Christian Church

Armenia and Armenians

Hayastan or Armenia lies between the highlands of Asia Minor and Iran, extending from 37 and 41 to 41 15' northern latitude and from 38 to 47 eastern longitude (Greenwich).

The Armenian plateau has an altitude of 700 2200 metres above sea-level and stands higher than the neighbouring countries.

The highest summit of historical Armenia is the biblical Ararat with an altitude of 5156 metres. Mount Sipan and Mount Aragatz have an altitude of 4434 and 4096 metres respectively.

The Armenian plateau is rich in lakes. Sevan is one of the largest high-mountain lakes in the world. It stands at an altitude of 1916 metres.

The climate of Armenia is continental; hot in summer and cold in vinter. The average annual rainfall is 300 500 millimetres.

Archeological excavations have revealed that the Armenian plateau has been one of the earliest cradles of civilization.

Even in the middle of the second millenium . C., there existed the Hayassa racial unification in the Armenian highland which later on became the main element in the formation of the Armenian people.

The state of Urartu was founded at the beginning of the first millenium B.C. in the Armenian highland (880 585) which was called Ararat by its contemporary neighbours.

After the fall of the Urartian state, the native tribes, including the racial unifications of Armens and Nairi, were unified and joined in the Hayassa racial unification.

Thus was the Armenian nation formed and the Armenian state the Yervandouni dynasty was founded which developed on the territory of former Urartu and included most of the Armenian highland.

This newly formed nation was called "Hai" after the name of the Hayassa tribe and the country was called "Hayastan". The neighbouring peoples called the Armenians "Armen" and their country "Armenia" (after the Armens).

During the second and first centuries B.C., under the reign of Artashes I (189160 B.C.), the Artashessian Kingdom was established in in the Armenian highland, which reached its highest power in the days of Tigran II (9555 B.C.) and played an important part in the Middle East.

This Kingdom was called "Great Haik".

The Arshakounies inherited the Artashessian kingdom and ruled in "Great Haik" from 63 - 428 A.D.

In 301 A.D. Christianity was proclaimed state religion in Armenia.

Later on Armenia fell under the domination of Sassanide Persia, Byzantium and the Arab Caliphate (429885). However it regained Its independence under the dynasty of the Bakratounies (885 -1045), with Ani as its capital.

Under the Bakratounies Armenia prospered both economically and culturally.

However the Armenians could not maintain their independence in their own country and the dynasty of Bakratounies fell. Then they established the Rubenian Armenian dynasty in Cilicia (10801375).

With the fall of the Cilician dynasty, the Armenians lost their political independence.

The grimmest period for the Armenian people began in the middle of the XIII century with the invasion of the Mongols and Tatars. The majority of the people migrated from their fatherland and established colonies in Constantinople, the Crimea, Poland, Moldavia and Transylvania. By the end of the XV century the invasion of Armenia by the Ottoman Turks started.

In 1639 Armenia was divided between Sefevide Persia and Ottoman Turkey.

During the following three centuries, the Armenian people waged a bloody and heroic struggle to liberate Armenia from the Turco-Persian yoke.

In 1828, by the treaty of Turkmencha'f, and in 1829, by the treaty of Adrlanapolis, the north-eastern part of Armenia was annexed to Tsarist Russia. The greater part of the land, however, remained under Turkish domination and a great part of it under the domination of Iran.

The Ottoman yoke was the heavier and became most disastrous.

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