|Conventional short name:
|Hayastan / Հայաստան
|Pontian Greek, Kurdish, Georgian and Laz, Gothic, Russian, Ukrainian, Hamshin (dialect of Armenian)
|Yerevan (formerly Erzurum)
|Alaškert, Artvin, Baghesh, Daruynk, Erzurum, Gyumri, Kharberd, Malatya, Nakhchivan, Sevasteia, Trapezounta, Vararakn, Van, Vołt'ik
|15,668,902 (2020 estimate) 15,626,710 (2019) Armenians
|from Ottoman Empire
|Armenian dram/drachma (₯)=100 luma
|League of Mediterranean and Pontic Peoples
Armenia is an independent country substantially bigger than it is *here*, including much of what is *here* northeastern Turkey. Southeastern Turkey is part of Kurdistan. Armenia borders with Georgia in the north, Azerbaijan in the east, Kurdistan in the south, and Turkey in the west.
Autonomous Pontian State
After the breakup and dismemberment of the Ottoman Empire, Greece gained a great deal of majority Greek-speaking and Orthodox Christian areas (and some areas with neither as a majority), with the exception of one place on the Black Sea. The Greek Government under John Plirexousios appealed to the League of Nations to roll the Black Sea coast where Greek-speaking Orthodox Christians and Sunni Muslims were in the majority into the Armenian state to safeguard the lives and well being of the Christians there. The Dashnak eagerly accepted, and in exchange for Greece pledging to vote at the new international organization with Armenia on any issues raised and for footing the bill for Armenians moving to Armenia from Greece, the new socialist republic gave the Pontians an autonomous state within the greater Armenian state. The "Autonomous Pontian State" as it was called («Τὸ Αὐτόνομο Κρᾰ́τος Πόντου», "Պոնտոսի Ինքնավար Հանրապետություն ") is where the vast majority of Orthodox Christians in Armenia reside. The Pontian dialect of Greek is the language used in administration, education, and legal proceedings; both modern standard Greek and Armenian are taught as foreign languages. Some Armenians are also Eastern Orthodox Christians in Pontus, known as "Hayhurum" («Χαϊχούρουμ», also known as «Τζα̑τοι» and «Τζα̑θοι» in Greek) who speak the Hemshin dialect of Armenian. These Hayhurum can also be found in the town of Akn (Ակն) and the adjoining area down south. The town of Agrilio (or "Adapazarı" in Turkish) and its environs were also home to another center of Eastern Orthodox Armenians although in the forced march of Armenians and Kurds out of Anatolia, many were resettled in the abandoned homes of Muslims in the Pontus who absolutely refused to be ruled by Christians. Many Agrilio Hayhurum however had seen the writing on the wall during the antebellum years and across the sea to Orthodox Christian Greece where they were set up in makeshift villages on the very northern tip of the island of Euboea and immediately next to Thessaloniki to begin anew. Their descendants can be found there today and many had moved to Constantinople which also has a presence of Armenian-speaking Orthodox Christians. Many of the Armenians not Eastern Orthodox or Sunni Muslim Hemshin along the Black Sea coast are also Catholics, not just Oriental Orthodox. In fact, the Pontus region might be the most religiously diverse place in the world for Armenians. Villages of Orthodox Christian Goths, staunch allies to the Pontian Rûm, as well as Orthodox Christian Georgians and Muslim Laz (similar to Georgians) and Russians and Ukrainians (both Orthodox Christian) may also be found in the Pontus. The capital is Trebizond ("Trapezounta" in Greek, "Trapizon" in Armenian, "T'rap'izoni" in Georgian, and "T'amt'ra" in Laz) with a population of about 325,000.
No region in all the Republic of Armenia provides as much frustration to the central government as the region of Nakhchivan. The region has been passed between Christian Armenians and Muslims of Arab, Persian, and Turkic origin since the dawn of the eighth century. The Arab rulers were better able to convert Persians south of the Caucasus to Islam because they were cut off from the system of mobeds operating out of the Pars Plateau, although unlike in the Caucasus Mountains and Caspian Sea coast, the Persians did not maintain their language when Turkic tribesmen overran everywhere from their previous homeland of Turkestan all the way to central Anatolia. The Muslim Persians and Arabs married into the clans of these raiders and turkicized. To this day, hardly any of the Muslims in Nakhchivan speak Arabic, which is mostly only learned by muftis, although even that is not a given. Some Muslims speak a dialect of Turkish similar to that spoken in Anatolia, being on a dialect continuum that goes eastward to the shores of the Caspian. The Mongols overran the region in the 1200's on cue like *here*, killing all Muslims in Nakhchivan city during its siege. The Christians were given absolute religious freedom for the first time since the complete annexation of the Kingdom of Syunik in 1170 into the domain of the İldenizli Atabegs. After the fall of the Mongol Ilkhanate in 1353, Muslims of the area rose up against their Mongol overlords and killed all Manicheans in the area. Any survivors fled north into the Kingdom of Georgia. For several more centuries, raiding confederacies known as the "Black Sheep Turkomans" & "White Sheep Turkomans" ruled the area and subjugated the Christian people. Many fled north: to Georgia, Crimea, and Kassogia where they joined Armenian émigré communities located around the Black Sea. The Persians tried taking over the region in their zealous crusade to liberate all Persians from Muslim rule, but their armies were repulsed on several times. Syncretic-Muslim peasants of mixed Turkic and Persian stock known as Celalî rose up and toppled the Turkoman emir-raiders' rule, although this would be an excuse for the Ottomans to move in, because the Ghulat onslaught was insubordinate and at times respected neither the sultan's political authority nor his spiritual authority as caliph of all Sunni Muslims. In 1747, the Sultan in occupied-Konstantiniyye recognized the khan in Nakhchivan as his enforcer in the region and his khanate as an autonomous part of the Ottoman Empire. This "special relationship" as Turkish and Azeri historian refer to it as lasted until the Treaty of Türkmençay in 1828, which gave the Russians a great deal of land south of the Caucasus formerly owned by quasi-independent Turkic beys who paid varying degrees of lip service to the sultan in Constantinople. Fifty years later, at the signing of the Treaty of San Stefano in 1878, more land to the region's west would become Russian. Following both treaties, the Russians sent numerous groups to colonize the region: Armenians, Ashkenazi Jews, Estonians, Georgians, Germans, Greeks from the Pontus, Lithuanians, Russians (both Orthodox and heretics), Veneds, and Ukrainians were some of the main resettled groups. Following the chaos and bloody aftermath of the First Great War in the close of the 1910's and beginning of the 1920's, both the Azeris and Tatars (Turkish-speakers) of the region rose up after their Russian masters fled, killing Armenian villagers indiscriminately. The Dashnak (Armenian socialist party) had a chapter there, and the militiamen the local party was able to raise became the city's only maintainers of law and order. They held the line as renegade Ottomans coming from the west joined with incensed Turks in the region and marched on Nakhchivan, intent on meeting the Azeris there who were coming from the east. Absolutely detesting the presence of Muslims in the region but too busy and too overstretched to take the region, the Shahdom of Persia funneled money into Armenian social circles in its country with the intent on getting much needed weapons and supplies to the Dashnak and local Kurdish Zoroastrian militiamen who so far had not chosen a side. A British expeditionary force landed at Trebizond in 1919 and made straight away for the south to make sure that Anatolian Turks could not link up with Azeris so as the balance of power in the Caucasus would remain precariously balanced and apolar (although several years later, the British would be the number one source of investors for the Azerbaijan Oil Company and would greedily buy up the country's many oilfields). With foreign money and British elite officers to train its militia, the Armenians won the day and a force deployed from Yerevan marched victoriously into Nakhchivan city on April 4th, 1920: Easter Sunday on the Gregorian Calendar which the entire Etchmiadzin Patriarchate would adopt in 1923. This day became known as "Aryunot Kiraki" ("Bloody Sunday") in Armenia because it was not an easy entrance into the city for the Dashnak forces. Many disillusioned Turcomans moved from the new province of Armenia to join the Turkestani insurgency just across the Caspian. Their benefactors in Turkey were too caught up in a vicious civil war to accept any refugees at the time.
Nakhchivan is unique in that 45% of its Armenians (95,776 people) are Catholics, a high proportion in Armenia, but not Catholics of the Armenian Rite. Genoese and Venetian missionaries traveled overland from their countries' port colonies on the Black Sea into inland southwest Asia to set up missionary networks along the Silk Road in the 1200's. By the year 1318, they had enough converts from local Armenian Oriental Orthodox Christians to found the Diocese of Nakhchivan which covered the southern Caucasus and northern Iran. The missionaries translate their Latin Rite into the liturgical Armenian language, they do not transfer rites for the faithful. In 1544, the pope confirms that these faithful in Nakhchivan must use liturgical Armenian over Latin using the liturgy made uniform within the diocese. As such, it was exempt from the 1570 ruling that all places and congregations whose distinct rites could demonstrate an antiquity of two hundred years or more could continue with the way they liturgize. In 1633, it was made an archdiocese and in 1714 it was made a metropolis/metropolitanate with an added suffragan bishop (Metropolis Naxivansus). To this day, the Diocese of Nakhchivan within the Apostolic Administration of the Caucasus (Administratio Apostolica Caucasi Latinorum) uses a pre-Tridentine form of the Latin Liturgy found nowhere outside of Europe. A community of the descendants of Latin-Rite Nakhchivan Armenians was located in Smyrna after several families moved to the city in 1750, although after the attempted genocide of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire following the First Great War, they all returned almost down to a man, losing only four people to starvation, dehydration, or murder by muhajirs along the way. The Catholics' cathedral of All Saints (Բոլոր Սրբերի Եկեղեցի) is located in Nakhchivan City, having been rebuilt in 1845 due to a terrible earthquake. The other 55% of Armenians are Oriental Orthodox Christians loyal to the Mother See of Etchmiadzin. The majority of the few remaining Turks of Armenia can be found in Nakhchivan and are mostly Shia. They greatly resented the Armenians taking the region in April of 1920 as they wished to be a part of the Ottoman Empire as fellow Turkic Muslims and uprisings among them are not uncommon, the last taking place after protests turned into several days of rioting in 2014 as Armenia was wrapping up the Armenia-Azerbaijan War. Caucasian Albanians (Udis), Eastern Orthodox Ukrainians, Zoroastrians Persians, Doukhobor Russians, Assyrian Christians, and Armenian refugees that fled the ethnic cleansing in Azerbaijan during the high '90's have all been resettled in model villages in the province to dilute its Muslim character.
Cilicia is a culturally Armenian region on the Mediterranean coast in Turkish and Syrian territory. Tension has often existed between Cilician Armenians oriented toward the West and Caucasian Armenians who are oriented more toward Persia and Russia.
- Christian (93.82%): 14,700,564
- Oriental Orthodox (64.93% of Armenia, 69.2% of Christians): 10,173,176
- Eastern Orthodox (22.35% of Armenia, 23.82% of Christians): 3,502,200 (Georgians, Goths, Pontian Greeks, Russian émigré)
- Catholic (6.54% of Armenia, 6.97% of Christians): 1,025,188
- Armenian Rite: 757,726
- Latin Rite: (Veneds, Germans, Armenian converts): 267,462
- Assyrian: 217,496
- Other Christian (Doukhobor, Molokan, Jumpers, etc.): 27,346
- Protestant (Armeno-Crimean Evangelical Church [Lutheran & Reformed]): 5,588
- Judaism (.06): 9,402
- Subbotniks/Judaizers (Russians): 3,134
- Kurdish Jews: 2,920
- Ashkenazim: 2,310
- Persian-speakers: 1,038
- Mormon (.01%): 1,568
- Muslim (.52%): 81,480 (Hamshin, Pontians, some Azeris)
- Yazidi (1.41%): 220,174
- Zoroastrian (1.01%): 157,732
- No response or other (3.17%): 496,152
The largest religion in Armenia by far is Christianity. Over 4/5ths of the country is Christian, of which 50% are Armenian Apostolic Christians of the Etchmiadzin Patriarchate (Armenian Orthodox are thus a plurality, not a majority). The Armenian Orthodox Church was the guarantor of Armenian culture during the dark times of the Ottoman occupation, which is why the socialist Dashnak party is decidedly not anticlerical and almost all of even its most ardentently-leftist members are churchgoers. Starting in the 1200's, Armenians began to convert to Catholicism for better economic rights in the Genoese and Venetian colonies along the Black Sea, although as individuals, so they were rolled into the registers of the Latin rite missionaries who brought them over from Oriental Orthodoxy. It was only in 1738 when a convert to Catholicism, Abraham Petros Ardzivian, fled Ottoman Anatolia for the independent Druze-run nation of Lebanon, where four Maronite bishops consecrated him bishop and sent him back to his native Cilicia. In 1740, the papacy recognized him as "Catholicos-Patriarch of the Armenian Catholic Church" and in 1742 shipped him a pallium, a symbol of his episcopal authority. Whereas Etchmiadzin is the primary patriarchate for Armenian Orthodox Christians and their Holy See of Cilicia is below on the scale importance, for the Armenian Catholics, their Patriarchate of Cilicia is the primary patriarchate and their bishop of Etchmiadzin is merely an archbishop, based in Gyumri to be better located to its base of Catholics there. In addition to the Uniate faithful (some of whom are Georgians who switched from the Byzantine Rite to the Armenian by order of the Russian state when they joined Catholicism), there are over 100,000 Latin Rite Catholics, most of whom are Armenians, but with many descendants of German and Venedic colonists sent to Armenia by the Russian Empire in the 19th Century, almost all of which are located in Yerevan. There are also some Levantines whose ancestors came from the Crimea, and they might speak either Parra or Caffico, a breakaway subdialect of the Ligurian dialect of Italian. Like their Catholic countrymen, the Lutherans of Armenia are the descendants of German and Estonian transplants dropped off by Imperial Russia sometime between 1828 and 1914. They remain over 40,000 strong and worship in Armenian, Russian, German, Estonian, or any combination of the four. The Assyrian Church has a presence made up of refugees who fled from the south during the chaotic aftermath of the First Great War, although more Assyrians are part of the Urmia exarchate of the Eastern Orthodox Church, the second largest religion in Armenia. This is the most diverse of all denominations; while the lion's share of Chalcedonian Christians are Greek-speaking Pontians, many are ethnic Armenians (Hayhurum, Tzatoi), Goths (who have been in inland Anatolia since the late 200's AD), Georgians (who have been Christian since the 450's), Russians and Ukrainians who arrived as early as the 1820's, and some Kurdish converts who fled the communist dictatorship wary of religious movements down south.
Muslims make up the next largest religion, which is mostly of the Sunni persuasion although Shia are a very close second. The first Muslims in Armenia were the Arab occupiers who arrived as early as 705. There are still some families who claim Arab descent, although they now speak Persian or Turkish, Arabic most likely dying out in Armenia and Azerbaijan at the dawn of the Great War, decades after the last wave of Arabs pastoralists moved from northern Iraaq and into the Caucasus to provide for their precious sheep. There are many Arab loanwords in the dialects of Persian and Tatar spoken in Armenia. Approximately 345,000 Muslims of the over 1,000,000 in the country are Laz, a Caucasian people related and very similar to the Georgians. Almost exactly 220,000 are Hamshen Armenians, who speak the Homshetsi dialect of Armenian, dress in traditional Armenian clothing, sing Armenian folk-songs and tell Armenian folktales, were considered until the nationalist awakening of Armenians to be Turks on account of their Sunni Muslim religion. They were initially targeted by vigilante justice following the attempted genocide and subsequent forced march of Armenians out of Anatolia, but it was the socialist Dashnak who protected these helpless peasants and convinced Christians that Armenian identity could transcend religious adherence and these Homshetsi speakers were no more Turks than Christian Armenians who suffered under Ottoman rule. There are still plenty of Kurds in Armenia, of which 161,120 are Muslim, split about 75/25 between Shia and Sunni. The Shia Kurds are Jafari Twelvers (Athna'ishari) and the Sunnis are of the Maliki school of jurisprudence, not the Hanafi school like the Turkish Sunnis of the country. The Armenian state counts 319,500 "Turks" (Ottoman Anatolians, Tatars, Turkomans, Azeris just to name a few, although the Azeris speak a mixed language of Persian mixed with Turkic) left. A century ago, there would have been many, many more. Finally, 4,000 Muslims in the Autonomous Pontian State are Pontians, speaking a subdialect of Pontian Greek that is highly reminiscent of Ancient Greek, maintaining many archaisms such as the use of "οὐκ" for "δεν." Although it's not usually a written language, being relegated to rural peasants in the highlands, when it is written, these Muslims write it using the Ottoman form of the Arabic script.