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Armenia is one of the oldest countries in the world with a recorded history of about 3500 years. Long before Jesus Christ the Armenians were famous for well-known “tsars”, military leaders and commanders, writers and poets, actors, playwrights and philosophers… The oldest known ancestors of modern Armenians, the Hayasa-Azzi tribes, also known as Proto-Armenians, were indigenous to the Armenian Highland in Eastern Anatolia. These tribes formed the Nairi tribal union, which existed until late 13th century BC. The legendary forefather of Armenians, Hayk, famous for his battles with Babylonian ruler Bel, most likely was one of the Hayasa tribal leaders. The words ‘Nairi’ and ‘Nairian’ are still used by Armenians as poetic synonyms of the words ‘Armenia’ and ‘Armenian’.

According to the legend the Armenians appeared in front of the God to get the share of the ground, and the latter turned out to be already given out. In fact, they got only stones and that is why one of the titles of Armenia sounds as “Karastan”, which, if translated, means “Country of stones”. Armenians call themselves “hayer” and their country – “Hayastan”.

At the end of the second millennium BC, another Indo-European ethnic group, closely related to Thracians and Phrygians and referred to by the Greeks as Armens, migrated to the Armenian Highland from Northern Balkans. According to a Greek myth, which actually reflects this tribal migration, the forefather of Armenians – Armenios – was one of the Argonauts, accompanying Jason in his quest for the Golden Fleece. In the year 1115 BC, king Tiglath Pileser I of Assyria reports a battle with a force of 20.000 Armens in the Gadmokh province of Assyria.

The mixture of Armens with the indigenous Hayasa eventually produced the Armenian people as it is known today. The existence of two major segments in the Armenian people is best of all illustrated by the fact that Armenians call themselves “Hay” and their country “Hayastan” after Hayasa, while other peoples call them Armenians and their country Armenia after the Armens. The Armenian language is basically the language of Armens, which is the only survivor of the now extinct Thraco-Phrygian group. It incorporated a large number of Hayasa words and grammatical features, as well as a significant number of non-Indo-European words from minor ethnic groups, which also took part in the ethnogenesis of Armenians.

The first significant state of the Armenian Highland was the highly advanced Kingdom of Ararat (with the capital in Tushpa, today’s Van), better known under its Assyrian name Urartu (Ararat). This state was formed in the XI century BC and existed until VII century BC. Although populated mostly by Armenians, Urartu was ruled (at least during the first centuries) by a non-Armenian and non-Indo-European dynasty. In 782 BC the Urartian king Argishti I founded the fortified city of Erebuni, which is toady’s Yerevan, the capital of Armenia. Another major city in the Valley of Ararat was Argishti-khinili, also founded by Argishti I in the year 775 BC.

In the late VII century BC Urartu, weakened by Scythian invasions, fell, but after several decades was revived under the Armenian Yervanduni (the Orontides) dynasty with the capital in Armavir, former Argishti-khinili. The revived kingdom was already called Armenia by its neighbours, but in some languages the older name, Urartu, was still in use. In the famous tri-lingual Behistun inscription of Persian king Darius the Great (522-486) the same country is referred to as ‘Armenia’ in the Persian and Elamite versions, and ‘Urartu’ in the Akkadian version.

Armenian people are mentioned in the most ancient sources. One of these sources is the Bible, where the Armenian state is called as the country Ararat (Ararati Erkir), which is Urartu – one of the ancient states in the world. Under Tigran the Great (95-55 B.C.) Armenia was stretching from the Caspian to the Mediterranean Seas. Since biblical times Armenia was ruled by well-known “tsar dynasties”: the Yervandunies, the Arshkunies, the Bagratunies and so on. And in 1045 during the decline of the capital of Bagratunian Armenia – Ani (city of one thousand and one churches), Armenia lost its statehood and only in 1918, on 28th of May gained it again, but survived only until November 29, 1920. A referendum was held in Armenia on September 21, 1991, and the idea of creation of an independent republic was supported by 94% of the population. The independence of the Republic of Armenia was declared by the Supreme Council of Armenia in execution of the will of people. Having confronted difficulties and trials for centuries, Armenian people survived and managed to keep national identity, high culture and tradition, continuing to prosper both in economy and culture.

armenian police
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Brief History of the Armenian Police

The Armenian Police was created in 1918, with the establishment of the first Republic of Armenia . Its history can therefore be roughly divided into the periods of the First Republic (1918-1920), the Soviet Armenia (1920-1991), and the Third Republic (1991 to present).

Khachkar
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The Stone Cross – Armenian Khachkars

Following the conversion of Armenia to Christianity, the wooden cross, symbol of the new faith, was erected in the various shrines of Armenia. The earliest attempts to replace the wooden cross with a stone cross date back to the period between the 4th and 7th centuries. These stone crosses are represented by the “winged crosses” [...]

Armenian alphabet
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Armenian Alphabet

One of the most important events in the history of Armenia happened in 405 AD, when the new Armenian alphabet was created. Before that, for about 16 hundred years, various forms of cuneiforms had been used in Armenia. After the adoption of Christianity as the state religion of Armenia in 301 AD, the Church regarded [...]

Armenian history main events

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2104 BC Hayk patriarch establishes Armenian state in the vicinity of Lake Van XVII BC Hayasa union of tribes (from Hittites written sources) on Northwest of Armenian Highland XIV-XI BC Kingdom of Nairi   Ironmaking discovered. Metsamor – iron factory of BC   Kingdom of Urartu (Ararat) established by Aram 782 BC Fortress of Erebuny [...]

Armenian History

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ANCIENT LAND AT GRIPS WITH ADVERSITY The present-day Republic of Armenia occupies but a fraction of the ancient Armenia, which extended from the lesser Caucasus Mountains south across the Armenian plateau to the Taurus Mountains. Frequent earthquakes still remind us that the land lies near the great geological fault between the Asian and African subcontinent [...]

Armenians in North America

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Sources mention that in the first half of the seventeenth century, an Armenian called Martin, who was originally from New Julfa, came to Virginia via Amsterdam. The genesis of the Armenian community in North America, however, began more than two centuries later. When American missionaries established schools in Turkey in the second half of the [...]

Armenians in South America

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The Armenian community in South America, like that of Australia, arose in the early twentieth century, as a result of immigrants who had survived the genocide. Although they settled in various parts of the continent, the majority went to Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay, with some moving to Venezuela and Mexico. Unlike their compatriots who had [...]

Armenians in South Asia and Australia

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By the twentieth century the Armenian communities in South Asia had declined to a few thousand. Calcutta remained the only viable Armenian community in the region. In the 1920′s, Armenians who had fled the Russian Revolution, civil war, and the Bolsheviks, began to arrive in Harbin, in the Chinese province of Manchuria, and in Shanghai. [...]

Armenians in the Middle East

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The Armenian communities in the Middle East experienced their greatest change in the last one hundred years. The Armenian communities in the Arab world received a large percentage of the refugees and survivors of the massacres and genocide. They increased the numbers of the Armenians in Egypt, Greater Syria, Mesopotamia, Sudan and Ethiopia. The European [...]

Armenians in Western Europe

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The Armenian communities of Western Europe had also declined by the end of the nineteenth century. The arrival of refugees from Russia and the Ottoman Empire expanded some established centers and created new ones as well. Of all the Italian cities which had Armenian communities, Venice has remained the only one with a significant Armenian [...]