Have the Borders of Armenia Changed?


Quick Answer

Armenia’s borders have changed frequently since its origins in the sixth century B.C. As the Kingdom of Armenia, it reached its greatest size between 95 and 80 B.C. when its borders reached the Caspian Sea and the Caucasus in the east, the Black Sea in the north and the Mediterranean Sea in the west and encompassed the cities of Antioch and Damascus in modern-day Turkey, Syria and northern Iraq.

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Full Answer

Armenia came under frequent attacks by the Byzantines and other powers during the Middle Ages but retained a principality on the Mediterranean until the 14th century. Between 1500 and 1800, the Ottoman Empire and successive Iranian dynasties split the country into Ottoman Western Armenia and the Iranian-controlled Eastern Armenia which was absorbed by the Russian Empire by the mid-1800s.

When revolution erupted, Eastern Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan seceded from the Russian Empire and formed a short-lived federation in 1918. With the defeat of the Ottoman Empire in World War I, Armenia regained its western half and achieved a brief but disastrous period of independence and was forced to cede Western Armenia back to the newly formed Turkish Republic. The Red Army invaded the Caucasus in 1922, and reincorporated the three republics as the Transcaucasian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic. The Transcaucasian union dissolved in 1934, but Armenia remained in the Soviet Union until its dissolution in 1991 when the country, reduced to a fraction of its original size, regained independence.

As of 2015, Armenia is landlocked between Turkey to the west, Georgia to the north, the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic and Azerbaijan to the east and Iran and Nakhchivan to the south. Armenia claims that its landlocked position and border disputes with Turkey and Azerbaijan have hampered its economic development and threaten to undermine its existence as an independent nation.

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