History of Azerbaijan
The historical lands of Azerbaijan, surrounded from the north by the Greater Caucasus Mountains, from the west by Alagoz mountain ranges, including the basin of Lake Goyja and East Anadolu, from the east by the Caspian Sea, and from the south by the expanses of Sultaniat-Zanjan-Hamadan are one of the centers of ancient culture At the origins of modern civilization.
In this territory – the historical lands of Azerbaijan – the Azerbaijani people created a rich and distinctive culture and traditions of statehood.
The historical pronunciation of the name “Azerbaijan” was different. Since ancient times, from the sources of civilization, this name sounded like Andirpatian, Atropatena, Adirbidjan, Azirbidjan and, finally, Azerbaijan.
Writing in modern form – “Azerbaijan”, is based on ancient historical, anthropological, ethnographic and written sources.
The objects discovered during the archaeological excavations made it possible to study the history of life and culture of Azerbaijan. Based on ethnographic materials collected during the expeditions, traditions, everyday and moral culture, ancient forms of government, family relationships, etc. were studied.
As a result of archaeological research conducted on the territory of Azerbaijan, valuable samples relating to the objects of everyday life and culture of the first inhabitants, who inhabited it, were found, which served as a pledge for inclusion of the territory of our Republic in the list of territories on which human formation was taking place.
The territory of Azerbaijan found the oldest archaeological and paleontological materials, confirming the beginning of life here primitive people 1.7-1.8 million years ago.
The territory of Azerbaijan is extremely rich in archeological monuments, confirming that this country is one of the most ancient places of human settlement in the world.
Archaeological finds found in the caves of Azikh, Taghlar, Damjili, Dashsalakhly, Gazma (Nakhichevan) and other ancient monuments, including the jaw of the Azykh man (Azykhantrop) – the ancient man of the Acheul period, who lived here 300-400 thousand years ago, indicate belonging Azerbaijan to the territories on which the formation of primitive people took place.
Thanks to this ancient find, the territory of Azerbaijan is included in the map “The most ancient inhabitants of Europe”. The Azerbaijani people, at the same time, is one of the peoples possessing the traditions of the oldest statehood. The history of statehood of Azerbaijan totals about 5 thousand years.
The first state formations or ethnopolitical associations in the territory of Azerbaijan were created since the end of the IV, beginning of the III millennium BC in the basin of Urmia. The ancient Azerbaijani states that appeared here played an important role in the military-political history of the entire region. It was during this period of the history of Azerbaijan that there was a close relationship between the ancient states Sumer, Accard and Ashuria (Assyria), located in the valleys of Dejl and Ferat, and the state of Hitt, located in Asia Minor, which had left a deep trace in world history.
In the I millennium BC – the beginning of the first millennium AD on the territory of Azerbaijan there were such state formations as Manna, Iskim, Skeet, Skif and such strong states as Albania and Atropatena. These states played a big role in raising the culture of public administration, in the history of the country’s economic culture, and in the process of forming a single people.
At the beginning of our era, the country faced one of the most difficult trials in its history: in the III century Azerbaijan was occupied by the Iranian Sassanid empire, and in the 7th century – by the Arab Caliphate. The invaders moved to the country a large population of Iranian and Arab origin.
In the first centuries of our era, the Turkish ethnic groups, which constituted the main part of the country’s population and who were more organized and strong from the military-political point of view, played an important role in the formation of the united people. Among the Turkish ethnic groups, Turkish Oguzes predominated.
Beginning in the first centuries of our era, Turkish was also the main means of communication between small ethnic groups (ethnic minorities) and ethnic groups living in Azerbaijan, and played a connecting role between the north and the south. At that time, this factor had a very important role in the formation of the united people, since there was not yet a single religious world view – monotheism covering the whole territory of Azerbaijan. The worship of Tanra – the main god of the ancient Turks – tanry – did not yet sufficiently oppress other religious worldviews and did not completely replace them.Still there was zarduystvo, fire worship, worship of the sun, the moon, the sky, the stars and so on. In the north of the country, in some parts of the territory of Albania, especially in its western regions, Christianity spread. However, the independent Albanian church acted in the conditions of sharp rivalry with neighboring Christian concessions.
With the adoption of the Islamic religion in the VII century there was a radical change in the historical predestination of Azerbaijan. The Islamic religion gave a strong impetus to the formation of a single people and its language, played a decisive role in accelerating this process.
The existence of a single religion between Turkic and non-Turkic ethnic groups throughout the territory of their spread in Azerbaijan was the reason for the formation of common customs, the expansion of family relations between them, and their interaction.
The Islamic religion united under the single Turkic and Islamic banner all the Turkic and non-Turkic ethnic groups that accepted it, the whole of the Greater Caucasus and opposed it to the Byzantine Empire and Georgian and Armenian feudal lords under its care, who tried to subordinate them to Christianity. From the middle of the 9th century the traditions of the ancient statehood of Azerbaijan revived again.
A new political upsurge began in Azerbaijan: states of the Sajids, Shirvanshahs, Salarids, Ravadids and Sheddadids were established on the lands of Azerbaijan where Islam was spread. As a result of the creation of independent states, there has been a revival in all areas of political, economic and cultural life. The Renaissance began in the history of Azerbaijan.
The creation of their own states (Sajids, Shirvanshahs, Salarids, Ravvadids, Sheddadids, Sheki’s governments) after the ensuing enslavement of the Sassanids and Arabs for about 600 years, and the transformation of Islam into the whole state religion throughout the country played an important role in the ethnic development of the Azerbaijani people, The formation of its culture.
At the same time, in the historical period when individual feudal dynasties often succeeded each other, the Islamic religion played a progressive role in uniting the entire Azerbaijani population – as different Turkic tribes that played a major role in the formation of our people and the non-Turkic ethnicities mingling with them , In the form of a single force against foreign invaders.
Since the fall of the Arab Caliphate – since the middle of the IX century the role of the Turkic-Islamic states has increased, both in the Caucasus and throughout the Near and Middle East.
The states that were ruled by the Sajids, Shirvanshahs, Salarids, Rabbisides, Sheddids, Sheki rulers, Seljuks, Eldanizs, Mongols, Elkhanid-Khilakuds, Timurids, Osmanids, Garagoyunids, Aggounids, Safavids, Afshanids, Ghajars and other Turkic-Islamic dynasties left a deep imprint in history Statehood not only of Azerbaijan, but of the entire Middle East.
From the XV-XVIII centuries and in the subsequent period the culture of statehood of Azerbaijan was even more enriched. During this period of the empire Garagoyunlu, Aggoyunlu, Safavid, Afsharov and Gadzharov were directly governed by Azerbaijani dynasties.
This important factor had a positive impact on the internal and international relations of Azerbaijan, expanded the sphere of military and political influence of our country and people, the use of the Azerbaijani language, created favorable conditions for an even greater moral and material development of the Azerbaijani people.
In the described period, along with the fact that the Azerbaijani states played an important role in the international relations and military-political life of the Middle East, they took a very active part in the relations between Europe and the East.
During the reign of the great statesman of Azerbaijan Uzun Hasan (1468-1478), the Aggoyunlu empire turned into a powerful military-political factor in the entire Middle East.
The culture of the statehood of Azerbaijan has been further developed. Uzun Hasan introduced the policy of creating a powerful, centralized state, covering all the lands of Azerbaijan. For this purpose, a special “Legislation” was issued. At the direction of the great ruler, the Koran-Kerim was translated into the Azerbaijani language, the outstanding scholar of his time, Abu Bekr al-Teghran, was commissioned to write Oguznam under the name of Kitabi-Diyarbeknam.
In the late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries the Azerbaijani statehood entered a new stage of its historical development. Uzun Hasan’s grandson – the outstanding statesman Shah Ismail Khatai (1501-1524) finished the work begun by his grandfather and managed to unite under his leadership all the northern and southern lands of Azerbaijan.
A single Safavid state was formed, the capital of which was Tabriz. During the reign of the Safavids, the culture of Azerbaijani state rule increased even more. The Azerbaijani language became the state language.
As a result of successful reforms of domestic and foreign policy conducted by the Shahs Ismail, Tahmasib, Abbas and other Safavid rulers, the Safavid state has become one of the most powerful empires of the Near and Middle East.
Nadir-Shah Afshar (1736-1747), an outstanding Azerbaijani commander who came to power after the fall of the Safavid state, further widened the borders of the former Safavid empire. This great ruler of Azerbaijan, a native of the Afshar-Türkic tribe in 1739, conquered Northern India, including Delhi. However, the plans of the great ruler regarding the creation of a mighty, centralized state on this territory did not take place. After the death of Nadir Shah, the broad-territorial empire he governed fell.
On the land of Azerbaijan appeared the local states, which even in the days of Nadir Shah’s life made attempts to rise to fight for their freedom and independence. Thus, in the second half of the 18th century Azerbaijan disintegrated into small states – khanates and sultanates.
At the end of the 18th century, the Ghajars (1796-1925) came to power in Iran, being an Azerbaijani dynasty. The Ghajars again began to implement the policy begun by their great-grandfathers to subordinate the Garagoyun, Aggoyun, Safavid and all other territories that were under the rule of Nadir Shah, including Azerbaijani khanates, to centralized rule.
Thus began the era of multi-year wars between the Ghajars and seeking to seize the South Caucasus by Russia. Azerbaijan has become a springboard for the bloody wars of the two great states.
On the basis of the Gulustan (1813) and Turkmenchay (1828) treaties, Azerbaijan was divided between two empires: Northern Azerbaijan was annexed to Russia, and Southern was annexed to the Gujaran-controlled Iranian Shah. Thus, in the subsequent history of Azerbaijan, new concepts emerged: “Northern (or Russian) Azerbaijan” and “Southern (or Iranian) Azerbaijan.”
To create support for itself in the South Caucasus, Russia began to massively transfer to the occupied Azerbaijani lands, in particular, the mountainous regions of Karabakh, the territories of the former Erivan and Nakhichevan khanates, the Armenian population from neighboring regions. The so-called “Armenian region” was created in the lands of Western Azerbaijan – the former territories of the Erivan and Nakhichevan khanates bordering with Turkey, in an urgent manner and for a specific purpose. This is how the foundation for the future of the Armenian state was laid on the land of Azerbaijan.
In addition, in 1836, Russia liquidated the independent Albanian Christian church and gave it over to the Armenian Gregorian church. Thus, even more favorable conditions were created for the Grigorianization and Armenianization of the Christian Albanians, who are the oldest population of Azerbaijan. The basis for new territorial claims of Armenians to Azerbaijanis was laid. Not content with all this, Tsarist Russia resorted to an even dirtier policy: armed the Armenians, raised them against the Turkic-Muslim population, which resulted in the mass slaughter of Azerbaijanis in virtually the whole occupied by Russian territory.Thus began the era of the genocide of Azerbaijanis and the entire Turkic-Muslim people of the South Caucasus.
The struggle for freedom in Northern Azerbaijan ended in unprecedented tragedies. In March 1918, S. Shaumyan, the Dashnak-Bolshevik government, seized power, carried out a ruthless genocide against the Azerbaijani people. Bratsk Turkey extended a helping hand to Azerbaijan and saved the Azerbaijani population from the massacre carried out by Armenians. The liberation movement won, and on May 28, 1918, the first democratic republic in Northern Azerbaijan, the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic, was established. The Azerbaijan Democratic Republic, being the first parliamentary republic in the history of Azerbaijan, was, at the same time, an example of a democratic, legal and world state of the whole East, including the Turkic-Islamic world.
During the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic, the history of parliamentarianism was divided into two periods. The first period lasted from May 28, 1918 to November 19, 1918. During these six months, the first parliament in Azerbaijan – the Azerbaijan National Council, made up of 44 Muslim-Turkic representatives, made extremely important historical decisions. On May 28, 1918, the Parliament declared Azerbaijan’s Independence, took over the issues of state administration and adopted the historic Declaration of Independence. The second period in the history of the parliament of Azerbaijan lasted 17 months – from December 7, 1918 to April 27, 1920.During this period, among other things, it is necessary to note the Law on the Establishment of the Baku State University, adopted by the Parliament on September 1, 1919. The opening of the national university was a very important merit of the figures of the Republic before the native people. Although the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic subsequently fell, the Baku State University played an important role in the implementation of its ideas and in the achievement of our people a new level of independence.
In general, during the period of the existence of the Azerbaijani Democratic Republic, 155 parliamentary assemblies were held, of which 10 were held during the period of the Azerbaijan National Council (May 27 – November 19, 1918), and 145 during the period of the Azerbaijani Parliament (December 19, 1918 – April 27, 1920).
270 bills were submitted to the Parliament for discussion, of which about 230 were adopted. Laws were discussed in the context of a hot and business exchange of views and were rarely accepted before the third reading.
Despite the fact that the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic lasted only 23 months, it proved that even the most violent colonial and repressive regimes are not able to destroy the ideals of freedom and the traditions of the independent statehood of the Azerbaijani people.
As a result of the military aggression of Soviet Russia, the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic has fallen. The end of the independence of the Azerbaijani statehood in Northern Azerbaijan has come. April 28, 1920, it was announced the establishment of the Azerbaijani Soviet Socialist Republic (Azerbaijan SSR) on the territory of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic.
Immediately after the Soviet occupation, the process of destroying the system of independent state government, created during the period of the existence of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic, began. Everywhere in the country was ruled by the “red terror”. Anyone who could resist the strengthening of the Bolshevik regime was immediately destroyed as an “enemy of the people”, “counterrevolutionary” or “saboteur.”
Thus, after the March 1918 genocide, a new round of genocide of the Azerbaijani people began. The difference was that this time the elected people of the nation were eliminated – outstanding statesmen of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic, generals and officers of the National Army, advanced intelligentsia, religious figures, party leaders, political figures, famous scientists. The Bolshevik-Dashnak regime this time deliberately destroyed the entire advanced part of the people, in order to leave the people without leaders. In fact, this genocide was even more terrible than the one that was carried out in March 1918.
The convocation of the first congress of the Soviets of the Azerbaijan SSR on March 6, 1921, ended the Sovietization of Northern Azerbaijan. On May 19 of the same year, the first Constitution of the Azerbaijani SSR was adopted.
After the Azerbaijani people lost their independent government, the plundering of its wealth began. Private ownership of land was abolished. All the country’s natural resources were nationalized, or rather, they began to be considered state property. In particular, for the management of the oil industry, the Azerbaijan Petroleum Committee was established, and the management of this committee was entrusted to A.P. Serebrovsky, personally sent to Baku VI. Lenin.Thus Lenin, who sent a telegram to the Military Revolutionary Council of the Caucasian Front on March 17, 1920, saying: “It is extremely important for us to conquer Baku” and gave the order for the seizure of Northern Azerbaijan, reached its dream – Baku oil passed into the hands of Soviet Russia.
In the 1930s, large-scale repressions were carried out against the entire Azerbaijani people. Only in 1937, 29 thousand people were subjected to repression. And they were all the most worthy sons of Azerbaijan. During this period, the Azerbaijani people lost dozens and hundreds of such thinkers and intellectuals as Huseyn Javid, Mikail Mushfig, Ahmed Javad, Salman Mumtaz, Ali Nazmi, Tagi Shahbazi and others. The intellectual potential of the people, its best representatives were destroyed. The Azerbaijani people could not recover from this terrible blow for the next decades.
In 1948-1953 a new stage of mass deportation of Azerbaijanis from their most ancient homeland – Western Azerbaijan (the so-called territory of the Armenian SSR) began. Armenians, supported and encouraged by the Russians, have become even more entrenched in the lands of Western Azerbaijan. They were provided with a numerical advantage in this territory. Despite the great successes achieved as a result of the creative activity of the Azerbaijani people, for a number of objective and subjective reasons, negative tendencies began to appear in many areas of the Azerbaijani economy – both in industry and in agriculture.
In the difficult situation in which the Republic found itself, significant changes took place in the leadership of Azerbaijan. In 1969, the first period of Azerbaijan’s leadership, Heydar Aliyev, began. In the complex historical situation of the totalitarian regime rule, the great patron of the native people, Heydar Aliyev, began to implement the extensive reform programs for the transformation of Azerbaijan into one of the most advanced republics of the USSR.
The great politician first achieved the adoption of advantageous resolutions at the level of the Politburo of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the USSR, the plenums of the Central Committee, congresses of the Communist Party to solve the most important tasks necessary for the development of their homeland, their people in various spheres of the economy (including agriculture), and Culture. Then he mobilized all the people to implement these resolutions, he tirelessly fought for the prosperity of his native Azerbaijan.The task of turning Azerbaijan into a country able to live independently, self-supporting and highly developed from a scientific and technical point of view (speaking the terminology of that time – in an administrative-territorial unit) was at the head of his plans. In a word, the road leading to independence was started at that time by Heydar Aliyev.
In 1970-1985, during a historically short period of time, hundreds of factories, factories and industries were created on the territory of the Republic. 213 large industrial enterprises were built and started to work. In many industries, Azerbaijan occupied leading positions in the USSR. 350 items of products produced in Azerbaijan were exported to 65 countries of the world. The great historical significance of all these creative works carried out by Heydar Aliyev in the first period of his leadership was that the people once again awakened feelings of freedom and independence. This was in fact the entry of the Azerbaijani people in the 1970s into a new stage in the rise of the liberation movement.
The last stage, at the moment, of the history of the statehood of Azerbaijan, which began on the eve of the fall of the USSR on October 18, 1991, with the adoption of the Constitution Act “On State Independence of the Republic of Azerbaijan” continues successfully to this day.
On the continuation of their entire history, the Azerbaijani states passed periods of recovery and recession, were subjected to internal disintegration and external occupation. But, despite this, Azerbaijan has always kept peaceful and calm relations with its neighbors. However, the “peace-loving” neighbors, especially the Armenians who settled in Western Azerbaijan, always looked with envy at the Azerbaijani lands and at any opportunity seized certain territories.
In 1988, the separatist terrorist groups of the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast, along with the Armenian armed forces, began to conduct military operations with the aim of appropriating Nagorno-Karabakh. They were joined by parts of the armed forces of the USSR, located in Armenia and the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast. In the beginning there was a seizure of the places of residence of Azerbaijanis in Karabakh. On January 19, 1992 Kerkijahan was captured, on February 10 – Malibeyli village, Gushchular. Peaceful unarmed population was subjected to forcible eviction. The ring of the blockade of Khojaly and Shushi narrowed. In mid-February, Armenian and Soviet military units seized the village of Garadaghli. On the night of 25 to 26 February, the most tragic event in the modern history of Azerbaijan occurred. Armenian military formations, together with the soldiers of the 366 motorized rifle regiment of Russia, caused a terrible massacre of the peaceful Azerbaijani population in the village of Khojaly.
In March 1992, while the popular movement became more and more strong, the leader of the Republic A. Mutallibov resigned. The created emptiness in the administration further weakened the defense capability of the Republic of Azerbaijan. As a result, in May 1992, Armenian and Soviet military forces seized Shusha. Thus, the entire territory of Nagorno-Karabakh was almost completely annexed. The next step was the seizure of the Lachin district, dividing Armenia with Nagorno-Karabakh. The ongoing strife of the new government during the reign of the Popular Front of Azerbaijan dealt a heavy blow to the defense capability of the Republic. In April 1993, Kalbajar was captured.At the request of the people, Heydar Aliyev came to power again.
With the return to power of Heydar Aliyev, a decisive turn was made in the life of Azerbaijan. After several political steps, the wise politician eliminated the danger of civil war. The national leader – Heydar Aliyev, took the right position in the issues of war. As a wise strategist, he figured out the real situation in the country, took into account the strengths and plans of our insidious enemies and their international patrons, as well as the whole danger of the bloody whirlpool into which Azerbaijan fell, correctly assessed the situation. Based on the real situation, he achieved a ceasefire.
The national leader of the Azerbaijani people – Heydar Aliyev saved the people, the Motherland from national-moral disintegration and the possibility of collapse. He suspended the execution of erroneous decisions of the previous “leaders”, which they accepted based not on the instructive lessons of the historical past, not on the realities of the changed world, not on the truth of domestic and international life, but on emotions. The true meaning of the concept of “Azerbaijan” was restored and returned to our land, our people, our language.Thus, the Islamic-Turkic past of our people, the love of the Motherland and the language of our people, which are the basis of our power and unity, were restored. A real possibility of an ethnic clash was prevented. The arrows of our enemies have passed by in this matter.
To date, the authority and influence of independent Azerbaijan in the international arena are constantly increasing. The Azerbaijani Republic has won worldwide democratic, legal and state authority. Our fundamental law, which is the creation of the mind of Heydar Aliyev, is one of the most democratic and perfect Constitutions in the world. She caused respect in the international community for our Motherland. The tranquility prevailing in our country, the internal reforms implemented in our country, have a positive impact on the expansion of mutual relations with foreign states.The Republic of Azerbaijan, building its foreign policy on the basis of the principles of equality and mutual benefit, has turned for all countries of the world into an open country.