Armenia - Armenia Tucked away in the Caucasus mountains, in...

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Armenia Tucked away in the Caucasus mountains, in that little clutch of former Soviet Republics where Russia meets Turkey, is Armenia ( Hayastan , as its natives call it). Though the current republic formed after the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, it's not a new country by any means - the Kingdom of Armenia goes back to 331 BC, and was later the first country to officially adopt Christianity, in 301 AD. It also used to be much bigger than it is now, most of its former historical lands now being part of Turkey (this includes Mt. Ararat, which is considered a national symbol for the country. Ouch. ..). Before the Kingdom of Armenia arose it was the Kingdom of Urartu (roughly 858 to 585 BC), where many historians believe the Armenian nationality had its genesis. Folk history denotes that the Armenians are descended from a legendary hero known as Hayk, who led the Armenian people out of Mesopotamia and was a grandson of Noah, though this aspect of the legend is likely a case of ancient Armenian mythology being Hijacked By Jesus . Armenia fell under the rule of almost anyone building an empire for the next thousand years or so after the Kingdom of Armenia fell, being ruled over by everyone from Persians to Parthians to Mongolians, eventually falling under Ottoman Turkish rule for the majority of the last millennium (its location, between the Black and Caspian seas, makes it a hot commodity for empire builders, unfortunately for the Armenians themselves). It then was partitioned between Russia and Turkey, ultimately causing the Eastern-Western split in the Armenian language still present today. The Turkish Armenians fell under suspicion during the latter half of the 19th century, as the Ottoman Empire lost territory, and the remaining Christians in the empire became a scapegoat of sorts, resulting in sporadic massacres of the Armenians during this time. This finally came to a head during World War One , and the matter of the Armenian Genocide that was to follow is still a very contentious one - few western observers doubt that there was a major humanitarian disaster in the area in 1915, precipitated by Turkish troops against the Ottoman Empire's Christian population. And the common opinion of genocide scholars is that it falls under the definition of a genocide. The contention comes from Turkey; modern Turkey, nearly
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100 years later, still refuses to even discuss the issue , even though any crimes would have been committed by the government deposed by the current state. The Turkish government often goes to great lengths to force other countries not to pass any legislation acknowledging the Armenian Genocide. This has not stopped quite a number of countries from doing so anyway, however. You can even be arrested and fined for denying it in Switzerland and France, as you can any other recognized genocide in those countries. Shortly after World War One
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Armenia - Armenia Tucked away in the Caucasus mountains, in...

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