History & Heritage
Our history shows our roots, our growth and strength that paved a way for today's Arstakh -young, evolving and striving for a better tomorrow.
Artsakh (Karabakh) is an integral part of historic Armenia. During the Urartian era (9-6th cc. B.C.), Artsakh was known as Urtekhe-Urtekhini. As a part of Armenia, Artsakh is mentioned in the works of Strabo, Pliny the Elder, Claudius Ptolemy, Plutarch, Dio Cassius, and other ancient authors. According to Greco-Roman sources, it was called Orkhistena.
Since the beginning of the 2nd century B.C. the region was part of Greater Armenia and was known as the Province of Artsakh. This is when the formation of Artsakh has started.
Armenia was the first country to adopt Christianity in 301 AD. Shortly after it, in the 4th century A.D., Artsakh became part of the Caucasian Albania (vassal of Persia) which, in its turn, ceased to exist at the beginning of the 8th century after the Arab invasion.
From 9th - 11th centuries, the territory of Artsakh formed part of Bagratid Armenia and early in 9th century, under the leadership of Sakhl Smbatyan, in the territory of Artsakh was formed the Armenian feudal princedom of Khachen.
In late 16th – early 17th century, the Khachen Princedom broke up and was replaced by five Armenian principalities (Khachen, Dizak, Varanda, Jraberd and Gyulistan) known as Khamsa Melikdom (after Arabic “khamsa” meaning “five”).
Under subordination of Karabakh beglerbeg residing in Ganja, those princedoms (melikdoms) existed till the end of the 18th century.
Starting from 1720s, Artsakh became part of the centers of the national liberation struggle of Armenians against the Shah of Iran and the Ottoman Empire.
In 1747 at Lowland Artsakh was formed Artsakh Khanate, which soon took power over the predominantly Armenian-populated Artsakh: the first two Artsakh khans – Panah-Ali Khan and Ibrahim Khalil Khan – subdued the Armenian meliks and settled in the center of the Armenian Varand melikdom, in the fortress city of Shoushi built by Panah. As a result of feuds among Armenian meliks, for the first time in its history, Artsakh fell under the Turkic rule.
1822 was the liquidation of the Khanate. Artsakh primarily became part of Artsakh province and then – part of Elisabethpol Governorate of the Russian Empire.
It was 1917, when Artsakh practically became a state – governed by the Assembly of the Artsakh Armenians.
In 1921 the historic Armenian lands of Nagorno Karabakh were forcibly placed under Azerbaijani rule by Joseph Stalin. For the next seven decades, Azerbaijan took the policy of active de-Armenianization.
It was 1988, a group of young intellectuals, who came to be known as the Karabakh Committee, led the movement of Independence which was later transformed into the Pan-Armenian National Movement. A symbolic moment happened on May 28, 1988, during the 70th anniversary of the First Armenian Republic (1918-1920) when Movses Gorgisyan hoisted the Armenian tricolor flag in Yerevan’s Opera Square. Quickly after this powerful movement Independence knocked our doors.
On Sep 2, 1991 at the joint session of the local legislative councils of Artsakh and the Shahumian district, was signed the Declaration of Proclaiming Artsakh Republic within the boundaries of the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region and neighboring Shahumyan district of Azerbaijan SSR.
From 1992-1994, Azerbaijan failed its attempt to destroy AR via mass military entrance and bombing the civilian population. Despite large numerical superiority of the Azerbaijan army, Karabakh Armenian armed forces not only repelled the invasion, but also succeeded in expanding the territory of Artsakh, forming “security zone” in the surrounding regions of the Lower Karabakh.
In May 1994, a Ceasefire Agreement between the AR and Azerbaijan was signed, which actually fixed the existing borders of the Artsakh Republic. This status-quo is preserved to this day and we are proudly continuing to spread the word of peace, justice and freedom.