HISTORY OF AZERBAIJAN

Azerbaijan is one of the oldest centers of culture. Archaeological finds discovered in the caves of Azykh, Taglar, Damjily, Dashsalahly, Gazma, as well as in other places of the settlement, including the jaw of an ancient Azykh man (Azykhanthrop), who lived here 300-400 thousand years ago, indicate Azerbaijan’s belonging 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 with the traditions of ancient statehood. The history of statehood of Azerbaijan totals about 5 thousand years.

The first state formations or ethnopolitical associations on the territory of Azerbaijan appeared even before our era. In the 1st millennium BC — the beginning of the 1st millennium AD, such powerful states as Manna, Atropatena and Albania existed on Azerbaijani lands. These states played a large role in improving the culture of government, in the history of the country’s economic culture, as well as in the process of forming a united people.

At that time, there was still no single religious worldview covering the entire territory of Azerbaijan. In this territory, the worship of the main god of the ancient Turkic pantheon — Tengri — was spread, along with Tengrianism, Zoroastrianism, fire worship, as well as worship of the sun, moon, stars, earth and water were spread. In the north of the country, in some parts of the territory of Albania, especially in the mountainous, western regions, Christianity was spread.
Middle Ages.

At the beginning of our era — in the III century, the territory of Azerbaijan was included in the Sasanian Iran, and in the VII century in the Arab Caliphate.

The spread of Islam throughout the country in the 7th century played a significant role in the historical fate of the country and its people. The Islamic religion gave a strong impetus to the formation of a single people and language, and had a decisive influence on accelerating this process. The emergence of a religious community between Turkic and non-Turkic ethnic groups contributed to the formation of common customs and traditions throughout the territory of Azerbaijan over which they were settled, the expansion of family ties and an even greater deepening of the process of mutual influence.

From the middle of the 9th century, the ancient traditions of the statehood of Azerbaijan were revived: the states of Sajids, Shirvanshahs, Salarids, Ravvadids, Shaddadids, Eldanizov appeared on Azerbaijani lands. As a result of the emergence of independent states in all spheres of political, economic and cultural life, awakening occurred. The history of the Renaissance began in Azerbaijani history. The emergence of local states after the Sassanid and Arab yoke that lasted for about 600 years, the spread of Islam throughout the country played an important role in the formation of the Azerbaijani people as an ethnic group, the formation of a single language and culture.

In the XV-XVIII centuries, the Azerbaijani culture of statehood was even more enriched. During this period, the states of Garagoyunlu, Aghgoyunlu, Safavids, Afsharov and Gadzharov, covering vast territories of the East, were directly controlled by the Azerbaijani dynasties.

During the reign of Uzun Hasan (1468-1478), the state of Aghgoyunlu turned into a powerful military-political factor throughout the Near and Middle East. Uzun Hasan pursued a policy of creating a strong centralized state, covering all Azerbaijani lands.

At the end of the XV-beginning of the XVI centuries, Azerbaijani statehood entered a new stage in its historical evolution. The grandson of Uzun Hasan, an outstanding statesman Shah Ismail Khatai (1501-1524) managed to unite all Azerbaijani lands under his authority. A single centralized state of Azerbaijan has appeared — the State of Safavids with its capital in the city of Tabriz. During the rule of the Safavids, the Azerbaijani language was declared the state language. The Safavid state after some time turned into one of the powerful empires of the Near and Middle East.

The outstanding Azerbaijani commander Nadir Shah Afshar (1736-1747), who came to power after the fall of the Safavid state, further expanded the borders of the Safavid Empire.
In 1739, Nadir Shah captured North India, including Delhi. However, the plans of the Azerbaijani ruler to create a powerful centralized state on this vast territory were not realized. After the death of Nadir Shah, the empire he ruled, covering vast territories, fell. In the second half of the XVIII century, Azerbaijan broke up into small states — khanates. The period of the military-political recession in the history of the country began.

At the end of the 18th century, the Turkic Gajar dynasty came to power in Iran. Gadjars began to pursue a policy aimed at subordinating all Azerbaijani khanates to central authority.

Thus, a period of prolonged wars began between Gadjar Iran and the Russian Empire, which sought to conquer the South Caucasus. Azerbaijan has become an arena of bloody wars between two major powers.

The period after the Turkmanchay and Gulistan treaties.

On the basis of the Gulistan (1813) and Turkmanchay (1828) treaties, the Azerbaijani lands were divided between two empires: North Azerbaijan was annexed to Russia, and South — to the Persian Shah, ruled by Gadzhars.

From that period, a mass migration from neighboring states to Azerbaijani territories began, in particular on the territory of the Garabakh, Irevan and Nakhchivan khanates of the Armenian population. Only in 1828-1829, 40-50 thousand Armenians from Iran and 90 thousand from Turkey were resettled to Azerbaijan. It is no coincidence that in 1978 in the village of Shykharh in the modern Terter district, the Armenians erected a monument “Maraga-150” in honor of the 150th anniversary of the resettlement of Armenians in Karabakh from the Iranian region of Maraga. In 1988, this monument was deliberately destroyed by the Armenians, as it was evidence of the resettlement of Armenians in Karabakh, which is the historical territory of Azerbaijan.
In 1836, Tsarist Russia liquidated the independent Albanian Church and subjugated it to the Armenian Gregorian Church. Thus, favorable conditions were created for the Gregorianization and Armenianization of the ancient Azerbaijani Christian-Albanian population.

 Azerbaijan Democratic Republic.

The Democratic Republic of Azerbaijan, which existed for 23 months in 1918-1920, became the first secular democratic state in the Muslim East. The Democratic Republic of Azerbaijan carried out its activities in a difficult socio-political environment, but the steps taken by the ADR government in the field of democratic state building, economy and culture, education, military construction left a big mark in the history of our people.

In the Declaration of Independence adopted by the National Council
Azerbaijan, it was said: From now on, the peoples of Azerbaijan are holders of sovereign rights and Azerbaijan, covering the East and South Caucasus, is a fully independent state. The Azerbaijan Democratic Republic guarantees within its limits civil and political rights to all citizens, without distinction of nationality, religion, social status and gender.

In a short time the state flag, anthem and coat of arms were adopted, the Azerbaijani language was declared the state language. Serious measures were taken in the field of building a democratic state in Azerbaijan, the creation of an army with high combat efficiency, special attention was paid to the development of the economy and culture, education and health. For the first time in the East and much earlier than in some European countries, women in Azerbaijan were granted suffrage.

On January 11, 1920, the independence of Azerbaijan was recognized by the participating countries of the Paris Peace Conference.

The territory of the ADR was 114 thousand km² (excluding disputed territories), the population — more than 2.8 million people. The Government of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic functioned from May 28 to June 16, 1918 in Tbilisi, from June 16 to September 17 in Ganja, from September 17 to April 28, 1920 in Baku. During the existence of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic, five government offices were formed. The first two governments were headed by Fatali Khan Khoysky (1975-1920), and Nasib bey Yusifbeyli (1881-1920) became the chairman (Prime Minister) of the next three Councils of Ministers. The Parliament of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic functioned from December 7, 1918 to April 27, 1920, and 145 meetings were held during this period. The chairman of the ADR Parliament was Alimardan bey Topchibashev (1863-1934).

Azerbaijan during the years of Soviet rule.

On April 28, 1920, the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic fell as a result of military aggression of Bolshevik Russia. On the same day, it was announced the creation in the territory of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic of the Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic (Azerbaijan SSR).

During the years of Soviet rule, Zangezur, Geycha, part of Nakhchivan and other areas were withdrawn from Azerbaijan and annexed to Armenia. As a result, the country’s territory, which amounted to 114 thousand km² during the period of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic, was reduced to 86.6 thousand km². In addition, on July 7, 1923, at the initiative of the Bolshevik leaders, the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region was created.

The response to the resistance of the Soviet regime in Azerbaijan was brutal repression. In 1937 alone, 29 thousand people were repressed. 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.

During the years of World War II (1939-1945), Baku oil played an important role in the victory of the Soviet Union over fascism. The Azerbaijani people showed great courage and dedication — the Azerbaijani divisions went a glorious military path from the Caucasus to Berlin.

In 1948-1953, a new stage in the mass deportation of Azerbaijanis from their ancient homeland, Western Azerbaijan (the so-called territory of the Armenian SSR), began. On December 23, 1947, the Council of Ministers of the USSR adopted a decree on the deportation of more than 100 thousand Azerbaijanis from 24 regions of the Armenian SSR and the city of Irevan.

On July 14, 1969, the first period of leadership of Azerbaijan by national leader Heydar Aliyev began. In the difficult historical atmosphere of the rule of the totalitarian regime, the great patron of his native people, Heydar Aliyev, began to implement extensive reform programs to turn Azerbaijan into one of the most advanced republics of the USSR. During his leadership of Azerbaijan, great successes were achieved in the economic sphere, important steps were taken to develop culture and revive national-spiritual values. Thousands of young people were sent to study at the leading higher educational institutions of the USSR. During 1970-1985, 213 large industrial enterprises were built and commissioned on the territory of the Republic. The 350 products manufactured in Azerbaijan were exported to 65 countries of the world. Thanks to the creative activity of Heydar Aliyev in many sectors of production, agriculture and culture, Azerbaijan has taken leading positions in the USSR.

On October 18, 1991, Azerbaijan gained state independence and declared itself the successor of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic. After a short time, state symbols of the ADR period were restored. The Republic of Azerbaijan, which, by the will of the people, proclaimed its independence, began to operate in extremely difficult conditions. However, the increase in Armenian aggression against Azerbaijan, the internal struggle for power, and the recession of the economy significantly weakened the country. The unsatisfactory activity of the authorities of the Popular Front of Azerbaijan — Musavat put the country on the brink of dismemberment. The country fell into a deep political, economic and military crisis. With the return to power of Heydar Aliyev in the June days of 1993, a decisive turning point in the salvation of Azerbaijan occurred. On June 15, 1993, Heydar Aliyev was elected chairman of the Supreme Council of the Republic of Azerbaijan. This day has entered our history as the Day of National Salvation. On October 3, 1993, as a result of a popular vote, Heydar Aliyev was elected President of the Republic of Azerbaijan.
It was thanks to the saving mission of Heydar Aliyev that the state independence of the Republic of Azerbaijan was preserved, and 1993-2003, the years of the nation’s leader in power, entered the history of Azerbaijan as a period of deep reforms.

Since 2003, the policy of the national leader Heydar Aliyev has been successfully continued by the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev.
Despite the economic crisis that has swept the world, grandiose transnational projects are being implemented in the republic, economic reforms are being consistently carried out, measures are being taken to dynamically develop the country and improve the social well-being of the population. In a difficult historical situation, relations with leading powers and authoritative international structures are successfully developing, and the role and place of our state in the system of international relations is being strengthened. In all elections, President Ilham Aliyev received an absolute majority of the vote, which is convincing evidence of the unity of the people and power in Azerbaijan.

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