Striving for Independence
After the Turkish defeat in World War I, the independent Republic of Armenia was established on May 28, 1918, but survived only until Nov. 29, 1920, when it was annexed by the Soviet army. On March 12, 1922, the Soviets joined Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan to form the Transcaucasian Soviet Socialist Republic, which became part of the USSR. In 1936, after a reorganization, Armenia became a separate constituent republic of the USSR. Armenia declared its independence from the collapsing Soviet Union on Sept. 23, 1991.
In 1988, Armenia became involved in a territorial dispute with Azerbaijan over the enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh. The majority of the enclave consisted of Armenian Christians who wanted to secede from Azerbaijan and either become part of Armenia or gain full independence. War ensued between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the region from 1992–1994, resulting in 30,000 casualties. Armenia effectively controls the region today, although no formal resolution exists.
An Armenian diaspora has existed throughout the nation's history, and Armenian emigration has been particularly heavy since independence from the Soviet Union. An estimated 60% of the total 8 million Armenians worldwide live outside the country, with 1 million each in the United States and Russia. Other significant Armenian communities are located in Georgia, France, Iran, Lebanon, Syria, Argentina, and Canada.