Armenian diaspora

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The Armenian diaspora refers to the communities of Armenians outside the Republic of Armenia and other locations where Armenians are considered an indigenous population. Since antiquity, Armenians have established communities in many regions throughout the world. However, the modern Armenian diaspora was largely formed as a result of the Armenian Genocide of 1915, when the Armenians living in their ancestral homeland in eastern Turkey, known as Western Armenia to Armenians, were systematically exterminated by the Ottoman government.[1]

Terminology[edit]

In Armenian, the diaspora is referred to as spyurk (pronounced [spʰʏrkʰ]), spelled սփիւռք in classical orthography and սփյուռք in reformed orthography.[2][3] In the past, the word gaghut (գաղութ pronounced [ɡɑˈʁutʰ]) was used mostly to refer to the Armenian communities outside the Armenian homeland. It is borrowed from the Aramaic (Classical Syriac) cognate[4] of Hebrew galut (גלות).[5][6]

History[edit]

The Armenian diaspora has been present for over seventeen hundred years.[7] The modern Armenian diaspora was formed largely after World War I as a result of the Armenian Genocide. According to Randall Hansen, "Both in the past and today, the Armenian communities around the world have developed in significantly different ways within the constraints and opportunities found in varied host cultures and countries."[1]

After the fall of the Ottoman Empire, Turkish nationalists led by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk took the region of Western Armenia. As a result of the Armenian Genocide, Armenians were forced to flee to different parts of the world (approximately half a million in number) and created new Armenian communities far from their native land. Through marriage and procreation, the number of Armenians in the diaspora who trace their lineage to those Armenians who survived and fled Western Armenia is now several million. Since the breakup of the Soviet Union, approximately one million Armenians have joined the diaspora largely as a result of difficult economic conditions in Armenia. Jivan Tabibian, an Armenian scholar and former diplomat in Armenia said, Armenians "are not place bound, but ... are intensely place-conscious."[8]

In the fourth century, Armenian communities already existed outside of Greater Armenia. Diasporic Armenian communities emerged in the Sassanid and Persian empires, and also to defend eastern and northern borders of the Byzantine Empire.[9] In order to populate the less populated areas of Byzantium, Armenians were relocated to those regions. Some Armenians converted to Greek Orthodoxy while retaining Armenian as their language, whereas others stubbornly clung on to remain in the Armenian Church despite pressure from official authorities. A growing number of Armenians voluntarily migrated or were compelled to move to Cilicia during the course of the eleventh and twelfth centuries. After the fall of the kingdom to the Mamelukes and loss of Armenian statehood in 1375, up to 150,000 went to Cyprus, the Balkans, and Italy.[9] Although an Armenian diaspora existed during Antiquity and the Middle Ages, it grew in size due to emigration from the Ottoman Empire, Iran, Russia, and the Caucasus.

The Armenian diaspora is divided into two communities – those from Ottoman Armenia (or Western Armenian) and those who are from the former Soviet Union, the independent Republic of Armenia and Iran. (or Eastern Armenian)

Armenians of the modern Republic of Turkey do not consider themselves as part of the Armenian Diaspora, since they believe that they continue residing in their historical homeland.[citation needed]

The Armenian diaspora grew considerably during and after the First World War due to dissolution of the Ottoman Empire.[10] Although many Armenians perished during the Armenian Genocide, some of the Armenians managed to escape, and established themselves in various parts of the world.

Distribution[edit]

Today, the Armenian diaspora refers to communities of Armenians living outside the Republic of Armenia and the Republic of Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh), since these regions form part of Armenians' indigenous homeland. The total Armenian population living worldwide is estimated to be 11,000,000.

Of those, approximately 3 million live in Armenia, 130,000 in the de facto independent Nagorno-Karabakh and 120,000 in the region of Javakhk in neighboring Georgia. This leaves approximately 7,000,000 in diaspora (with the largest populations in Russia, the United States, France, Argentina, Lebanon, Syria, Iran, Turkey, Canada, Ukraine, Greece, and Australia).[11]

Less than one third of the world's Armenian population lives in Armenia. Their pre-World War I population area was six times larger than that of present-day Armenia, including the eastern regions of Turkey, northern part of Iran, southern part of Georgia, Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) and Nakhichevan regions of Azerbaijan.[12]

Population by country[edit]

The table below lists countries and territories where at least a few Armenians live, with their number according to official data and estimates by various organizations and media.

Estimates may vary greatly, because no reliable data are available for some countries. In France, Syria, Iran, Lebanon, Germany and many other countries, ethnicity was never enumerated during population censuses and it is virtually impossible to determine the actual number of Armenians living there. Data on people of foreign origin (born abroad or having a foreign citizenship) is available for most European Union countries, but doesn't present the whole picture and can hardly be taken as a source for the number of Armenians, because in many countries, most prominently France, most Armenians aren't from the Republic of Armenia and they don't have any legal connection with their ancestral homeland. Also, not all Armenian citizens and people born in Armenia are ethnic Armenians, but the overwhelming majority of them are, as about 97.9% of the country's population is Armenian.[13]

For other countries, such as Russia, the official number of Armenians is believed, by many, to have been underrated, because many migrant workers live in the country.

List of countries and territories by Armenian population
Country/territory Official data (latest available) Estimations or unofficial data Article
 Russia 1,182,388 (2010 census)[14] 1,500,000,[15] 2,000,000,[16] 2,500,000,[17] 2,900,000[18] Armenians in Russia
 United States 483,366 (2011 ACS)[19] 1,000,000,[20] 1,500,000[21] Armenian Americans
 France 12,355 (2005, born in Armenia)[22] 300,000,[15] 400,000,[23] 500,000,[24] 750,000[25] Armenians in France
 Georgia 168,102 (2014 census)[26] Armenians in Georgia
 Ukraine 99,894 (2001 census)[27] 100,000,[28] 250,000[29] Armenians in Ukraine
 Iran N/A 70,000–80,000,[30] 70,000–90,000,[31] 120,000,[32] 150,000,[33] 200,000[34] Iranian Armenians
 Turkey[note 1] N/A 50,000,[15] 50,000–70,000,[35] 60,000[36] Armenians in Turkey
 Lebanon N/A 70,000–80,000,[37] 100,000[15] Armenians in Lebanon
 Argentina 1,227 (2001, born in Armenia)[38] 70,000[39] Armenians in Argentina
 Syria N/A 35,000–40,000,[40] 60,000,[41] Armenians in Syria
 Canada 50,500 (2006 census)[42] 50,000,[43] 60,000–65,000[44] Armenian Canadian
 Greece 7,742 (2001, Armenian citizens)[45] 60,000,[46] 70,000–80,000[47] Armenians in Greece
 Abkhazia[note 2] 41,907 (2011 census)[48] 50,000,[49] 70,000[50] Armenians in Abkhazia
 Bulgaria 10,832 (2001 census)[51] 50,000[52] Armenians in Bulgaria
 Uzbekistan 50,537 (1989 census)[53] 42,359,[54] 50,000,[55] Armenians in Uzbekistan
 Spain 11,706 (2011, Armenian citizens)[45] 45,000,[56] 80,000[57] Armenians in Spain
 Germany 11,205 (2011, Armenian citizens)[45] 30,000,[58] 50,000–60,000[59] Armenians in Germany
 Poland 3,000 (2011 census)[60] 15,000–30,000,[52] 40,000,[61] 50,000[62] Armenians in Poland
 Australia 15,791 (2006 census)[63] 50,000[64] Armenians in Australia
 Brazil N/A 30,000,[65] 35,000–40,000[66] Armenian Brazilian
 Belarus 8,512 (2009 census)[67] 25,000,[68] 30,000[69] Armenians in Belarus
 Turkmenistan N/A 20,000–22,000,[70] 30,000[71] Armenians in Turkmenistan
 Kazakhstan 11,031 (2010 official est.)[72] 20,000–25,000,[73] 25,000[74] Armenians in Kazakhstan
 United Kingdom 1,720 (2011, Armenian citizens)[75]
18,000[76] Armenians in the United Kingdom
 Hungary 161 (2011, Armenian citizens)[45] 6,000,[52] 30,000[77] Armenians in Hungary
 Uruguay N/A 15,000[78] Armenians in Uruguay
 Iraq N/A 10,000[79] Armenians in Iraq
 Netherlands 705 (2011, Armenian citizens)[45] 12,000[80] Armenians in the Netherlands
 Belgium 9,633 (2011, Armenian citizens)[45] 7,000[81] Armenians in Belgium
 Kuwait N/A 6,000[82] Armenians in Kuwait
 Egypt N/A 6,000[83] Armenians in Egypt
 Czech Republic 2,100 (2011, born in Armenia)[22] ~10,000[84] Armenians in the Czech Republic
 Sweden 1,672 (2011, born in Armenia)[22] 5,000[85] Armenians in Sweden
 Austria 2,667 (2009, Armenian citizens)[45] 4,000[86] Armenians in Austria
 Romania 1,780 (2002 census)[87] 5,000,[88] 7,500–10,000[52] Armenians in Romania
 Latvia 2,742 (2008 yearly statistics)[89] 3,000[90] Armenians in the Baltic states
  Switzerland 612 (2010, Armenian citizens)[91] 4,500[92] Armenians in Switzerland
 Venezuela N/A 3,500[93]
 Cyprus 1,341 (2001 census)[94] 3,000–3,500[95] Armenians in Cyprus
 Estonia 1,402 (2011 census)[96] 3,000[97] Armenians in the Baltic states
 Italy 666 (2011, Armenian citizens)[45] 3,000[98] Armenians in Italy
 Denmark 605 (2011, born in Armenia)[22] 3,000[99] Armenians in Denmark
 United Arab Emirates N/A 3,000[68] Armenians in the UAE
 Tajikistan N/A 3,000[100] Armenians in Tajikistan
 Jordan N/A 3,000[101] Armenians in Jordan
 Moldova N/A 2,000–4,000[102] Armenians in Moldova
 Lithuania 1,477 (2001 census)[103] 2,500[104] Armenians in the Baltic states
 Israel N/A 2,000,[105] 3,000[106] Armenians in Israel
 Azerbaijan[note 3] 183 (2009 census)[108] 2,000–3,000,[109] 5,000[110] Armenians in Azerbaijan
 Kyrgyzstan 1,364 (1999 census)[111] 900-1,000[112] Armenians in Kyrgyzstan
 Chile N/A 1,500[113]
 Norway 275 (2012, country of origin)[note 4] 1,000[115] Armenians in Norway
 Finland 93 (2011, Armenian citizens)[45] 200,[116] 1,000[68]
 Malta 10 (2008, Armenian citizens)[45] 500[117] Armenians in Malta
 Slovakia 261 (2005, born in Armenia)[22] 500[118]
 Slovenia 7 (2005, born in Armenia)[22] 500[118]
 Albania N/A 400[119]
 Mexico N/A 400[120] Armenians in Mexico
 Serbia 222 (2011 census)[121] 300–350[122] Armenians in Serbia
 Macedonia N/A 300[123] Armenians in Macedonia
 South Africa N/A 300[124]
 Peru N/A 250[124]
 New Zealand N/A 200[125]
 India N/A 200[126] Armenians in India
 Ireland 70 (2011, born in Armenia)[22] 150[127]
 Portugal 105 (2009, born in Armenia)[22]
 Ethiopia N/A 80–90[128] Armenians in Ethiopia
 Cuba N/A 80[129]
 Singapore N/A 80[130] Armenians in Singapore
 China N/A 50–60[131] Armenians in China
 Japan 21 (2000, Armenian citizens)[132] 50–60[133]
 Malaysia N/A 45 [134]
 Thailand N/A 40–50[135]
 Croatia 37 (2011 census)[136] N/A
 Morocco N/A 25–30[137]
 Luxembourg 7 (2001, Armenian citizens)[45]
 Maldives 1[138]
 Bangladesh 1[139] Armenians in Bangladesh
World 5,605,725 6,849,192 — 10,507,133

Not listed: Armenians in Myanmar, Armenians in Bahrain, Armenians in Qatar, Armenians in Sudan

Notes
  1. ^ Hamshenis and Crypto-Armenians are not included.
  2. ^ De facto independent, de jure part of Georgia.
  3. ^ Excluding Artsakh. The Republic of Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) is a de facto independent state that is generally not considered part of the Armenian diaspora. It is internationally recognized as de jure part of Azerbaijan. According to the 2005 census, the number of Armenians in NKR is 137,380.[107]
  4. ^ Immigrants and Norwegian-born to immigrant parents.[114]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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Bibliography

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