|History of Azerbaijan |
Dawn of History
Archaeological excavations and anthropological studies confirm that the territory of the present-day Republic of Azerbaijan has been inhabited since the Palaeolithic Age. Palaeolithic human remains (350,000-400,000 years BC), as well as the artefacts from early habitats, were found in the cave of Azykh in 1968. Archaeological discoveries from the same era were also made in the caves of Dash Salakhly and Taglar. Scientists believe that the stone carvings of Gobustan are the Stone Age rock art, dating back to the 8th-6th millennium BC. Evidence suggests that several agricultural and stockbreeding settlements existed in Azerbaijan since the 7th-6th millennium BC. Such Caucasian tribes as the Gargars, Utis, Saks, Sodes, Massagets and others inhabited the territory of the present-day Azerbaijan, with Mannae emerging as the first state in the 10th century BC.
Emergence of Early States
8th century BC – Northward expansion of the Kingdom of Mannae’s borders and absorption of the main part of Southern Azerbaijan.
7th century BC – The Empire of Media with the capital at Ecbatana emerges in the area southwest of the Caspian Sea. The Medes defeat the Kingdom of Mannae and destroy the Assyrian capital, Nineveh. They also conquer the Kingdom of Urartu.
6th century BC - The Medes are overthrown by the Armies of Cyrus the Great. According to many scholars, the prophet Zoroaster (Zarathustra, founder of Zoroastrianism) was born in the territory of the present-day Azerbaijan in the 6th century BC.
4th-3rd century BC – Darius III’s general Atropat is made King of Media Minor. Thus, the land is named after him as "Atoorpatkan" (or Atropatena in ancient Greek writings). In later historical documents the country was also referred to as "Medes Minor", "Atropatenian Medes" and "Medes-Atropatena". Atropat fights in the battle of Gaugamela between Darius III and Alexander the Great (331 BC) as a commander of the left wing of the Persian Army. After the defeat of Darius III, Alexander the Great nominates Atropat as Satrap of Atropatena, following his pattern to involve local nobility to the state administration in the countries he conquered. According to Strabo (Greek geographer and historian, born c. 63/64 BC) the name of Atropatenian Medes derives from Alexander’s Satrap Atropat. “Midia is divided into two parts. One of them is called the Great Midia … the second one is Atropatena Midia, which got its name from the commander Atropat. Indeed, tsar Atropat made this country independent on his own decision and succession to the throne was kept in his family… It is a great country as regards to its military power, because it can be represented by 10,000 horsemen and 40,000 infantrymen… ”, Strabo reports. It is in Atropatena that the Azerbaijani identity began to be shaped.
4th –3rd century BC - The Kingdom of Caucasian Albania (Aghbania, Aghvania) is founded in the northern part of Azerbaijan in the late 4th – early 3rd century BC with the royal capital of Kabalaka (current Gabala). The Kingdom is a close ally to Parthia. The territory of Caucasian Albania covered most of the present-day Republic of Azerbaijan including some areas in neighbouring countries. It was a state with sufficiently developed agriculture, handicraft and trade. Albania had its own coins and army.
1st century BC - The Roman Army under General Pompey is defeated by the Parthians and Albanians in Caucasian Albania (66-65 BC). Later, in 36 BC the Romans led by the General Mark Antony are defeated by the Parthians at Ganzaca (now Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan).
AD 75 – Roman Emperor Domitian sent out the XII legion (XII Fulminata) to the allied kingdoms of Iberia and Albania. A rock inscription found at the shores of the Caspian Sea (Gobustan, 60-70 km from Baku) mentions the presence of a centurion of XII Fulminata named Lucius Julius Maximus.
Christianity and Islam
AD 1st-2nd century – Christianity, brought over by the missions of St Eliseus and Nestor, reaches Caucasian Albania and spreads all over the country. It becomes the official religion and Albanian Church is consequently founded. Parva (now Barda) becomes the capital city of Caucasian Albania.
4th –8th century - Nomadic Turkic tribes begin to penetrate into Caucasian Albania and Northern Iran from the North Caucasus and later from Central Asia.
7th century – The Arab conquests result in the spread of Islam in Caucasian Albania. This, subsequently, brings about the disintegration of the Kingdom and the entire region’s being assimilated into the Arabian Caliphate.
9th century – In 816, a popular Shiite liberation movement for independence from the Arabian Caliphate is launched under the leadership of Babek. However, he is defeated and executed in 838. The Shirvanshahs state in Azerbaijan emerges in the 861 and covers the area of Shirvan of the present-day Azerbaijan and existed till 1539.
10th - 11th century –The Oguz Turks penetrate into Azerbaijan and Northern Iran and begin to mix with local tribes. The Oguz adopt Islam. A new ethnic group of Azeri Turk emerges. The Oguz tribes’ Seljuk dynasty puts an end to the Arab control by invading Azerbaijan from Central Asia.
12th – 13th century – The emergence of the Atabek state in Azerbaijan under the Seljuk ruler Shams ad-din Ildeniz with a capital in Barda. In 1230s the Mongol Armies led by Genghis Khan conquer Azerbaijan.
14th century – The Mongol Armies of Tamerlane invade Azerbaijan again. This is followed by the emergence of two successive Azerbaijani states: the Kara-Goyunlu and Ak-Goyunlu (1378-1469, Southern Azerbaijan) with a capital in Tebriz. Kara-Goyunly controls the areas of Southern Azerbaijan, Iraq, Fars and part of Eastern Iran.
15th century –When the city of Shemakha is abandoned as the capital of the state of Shirvanshahs (9th –16th centuries, Northern Azerbaijan) in favour of Baku, the Palace of Shirvanshahs is built in 1411 in the new capital. In 1468, the state of Kara-Goyunly disintegrates and a new state of Ak-Goyunly (1387-1502) with capital in Tebriz emerges under the rule of Uzun Hasan.
16th –17th century – In the beginning of the 16th century Azerbaijan becomes a power base of another indigenous dynasty, the Safavids. The founder of the Safavid Dynasty, Shah Ismail I (1486-1524), declares Shia Islam as the state religion. He unites all Azerbaijani lands (Northern and Southern Azerbaijan) and creates a powerful empire with a capital in Tebriz. The state of Safavids stretches from Amur Darya in the east to the Euphrates in the west and from Derbend in the north to the Persian Gulf in the south. In August 1514, Ismail’s army is defeated in the battle of Chaldiran by the Ottoman troops under Sultan Selim I. Between 1590 and 1639 wars over Azerbaijan are fought between the Ottoman and Persian Empires.
18th –19th century – Emergence of Azerbaijani Qajars state in Iran and Azerbaijan in 1781. The Russo-Persian wars lead to the signing of the Gulistan (1813) and the Turkmenchay (1828) treaties between the Persian and Russian Empires that split Azerbaijan into two parts (southern and northern) along the Araz River. The Russian rule in Azerbaijan begins. The Azerbaijani khanates included into the Russian Empire are: Yerevan, Karabakh, Nakhichevan, Ganja, Shemakha, Baku, Sheki, Guba, Derbend, Talysh and Salian. In the late 1820s a massive resettlement of Armenians from Persia into the Azerbaijani lands takes place under the Treaty of Turkmenchay.
1872 – Starting point of commercial oil production and the first Oil Boom in Baku (11 million tones are produced per annum; 50% of the world oil production). In 1879 the Nobel Brothers establish their own company in Baku (some 12 percent of the Nobel Prize fund was drawn from Alfred's shares in the Nobel Brothers' Petroleum Company in Baku). In 1883 the capital of the Rothchilds finances Baku-Batum railway, which plays an important role in the export of oil from Baku to the European markets.
30-31 March – The massacre of about 20,000 Azerbaijanis in Baku is perpetrated by the Russian Red (Communist) Army and Armenian Dashnaks. 28 May - Azerbaijan declares independence and announces the creation of the Azerbaijani Democratic Republic (ADR) - the first secular and democratic state in the Muslim world. The first Cabinet of Ministers is formed under the Prime-Minister Fatali-khan Khoyski. 4 June – The Peace and Friendship Agreement is signed between the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic and Turkey. Establishment of Turkish Military Mission in Ganja. 15 September – Baku is liberated from Dashnak Armenians and Shaumyan’s communist armed formations. Joint Azerbaijani and Turkish troops enter Baku. The capital of Azerbaijan is moved from Ganja to Baku. 7 December – The opening session of the Parliament of Azerbaijan Democratic Republic. 18 December – General Thompson declares Britain’s support to Azerbaijani Parliament as the only legitimate authority within the territory of the ADR.
8 January – Azerbaijan Democratic Republic’s official delegation participates at the Paris Peace Conference. 15 January –The Paris Peace Conference’s official decision on the recognition of Azerbaijan’s independence is presented to the Azerbaijani delegation in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of France. 27 June – Azerbaijani is adopted as the state language. 27 June – In the face of the Bolsheviks’ military advance, Georgia and Azerbaijan sign an Agreement establishing a military union. November-December –Armenian Dashnaks perpetrate massacres of Azerbaijani population in Zangezur.
11 January 1920 – The Paris Peace Conference recognizes de-facto the Azerbaijan Republic with the capital in Baku. The Conference issues Special Resolution, which confirms Nagorno-Karabakh as an integral part of Azerbaijan. Under this document, the Allied Powers recognize Khosrov-bey Sultanov, appointed by the Government of Azerbaijan, as Karabakh’s Governor-General. 27-28 April 1920 – 11th Red (Communist) Army invades Baku. The Soviet Government led by Nariman Narimanov is established in Azerbaijan.
1921 - Parts of the sovereign territory of Azerbaijan are transferred to Armenia by the Soviet Bolshevik Government. These include Zangezur, Goyche, Daralayaz, and Sharur.
In 1922 Azerbaijan is incorporated into the Soviet Union as a part of the Transcaucasian Federation and subsequently, in 1936, it becomes a Union Soviet Socialist Republic. The Cyrillic alphabet is introduced in the country. Azerbaijan is one of the fifteen republics of the USSR until the country’s independence in 1991. 1988 – Beginning of ethic cleansing against Azerbaijanis in Armenia results in the influx of refugees to Baku. The Soviet Authorities in Moscow step up measures to suppress National Movement for independence in Azerbaijan and secure the Communist rule in the country. 20 January 1990 – Soviet military intervention. 26,000 Soviet troops storm Baku. More than 130 civilians are killed and 700 wounded. 31 August 1991 – Azerbaijani Parliament adopts the Declaration of Independence. The Parliamentary Act establishing State Independence of the Republic of Azerbaijan is passed on October 18, 1991.
June 1992 - President Ayaz Mutalibov flees Baku against the backdrop of increasing failure in internal policy and in Nagorno-Karabakh culminating in the Armenian massacres of Azerbaijani civilians in the town of Khojali on 26 February 1992 (613 were killed, 487 wounded and 1,275 civilians were taken hostage). The Popular Front of Azerbaijan seizes power and Abulfaz Elchibey becomes President. The CSCE (now the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, OSCE) sets up the Minsk Group, a group of member states coalesced to facilitate a peaceful resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. The three co-chairmen of the OSCE Minsk Group include representatives of France, Russia and the United States. June 1993 – One year of unsuccessful rule by the Popular Front reaches its climax. The Armenian aggression against Azerbaijan over the Azerbaijani region of Nagorno-Karabakh results in the occupation of Aghdam, Lachin, Kelbajar, Gubatly, Zangilan, Jebrail and Fizuli districts of the Republic of Azerbaijan. The number of Azerbaijani refugees and internally displaced persons reaches one million. Armed revolt against the Popular Front Government gains momentum. Amid imminent threat of civil war Abulfaz Elchibey appeals to Heydar Aliyev (then Leader of Nakhichevan Autonomous Republic of Azerbaijan) to return to Baku and, using his rich political experience, address the dire situation and save the country from the outbreak of internecine hostilities. Elchibey flees Baku. June 1993 - Heydar Aliyev returns to Baku and, through a number of skilful and courageous measures, manages to avert the confrontations. 15 June, 1993- Heydar Aliyev becomes Chairman of the Azerbaijani Parliament. In 1993 the United Nations Security Council adopts the four Resolutions (822, 853, 874 and 884) condemning the occupation of Azerbaijani territories and demanding unconditional withdrawal of Armenian Armed Forces. 3 October 1993 – Heydar Aliyev is elected President of the Republic of Azerbaijan.
9-12 May 1994 - The cease-fire agreement between Azerbaijan and Armenia is signed. 20 September 1994 – Contract of the century is signed between Azerbaijan and Consortium of Major Oil Companies led by BP. 5-6 December 1994 - CSCE Budapest Summit. A decision on "Intensification of CSCE action in relation to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict" is adopted.
2–3 December 1996 - OSCE Lisbon Summit. The OSCE Chairman-in-Office makes a statement supported by all (53) OSCE member states except Armenia, on three principles for the settlement of the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan: 1) territorial integrity of the Republic of Armenia and the Republic of Azerbaijan; 2) legal status of Nagorno-Karabakh defined in an agreement based on self-determination which confers on Nagorno-Karabakh the highest degree of self-rule within Azerbaijan; 3) guaranteed security for Nagorno-Karabakh and its whole population, including mutual obligations to ensure compliance by all the parties with the provisions of the settlement.
12 November 1997- Oil production starts under the Production-Sharing Agreements (PSA).
11 October 1998 - Heydar Aliyev is re-elected President of the Republic of Azerbaijan.
17 April 1999 – Construction of Baku-Supsa oil pipeline is completed (now 145,000 barrels of oil per day is transported via this pipeline).
18 November 1999 - The Intergovernmental Agreement related to the construction of Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan Crude Oil Pipeline is signed by the Presidents of the Turkish Republic, Republic of Azerbaijan and Georgia during the OSCE Summit in Istanbul.
29 December 1999 – Establishment of the State Oil Fund of the Republic of Azerbaijan.
25 January 2001- Azerbaijan becomes a member of the Council of Europe.
15 October 2003 – Ilham Aliyev is elected President of the Republic of Azerbaijan.
17 June 2003 – Azerbaijan joins the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) launched by British Prime Minister Toni Blair. 12 December 2003 – The passing away of Heydar Aliyev, the former President of the Republic of Azerbaijan. On the 15 December 2003, over one million Azerbaijanis visit the grave of Heydar Aliyev to pay their tribute and respects to the deceased National Leader of the country. 25 January 2005 – The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) adopts David Atkinson’s report on Nagorno Karabakh. 15 March 2005 - The first EITI reports are produced by the National EITI Committee. 25 May 2005 - Official celebrations to mark the “First Oil” to enter the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan Crude Oil Pipeline in Baku. 6 November 2005 - Parliamentary elections held in Azerbaijan.