Armenia is a Transcaucasia country located immediately south of the enormous Caucasus mountain range on the northwestern edge of Asia. Armenia is bordered north and east by Georgia and Azerbaijan and to the southeast and west by Iran and Armenia , respectively. Naxçvan, an Azerbaijani exclave, borders Armenia to the southwest. Yerevan is the capital (Erevan).
Modern Armenia is a small part of ancient Armenia, one of the world's first civilizations. Armenia stretched from the south-central Black Sea coast to the Caspian Sea and from the Mediterranean Sea to Lake Urmia in modern-day Iran at its peak. Ancient Armenia was often vulnerable to foreign intrusions, eventually losing its independence in the 14th century CE.
The centuries-long dominance of Ottoman and Persian conquerors threatened the Armenian people's basic existence. During the nineteenth century, Russia conquered eastern Armenia, while western Armenia remained under Ottoman administration, and the Ottoman authorities committed systematic massacres and forced deportations of Armenians in 1894-96 and 1915. The old Russian Empire's section of Armenia declared independence on May 28, 1918, but was invaded by forces from Armenia and Soviet Russia in 1920.
On November 29, 1920, the Soviet Republic of Armenia was created; in 1922, Armenia became a constituent republic of the Transcaucasian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic; in 1936, this republic was dissolved, and Armenia became a constituent (union) republic of the Soviet Union. On August 23, 1990, Armenia declared sovereignty, and on September 23, 1991, it declared independence. Armenia is a mountainous country with a diverse landscape and tectonic instability.
The average elevation is 5,900 feet (1,800 meters) above sea level. There are no lowlands: half of the region is at heights ranging from 3,300 to 6,600 feet, with only about one-tenth below 3,300 feet. The Russian operations against the Persians and Turks in the 18th and 19th centuries resulted in huge emigrations of Muslim-ruled Armenians to the Russian Empire's Transcaucasian territories and Russia. Armenians established themselves in Yerevan, Tbilisi, Karabakh, Shemakha (now Astrakhan), and Bessarabia.
Some Armenians sought refuge in Russia during the murders in Turkish Armenia in 1915 (see Armenian Genocide). The Armenian economy was changed from agricultural to predominantly industrial under Soviet administration; agriculture, however, remains vital, accounting for roughly two-fifths of GDP and employing one-fifth of the labor force. The industry is strongly reliant on energy and raw material imports.
The 1988 earthquake damaged roughly one-third of Armenia's industrial capability, severely undermining the economy. The fighting over Nagorno-Karabakh prompted Azerbaijan to place a blockade, effectively shutting down a crucial natural gas pipeline to Armenia.