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The Ancient history of Karabakh

By Narek Yegoyan

The heated dispute between Armenians and Azerbaijanis on who has rights to the mountainous Karabakh had started when Karabakh was transferred to Soviet Azerbaijan. Ever since it has been controversial to both ethnicities. Following the Nagorno-Karabakh War where Armenia successfully defeated Azeri forces and took control of Nagorno-Karabakh the real question was whether Karabakh belonged historically to Armenia or Azerbaijan. Azeri historians often like to claim Caucasian Albania had control to Karabakh historically, even though Caucasian Albania was a Christian state in which most there kings were Armenian-speaking or Armenian themselves. According to Ben Fowkers, in his book "Ethnicity and Ethnic Conflict in the Post-Communist World" he writes Any attempt to link ancient Albania with modern Azerbaijan must remain pure speculation, though these speculations played an important part in the Azerbaijani nation-building process from the 1960s onwards.

Caucasian Albania (Aluank') became Armenianized early in its history, though its language and script were different from those of Armenia. Armenian historian, Koriun, in his book The Life of Mashtots, wrote:

"Then there came and visited them an elderly man, an Albanian named Benjamin. And he Mesrob Mashdots inquired and examined the barbaric diction of the Albanian language, and then through his usual God-given keenness of mind invented an alphabet, which he, through the grace of Christ, successfully organized and put in order."

Karabakh has historically been overrun by both Caucasian Albanians and Armenians, during the rule of Tigranes the Great Armenia successfully took over Caucasian Albania and than later Albania disappeared after Arab conquests and the result of Turkic tribes appearing in the region. The claimed link between the Azeris and Caucasian Albania are absurd therefore speculating and claiming Karabakh as Azerbaijan and using Caucasian Albania is meaningless since they were both two different states. Caucasian Albania was thousands of years already gone when Azerbaijan was officially created in 1918. The Armenian presence in the region of Karabakh has been historically and modernly active.

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