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Transcaucasia

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


For the 1918 republic, see Transcaucasian Democratic Federative Republic. For the
Soviet republic, see Transcaucasian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic.

1994 map of Caucasus region prepared by the US State Department.


Transcaucasia (Russian: ??????????), or the South Caucasus, is a geographical
region in the vicinity of the southern Caucasus Mountains on the border of Eastern
Europe and Western Asia.[1][2] Transcaucasia roughly corresponds to modern Georgia,
Armenia, and Azerbaijan.Total area of these countries is about 71,850 square miles
(186,100 square kilometres).[3] Transcaucasia and Ciscaucasia (North Caucasus)
together comprise the larger Caucasus geographical region that divides Eurasia.

Transcaucasia spans the southern portion of the Caucasus Mountains and their
lowlands, straddling the border between the continents of Europe and Asia, and
extending southwards from the southern part of the Greater Caucasus mountain range
of southwestern Russia to the Turkish and Armenian borders, and from the Black Sea
in the west to the Caspian Sea coast of Iran in the east. The area includes the
southern part of the Greater Caucasus mountain range, the entire Lesser Caucasus
mountain range, the Colchis Lowlands, the Kura-Aras Lowlands, the Talysh Mountains,
the Lenkoran Lowlands, Javakheti and the eastern portion of the Armenian Highland.

All of present-day Armenia is in Transcaucasia; the majority of present-day Georgia


and Azerbaijan, including the exclave of Nakhchivan, also fall within the region.
[citation needed] Parts of Iran and Turkey are also included within the region of
Transcaucasia.[citation needed] Goods produced in the region include oil, manganese
ore, tea, citrus fruits, and wine. It remains one of the most politically tense
regions in the post-Soviet area, and contains three heavily disputed areas:
Abkhazia, South Ossetia, and Nagorno-Karabakh. Between 1878 and 1917 the Russian
controlled province of Kars Oblast was also incorporated into the Transcaucasus.

Contents [hide]
1 Etymology
2 History
3 Wine
4 See also
5 References
6 External links
Etymology[edit]
Transcaucasia is a Latin rendering of the Russian-language word Zakavkazie (???????
???), meaning "the area beyond the Caucasus Mountains".[4] This implies a Russian
vantage point, and is analogous to similar terms such as Transnistria and
Transleithania. Other forms of this word include Trans-Caucasus and Transcaucasus.
The region is also referred to as Southern Caucasia and the South Caucasus.

History[edit]
Herodotus, Greek historian who is known as 'the Father of History' and Strabo,
Greek geographer, philosopher, and historian spoke about autochthonous peoples of
the Caucasus in their books. In the Middle Ages various peoples, including
Scythians, Alani, Huns, Khazars, Arabs, Seljuq Turks, and Mongols settled in
Caucasia. These invasions influenced on the culture of the peoples of
Transcaucasia. In parallel Middle Eastern influence disseminated the Iranian
languages and Islamic religion in Caucasus. [5]

Present administrative map of Caucasus.

Administrative map of Caucasus in USSR, 19571991.


Located on the peripheries of Iran, Russia and Turkey, the region has been an arena
for political, military, religious, and cultural rivalries and expansionism for
centuries. Throughout its history, the region has come under control of various
empires, including the Achaemenid, Parthian, Roman, Sassanian, Byzantine, Mongol,
Ottoman, successive Iranian (Safavid, Afsharid, Qajar), and Russian Empires, all of
which introduced their faiths and cultures.[6] Throughout history, Transcaucasia
was usually under the direct rule of the various in-Iran based empires and part of
the Iranian world.[7] In the course of the 19th century, Qajar Iran had to
irrevocably cede the region (alongside its territories in Dagestan, North Caucasus)
as a result of the two Russo-Persian Wars of that century to Imperial Russia.[8]

Ancient kingdoms of the region included Armenia, Albania and Iberia, among others.
These kingdoms were later incorporated into various Iranian empires, including the
Achaemenid Empire, the Parthian Empire, and the Sassanid Empire, during which
Zoroastrianism became the dominant religion in the region. However, after the rise
of Christianity and conversion of Caucasian kingdoms to the new religion,
Zoroastrianism lost its prevalence and only survived because of Persian power and
influence still lingering in the region. Thus, Transcaucasia became the area of not
only military, but also religious convergence, which often led to bitter conflicts
with successive Persian empires (and later Muslim-ruled empires) on the one side
and the Roman Empire (and later the Byzantine Empire) on the other side.

The Iranian Parthians established and installed several eponymous branches in


Transcaucasia, namely the Arsacid dynasty of Armenia, the Arsacid dynasty of
Iberia, and the Arsacid Dynasty of Caucasian Albania.

In the middle of the 8th century, with the capture of Derbend by the Umayyad armies
during the ArabKhazar wars, most of Transcaucasia became part of the Caliphate and
Islam spread throughout[dubious discuss] the region.[9] Later, the Orthodox
Christian Kingdom of Georgia dominated most of Transcaucasia. The region was then
conquered by the Seljuk, Mongol, Turkic, Safavid, Ottoman, Afsharid and Qajar
dynasties.

After two wars in the first half of the 19th century, namely the Russo-Persian War
(1804-1813) and the Russo-Persian War (1826-1828), the Russian Empire conquered
most of Transcaucasia (and Dagestan in the North Caucasus) from the Iranian Qajar
dynasty, severing historic regional ties with Iran.[7][10] By the Treaty of
Gulistan that followed after the 1804-1813 war, Iran was forced to cede modern-day
Dagestan, Eastern Georgia, and most of the Azerbaijan Republic to Russia. By the
Treaty of Turkmenchay that followed after the 1826-1828 war, Iran lost all of what
is modern-day Armenia and the remainder of the contemporary Azerbaijani Republic
that remained in Iranian hands. After the 1828-1829 war, the Ottomans ceded Western
Georgia (except Adjaria, which was known as Sanjak of Batum), to the Russians.

In 1844, what comprises present-day Georgia, Armenia and the Azerbaijan Republic
were combined into a single czarist government-general, which was termed a vice-
royalty in 1844-1881 and 1905-1917. Following the 1877-78 Russo-Turkish War, Russia
annexed Kars, Ardahan, Agri and Batumi from the Ottomans, joined to this unit, and
established the province of Kars Oblast as its most southwesterly territory in the
Transcaucasus.

After the fall of the Russian Empire in 1918, the Transcaucasia region was unified
into a single political entity twice, as Transcaucasian Democratic Federative
Republic from 9 April 1918 to 26 May 1918, and as Transcaucasian Socialist
Federative Soviet Republic from 12 March 1922 to 5 December 1936, each time to be
dissolved into separate republics Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia.

In August 2008, the Russo-Georgian War took place across Transcaucasia,


contributing to further instability in the region, which is as intricate as the
Middle East, due to the complex mix of religions (mainly Muslim and Orthodox
Christian) and ethno-linguistic groups.

Wine[edit]
Transcaucasia, in particular where modern-day Turkey, Georgia, Armenia and Iran are
located, is one of the native areas of the wine-producing vine Vitis vinifera.[11]
Some experts speculate that Transcaucasia may be the birthplace of wine production.
[12] Archaeological excavations and carbon dating of grape seeds from the area have
dated back to 70005000 BC.[13] Wine found in Iran has been dated to c.?7400 BC[11]
and c.?5000 BC,[14] while wine found in Georgia has been dated to c.?6000 BC.[15]
[16][17] The earliest winery, dated to c.?4000 BC, was found in Armenia.[11]

See also[edit]
Caucasus
Caucasus Greeks
Community for Democracy and Rights of Nations
Eastern Europe
Eurasian Economic Union
Eurovoc
North Caucasus (Ciscaucasia)
Ibero-Caucasian languages
Peoples of the Caucasus
Post-Soviet states
Europe green light.pngEurope portal
References[edit]
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