The original Armenian homeland encompassed a highland region including modern Armenia and adjacent areas of Azerbaijan and Iran, as well as much of eastern Turkey. Armenians are one of the oldest Christian peoples. Traditional subsistence depended on cereal agriculture and dairying. For much of the nineteenth century, the Armenian people were stateless as their country was divided between the Russian and the Ottoman empires. In 1915, systematic removal and genocide in the Ottoman west forced most Armenians to flee. Contemporary Armenian culture and society is greatly influenced by collective memory of this event, together with over seventy years of communist rule as part of the former Soviet Union.
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Documents referred to in this section are included in eHRAF World Cultures and are referenced by author, date of publication, and title where necessary.
The earliest information on Armenian culture and society in the collection was compiled by a German traveler who visited several villages and cities in Russian (Eastern) Armenia in 1843 (Haxthausen 2005). Villa (1982) follows upon and supplements the cultural and historical information in that source by providing detailed descriptions of aspects of traditional Armenian villages up to 1914, including communities in Western Armenia.
Vertanes (1947) describes the historical contexts that led to the “rebirth” of the Armenian nation in Eastern Armenia as a part of the Soviet Union following the Ottoman massacre and expulsion of Armenians in Western Armenia during the First World War, and traces developments in Soviet Armenia through the aftermath of the Second World War. Matossian (1962) focuses on the impacts of government policies in Soviet Armenia, while Panossian (2006) describes the politics of Armenian nationalism in the post-Soviet period; together, these sources show the dynamics of the Armenian peoples’ common aspirations and factional divisions.
For more detailed information on the content of the individual works in this collection, see the abstracts in the citations preceding each document.