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. An Armenian Church was constructed in Harbin and Armenian merchants and artisans opened businesses in China and Southeast Asia. The Armenians worked closely and, at times, intermarried with, the Europeans of China. World War Two devastated the remaining Armenian centers in the region. The Japanese rounded up all Europeans in China, Burma, Indonesia, Philippines, Malaysia, and Singapore, including the Armenians. Those who survived the ravages of the war were soon faced with the discriminatory policies of the nationalist or socialist governments, which followed the decolonization of South and Southeast Asia. The communist takeover of China in 1949 resulted in the emigration of its entire Armenian community, some of whom went to South America. Out of the once-successful community, some 1,000 Armenians remain in South and Southeast Asia, with a good part of them in India, especially in Calcutta, which still has an active Armenian school, club, and church.

Such major upheavals forced the Armenians of South Asia to leave in droves and seek refuge in Australia, where a number of them had already immigrated during the 1920′s. Political changes and economic hardship in Eastern Europe and the Middle East brought more immigrants to Australia (and a few to New Zealand), which in the 1990s boasts an Armenian population of some 35,000, mostly in Melbourne and Sydney, where churches, clubs, and newspapers have created an active community.

Related articles:

  1. Armenians in Eastern Europe
  2. Armenians in Western Europe
  3. Armenians in the Middle East
  4. Armenian Diaspora in the Last Hundred Years (1895-1994)
  5. The Cilician Kingdom of Armenia (1080-1375 A.D.)
  6. Armenia Partitioned (331 B.C)

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