Armenian diaspora

The Armenian diaspora refers to the communities of Armenians outside Armenia and other locations where Armenians are considered an indigenous population. Since antiquity, Armenians have established communities in many regions throughout the world. However, the modern Armenian diaspora was largely formed as a result of the Armenian Genocide of 1915, when the Armenians living in their ancestral homeland in eastern Turkey, known as Western Armenia to Armenians, were systematically exterminated by the Ottoman government.[1]

Armenian population by country gradient map (2018)
Armenian population by country (in thousands):
  > 2,000


In Armenian, the diaspora is referred to as spyurk (pronounced [spʰʏrkʰ]), spelled սփիւռք in classical orthography and սփյուռք in reformed orthography.[2][3] In the past, the word gaghut (գաղութ pronounced [ɡɑˈʁutʰ]) was used mostly to refer to the Armenian communities outside the Armenian homeland. It is borrowed from the Aramaic (Classical Syriac) cognate[4] of Hebrew galut (גלות).[5][6]


The Armenian diaspora has been present for over 1,700 years.[7] The modern Armenian diaspora was formed largely after World War I as a result of the Armenian Genocide. According to Randall Hansen, "Both in the past and today, the Armenian communities around the world have developed in significantly different ways within the constraints and opportunities found in varied host cultures and countries."[1]

In the fourth century, Armenian communities already existed outside of Greater Armenia. Diasporic Armenian communities emerged in the Sassanid and Persian empires, and also to defend eastern and northern borders of the Byzantine Empire.[8] In order to populate the less populated areas of Byzantium, Armenians were relocated to those regions. Some Armenians converted to Greek Orthodoxy while retaining Armenian as their language, whereas others stubbornly clung on to remain in the Armenian Church despite pressure from official authorities. A growing number of Armenians voluntarily migrated or were compelled to move to Cilicia during the course of the eleventh and twelfth centuries. After the fall of the kingdom to the Mamelukes and loss of Armenian statehood in 1375, up to 150,000 went to Cyprus, the Balkans, and Italy.[8] Although an Armenian diaspora existed during Antiquity and the Middle Ages, it grew in size due to emigration from the Ottoman Empire, Iran, Russia, and the Caucasus.

The Armenian diaspora is divided into two communities – those from Ottoman Armenia (or Western Armenian) and those who are from the former Soviet Union, the independent Armenia and Iran. (or Eastern Armenian)

Armenians of the modern Republic of Turkey do not consider themselves as part of the Armenian Diaspora, since they believe that they continue residing in their historical homeland.

The Armenian diaspora grew considerably during and after the First World War due to dissolution of the Ottoman Empire.[9] Although many Armenians perished during the Armenian Genocide, some of the Armenians managed to escape, and established themselves in various parts of the world.


Today, the Armenian diaspora refers to communities of Armenians living outside Armenia and the Republic of Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh), since these regions form part of Armenians' indigenous homeland. The total Armenian population living worldwide is estimated to be 11,000,000.

Of those, approximately 3 million live in Armenia, 130,000 in the de facto independent Nagorno-Karabakh and 120,000 in the region of Javakhk in neighboring Georgia. This leaves approximately 7,000,000 in diaspora (with the largest populations in Russia, the United States, France, Argentina, Lebanon, Syria, Iran, Turkey, Canada, Ukraine, Greece, and Australia).[10]

Less than one third of the world's Armenian population lives in Armenia. Their pre-World War I population area was six times larger than that of present-day Armenia, including the eastern regions of Turkey, northern part of Iran, southern part of Georgia, Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) and Nakhichevan regions of Azerbaijan.[11]

Population by country

The table below lists countries and territories where at least a few Armenians live, with their number according to official data and estimates by various organizations and media.

Estimates may vary greatly, because no reliable data are available for some countries. In France, Syria, Iran, Lebanon, Germany and many other countries, ethnicity was never enumerated during population censuses and it is virtually impossible to determine the actual number of Armenians living there. Data on people of foreign origin (born abroad or having a foreign citizenship) is available for most European Union countries, but doesn't present the whole picture and can hardly be taken as a source for the number of Armenians, because in many countries, most prominently France, most Armenians aren't from Armenia and they don't have any legal connection with their ancestral homeland. Also, not all Armenian citizens and people born in Armenia are ethnic Armenians, but the overwhelming majority of them are, as about 97.9% of the country's population is Armenian.[12]

For other countries, such as Russia, the official number of Armenians is believed, by many, to have been underrated, because many migrant workers live in the country.

List of countries and territories by Armenian population
Country/territory Official data (latest available) Estimations or unofficial data Article
 Russia 1,182,388 (2010 census)[13] 1,500,000,[14] 2,000,000,[15] 2,500,000,[16] 2,900,000[17] Armenians in Russia
 United States 483,366 (2011 ACS)[18] 1,000,000,[19] 1,500,000[20] Armenian Americans
 France 12,355 (2005, born in Armenia)[21] 300,000,[14] 400,000,[22] 500,000,[23] 750,000[24] Armenians in France
 Georgia 168,102 (2014 census)[25] Armenians in Georgia
 Ukraine 99,894 (2001 census)[26] 100,000,[27] 250,000[28] Armenians in Ukraine
 Iran N/A 70,000–80,000,[29] 70,000–90,000,[30] 120,000,[31] 150,000,[32] 200,000[33] Iranian Armenians
 Turkey[note 1] N/A 50,000,[14] 50,000–70,000,[34] 60,000[35] Armenians in Turkey
 Lebanon N/A [36] 150,000[14] Armenians in Lebanon
 Argentina 1,227 (2001, born in Armenia)[37] 70,000[38] Armenians in Argentina
 Syria N/A 35,000–40,000,[39] 60,000[40] Armenians in Syria
 Canada 50,500 (2006 census)[41] 50,000,[42] 60,000–65,000[43] Armenian Canadian
 Greece 7,742 (2001, Armenian citizens)[44] 60,000,[45] 70,000–80,000[46] Armenians in Greece
 Abkhazia[note 2] 41,907 (2011 census)[47] 50,000,[48] 70,000[49] Armenians in Abkhazia
 Bulgaria 10,832 (2001 census)[50] 50,000[51] Armenians in Bulgaria
 Uzbekistan 50,537 (1989 census)[52] 42,359,[53] 50,000,[54] Armenians in Uzbekistan
 Spain 11,706 (2011, Armenian citizens)[44] 45,000,[55] 80,000[56] Armenians in Spain
 Germany 11,205 (2011, Armenian citizens)[44] 30,000,[57] 50,000–60,000[58] Armenians in Germany
 Poland 3,000 (2011 census)[59] 15,000–30,000,[51] 40,000,[60] 50,000[61] Armenians in Poland
 Australia 15,791 (2006 census)[62] 50,000[63] Armenians in Australia
 Brazil N/A 30,000,[64] 35,000–40,000[65] Armenian Brazilian
 Belarus 8,512 (2009 census)[66] 25,000,[67] 30,000[68] Armenians in Belarus
 Turkmenistan N/A 20,000–22,000,[69] 30,000[70] Armenians in Turkmenistan
 Kazakhstan 11,031 (2010 official est.)[71] 20,000–25,000,[72] 25,000[73] Armenians in Kazakhstan
 United Kingdom 1,720 (2011, Armenian citizens)[74]
18,000[75] Armenians in the United Kingdom
 Hungary 161 (2011, Armenian citizens)[44] 6,000,[51] 30,000[76] Armenians in Hungary
 Uruguay N/A 15,000[77] Armenians in Uruguay
 Iraq N/A 10,000[78] Armenians in Iraq
 Netherlands 705 (2011, Armenian citizens)[44] 12,000[79] Armenians in the Netherlands
 Belgium 9,633 (2011, Armenian citizens)[44] 7,000[80] Armenians in Belgium
 Kuwait N/A 6,000[81] Armenians in Kuwait
 Egypt N/A 6,000[82] Armenians in Egypt
 Czech Republic 2,100 (2011, born in Armenia)[21] ≈10,000[83] Armenians in the Czech Republic
 Sweden 1,672 (2011, born in Armenia)[21] 5,000[84] Armenians in Sweden
 Austria 2,667 (2009, Armenian citizens)[44] 4,000[85] Armenians in Austria
 Romania 1,780 (2002 census)[86] 5,000,[87] 7,500–10,000[51] Armenians in Romania
 Latvia 2,742 (2008 yearly statistics)[88] 3,000[89] Armenians in the Baltic states
  Switzerland 612 (2010, Armenian citizens)[90] 4,500[91] Armenians in Switzerland
 Venezuela N/A 3,500[92]
 Cyprus 1,341 (2001 census)[93] 3,000–3,500[94] Armenians in Cyprus
 Estonia 1,402 (2011 census)[95] 3,000[96] Armenians in the Baltic states
 Italy 666 (2011, Armenian citizens)[44] 3,000[97] Armenians in Italy
 Denmark 605 (2011, born in Armenia)[21] 3,000[98] Armenians in Denmark
 United Arab Emirates N/A 3,000[67] Armenians in the UAE
 Tajikistan N/A 3,000[99] Armenians in Tajikistan
 Jordan N/A 3,000[100] Armenians in Jordan
 Moldova N/A 2,000–4,000[101] Armenians in Moldova
 Lithuania 1,477 (2001 census)[102] 2,500[103] Armenians in the Baltic states
 Israel N/A 2,000-[104][105]10,000[106] Armenians in Israel[106]
 Azerbaijan[note 3] 183 (2009 census)[108] 2,000–3,000,[109] 5,000[110] Armenians in Azerbaijan
 Kyrgyzstan 1,364 (1999 census)[111] 900-1,000[112] Armenians in Kyrgyzstan
 Chile N/A 1,500[113]
 Norway 275 (2012, country of origin)[note 4] 1,000[115] Armenians in Norway
 Finland 93 (2011, Armenian citizens)[44] 200,[116] 1,000[67]
 Malta 10 (2008, Armenian citizens)[44] 500[117] Armenians in Malta
 Slovakia 261 (2005, born in Armenia)[21] 500[118]
 Slovenia 7 (2005, born in Armenia)[21] 500[118]
 Albania N/A 400[119]
 Mexico N/A 400[120] Armenians in Mexico
 Serbia 222 (2011 census)[121] 300–350[122] Armenians in Serbia
 Macedonia N/A 300[123] Armenians in Macedonia
 South Africa N/A 300[124]
 Peru N/A 250[124]
 New Zealand N/A 200[125]
 India N/A 200[126] Armenians in India
 Ireland 70 (2011, born in Armenia)[21] 150[127]
 Portugal 105 (2009, born in Armenia)[21]
 Ethiopia N/A 80–90[128] Armenians in Ethiopia
 Cuba N/A 80[129]
 Singapore N/A 80[130] Armenians in Singapore
 China N/A 50–60[131] Armenians in China
 Japan 21 (2000, Armenian citizens)[132] 50–60,[133] 100[134][135]
 Malaysia N/A 45 [136]
 Thailand N/A 40–50[137]
 Croatia 37 (2011 census)[138] N/A
 Morocco N/A 25–30[139]
 Luxembourg 7 (2001, Armenian citizens)[44]
 Maldives 1[140]
 Bangladesh 1[141] Armenians in Bangladesh
World 5,605,725 6,849,192 — 10,507,133

Not listed: Armenians in Myanmar, Armenians in Bahrain, Armenians in Qatar, Armenians in Sudan

  1. ^ Hamshenis and Crypto-Armenians are not included.
  2. ^ De facto independent, de jure part of Georgia.
  3. ^ Excluding Artsakh. The Republic of Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) is a de facto independent state that is generally not considered part of the Armenian diaspora. It is internationally recognized as de jure part of Azerbaijan. According to the 2005 census, the number of Armenians in NKR is 137,380.[107]
  4. ^ Immigrants and Norwegian-born to immigrant parents.[114]

See also


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  2. ^ Dufoix, Stéphane (2008). Diasporas. Berkeley, California: University of California Press. p. 84. ISBN 978-0-520-25359-9.
  3. ^ Harutyunyan, Arus (2009). Contesting National Identities in an Ethnically Homogeneous State: The Case of Armenian Democratization. Western Michigan University. p. 56. ISBN 978-1-109-12012-7.
  4. ^ Ačaṙean, Hračʿeay (1971–1979). Hayerēn Armatakan Baṙaran [Dictionary of Armenian Root Words]. 1. Yerevan: Yerevan University Press. p. 505.
  5. ^ Melvin Ember; Carol R. Ember; Ian A. Skoggard (2004). Encyclopedia of diasporas: immigrant and refugee cultures around the world. Dordrecht, Netherlands: Kluwer Academic Publishers. p. 37. ISBN 978-0-306-48321-9.
  6. ^ Diaspora: Volume 1, Issue 1. Oxford University Press. 1991. ISBN 978-0-19-507081-1.
  7. ^ Herzig, Edmund (2004-12-10). The Armenians: Past And Present In The Making Of National Identity. p. 126. ISBN 9780203004937.
  8. ^ a b Ember, Melvin; Ember, Carol R.; Skoggard, Ian (2004). Encyclopedia of Diasporas: Immigrant and Refugee Cultures around the World. Springer. pp. 36–43. ISBN 0-306-48321-1.
  9. ^ Harutyunyan, Arus. Contesting National Identities in an Ethnically Homogeneous State: The Case of Armenian Democratization. Western Michigan University. p. 192. ISBN 9781109120127.
  10. ^ "Armenia seeks to boost population". BBC News. 2007-02-21. Archived from the original on 3 September 2008. Retrieved 2008-09-05.
  11. ^ Melvin Ember; Carol R. Ember; Ian A. Skoggard (2004). Encyclopedia of diasporas: immigrant and refugee cultures around the world. Dordrecht, Netherlands: Kluwer Academic Publishers. p. 36. ISBN 978-0-306-48321-9. Currently, only one-sixth of that land [ancestral territory] is inhabited by Armenians, due first to variously coerced emigrations and finally to the genocide of the Armenian inhabitants of the Ottoman Turkish Empire in 1915.
  12. ^ Central Intelligence Agency (2012). "Armenia". The CIA World Factbook 2012. New York: Skyhorse Publishing Inc. ISBN 978-1-61608-332-8.
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External links


Armenian-Dutch (Dutch: Armeense Nederlanders) are citizens of the Netherlands of Armenian ancestry. The number of Armenians in the country is unknown because the Dutch Immigration Office only offers data on country of origin.

Armenian Brazilians

Armenian Brazilians (Portuguese: armeno-brasileiro, armênio-brasileiro) are Brazilian persons who are fully, partially, or predominantly of Armenian descent, or Armenian immigrants in Brazil.

Armenian Mexicans

The Armenian diaspora population in Mexico is very small in comparison with other immigrant groups. The majority of the population arrived in Mexico between 1910–1928, most of them arriving after the Armenian Genocide of 1915.

Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem

The Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem also known as the Armenian Patriarchate of Saint James (Armenian: Առաքելական Աթոռ Սրբոց Յակովբեանց Յերուսաղեմ Aṙak’yelakan At’voṙ Srboc’ Yakovbeanc’ Yerusaġem, literally "Apostolic See of Saint James in Jerusalem") is located in the Armenian Quarter of Jerusalem. The Armenian Apostolic Church is officially recognised under Israel's confessional system, for the self-regulation of status issues, such as marriage and divorce.

Archbishop Nourhan Manougian, served the Armenian Church as the Grand Sacristan and the Patriarchal Vicar of the Patriarchate, when he was elected as the 97th Armenian Patriarch of Jerusalem on January 24, 2013. Manougian succeeded Archbishop Torkom Manoogian, who died on October 12, 2012 after serving 22 years in the office. The Patriarch, along with a Synod of seven clergymen elected by the St. James Brotherhood, oversees the Patriarchate's operations.

During World War I, survivors of the Armenian Genocide received shelter in the Armenian Convent in Jerusalem. The Armenian population of Jerusalem reached at that time 25,000 people. But political and economic instability in the region have reduced the Armenian population. Most Armenians in Jerusalem live in and around the Patriarchate at the Sts. James Monastery, which occupies most of the Armenian Quarter of the Old City. Apart from Jerusalem, there are Armenian Communities in Jaffa, Haifa and Nazareth, and in the Palestinian Territories.

The Jerusalem Armenian community uses the Old Julian calendar, unlike the rest of the Armenian Church which use the Gregorian calendar.

Armenians in Abkhazia

The Armenians in Abkhazia form the second largest ethnic group in Abkhazia after the native Abkhazians. Armenians settled in Abkhazia in late 19th and the early 20th centuries and are now the largest ethnic group in Sukhumi, Gulripsh and Gagra districts forming 20% of the Abkhazian population with approximately 42,000 out of a total of 242,862.

Armenians in Bahrain

The Armenians in Bahrain are people of Armenian descent living in Bahrain. Though no concise data is available, some have estimated that there are around 10 Armenian families living in the country, predominantly in the capital Manama. Others state that the population is around 100 people. They come from Lebanon and Syria, attracted by the economic opportunities provided by the country.

The Armenians in Bahrain are Armenian Apostolics (Orthodox Armenians) belonging to the Armenian Apostolic Church and under the jurisdiction of the Holy See of Cilicia. The Catholicossate of the Great House of Cilicia (also known as the Holy See of Cilicia) has established the "Diocese of Kuwait and the Arabian Gulf Countries" headquartered in Kuwait, but also serving the Armenians in the Persian Gulf including Bahrain.The first Armenian Mass was held on 10 December 2004, in Manama, by the Archbishop Goriun Babian who heads the Armenian community in the UAE.

Armenians in Ethiopia

There is a small community of Armenians in Ethiopia, primarily in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa. Armenians had traded with Ethiopia from the first century AD.

Armenians in Germany

Armenians in Germany are ethnic Armenians living within the modern republic of Germany. Like much of the Armenian diaspora, most Armenians immigrated to Germany after the Armenian Genocide of 1915. Others came later, fleeing conflicts in places like Iran, Azerbaijan and Lebanon. Another influx came fleeing nationalist persecution in Turkey. After World War II, many Soviet Armenians, former POWs in particular, fled to the American occupied areas of Germany. While many traveled on, some settled in the country, providing a base for later asylum-seekers.

Armenians in Indonesia

Many Armenian merchants from Amsterdam went to Southeast Asia in the 19th century to trade, and to set up factories and plantations. Armenian merchants settled in parts of Java, then part of the Dutch East Indies, as did Armenians moving east from the Persian Empire, establishing a community of Armenians in Java.

In 1808, with a growing community, George Manook (Gevork Manuch Merchell) along with others, securing 25,000 Guilders from the Dutch Government, established schools and a church. In 1852 Haileian Miabanse Thioen in Batavia, helped to open orphanages and schools for Armenian children. The community also built a small chapel in Batavia and founded a school in 1855.

In 1865, names like Galistan, Lazar, Joseph Amir, Manook, Arakiel Navaran, and Stefan Arathoon appeared in commercial almanacs. In the sugar industry, Manook Jordan owned the Mlongo factory, and P. Andreas owned the Trangkil factory.

On 6 January 1880, the Armenian community was formally recognised as an incorporated society by the Dutch government. Within a short time Armenians extended also to Singapore where they were involved in the opium trade, which was under British control, while some Armenian missionaries went on to the Philippines.

Armenians in Iraq

The history of Armenians in Iraq is documented since late Babylonian times. The Tigris and Euphrates rivers both have their sources in the Armenian Highland, hence, the land of Iraq and the land of Armenia have always been connected. Today it is estimated that there are around 10,000–15,000 Armenians living in Iraq, with communities in Baghdad, Mosul, Basra, Kirkuk, Baqubah, Dohuk, Zakho and Avzrog. They make up the second largest solely Christian ethnicity in the country, after the indigenous Assyrians.

Armenians in Istanbul

Armenians in Istanbul (Armenian: Պոլսահայեր, romanized: Bolsahayer; Turkish: İstanbul Ermenileri) are a major part of the Turkish Armenian community and historically one of the largest ethnic minorities of Istanbul, Turkey. The city is often referred to as Bolis (Պոլիս) by Armenians, which is derived from the ending of the historical name of the city Constantinople.

Today, most estimations put the number of Armenian-Turkish Citizens in Istanbul at 50,000, 60,000 or 70,000.

Armenians in Kuwait

The Armenians in Kuwait are people of Armenian descent living in Kuwait. As of 2013, there has been a large population increase and now there are 6,000 Armenians. Before the Gulf War, the Armenian population reached its peak of 12,000. But after the Iraqi invasions, the numbers of the Armenians resident in Kuwait greatly diminished to just 500 as they left the country.

Armenians in Malta

The Armenians in Malta are a community of the Armenian diaspora living on the islands of Malta. There are thousands Maltese of Armenian descent, but only some 400-500 identify as Armenians. The rest are assimilated with the locals and consider themselves Maltese. The surnames and documents, saved in their family archives, are indicative of their Armenian origin. The interests of the Armenian Diaspora in Malta are represented by the Armenian Community of Malta.

Notable Maltese of Armenian descent include Mikhail Basmadjian (actor), and Andy Eminyan (retired footballer).

Armenians in Qatar

Ethnic Armenians in Qatar number between 800 and 1,500 and live mainly in the capital Doha. Unofficial sources place them at around 5,500.Many Armenians originating from Lebanon, Syria and other Arab countries were attracted by the economic opportunities provided by Qatar, and they came to Qatar for jobs. Since the 1990s, economic migrants to Qatar have included people from the Republic of Armenia and Armenians from Russia.

Armenians in Sudan

There is an Armenian community in the Sudan estimated to be less than one thousand Armenians. Most are concentrated in the Sudanese capital Khartoum. Today Sudanese Armenians number about 50 people.Sudan's Armenian community had its own church, the St. Gregory the Illuminator Armenian Apostolic Church (in Armenian Sourp Krikor Lousavoritch). It is under the jurisdiction of the See of Holy Echmiadzin. As of 2009, there are not as many Armenians in Khartoum, Sudan. Most of Sudana Hyes (armenian: "Sudanese Armenians") have moved, to the U.S. and parts of Europe.

The Armenian Club was huge, and had its own indoor gathering hall, and an outdoor dance hall with a full restaurant kitchen, a play stage, soccer field, and basketball court, also billiards rooms, and a very large swimming pool. It was a place where so many families used to gather nightly and have dinner and at times the Sudana Hye community would invite singers from the U.S. like Adiss amongst others. As the weather was very hot in Sudan, they would mostly stay outdoors at the Armenian Club and have dinner and the kids would play together. The club although it is still there, it has been given back to the Sudanese. As there are not as many Armenians as before in the country to visit the facility.

The Armenian church also had an Armenian school. There would always be events at the school where the kids would practice poetry and sing Armenian songs. They learned Armenian as well as Arabic. The community was very tight and bonded. Many that left Sudan, wished the country was in a better state so that they could go back to the simple life and enjoy the kind, down to earth Sudana Hyes that once made Sudan their home.

Armenians in the Middle East

The Armenians in the Middle East are mostly concentrated in Iran, Lebanon, Cyprus, Syria, Jordan, and Palestine, although well-established communities exist in Iraq, Egypt, Turkey, and other countries of the area, including, of course, Armenia itself. The Armenians of the Middle East speak the western dialect of the Armenian language (except those of Iran) and the majority are adherents of the Armenian Apostolic Church, with smaller Catholic and Protestant minorities. There is a sizable Armenian population in the thousands in Palestine and the Palestinian territories, especially the Armenian Quarter in Jerusalem with a history that goes back 2,000 years. Armenians in Lebanon have the most freedoms, compared to other regions in the area that have large number of Armenians.

Armenians in the United Arab Emirates

Armenians in United Arab Emirates refers to ethnic Armenians living in the United Arab Emirates. They number around 5,000.The Armenians live mainly in Dubai, Sharjah and Abu Dhabi

Largest Armenian diaspora communities

The following table is the list of urban areas with the largest Armenian population outside the Republic of Armenia and the Republic of Artsakh, in what is commonly called the Armenian diaspora.

New Julfa

New Julfa (Persian: نو جلفا‎ – Now Jolfā, جلفای نو – Jolfâ-ye Now; Armenian: Նոր Ջուղա – Nor Jugha) is the Armenian quarter of Isfahan, Iran, located along the south bank of the Zayande River.

Established and named after the older city of Julfa (Jugha), Nakhichavan in the early 17th century, it is still one of the oldest and largest Armenian quarters in the world.

Armenia Armenian diaspora
Traditional areas of
Armenian settlement
Former Soviet Union
Middle East
European diasporas
Central Europe
Eastern Europe
Northern Europe
Southeast Europe
Southern Europe
Western Europe

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