History

Armenia is in the highlands surrounding the Biblical mountains of Ararat. The original Armenian name for the country was Hayk, later Hayastan, translated as the land of Haik, and consisting of the name of the ancient Mesopotamian god Haya (ha-ià) and the indoeuropean suffix'-stan' (land). The historical enemy of Hayk (the legendary ruler of Armenia), Hayastan, was Bel. The word "Bel" is named in the Bible at Isaiah 46:1 and Jeremiah 50:2 and 51:44.

The name Armenia was given to the country by the surrounding states, and it is traditionally derived from Armenak or Aram. In the Bronze Age, several states flourished in the area of Greater Armenia, including the Hittite Empire (at the height of its power), Mitanni (South-Western historical Armenia), and Hayasa-Azzi (1600–1200 BC). Soon after the Hayasa-Azzi were the Nairi (1400–1000 BC) and the Kingdom of Urartu (1000–600 BC), who successively established their sovereignty over the Armenian Highland. Each of the aforementioned nations and tribes participated in the ethnogenesis of the Armenian people. Yerevan, the modern capital of Armenia, was founded in 782 BC by king Argishti I.

The Iron Age kingdom of Urartu (Assyrian for Ararat) was replaced by the Orontid Dynasty. Following Persian and Macedonian rule, the Artaxiad Dynasty from 190 BC gave rise to the Kingdom of Armenia which rose to the peak of its influence under Tigranes II before falling under Roman rule.

In 301, Arsacid Dynasty of Armenia was the first sovereign nation to accept Christianity as a state religion. The Armenians later fell under Byzantine, Persian, and Islamic hegemony, but reinstated their independence with the Bagratuni Dynasty kingdom of Armenia. After the fall of the kingdom in 1045, and the subsequent Seljuk conquest of Armenia in 1064, the Armenians established a kingdom in Cilicia, where they prolonged their sovereignty to 1375.

Greater Armenia was later divided between the Ottoman Empire and Russia. In the early 20th century Armenians suffered the Genocide inflicted by the Turkish Donmeh led by Ataturk, where 1.5 million Armenians were killed and many more dispersed throughout the world to Syria and Lebanon. Eastern Armenia regained independence in 1918, with the establishment of the Democratic Republic of Armenia, and in 1991, the Republic of Armenia.