ISSN 1829-4618

FUNDAMENTAL CHARACTERISTICS OF PHYSICAL AND POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY OF ARMENIA. THE ARMENIAN HIGHLAND

By: Danielyan Eduard, Institute of History of NAS RA

The historical-geographic environment of the Armenian nation from the earliest times embraced the Armenian Highland and adjacent territories between the Black Sea in the north, the Mediterranean Sea in the south-west and the Caspian Sea in the east. Armenia is a country of mountainous landscape with mountain ranges, plateaus and high peaks. Above all tower the summits of the huge extinct volcanic massif of the Ararat Mountains: Mount Great Ararat-Masis, and Little Ararat (Sis, 3925 m).

The complete system of the Armenian ethno-geographic names characterizes the natural-historic environment and cultural and social-political history of Armenia Haiastan - the cradle and the Homeland of the Armenian Nation. Armenia and the Armenian statehood have been attested in ancient (the 3rd millennium BC-3rd c. AD) and medieval historical sources under the names of Aratta (Ararat), Armanum (Armani, cf. Armi, Arme), Hayasa, Nairi, Ararat (Kingdom of Van-Urartu), Armina, the kingdoms of Great Armenia (320 thousand km2) and Armenia Minor (80 thousand km2), as well as the Armenian State of Cilicia (in 1080-1198 - the Armenian Princedom, in 1198-1375 - the Armenian Kingdom, 40 thousand km2, the capital Sis) in the region of the Cilician Taurus - the natural continuation of the Armenian (Eastern) Taurus.

Great Armenia, Armenia Minor and Kilikia included correspondingly the whole territory of the Armenian Highland, adjacent Armenian (Northern) Mesopotamia, as well as the costal zones of the Black, Caspian and Mediterranean seas. A research on the Ottoman documents and publications revealed that “the government of Sultan Abdul Hamid II fallaciously substituted for the name Armenia such terms as Kurdistan or Anatolia” and Turkish forgers started to use wrongly “Eastern Anatolia” (instead of Western Armenia) in Turkish official documents and pseudo-scientific literature. They falsify even former Ottoman publications and maps in which Armenia is mentioned. Contrary to such a fraud the truth is that the word stem of the term “Anatolia” is the Greek word “east” and “Anatolia” relates only to Asia Minor.

Over the centuries the enemies seized the most part of the Armenian territories. The greatest human and territorial losses took place particularly because of Turkish genocidal policy since the late 19th and early 20th centuries in the Ottoman Empire resulting in the Armenian Genocide of 1915-1923 committed by the Young Turk and Kemalist regimes. In both the Soviet and post-Soviet periods falsifications of the history of Armenia and its place names have also been perpetrated by the artificially introduced unit of “Azerbaijan”. After the Artsakh Liberation War (1991-1994) the defeated aggressive Republic of Azerbaijan has been using these falsifications in the militaristic propaganda against the Republic of Armenia and the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic (the NKR) (Artsakh). The Republic of Armenia (29.743 km2) and the Republic of Artsakh (12.000 km2) together constitute the one-thirteenth part of the Armenian lands in the north-east of the Armenian Highland.

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