Azerbaijan the Republic of Azerbaijan, is a country in the South Caucasus region of Eurasia at the crossroads of Eastern Europe and Western Asia. It is bounded by the Caspian Sea to the east, Russia to the north, Georgia to the northwest, Armenia to the west and Iran to the south; the exclave of Nakhchivan is bounded by Armenia to the north and east, Iran to the south and west, has an 11 km long border with Turkey in the northwest. The Azerbaijan Democratic Republic proclaimed its independence in 1918 and became the first democratic Muslim state. In 1920 the country was incorporated into the Soviet Union as the Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic; the modern Republic of Azerbaijan proclaimed its independence on 30 August 1991, shortly before the dissolution of the USSR in the same year. In September 1991, the Armenian majority of the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region seceded to form the Republic of Artsakh; the region and seven adjacent districts outside it became de facto independent with the end of the Nagorno-Karabakh War in 1994.
These regions are internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan pending a solution to the status of the Nagorno-Karabakh through negotiations facilitated by the OSCE. Azerbaijan is a unitary semi-presidential republic, it is one of six independent Turkic states and an active member of the Turkic Council and the TÜRKSOY community. Azerbaijan has diplomatic relations with 158 countries and holds membership in 38 international organizations, including the United Nations, the Council of Europe, the Non-Aligned Movement, the OSCE, the NATO Partnership for Peace program, it is one of the founding members of GUAM, the Commonwealth of Independent States and the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. Azerbaijan holds observer status in the World Trade Organization. While more than 89% of the population is Shia Muslim, the Constitution of Azerbaijan does not declare an official religion and all major political forces in the country are secularist. Azerbaijan has a high level of human development that ranks on par with most Eastern European countries.
It has a high rate of economic literacy, as well as a low rate of unemployment. However, the ruling party, the New Azerbaijan Party, has been accused of authoritarianism and human rights abuses. According to a modern etymology, the term Azerbaijan derives from that of Atropates, a Persian satrap under the Achaemenid Empire, reinstated as the satrap of Media under Alexander the Great; the original etymology of this name is thought to have its roots in the once-dominant Zoroastrianism. In the Avesta's Frawardin Yasht, there is a mention of âterepâtahe ashaonô fravashîm ýazamaide, which translates from Avestan as "we worship the fravashi of the holy Atropatene." The name "Atropates" itself is the Greek transliteration of an Old Iranian Median, compounded name with the meaning "Protected by the Fire" or "The Land of the Fire". The Greek name was mentioned by Diodorus Strabo. Over the span of millennia, the name evolved to Āturpātākān to Ādharbādhagān, Ādharbāyagān, Āzarbāydjān and present-day Azerbaijan.
The name Azerbaijan was first adopted for the area of the present-day Republic of Azerbaijan by the government of Musavat in 1918, after the collapse of the Russian Empire, when the independent Azerbaijan Democratic Republic was established. Until the designation had been used to identify the adjacent region of contemporary northwestern Iran, while the area of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic was referred to as Arran and Shirvan. On that basis Iran protested the newly adopted country name. During the Soviet rule, the country was spelled in English from the Russian transliteration as Azerbaydzhan; the earliest evidence of human settlement in the territory of Azerbaijan dates back to the late Stone Age and is related to the Guruchay culture of Azokh Cave. The Upper Paleolithic and late Bronze Age cultures are attested in the caves of Tağılar, Damcılı, Yataq-yeri and in the necropolises of Leylatepe and Saraytepe. Early settlements included the Scythians in the 9th century BC. Following the Scythians, Iranian Medes came to dominate the area to the south of the Aras.
The Medes forged a vast empire between 900–700 BC, integrated into the Achaemenid Empire around 550 BC. The area was conquered by the Achaemenids leading to the spread of Zoroastrianism, it became part of Alexander the Great's Empire and its successor, the Seleucid Empire. During this period, Zoroastrianism spread in the Atropatene. Caucasian Albanians, the original inhabitants of northeastern Azerbaijan, ruled that area from around the 4th century BC, established an independent kingdom; the Sasanian Empire turned Caucasian Albania into a vassal state in 252, while King Urnayr adopted Christianity as the state religion in the 4th century. Despite Sassanid rule, Albania remained an entity in the region until the 9th century, while subordinate to Sassanid Iran, retained its monarchy. Despite being one of the chief vassals of the Sasanian emperor, the Albanian king had only a semblance of authority, the Sasanian marzban held most civil and military authority. In the first half of the 7th century, Caucasian Albania, as a vassal of the Sasanians, came under nominal Muslim rule due to the Muslim conquest of Persia.
The Umayyad Caliphate repulsed both the Sasanians and Byzantines from Transcaucasia and turned Caucasian Albania into a vassal state after Christian resistance led by Kin
Tokhtamysh or Tokhtamısh, a prominent khan of the Blue Horde unified the White Horde and Blue Horde subdivisions of the Golden Horde into a single state. He descended from Genghis Khan's grandson, Tuqa-Timur. Tokhtamysh appears in history in 1376, trying to overthrow his uncle Urus Khan, ruler of the White Horde, fleeing to the great Timur. Tokhtamysh outlived Urus and both his sons, forcefully ascended to the throne of the White Horde in 1378, with Timur's backing. Tokhtamysh dreamed of emulating his ancestors and made plans to reunite the Golden Horde. In 1380, he invaded the Blue Horde by fording across the Volga, defeated Mamai during the Second Battle of the Kalka River; the ruler of the Blue Horde, was killed shortly after the Battle of Kulikovo, marking Tokhtamysh's victory and the reunification of the Golden Horde. Having reunited the Blue and White Hordes into the Golden Horde, in 1382, Tokhtamysh led a successful campaign against Russia as a punishment for the Kulikovo defeat - setting back, though not ending, the Russian aspiration to free themselves of Tatar rule.
In just six years, Tokhtamysh had reunified the lands of the Golden Horde from Crimea to Lake Balkhash. Dmitry Donskoy had raised a large army to defeat and suppress the Mongol–Tatar hordes, after defeating Mamai during the Battle of Kulikovo, could not raise another army against Tokhtamysh Khan. Realizing the enmity the unruly Dimitry had unleashed, Tokhtamysh marched against Moscow. After three days of siege, Tokhtamysh was faced with a stalemate, until Donskoy's brothers-in-law opened the gates and allowed the massacre of the city's inhabitants; the destruction of Moscow led to Dimitry's surrender to the authority of Tokhtamysh at the end of 1382. Tokhtamysh took Donskoy's son hostage. Believing he could defeat the Ilkhanate Chobanids and capture the disputed territories of the Caucasus since the days of Berke Khan, in 1385 Tokhtamysh, with an army of 50,000, invaded Persia and took Tabriz. Returning north they took 200,000 slaves from the Caucasus, including tens of thousands of Armenians from the districts of Parskahayk and Artsakh.
This proved to be a fatal error for Tokhtamysh, who moved north from the Caucasus, thus allowing his Ilkhanate rivals to side with Timur, who annexed Persia to his own expanding kingdom. Furious, Tokhtamysh made war on his former ally. Tokhtamysh conceded defeat and withdrew to the steppe. However, in 1387 he invaded Transoxiana, the heart of Timur's realm. For Tokhtamysh, heavy snow forced him back to the steppe. In 1395, the scenario reached its climax as Timur attacked the Golden Horde and defeated Tokhtamysh at the Terek. Timur sacked cities of the Golden Horde such as Azov and Tokhtamysh's capital, Sarai Berke. Timur captured artisans and craftsmen of the Golden Horde, placed a puppet ruler, Koirichak, on the throne of the White Horde and appointed Temür Qutlugh khan of the Horde. Tokhtamysh escaped to the Ukrainian steppes and asked for help from the Grand Duke Vytautas of Lithuania. In the great Battle of the Vorskla River the combined forces of Tokhtamysh and Vytautas were defeated by two of Timur's generals, khan Temur Qutlugh and emir Edigu.
The defeated Tokhtamysh was killed near present-day Tyumen by Edigu's men in 1406. He was the last khan, he had 8 sons. The Crimean Khanate and Poland-Lithuania: International Diplomacy on the European Periphery. A Study of Peace Treaties Followed by Annotated Documents. Leiden: Brill. ISBN 9789004191907
Bagrat III of Georgia
Bagrat III, of the Georgian Bagrationi dynasty, was King of Abkhazia from 978 on and King of Georgia from 1008 on. He united these two titles by dynastic inheritance and, through conquest and diplomacy, added more lands to his realm becoming the first king of the Kingdom of Georgia. Before Bagrat was crowned as king, he had reigned in Kartli as co-ruler with his father Gurgen from 976 to 978. Bagrat was born in about 960 to Gurgen, a Bagrationi Dynasty prince from Kartli, his wife, a daughter of the king George II of Abkhazia. Being still in his minority, Bagrat was adopted by his childless kinsman David III Kuropalates, presiding prince of Tao and the most powerful ruler in the Caucasus; the Abkhazian Kingdom was under the rule of Theodosius III the Blind, a weak and inauspicious king, Bagrat’s uncle by his mother’s side. The kingdom was engulfed into feudal warfare. Exploiting the situation, Prince Kvirike II of Kakheti, now the easternmost region of Georgia, raided Kartli, hitherto under the authority of the Abkhazian kings, laid siege to its rock-hewn stronghold Uplistsikhe.
Ioane Marushis-dze, the energetic eristavi of Kartli, urged, in 976, David III of Tao to take control of the province or give it to Bagrat in hereditary possession. David responded vigorously and the Kakhetians had to withdraw to avoid the confrontation. David installed Gurgen as his regent; the Kakhetians returned to the offensive and seized Bagrat and his parents. However, David promptly restored his stepson in Kartli. In 978, Ioane Marushis-dze, aided by David, forced Theodosius of Abkhazia to abdicate the throne in favour of his nephew Bagrat; the latter left his mother, Gurandukht, to govern Kartli and proceeded to Kutaisi to be crowned King of the Abkhazians. Disorder was still rampant in the kingdom, but Bagrat’s descent from both Bagratid and Abkhazian dynasties made him an acceptable choice for the nobles of the realm who were growing weary of internecine quarrels. Within two years, Bagrat assumed full ruling powers, he succeeded in restoring law and order in his kingdom. While he was in Kutaisi, the aristocratic opposition of Kartli led by Kavtar Tbeli disregarded Gurandukht’s authority and ran their fiefdoms as semi-independent rulers.
When Bagrat returned to Kartli to deal with this situation, the nobles offered him an armed resistance, but the king won the battle at Moghrisi, forced the rebels into submission. He directed his attention towards Kldekari in Lower Kartli, whose duke Rati continued to ignore the royal authority and ruled rather independently; the preparations for this expedition, in 989, produced much confusion as David of Tao was misinformed about the true intentions of his stepson. Persuaded that the latter intended to remove and kill him, David launched a surprise attack and dispersed the forces led by Bagrat’s natural father, before the Abkhazian king himself could arrive. According to Georgian chronicles, "Bagrat went alone, fell at his feet and swore that he was going against Rati. Believed that too and released him in peace". After the reconciliation with his stepfather, Bagrat was able to receive fealty from Rati who abandoned his duchy at swordpoint and retired to his minor patrimony in Argveti, western Georgia.
David was murdered by his nobles in 1000, his possessions, according to the previous agreement, passed to the Byzantine Emperor Basil II. Bagrat and Gurgen, this latter now reigning as King of Kings of the Georgians in parts of the southwestern Kartlian lands, met with Basil but, unable to prevent the annexation of David’s realm, were forced to recognize the new borders. On this occasion, Bagrat was bestowed with the Byzantine title of kouropalates, Gurgen with that of magistros the competing titles since the dignity conferred upon the son was more esteemed than that granted to the father; this was done by the emperor, as the Georgian chronicles relate, to turn Gurgen against Bagrat, but he miscalculated:"as Gurgen was honest and veracious, could not incite the envy in his heart and did not succumb to his ploy." The same year, Gurgen attempted to take David Kuropalates’ succession by force, but he had to retreat in the face of the Byzantine commander Nikephoros Ouranos, dux of Antioch. In 1008, Gurgen died, Bagrat succeeded him as King of Kings of the Georgians, becoming thus the first king of a unified realm of Abkhazia and Iberia what was to be henceforth known as Sakartvelo – "all-Georgia".
After he had secured his patrimony, Bagrat proceeded to press a claim to the easternmost Georgian Principality of Kakheti and annexed it in or around 1010, after two years of fighting and aggressive diplomacy. This formidable acquisition brought Bagrat’s realm to the neighbourhood of the Shaddadid emirate of Arran in what is now Azerbaijan, whose ruler al-Fadl I b. Muhammad raided Kakheti following its incorporation into Georgia. Bagrat drove back this incursion and, in alliance with the Armenian king Gagik I campaigned against the Shaddadid city of Shamkir, levying a tribute upon it, yet Bagrat’s foreign policy was peaceful and the king manoeuvred to avoid the conflicts with both the Byzantine and Muslim neighbours though Thither Tao remained in the Byzantine and Tbilisi in the Arab hands. Bagrat’s reign, a period of uttermost impor
The Mongols are an East-Central Asian ethnic group native to Mongolia and to China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. They live as minorities in other regions of China, as well as in Russia. Mongolian people belonging to the Buryat and Kalmyk subgroups live predominantly in the Russian federal subjects of Buryatia and Kalmykia; the Mongols are bound together by ethnic identity. Their indigenous dialects are collectively known as the Mongolian language; the ancestors of the modern-day Mongols are referred to as Proto-Mongols. Broadly defined, the term includes the Mongols proper, Oirats, the Kalmyk people and the Southern Mongols; the latter comprises the Abaga Mongols, Aohans, Gorlos Mongols, Jaruud, Khuuchid and Onnigud. The designation "Mongol" appeared in 8th century records of Tang China to describe a tribe of Shiwei, it resurfaced in the late 11th century during the Khitan-ruled Liao dynasty. After the fall of the Liao in 1125, the Khamag Mongols became a leading tribe on the Mongolian Plateau.
However, their wars with the Jurchen-ruled Jin dynasty and the Tatar confederation had weakened them. In the thirteenth century, the word Mongol grew into an umbrella term for a large group of Mongolic-speaking tribes united under the rule of Genghis Khan. In various times Mongolic peoples have been equated with the Scythians, the Magog, the Tungusic peoples. Based on Chinese historical texts the ancestry of the Mongolic peoples can be traced back to the Donghu, a nomadic confederation occupying eastern Mongolia and Manchuria; the identity of the Xiongnu is still debated today. Although some scholars maintain that they were proto-Mongols, they were more a multi-ethnic group of Mongolic and Turkic tribes, it has been suggested that the language of the Huns was related to the Hünnü. The Donghu, can be much more labeled proto-Mongol since the Chinese histories trace only Mongolic tribes and kingdoms from them, although some historical texts claim a mixed Xiongnu-Donghu ancestry for some tribes. See Genetic history of East Asians The Donghu are mentioned by Sima Qian as existing in Inner Mongolia north of Yan in 699–632 BCE along with the Shanrong.
Mentions in the Yi Zhou Shu and the Classic of Mountains and Seas indicate the Donghu were active during the Shang dynasty. The Xianbei formed part of the Donghu confederation, but had earlier times of independence, as evidenced by a mention in the Guoyu, which states that during the reign of King Cheng of Zhou they came to participate at a meeting of Zhou subject-lords at Qiyang but were only allowed to perform the fire ceremony under the supervision of Chu since they were not vassals by covenant; the Xianbei chieftain was appointed joint guardian of the ritual torch along with Xiong Yi. These early Xianbei came from the nearby Zhukaigou culture in the Ordos Desert, where maternal DNA corresponds to the Mongol Daur people and the Tungusic Evenks; the Zhukaigou Xianbei had trade relations with the Shang. In the late 2nd century, the Han dynasty scholar Fu Qian wrote in his commentary "Jixie" that "Shanrong and Beidi are ancestors of the present-day Xianbei". Again in Inner Mongolia another connected core Mongolic Xianbei region was the Upper Xiajiadian culture where the Donghu confederation was centered.
After the Donghu were defeated by Xiongnu king Modu Chanyu, the Xianbei and Wuhuan survived as the main remnants of the confederation. Tadun Khan of the Wuhuan was the ancestor of the proto-Mongolic Kumo Xi; the Wuhuan are of the direct Donghu royal line and the New Book of Tang says that in 209 BCE, Modu Chanyu defeated the Wuhuan instead of using the word Donghu. The Xianbei, were of the lateral Donghu line and had a somewhat separate identity, although they shared the same language with the Wuhuan. In 49 CE the Xianbei ruler Bianhe raided and defeated the Xiongnu, killing 2000, after having received generous gifts from Emperor Guangwu of Han; the Xianbei reached their peak under Tanshihuai Khan who expanded the vast, but short lived, Xianbei state. Three prominent groups split from the Xianbei state as recorded by the Chinese histories: the Rouran, the Khitan people and the Shiwei. Besides these three Xianbei groups, there were others such as the Murong and Tuoba, their culture was nomadic, their religion shamanism or Buddhism and their military strength formidable.
There is still no direct evidence that the Rouran spoke Mongolic languages, although most scholars agree that they were Proto-Mongolic. The Khitan, had two scripts of their own and many Mongolic words are found in their half-deciphered writings. Geographically, the Tuoba Xianbei ruled the southern part of Inner Mongolia and northern China, the Rouran ruled eastern Mongolia, western Mongolia, the northern part of Inner Mongolia and northern Mongolia, the Khitan were concentrated in eastern part of Inner Mongolia north of Korea and the Shiwei were located to the north of the Khitan; these tribes and kingdoms were soon overshadowed by the rise of the Turkic Khaganate in 555, the Uyghur Khaganate in 745 and the Yenisei Kirghiz states in 840. The Tuoba were absorbed into China; the Rouran
George I of Georgia
There was a Giorgi I, Catholicos of Kartli who ruled in 677–678. Giorgi I, of the House of Bagrationi, was the king of Georgia from 1014 until his death in 1027, he spent most of his thirteen-year-long reign waging a bloody and fruitless territorial war with the Byzantine Empire. Giorgi was born in 998 or, according to a version of the Georgian chronicles, 1002, to King Bagrat III. Upon his father’s death on 7 May 1014, he inherited the kingdoms of Abkhazia and Kakheti united into a single state of Georgia; as his predecessor, Giorgi continued to be titled as King of the Georgians. Contemporary sources, however omitted one of the two components of this title when abbreviating it; the new sovereign’s young age was exploited by the great nobles, suppressed under the heavy hand of Bagrat. Around the same year, the easternmost provinces of Kakheti and Hereti, not acquired by Bagrat, staged a revolt and reinstated their own government under Kvirike III, who incorporated a portion of the neighbouring Arran, allowing him to claim the title of King of the Kakhetians and Ranians.
Giorgi was unable to prevent the move and sought an alliance with this kingdom, rather than attempting to reincorporate it into the Georgian state, thus leaving a long-standing claim to Kakheti and Hereti to his successors. The major political and military event during Giorgi’s reign, a war against the Byzantine Empire, had its roots back to the 990s, when the Georgian prince David III Kuropalates, following his abortive rebellion against Emperor Basil II, had to agree to cede his extensive possessions in Tao and the neighbouring lands to the emperor on his death. All the efforts by David’s stepson and Giorgi’s father, Bagrat III, to prevent these territories from being annexed to the empire went in vain. Young and ambitious, Giorgi launched a campaign to restore the Kuropalates’ succession to Georgia and occupied Tao in 1015–1016, he entered in an alliance with the Fatimid Caliph of Egypt, Al-Hakim, that put Basil in a difficult situation, forcing him to refrain from an acute response to Giorgi’s offensive.
Beyond that, the Byzantines were at that time involved in a relentless war with the Bulgar Empire, limiting their actions to the west. But as soon as Bulgaria was conquered, Al-Hakim was no more alive, Basil led his army against Georgia. An exhausting war lasted for two years, ended in a decisive Byzantine victory, forcing Giorgi to agree to a peace treaty, in which he had not only to abandon his claims to Tao, but to surrender several of his southwestern possessions to Basil, to give his three-year-old son, Bagrat, as hostage. Following the peace treaty, Constantinople was visited by Catholicos-Patriarch Melchizedek I of Georgia, who gained Byzantine financial aid for the construction of "Svetitskhoveli", a major Orthodox cathedral in the eastern Georgian town of Mtskheta. Afterwards, Basil kept the peace with Georgia, permitting prince Bagrat to return home two years later: but the new emperor, Constantine VIII, who succeeded upon the death of Basil, decided to bring Bagrat back to Constantinople.
However, the imperial courier could not overtake the prince – he was in the Georgian possessions. The Byzantine-Georgian relations subsequently deteriorated after a conspiracy, organized by Nikephoros Komnenos, the katepano of Vaspurakan, involving Giorgi I, was brought to light. Giorgi was evidently preparing to take revenge for his defeat, but he died in Trialeti on 16 August 1027, he was buried in the Bagrati Cathedral in his capital Kutaisi. A discovered grave robbed in the 19th century, is proposed to have belonged to Giorgi I. Giorgi I was married twice – first to the Armenian princess Mariam of Vaspurakan with whom he had a son called Bagrat and daughters: Guarandukht and Kata; the most important representation of Giorgi I in historical fiction is in Konstantine Gamsakhurdia's magnum opus, The Hand of the Great Master. The author has noted that he has been interested in George's character and historical figure for a long time, as well as his reign full of turmoil and turbulence. In the story, the king is portrayed as a philanderer who enjoys feasting in low-class taverns with his comrades disguised as random peasants.
The author seems to be emphasizing on the king's human, fleshly wishes and desires despite his position on the social ladder, such as lust, love and compassion
Constantine I of Georgia
Constantine I was King of Georgia from 1405 or 1407 until his death in 1412. He is the common ancestor of all surviving branches of the Bagrationi dynasty. Constantine was the elder son of King Bagrat V of Georgia by Anna of Trebizond, his maternal grandparents were Alexios III of Theodora Kantakouzene. In 1400, Constantine was sent as an ambassador to the Mongol warlord Timur Leng who continued a relentless war against the Georgians. Afterwards, he vainly demanded from his reigning half-brother. In 1402, Constantine together with the prince Ioane Jakeli of Samtskhe submitted to Timur but never took part in the war against Georgia, he succeeded on the death of George VII as king in 1407 and launched a program of restoration of what had been ruined during Timur’s campaigns. Towards 1411, he allied with the Shirvanshah Ibrahim I and the ruler of Shaki Sidi Ahmed to counter the Kara Koyunlu Turkmen advance into the Caucasus. In the decisive Battle of Chalagan, the allies were routed and Constantine, his half-brother David and the Shervanshah Ibrahim were taken prisoner.
In the captivity, he behaved arrogantly and the infuriated Turkoman prince Kara Yusuf ordered him, 300 Georgian nobles to be executed. Kara Yusuf put Constantine to death by his own hand. Constantine was married to daughter of Kutsna, Prince-Chamberlain of Georgia. There is little information available regarding Natia's family: it may have been the house of Khurtsidze from Samtskhe or the Gabelisdze, purported ancestors of the Amirejibi family, from Shida Kartli. Kutsna himself was ambassador at Constantinople around 1386. Constantine had three sons, Alexander and George, all of whom were co-opted by their father as co-kings between 1405 and 1408. Alexander, succeeded his father as the king of Georgia and reigned until his abdication from the throne in 1442 George, prince Bagrat, prince