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Etchmiadzin Cathedral in Armenia, completed in 303 AD, UNESCO World Heritage Site, religious centre of the Armenia.
Palace of the Shirvanshahs in Azerbaijan, completed in 13th or 14th century AD, UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Svetitskhoveli Cathedral in Georgia, original building completed in the 4th century. It was a religious centre of monarchical Georgia. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The history of the Caucasus region may be divided into the history of the Northern Caucasus (Ciscaucasia), historically in the sphere of influence of Scythia and of Southern Russia (Eastern Europe), and that of the Southern Caucasus (Transcaucasia; Caucasian Albania, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan) in the sphere of influence of Persia, Anatolia and for a very brief time Assyria.

Up to including the early 19th century, the Southern Caucasus and a part of the Northern Caucasus (Dagestan) all formed part of the Persian Empire. In 1813 and 1828 by the Treaty of Gulistan and the Treaty of Turkmenchay respectively, the Persians were forced to irrevocably cede the Southern Caucasus and Dagestan to Imperial Russia.[1] Russia conquered and annexed the rest of the Northern Caucasus in the course of the 19th century in the Caucasian Wars (1817–1864).

The Northern Caucasus became the scene of intense fighting during the Second World War. Nazi Germany attempted to capture the Caucasus region from Soviet control in 1942 by a two-pronged attack towards both the western bank of the Volga (intending to seize the city of Stalingrad) and by a drive southeast towards Baku, a major center of oil production. The Nazis intended to establish a Reichskommissariat Kaukasus to control the Caucasian territories of the Soviet Union. Considerable parts of the northern Caucasus fell under German occupation, but the invasion eventually faltered as it failed to accomplish either goal, and Soviet soldiers drove the Germans back west following the Battle of Stalingrad (1942–1943).

Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia became independent nations. The Caucasus region has become the setting for various territorial disputes since the collapse of the Soviet Union, leading to the Nagorno-Karabakh War, the Ossetian-Ingush conflict, the War in Abkhazia, the First and Second Chechen Wars, and the South Ossetia War.

Contents

PrehistoryEdit

Stone AgeEdit

Bronze AgeEdit

Iron AgeEdit

Classical AntiquityEdit

 
Ancient countries of the Caucasus - Armenia, Colchis, Iberia and Albania
 
Georgian Kingdoms of Colchis and Iberia 600 BC-150 BC

Middle AgesEdit

 
Kingdom of Georgia at the peak of its power under Tamar of Georgia and George IV of Georgia (1184–1226).

During the middle ages Bagratid Armenia, Kingdom of Tashir-Dzoraget, Kingdom of Syunik and Principality of Khachen organized local Armenian population facing multiple threats after the fall of antique Kingdom of Armenia.

Caucasian Albania maintained close ties with Armenia and the Church of Caucasian Albania shared same Christian dogmas with the Armenian Apostolic Church and had a tradition of their Catholicos being ordained through the Patriarch of Armenia.[2]

Early modern historyEdit

By the end of the 15th century, the Kingdom of Georgia was fragmented into a number of petty client kingdoms subject to either Persia (Kingdom of Kakheti, Kingdom of Kartli) or the Ottomans (Kingdom of Imereti).[note 1] Throughout the 16th century, the Caucasus continued to serve as a battleground between Persian and Ottoman forces, with the two great powers attempting to gain control over the region. From the 1530s to the 1550s, several Transcaucasian cities became the focal point of these imperial divides. In 1555, this culminated in the Peace of Amasya, whereby Ottoman and Persian forces agreed to establish formal spheres of influence in the region.[3] As a result of the Treaty, the Safavid Empire (Persia) assumed control over lands East of the Surami Highlands, including the Georgian kingdoms of Kartli and Kakheti.[3] The Ottomans received areas West of the Highlands, including the Georgian kingdom of Imereti.[3]

 
Map of the Caucasus in 1490

The nascent Russian Empire gained territories in the North Caucasus in the Russo-Persian war of 1722/3. These territories were ceded back to Persia a few years later. Following the death of Nader Shah, Kartli and Kakheti were merged into the Kingdom of Kartli-Kakheti in 1762; Erekle de facto seceeded from Persian overlordship, but still de jure recognized the Persians as his suzerain. In 1783, King Erekle II concluded the Treaty of Georgievsk with the Russian Empire.

Catherine the Great tried to use Georgia as a base of operations against both Iran and the Ottoman Empire. After her death, the Russians withdrew to the North Caucasus Line. The Qajar dynasty re-established Persia's traditional suzerainty over the Caucasus. A Persian invasion force defeated the Georgian army in the Battle of Krtsanisi in 1795. In 1801, a few years after the assassination of Agha Mohammad Khan, capitalizing on the erupation of instability in Iran, the Russians annexed eastern Georgia (Kartli-Kakheti).

While Georgia and Armenia remained Christian, the Chechens gradually adopted Sunni Islam.[4] The Circassians were mostly Islamized under the influence of the Crimean Tatars and the Ottoman Empire in the 17th century.

Modern historyEdit

See alsoEdit

Further readingEdit

NotesEdit

  1. ^ From 1258, Imereti was considered a separate kingdom within the Kingdom of Georgia (1008–1490). However, the start of the rule of the Second House of Imereti in 1455 is from where it became independent from the Kingdom of Georgia and would form its definite own entity.
  1. ^ Timothy C. Dowling Russia at War: From the Mongol Conquest to Afghanistan, Chechnya, and Beyond pp 728-730 ABC-CLIO, 2 dec. 2014. ISBN 978-1598849486
  2. ^ "Caucasian Albanian Church celebrates its 1700th Anniversary". The Georgian Church for English Speakers. 2013-08-09. Retrieved 2018-03-02. 
  3. ^ a b c 1967-, King, Charles, (2008). The ghost of freedom : a history of the Caucasus. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780195392395. OCLC 171614379. 
  4. ^ Tsaroïeva, Mariel (2005). Anciennes croyances des Ingouches et des Tchétchènes: peuples du Caucase du Nord (in French). Paris: Maisonneuve et Larose. ISBN 2-7068-1792-5.