A landline telephone is a phone that uses a metal wire or optical fiber telephone line for transmission as distinguished from a mobile cellular line, which uses radio waves for transmission. In 2003, the CIA World Factbook reported 1.263 billion main telephone lines worldwide. China had more than any other country at 350 million and the United States was second with 268 million; the United Kingdom had 23.7 million residential fixed home phones. The 2013 statistics show that the total number of fixed-telephone subscribers in the world was about 1.16 billion. The number of landline subscribers continuously decreases due to upgrades in digital technology and the conveniences that come with switching to wireless or Internet-based alternatives. A fixed phone line can be hard-wired or cordless and refers to the operation of wireless devices or systems in fixed locations such as homes. Fixed wireless devices derive their electrical power from the utility mains electricity, unlike mobile wireless or portable wireless, which tend to be battery-powered.
Although mobile and portable systems can be used in fixed locations and bandwidth are compromised compared with fixed systems. Mobile or portable, battery-powered wireless systems can be used as emergency backups for fixed systems in case of a power blackout or natural disaster; the term landline is used to describe a connection between two or more points that consists of a dedicated physical cable, as opposed to an always-available private link, implemented as a circuit in a wired switched system. So-called leased lines are invariably of the latter type. For example, a military headquarters might be linked to front-line units "by landline" to ensure that communication remains possible if the conventional telephone network is damaged or destroyed. Another example of this is in airports. All air traffic control towers have dedicated lines connected to the police, fire department, army, etc. Deployed as a precaution in case of emergency, these can be used at any time. In many countries the landline has not been available to most people.
In some countries in Africa, the rise in cell phones has outpaced any rise in landline telephones. Between 1998 and 2008, Africa added only 2.4 million landlines. During this same time the number of mobile phone lines that have been subscribed to has skyrocketed. Between 2000 and 2008, cell phone use has risen from fewer than 2 in 100 people to 33 out of 100, it is more difficult to install landline copper wires to every user, than it is to install mobile wireless towers that people can connect to from anywhere. There has been substantial decline of landline phones in Indian subcontinent, in urban and more in rural areas. In the early 21st century, the landline telephone has declined due to the advancement of mobile network technology and the obsolescence of the old copper wire networking; these metallic networks will be deemed out of date and replaced by more efficient broadband and fiber optic landline connections extending to rural areas and places where telecommunication was much more sparse.
Some see this happening as soon as the year 2025. In 2004, only about 45% of people in the United States between the ages of 12 and 17 owned cell phones. At that time, they had to rely on landline telephones. In just 4 years' time, that percentage climbed to about 71%; that same year, about 77 % of adults owned a mobile phone. In the year 2013, 91% of adults in the United States owned a mobile phone. 60% of those with a mobile had a smartphone. A National Health Interview Survey of 19,956 households by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released May 4, 2017 showed only 45.9 percent of U. S. households still had landlines. Over 39 percent had both. In Canada, more than one in five of households use cell phones as their only source for telephone service. In 2013, statistics showed. Households that are owned by members under the age of 35 have a higher percentage of exclusive cell phone use. In 2013, 60% of young household owners claimed to only use cell phones. Many of the consumer protections which regulators apply to incumbent landline providers, such as restrictions against cutting off subscribers without notice, do not apply to competing communication services such as cable modems and voice over IP.
Plain old telephone service Local loop Last mile Telephone Field telephone
A telephone, or phone, is a telecommunications device that permits two or more users to conduct a conversation when they are too far apart to be heard directly. A telephone converts sound and most efficiently the human voice, into electronic signals that are transmitted via cables and other communication channels to another telephone which reproduces the sound to the receiving user. In 1876, Scottish emigrant Alexander Graham Bell was the first to be granted a United States patent for a device that produced intelligible replication of the human voice; this instrument was further developed by many others. The telephone was the first device in history that enabled people to talk directly with each other across large distances. Telephones became indispensable to businesses and households and are today some of the most used small appliances; the essential elements of a telephone are a microphone to speak into and an earphone which reproduces the voice in a distant location. In addition, most telephones contain a ringer to announce an incoming telephone call, a dial or keypad to enter a telephone number when initiating a call to another telephone.
The receiver and transmitter are built into a handset, held up to the ear and mouth during conversation. The dial may be located either on a base unit to which the handset is connected; the transmitter converts the sound waves to electrical signals which are sent through a telephone network to the receiving telephone, which converts the signals into audible sound in the receiver or sometimes a loudspeaker. Telephones are duplex devices; the first telephones were directly connected to each other from one customer's office or residence to another customer's location. Being impractical beyond just a few customers, these systems were replaced by manually operated centrally located switchboards; these exchanges were soon connected together forming an automated, worldwide public switched telephone network. For greater mobility, various radio systems were developed for transmission between mobile stations on ships and automobiles in the mid-20th century. Hand-held mobile phones were introduced for personal service starting in 1973.
In decades their analog cellular system evolved into digital networks with greater capability and lower cost. Convergence has given most modern cell phones capabilities far beyond simple voice conversation, they may be able to record spoken messages and receive text messages and display photographs or video, play music or games, surf the Internet, do road navigation or immerse the user in virtual reality. Since 1999, the trend for mobile phones is smartphones that integrate all mobile communication and computing needs. A traditional landline telephone system known as plain old telephone service carries both control and audio signals on the same twisted pair of insulated wires, the telephone line; the control and signaling equipment consists of three components, the ringer, the hookswitch, a dial. The ringer, or beeper, light or other device, alerts the user to incoming calls; the hookswitch signals to the central office that the user has picked up the handset to either answer a call or initiate a call.
A dial, if present, is used by the subscriber to transmit a telephone number to the central office when initiating a call. Until the 1960s dials used exclusively the rotary technology, replaced by dual-tone multi-frequency signaling with pushbutton telephones. A major expense of wire-line telephone service is the outside wire plant. Telephones transmit both the outgoing speech signals on a single pair of wires. A twisted pair line rejects electromagnetic interference and crosstalk better than a single wire or an untwisted pair; the strong outgoing speech signal from the microphone does not overpower the weaker incoming speaker signal with sidetone because a hybrid coil and other components compensate the imbalance. The junction box arrests lightning and adjusts the line's resistance to maximize the signal power for the line length. Telephones have similar adjustments for inside line lengths; the line voltages are negative compared to earth. Negative voltage attracts positive metal ions toward the wires.
The landline telephone contains a switchhook and an alerting device a ringer, that remains connected to the phone line whenever the phone is "on hook", other components which are connected when the phone is "off hook". The off-hook components include a transmitter, a receiver, other circuits for dialing and amplification. A calling party wishing to speak to another party will pick up the telephone's handset, thereby operating a lever which closes the switchhook, which powers the telephone by connecting the transmitter and related audio components to the line; the off-hook circuitry has a low resistance which causes a direct current, which comes down the line from the telephone exchange. The exchange detects this current, attaches a digit receiver circuit to the line, sends a dial tone to indicate readiness. On a modern push-button telephone, the caller presses the number keys to send the telephone number of the called party; the keys control a tone generator circuit. A rotary-dial telephone uses pulse
AM broadcasting is a radio broadcasting technology, which employs amplitude modulation transmissions. It was the first method developed for making audio radio transmissions, is still used worldwide for medium wave transmissions, but on the longwave and shortwave radio bands; the earliest experimental AM transmissions began in the early 1900s. However, widespread AM broadcasting was not established until the 1920s, following the development of vacuum tube receivers and transmitters. AM radio remained the dominant method of broadcasting for the next 30 years, a period called the "Golden Age of Radio", until television broadcasting became widespread in the 1950s and received most of the programming carried by radio. Subsequently, AM radio's audiences have greatly shrunk due to competition from FM radio, Digital Audio Broadcasting, satellite radio, HD radio and Internet streaming. AM transmissions are much more susceptible than FM or digital signals are to interference, have lower audio fidelity.
Thus, AM broadcasters tend to specialise in spoken-word formats, such as talk radio, all news and sports, leaving the broadcasting of music to FM and digital stations. The idea of broadcasting — the unrestricted transmission of signals to a widespread audience — dates back to the founding period of radio development though the earliest radio transmissions known as "Hertzian radiation" and "wireless telegraphy", used spark-gap transmitters that could only transmit the dots-and-dashes of Morse code. In October 1898 a London publication, The Electrician, noted that "there are rare cases where, as Dr. Lodge once expressed it, it might be advantageous to'shout' the message, spreading it broadcast to receivers in all directions". However, it was recognized that this would involve significant financial issues, as that same year The Electrician commented "did not Prof. Lodge forget that no one wants to pay for shouting to the world on a system by which it would be impossible to prevent non-subscribers from benefiting gratuitously?"On January 1, 1902, Nathan Stubblefield gave a short-range "wireless telephone" demonstration, that included broadcasting speech and music to seven locations throughout Murray, Kentucky.
However, this was transmitted using induction rather than radio signals, although Stubblefield predicted that his system would be perfected so that "it will be possible to communicate with hundreds of homes at the same time", "a single message can be sent from a central station to all parts of the United States", he was unable to overcome the inherent distance limitations of this technology. The earliest public radiotelegraph broadcasts were provided as government services, beginning with daily time signals inaugurated on January 1, 1905, by a number of U. S. Navy stations. In Europe, signals transmitted from a station located on the Eiffel tower were received throughout much of Europe. In both the United States and France this led to a small market of receiver lines designed geared for jewelers who needed accurate time to set their clocks, including the Ondophone in France, the De Forest RS-100 Jewelers Time Receiver in the United States The ability to pick up time signal broadcasts, in addition to Morse code weather reports and news summaries attracted the interest of amateur radio enthusiasts.
It was recognized that, much like the telegraph had preceded the invention of the telephone, the ability to make audio radio transmissions would be a significant technical advance. Despite this knowledge, it still took two decades to perfect the technology needed to make quality audio transmissions. In addition, the telephone had been used for distributing entertainment, outside of a few "telephone newspaper" systems, most of which were established in Europe. With this in mind, most early radiotelephone development envisioned that the device would be more profitably developed as a "wireless telephone" for personal communication, or for providing links where regular telephone lines could not be run, rather than for the uncertain finances of broadcasting; the person credited as the primary early developer of AM technology is Canadian-born inventor Reginald Fessenden. The original spark-gap radio transmitters were impractical for transmitting audio, since they produced discontinuous pulses known as "damped waves".
Fessenden realized that what was needed was a new type of radio transmitter that produced steady "undamped" signals, which could be "modulated" to reflect the sounds being transmitted. Fessenden's basic approach was disclosed in U. S. Patent 706,737, which he applied for on May 29, 1901, was issued the next year, it called for the use of a high-speed alternator that generated "pure sine waves" and produced "a continuous train of radiant waves of uniform strength", or, in modern terminology, a continuous-wave transmitter. Fessenden began his research on audio transmissions while doing developmental work for the United States Weather Service on Cobb Island, Maryland; because he did not yet have a continuous-wave transmitter he worked with an experimental "high-frequency spark" transmitter, taking advantage of the fact that the higher the spark rate, the closer a spark-gap transmission comes to producing continuous waves. He reported that, in the fall of 1900, he transmitted speech over a distance of about 1.6 kilometers, which appears to have been the first successful audio transmission using radio signals.
However, at this time the sound was far too distorted to be commercially practical. For a time he continued working with more sophist
Radio is the technology of signalling or communicating using radio waves. Radio waves are electromagnetic waves of frequency between 300 gigahertz, they are generated by an electronic device called a transmitter connected to an antenna which radiates the waves, received by a radio receiver connected to another antenna. Radio is widely used in modern technology, in radio communication, radio navigation, remote control, remote sensing and other applications. In radio communication, used in radio and television broadcasting, cell phones, two-way radios, wireless networking and satellite communication among numerous other uses, radio waves are used to carry information across space from a transmitter to a receiver, by modulating the radio signal in the transmitter. In radar, used to locate and track objects like aircraft, ships and missiles, a beam of radio waves emitted by a radar transmitter reflects off the target object, the reflected waves reveal the object's location. In radio navigation systems such as GPS and VOR, a mobile receiver receives radio signals from navigational radio beacons whose position is known, by measuring the arrival time of the radio waves the receiver can calculate its position on Earth.
In wireless remote control devices like drones, garage door openers, keyless entry systems, radio signals transmitted from a controller device control the actions of a remote device. Applications of radio waves which do not involve transmitting the waves significant distances, such as RF heating used in industrial processes and microwave ovens, medical uses such as diathermy and MRI machines, are not called radio; the noun radio is used to mean a broadcast radio receiver. Radio waves were first identified and studied by German physicist Heinrich Hertz in 1886; the first practical radio transmitters and receivers were developed around 1895-6 by Italian Guglielmo Marconi, radio began to be used commercially around 1900. To prevent interference between users, the emission of radio waves is regulated by law, coordinated by an international body called the International Telecommunications Union, which allocates frequency bands in the radio spectrum for different uses. Radio waves are radiated by electric charges undergoing acceleration.
They are generated artificially by time varying electric currents, consisting of electrons flowing back and forth in a metal conductor called an antenna. In transmission, a transmitter generates an alternating current of radio frequency, applied to an antenna; the antenna radiates the power in the current as radio waves. When the waves strike the antenna of a radio receiver, they push the electrons in the metal back and forth, inducing a tiny alternating current; the radio receiver connected to the receiving antenna detects this oscillating current and amplifies it. As they travel further from the transmitting antenna, radio waves spread out so their signal strength decreases, so radio transmissions can only be received within a limited range of the transmitter, the distance depending on the transmitter power, antenna radiation pattern, receiver sensitivity, noise level, presence of obstructions between transmitter and receiver. An omnidirectional antenna transmits or receives radio waves in all directions, while a directional antenna or high gain antenna transmits radio waves in a beam in a particular direction, or receives waves from only one direction.
Radio waves travel through a vacuum at the speed of light, in air at close to the speed of light, so the wavelength of a radio wave, the distance in meters between adjacent crests of the wave, is inversely proportional to its frequency. In radio communication systems, information is carried across space using radio waves. At the sending end, the information to be sent is converted by some type of transducer to a time-varying electrical signal called the modulation signal; the modulation signal may be an audio signal representing sound from a microphone, a video signal representing moving images from a video camera, or a digital signal consisting of a sequence of bits representing binary data from a computer. The modulation signal is applied to a radio transmitter. In the transmitter, an electronic oscillator generates an alternating current oscillating at a radio frequency, called the carrier wave because it serves to "carry" the information through the air; the information signal is used to modulate the carrier, varying some aspect of the carrier wave, impressing the information on the carrier.
Different radio systems use different modulation methods: AM - in an AM transmitter, the amplitude of the radio carrier wave is varied by the modulation signal. FM - in an FM transmitter, the frequency of the radio carrier wave is varied by the modulation signal. FSK - used in wireless digital devices to transmit digital signals, the frequency of the carrier wave is shifted periodically between two frequencies that represent the two binary digits, 0 and 1, to transmit a sequence of bits. OFDM - a family of complicated digital modulation methods widely used in high bandwidth systems such as WiFi networks, digital television broadcasting, digital audio broadcasting to transmit digital data using a minimum of radio spectrum bandwidth. OFDM has higher spectral efficiency and more resistance to fading than AM or FM. Multiple radio carrier waves spaced in frequency are transmitted within the radio channel, with each carrier modulated with bits from the incoming bitstream
Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic
The Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic is a landlocked exclave of the Republic of Azerbaijan. The region covers 5,500 km2 with a population of 414,900, bordering Armenia to the east and north, Iran to the south and west, Turkey to the northwest; the area, now Nakhchivan became part of the Safavid dynasty of Iran in the 16th century. In 1828, after the last Russo-Persian War and the Treaty of Turkmenchay, the Nakhchivan Khanate passed from Iranian into Imperial Russian possession. After the 1917 February Revolution and its surrounding region were under the authority of the Special Transcaucasian Committee of the Russian Provisional Government and subsequently of the short-lived Transcaucasian Democratic Federative Republic; when the TDFR was dissolved in May 1918, Nagorno-Karabakh and Qazakh were contested between the newly formed and short-lived states of the Democratic Republic of Armenia and the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic. In June 1918, the region came under Ottoman occupation. Under the terms of the Armistice of Mudros, the Ottomans agreed to pull their troops out of the Transcaucasus to make way for British occupation at the close of the First World War.
In July 1920, the Bolsheviks occupied the region and on July 28, declared the Nakhchivan Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic with "close ties" to the Azerbaijan SSR, beginning seventy years of Soviet rule. In January 1990 Nakhchivan declared independence from the USSR to protest against the suppression of the national movement in Azerbaijan, became the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic within the newly independent Republic of Azerbaijan a year later; the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic is an autonomous area of Azerbaijan, governed by its own elected legislature. The region continues to suffer from the effects of the Armenia-Azerbaijan War, its Karki exclave has been under Armenian occupation since; the administrative capital city is Nakhchivan. Vasif Talibov has been the leader since 1995. Variations of the name Nakhchivan include Nakhichevan, Naxçivan, Nakhijevan, Nakhitchevan and Nakhdjevan. Nakhchivan is mentioned in Ptolemy's Geography and by other classical writers as "Naxuana"; the 19th-century language scholar Johann Heinrich Hübschmann wrote that the name "Nakhichavan" in Armenian means "the place of descent", a Biblical reference to the descent of Noah's Ark on the adjacent Mount Ararat.
Armenian tradition says. First century Jewish historian Flavius Josephus wrote about Nakhichevan, saying that its original name "Αποβατηριον, or Place of Descent, is the proper rendering of the Armenian name of this city". Hübschmann noted, that it was not known by that name in antiquity, that the present-day name evolved to "Nakhchivan" from "Naxčawan"; the prefix "Naxč" derives from Naxič or Naxuč and "awan" is Armenian for "place, town". The oldest material culture artifacts found in the region date back to the Neolithic Age. On the other hand, Azerbaijani archaeologists have found that the history of Nakhchivan dates back to the Stone Age; as a result of archaeological diggings, archaeologists discovered a great number of Stone-Age materials in different regions of Nakhchivan. These materials were useful to study the Paleolithic age in Azerbaijan. Pollen analysis conducted in Gazma Cave suggests that humans in the Middle Palaeolithic lived not only in the mountain forests but in the dry woodlands found in Nakhchivan.
Several archeological sites from the dating from the Neolithic have been found in Nakhchivan, including the ancient town of Ovchular Tepesi, which includes some of the oldest salt mines in the world. The region was part of the state of Urartu and of Media, it became part of the Satrapy of Armenia under Achaemenid Persia c. 521 BC. After Alexander the Great's death in 323 BC, various Macedonian generals such as Neoptolemus tried to take control of the region, but failed and a native Armenian dynasty of Orontids flourished until Armenia was conquered by Antiochus III the Great. In 189 BC, Nakhchivan became part of the new Kingdom of Armenia established by Artaxias I. Within the kingdom, the region of present-day Nakhchivan was part of the Ayrarat and Syunik provinces. According to the early medieval Armenian historian Movses Khorenatsi, from the 3rd to 2nd centuries, the region belonged to the Muratsyan nakharar family but after disputes with central power, King Artavazd I massacred the family and seized the lands and formally attached it to the kingdom.
The area's status as a major trade center allowed it to prosper. According to the Armenian historian Faustus of Byzantium, when the Sassanid Persians invaded Armenia, Sassanid King Shapur II removed 2,000 Armenian and 16,000 Jewish families in 360-370. In 428, the Armenian Arshakuni monarchy was abolished and Nakhchivan was annexed by Sassanid Persia. In 623, possession of the region was soon left to its own rule. Sebeos referred to the area as Tachkastan. Nakhchivan is said by his pupil, Koriun Vardapet, to be the place where the Armenian scholar and theologian Mesrob Mashtots finished the creation of the Armenian Alphabet and opened the first Armenian schools, it happened in the province of Gokhtan. From 640 on, the Arabs invaded Nakhchivan an
Information and communications technology
Information and communications technology is an extensional term for information technology that stresses the role of unified communications and the integration of telecommunications and computers, as well as necessary enterprise software, middleware and audiovisual systems, that enable users to access, store and manipulate information. The term ICT is used to refer to the convergence of audiovisual and telephone networks with computer networks through a single cabling or link system. There are large economic incentives to merge the telephone network with the computer network system using a single unified system of cabling, signal distribution, management. ICT is a broad subject and the concepts are evolving, it covers any product that will store, manipulate, transmit, or receive information electronically in a digital form. For clarity, Zuppo provided an ICT hierarchy where all levels of the hierarchy "contain some degree of commonality in that they are related to technologies that facilitate the transfer of information and various types of electronically mediated communications".
Theoretical differences between interpersonal-communication technologies and mass-communication technologies have been identified by the philosopher Piyush Mathur. Skills Framework for the Information Age is one of many models for describing and managing competencies for ICT professionals for the 21st century; the phrase "information and communication technologies" has been used by academic researchers since the 1980s. The abbreviation "ICT" became popular after it was used in a report to the UK government by Dennis Stevenson in 1997, in the revised National Curriculum for England and Northern Ireland in 2000. However, in 2012, the Royal Society recommended that the use of the term "ICT" should be discontinued in British schools "as it has attracted too many negative connotations". From 2014 the National Curriculum has used the word computing, which reflects the addition of computer programming into the curriculum. Variations of the phrase have spread worldwide; the United Nations has created a "United Nations Information and Communication Technologies Task Force" and an internal "Office of Information and Communications Technology".
The money spent on IT worldwide has been estimated as US$3.8 trillion in 2017 and has been growing at less than 5% per year since 2009. The estimate 2018 growth of the entire ICT in is 5%; the biggest growth of 16% is expected in the area of new technologies. The 2014 IT budget of US federal government was nearly $82 billion. IT costs, as a percentage of corporate revenue, have grown 50% since 2002, putting a strain on IT budgets; when looking at current companies' IT budgets, 75% are recurrent costs, used to "keep the lights on" in the IT department, 25% are cost of new initiatives for technology development. The average IT budget has the following breakdown: 31% personnel costs 29% software costs 26% hardware costs 14% costs of external service providers; the estimate of money to be spent in 2022 is just over US$6 trillion. The world's technological capacity to store information grew from 2.6 exabytes in 1986 to 15.8 in 1993, over 54.5 in 2000, to 295 exabytes in 2007, some 5 zettabytes in 2014.
This is the informational equivalent to 1.25 stacks of CD-ROM from the earth to the moon in 2007, the equivalent of 4,500 stacks of printed books from the earth to the sun in 2014. The world's technological capacity to receive information through one-way broadcast networks was 432 exabytes of information in 1986, 715 exabytes in 1993, 1.2 zettabytes in 2000, 1.9 zettabytes in 2007. The world's effective capacity to exchange information through two-way telecommunication networks was 281 petabytes of information in 1986, 471 petabytes in 1993, 2.2 exabytes in 2000, 65 exabytes in 2007, some 100 exabytes in 2014. The world's technological capacity to compute information with humanly guided general-purpose computers grew from 3.0 × 10^8 MIPS in 1986, to 6.4 x 10^12 MIPS in 2007. The following is a list of OECD countries by share of ICT sector in total value added in 2013; the ICT Development Index ranks and compares the level of ICT use and access across the various countries around the world. In 2014 ITU released the latest rankings of the IDI, with Denmark attaining the top spot, followed by South Korea.
The top 30 countries in the rankings include most high-income countries where quality of life is higher than average, which includes countries from Europe and other regions such as "Australia, Canada, Macao, New Zealand and the United States. In developing countries, ICT development is constrained by limited capabilities and the objectives of ICT projects are not met. On 21 December 2001, the United Nations General Assembly approved Resolution 56/183, endorsing the holding of the World Summit on the Information Society to discuss the opportunities and challenges facing today's information society. According to this resolution, the General Assembly related the Summit to the United Nations Millennium Declaration's goal of implementing ICT to achieve Millennium Development Goals, it emphasized a multi-stakeholder approach to achieve these goals, using all stakeholders i
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