an independent political life for the next 330 years. 1827-1828, the Ottoman Empire entered a period of decline.

Russia took Ottoman Armenia in 1916, reuniting the two lands for the first time since the 16th century. Thousands of Armenian immigrants from Turkish controlled Armenia poured into the newly freed East, many dying of starvation or drowning in rivers as they ran from charging Turkish soldiers, who were repelled by Russian troops at the border.

In November of 1917, the Russian Revolution broke out and The Russian forces began to withdraw from lands they occupied in Ottoman territory. On May 21, 1918 Turks invaded the Ararat valley occupying the village of Sardarapat. Sardarapat was the decisive battle of the struggle against the Turkish threat.

The victory at Sardarapat, followed by others at Bash-Aparan and Gharakilisa (May 24-28) led to independence on May 28, 1918, when the first Republic of Armenia was established, along with the Republics of Georgia and Azerbaijan.

The Republic was short-lived it collapsed in 1920. September 21, 1991, the population overwhelmingly voted in favor of independence in a national referendum, creating the second independent Armenian republic.

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