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A Short History of Azerbaijan

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Azerbaijan’s geographical location has greatly influenced its history.

Because it is located between the Caspian and Black seas, Azerbaijan it is a vital crossroad between Asia and Europe.

Some history most famous warriors have fought for the land and many empires have clashed there.

Along most of its history, Persia, Russia and other powerful empires dominated Azerbaijan.

During the 6th century missionaries from Armenia brought Christianity and many people converted. During the following 300 or 400 years dozens of Christian churches were built.

In 642 Muslim Arab troops entered into the kingdom of Aghbania or Caucasian Albania, adding the land to the Islamic empire that spread to Asia through the Middle East and North Africa.

In the 11th century another Islamic power gained control. There were Turkish tribes that were part of the Seljuk dynasty.

The population who were originally of Persian descent began to mix with the Turks and the Persian language was replaced by the Turkish dialect. With time it became the modern Azeri language.

In 1236, Mongolian warriors of the powerful Genghis Khan Empire conquered the land where Azerbaijan is today and remained in power until 1498.

Around 1500 a new Persian kingdom formed under the Safavid dynasty. Its capital was in Tariz.

During the Safavids reign, Azerbaijan was often a battle ground in the fight for power between Persia and Russia. The Safavid kingdom ended in 1722 and the north of Azerbaijan divided into many states. These divisions made it easier for Russia to gain control and power.

In 1917 a revolution ended the Russian empire. One year later the provisional democratic government was overthrown by the Bolshevik wing of the Communist party.

Russia became the Soviet Union. In Azerbaijan, a small group called the intelligentsia joined Baku workers and formed a democratic government.

In April of 1920, the Soviet Union red army invaded Azerbaijan, and quickly ended its small period as an independent state.

During Second World War, in 1941 the German army invaded the Soviet Union and reached the Great Caucasian Mountains a year later. The red Soviet army stopped it from entering Azerbaijan.

At the end of the 80s the Soviet Union began to fall. One after another the communist states of Central and Eastern Europe claimed their independence.

Azerbaijan declared its independence on August 30th of 1991.

In 1993 Armenia had control of almost 20 percent of Azerbaijan’s territory.

After Aliyev became president in October of 1993, he signed a ceasefire with Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh.

Heydar Aliyev died in December of 2003, and his son Ilham became president.

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