History and Current Reality
Artsakh (Karabakh) is an integral part of historic Armenia. During the Urartian era (9-6th cc. B.C.) Artsakh was known as Urtekhe-Urtekhini. As a part of Armenia Artsakh is mentioned in the works of Strabo, Pliny the Elder, Claudius Ptolemy, Plutarch, Dio Cassius, and other ancient authors. The evident testimony of it is the remained rich historic-cultural heritage.
After the division of Greater Armenia (387 A.D.), Artsakh became part of the Eastern Armenian kingdom, which soon fell under the Persian rule. At that time, Artsakh was a part of the Armenian marzpanutyun (province), then, in the period of Arabic rule, it was part of Armenia kusakalutyun (region). Artsakh was part of the Armenian kingdom of Bagratids (9-11th cc.), then – part of Zakarid Armenia (12-13th cc.).
In following centuries, Artsakh fell under the rule of various conquerors, remaining Armenian and having a semi-independent status. Since the mid-18th century the invasion of Turkic nomadic tribes to the north of Karabakh began, which led to clashes with local Armenians. During this period, the five Armenian melikdoms (Hams) are memorable which had reached the peak of their prosperity and power in the late 18th century. At the end of the Russian-Persian War of 1804-1813 and by the Gulistan treaty of 1813, Artsakh-Karabakh was annexed to Russia.Pre-soviet era
Nagorno-Karabakh conflict began in 1917, during the formation of three ethnic republics of Transcaucasia - Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia, as a result of the collapse of the Russian Empire. The population of Nagorno-Karabakh, 95 percent of which were Armenians, convened its first congress, which proclaimed Nagorno-Karabakh an independent political unit, elected the National Council and the Government. In 1918-1920 Nagorno-Karabakh had all the trappings of statehood, including the army and the legitimate authority.
In response to the peace initiatives of the people of Nagorno-Karabakh, Azerbaijani Democratic Republic launched a military action. From May 1918 to April 1920, Azerbaijan and military units of Turkey, which supported Azerbaijan, used violence and carried out massacres against the Armenian population (in March 1920 about 40,000 Armenians were killed and deported only in Shushi). But it was not possible to make the people of Nagorno-Karabakh obey Azerbaijan's power in this way.
In August, 1919, in order to prevent military conflict, Karabakh and Azerbaijan, signed a preliminary agreement by which they agreed to discuss the problem of the status of the region at Paris Peace Conference.
Response of the international community is memorable. The League of Nations rejected the request for Azerbaijan's membership, citing the fact that it is difficult to define clear boundaries and territories under the sovereignty of this state. Among other contentious issues there was the issue of the status of Nagorno-Karabakh. Because of the sovietization of the region the issue fell out of the agenda of international organizations.