Ethnic composition of the population of Karabakh in the 19-early 20 century (tables) – Qarabag
Ethnic composition of the population of Karabakh in the 19-early 20 century (tables)

The presented tables show the dynamics of the ratio of the two main ethnic and religious groups in Karabakh-Gregorian Armenians and Muslims, the absolute majority of which were Turks, while the rest were Kurds. These data clearly refute the claims that Armenians “always” formed the majority of the population in Karabakh.

The tables show the ratio of Armenians to Muslims in Karabakh for 7 time periods: three belong to the first half of the 19-th century, two – to the end of the same century, and two – to the first two decades of the 20-th century. For six of the seven time periods, data is drawn from official documents of the Russian Empire; in one case, for the 1830s, information is taken from the Russian translation of travel notes of one of the founders of the Paris geographical society, Jean-Baptiste Benoît Eyriès, who visited the South Caucasus during this period.

In 1828-1830, about 140,000 Armenians from Iran and Turkey moved to the South Caucasus [Kazaryan G. Resettlement of Armenians from Persia to the Armenian region in 1828 / / Proceedings of the Academy of Sciences of the Armenian SSR No. 7, July 1957-p. 71].

A significant part of them were located in Karabakh.

[Glinka C. Description of the resettlement of Armenians aderbeidjans in Russia. Moscow, 1831. Pp. 87 and 127; Annexation of Eastern Armenia to Russia. Collection of documents. Academy of Sciences of the Armenian SSR, Yerevan, 1972. vol. II (1814-1830), P. 497 and 602; Volkova N. Ethnic processes in Transcaucasia in the XIX-XX centuries. // Caucasian ethnographic collection IV. Moscow, 1969. P. 6].

Mass migration from Iran and Turkey, along with an increase in the birth rate among immigrants due to the particularly favorable economic conditions created for them by the Russian authorities, in the second half of the XIX century led to a change in the ratio between Armenians and Muslims. These changes are clearly visible when comparing the first and second tables.


The ethno-religious composition of the population of Karabakh for the period 1889-1914 was calculated based on the data of the ethno-religious affiliation of the population in four counties of the Elizavetpol (Ganja) province, formed in 1867 on the lands of the former Karabakh khanate: Shusha, Jabrail (Karyagin), Jivanshir and Zangezur counties (in the 1750s, Zangezur was part of the Karabakh khanate and in 1918-1920, according to official documents of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic, was considered an integral part of Karabakh).


1) A note submitted to the Minister of internal Affairs O. P. Kozodavlev describing Georgia and some other regions of the Caucasus (19.07.1811) // Annexation of Eastern Armenia to Russia. Collection of documents, vol. I (1801-1813. Publishing house of the Academy of Sciences of the Armenian SSR. Yerevan, 1972. Pp. 559-562.

2) The calculation was made based on the data on the ethnicity of 614 villages (including nomads) of Karabakh and the families living in them, contained in 35 statements of the official document “Description of the Karabakh province, compiled in 1823, by order of the chief Administrator in Georgia Yermolov, acting state Councilor Mogilevsky and Colonel Yermolov the 2nd“. Published in the printing office of the main Department of the Caucasian Viceroyalty in Tiflis, 1866.

3) A scenic tour of Asia, compiled in French under the direction of Eyriè, and decorated with engravings. Moscow, 1840. P. 25.

4) Caucasian calendar for 1892. Tiflis, 1891. Division III, Pp. 24-25.

5) Caucasian calendar for 1907. Tiflis, 1906. Appendix II “Distribution of the population of the Transcaucasian region by religion and native language according to the census of 1897”, Pp. 105-110

6) Caucasian calendar for 1907. Tiflis, 1906. Appendix “Native population of Elizavetpol province to January 1, 1905”, Pp. 234-237.

7) Caucasian calendar for 1915. Tiflis, 1914. Department of statistics, Pp. 230-233.