Whom Karabakh does belong to: 10 little-known facts from the depths of history – Qarabag
Whom Karabakh does belong to: 10 little-known facts from the depths of history

1) In antiquity, Karabakh was populated by Albanian tribes.  Subsequently, as a result of the mixture of Albanians and Central Asian Turks, an Azerbaijani nation was formed.

2) Armenians captured Karabakh in the second half of the 1st century B.C. and held it by military force until the end of the 4th century A.D. As the Armenian historian, Arakelyan pointed out, the rulers of Armenia used “the most terrible and brutal methods” to control Karabakh.

3) The rulers of Armenia pursued a policy of Armenianization of the indigenous Albanian population of Karabakh. For this purpose, settlements of Armenian colonizers were established there, and Christian agitation was used. Despite this, the outstanding Soviet orientalist Ilya Petrushevsky has established this policy: “Karabakh has never belonged to the centres of Armenian culture”.

4) According to the Arab explorer Al-Masudi, Karabakh was still inhabited by Albanians in the 10th century.

5) In the 11th century, Karabakh began to be inhabited by Turkic, and their gradual mixing with local Albanians. The Turkic tribes that inhabited Karabakh in the Middle Ages are evidenced by the original names of the historical regions and settlements there. 

6) During the late Middle Ages, and particularly in the 17th century, the first resettlement of Iranian Armenians took place in Karabakh. But even the descendants of the Armenianized Albanians perceived these migrants as strangers. Therefore, the Armenian migrants settled separately and 300 years later their descendants remembered that they came to Karabakh.

7) Native Armenian speaking Karabakhers got along well with their Turkic neighbors. Representatives of the ruling nobility on both sides got married to each other. According to Russian officials in 1823, there were villages with mixed populations. As the Soviet orientalist Petrushevsky, who explored Karabakh in 1928, pointed out, many indigenous Armenian speaking people worshipped Muslim saints.

8) According to the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Russian Empire for 1811, 12,000 families lived in Karabakh. Only 2,500 of these families, i.e. 20%, were Armenian, and all the others were Muslim.

9) According to the document “Description of the Karabakh Province”, drawn up in April 1823 by two officials to establish the Russian taxation system in Karabakh, there were 614 villages at that time. 450 were Turkic, 150 were Armenian. The number of families was 20,095, of which 15,729 (78.3%) were Turkish-speaking and 4,366 (21.7%) Armenian.

10) In 1828-1830, the Russian Empire authorities relocated 140,000 Armenians from Iran and Turkey to the South Caucasus. Most of these migrants were settled in Karabakh. Assuming that 20,095 families lived there in 1823, with an average of 7-10 people each, the approximate number of Karabakh residents on the eve of mass Armenian migration was about 140,000-200,000. Of these, 78% were Muslims. These figures give a clear indication of how radically the ethnic composition of the Karabakh population has changed following the mass resettlement of Iranian and Turkish Armenians. As a result, relations between Turks and Armenians also began to change for the worse.   

All the above facts have relied on official documents of the Russian Empire kept in the Russian State Library in Moscow, as well as scientific works of the Institute of History of the Academy of Sciences of the Armenian SSR held in Yerevan. Scans and more detailed information are available in the Law of precedence in Karabakh: Russian and Armenian documents dispel European myths.