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lauantai 16. tammikuuta 2016

Azerbaidzhan, Cool Facts #91

<= 90. Armenia                                                                                                               92. Georgia =>

1. Between Russia and Persia

The Azeri are a Turkic population, which has fought against Persia and Russia for its existence. Persia ceded the current area of Azerbaijan to Russia in 1813 and the Aras River became the border, which split the Azeri areas in half. 

There are still more Azeri in northern Iran (10 million) than in the whole Azerbaijan (7 million). Later in 1828 after the Russo-Persian War Russia took Armenia and Nakhchivan from Persia.

During the world wars Russia also tried to conquer the Azeri areas in Iran without success. Azerbaijan was annexed to Soviet Union in 1920 after a short two year period of independence and it gained independence finally when the Soviet Union fell in 1991.

Caucasus in 2016
Caucasus in the 1800s

2. Oil Industry 

In 1846 the world's first oil well was drilled in Bibi-Heybat in Azerbaijan. The oil boom started in Baku and was so strong that between the years 1856-1910 the population growth in Baku was faster than in London, Paris and New York. 

In the beginning of the 1900s Azerbaijan was the world's biggest oil producer providing half of the oil produced in the world. 

Baku was the leading oil industry city, where the oil was refined and where the petrochemical companies operated. The environmental damages in Azerbaijan have been severe, because of the oil drillings that started long time ago. 

Bibi Heybat oil field

3. Short Independence 

From the year 1918 until 1920, Azerbaijan was independent for 23 months. During the short independence Azerbaijan became the first parliamentary republic in the Muslim world. Azerbaijan was also the first Muslim state which gave women equal political rights with men as women were allowed to vote.

In 1920 Vladimir Lenin's Bolshevik army invaded Azerbaijan and the invasion was justified as Soviet Russia couldn't survive without Baku's oil. All the private oil fields and refineries were confiscated to the state.

Conference room of the first parliament

4. Nagorno-Karabakh

Azerbaijan and Armenia still have disputes over the area of Nagorno-Karabakh, which is part of Azerbaijan but where the majority of the population are Armenians. The disputes started already in 1918-1920 when Azerbaijan and Armenia fought over Nagorno-Karabakh during their short independences before becoming part of the Soviet Union. 

Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan were part of the Transcaucasian SFSR between 1922 and 1936. In 1936 when the Transcaucasian SFSR was split into three parts the area of Nagorno-Karabakh remained in the Azeri Soviet Republic. 

In 1988 the Karabakh Armenians voted 110 to 17 to request the transfer of the region to Armenia. Moscow rejected the demand and shortly after the Azeri started the Askeran clash, which was one of the starting points of the war. The Soviet Union fell in 1991 and the full-scale fighting erupted in Nagorno-Karabakh in 1992 and ended in 1994. Since then peace talks have been held between Azerbaijan and Armenia to end the dispute.

Presidents of Azerbaijan, Russia and Armenia talking about Nagorno-Karabakh

5. Unique Geography

Azerbaijan lies in the Caucasus area, which is the region between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea. The highest peak in Europe is in the Russia side of the Caucasus Mountains in Mount Elbrus.

Azerbaijan is called the "Land of Fire" which refers to its natural gas reserves and Azerbaijan also has more than half of the world's mud volcanoes. There are nearly 400 mud volcanoes in Azerbaijan.

The Caucasus area is also unique because of its density of languages. Nowhere else as many indigenous languages are spoken in such a small area than in the Caucasus.

Languages of the Caucasus


800s Islam arrived to the current area of Azerbaijan
1200s The Mongols conquer the region
1500s Persia conquers the Azeri areas in the beginning of the century
1700s Persia's influence in the area diminished so that the Azeri Khanates were practically independent
1800s Russia arrives to Caucasus and signs protection agreements with Azeri clans
1813 Persia handed the current Azerbaijan to Russia
1828 After the Russo-Persian War Russia takes Armenia and the Nakhchivan Khanate from Persia
1848 Gold was found in Azerbaijan and the first drilling were made
1900s In the beginning of the century Azerbaijan was the world's largest oil producer
1918 The Azeri unite with Armenians and Georgians founding the Transcaucasian DFR
1918 The Azerbaijan Democratic Republic is founded, first Muslim democratic state
1920 Independence ends after two years when Soviet troops occupy Azerbaijan
1922 Azerbaijan becomes part of the Transcaucasian SFSR
1936 The Transcaucasian SFSR is split into three separate Soviet states
1988 The inhabitants of Nagorno-Karabakh demand the area to be annexed to Armenia
1991 Azerbaijan becomes independent
1992-1994 Nagorno-Karabakh War between Armenia and Azerbaijan
1993 Haidar Alijev overthrows the democratically elected president Abulfaz Elchibey
2004 Haidar's son Ilham Alijev becomes the next president after his father died
2010 At the time the world's tallest flag with a height of 162m was erected in Baku 


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