Transcaucasia (Russian: Закавказье, tr. Zakavkaz'ye), (Armenian: Անդրկովկաս, Andrkovkas) or the South Caucasus (Georgian: სამხრეთ კავკასია), (Azerbaijani: Cənubi Qafqaz) is a geographical region in the vicinity of the southern Caucasus Mountains on the border of Eastern Europe and Western Asia. Transcaucasia roughly corresponds to modern Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan. Total area of these countries is about 186,100 square kilometres (71,850 square miles). 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. Parts of Iran and Turkey are also included within the region of Transcaucasia. 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.
Transcaucasia is a Latin rendering of the Russian-language word Zakavkazie (Закавка́зье), meaning "the area beyond the Caucasus Mountains". This implies a Russian vantage point, and is analogous to similar terms such as Transnistria and Transleithania. Other, rarer forms of this word include Trans-Caucasus and Transcaucasus (Russian: Транскавказ, translit. Transkavkaz).. The region is also referred to as Southern Caucasia and the South Caucasus.
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.
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. Throughout history, Transcaucasia was usually under the direct rule of the various in-Iran based empires and part of the Iranian world. 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.
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 Arab–Khazar wars, most of Transcaucasia became part of the Caliphate and Islam spread throughout the region. 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. 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.
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. Some experts speculate that Transcaucasia may be the birthplace of wine production. Archaeological excavations and carbon dating of grape seeds from the area have dated back to 7000–5000 BC. Wine found in Iran has been dated to c. 7400 BC and c. 5000 BC, while wine found in Georgia has been dated to c. 6000 BC. The earliest winery, dated to c. 4000 BC, was found in Armenia.
"The Caucasus Mountains form the boundary between West and East, between Europe and Asia..."
The Arab–Khazar wars were a series of conflicts fought between the armies of the Khazar Khaganate and the Rashidun, Umayyad, and Abbasid caliphates and their respective vassals. Historians usually distinguish two major periods of conflict, the First Arab–Khazar War (c. 642–652) and Second Arab–Khazar War (c. 722–737), but the Arab–Khazar military confrontation also involved sporadic raids and isolated clashes from the middle of the 7th century to the end of the 8th century.
The Arab–Khazar wars were a result of the attempts of the Umayyad Caliphate to secure control of Transcaucasia and the North Caucasus, where the Khazars were already established. The first Arab invasion, in the 640s and early 650s, ended with the defeat of an Arab force led by Abd ar-Rahman ibn Rabiah outside the Khazar town of Balanjar. Hostilities broke out again with the Caliphate in the 710s, with raids back and forth across the Caucasus Mountains. Led by the distinguished generals al-Jarrah ibn Abdallah and Maslama ibn Abd al-Malik, the Arabs were able to capture Derbent and even the southern Khazar capital of Balanjar, but these successes had little impact on the nomadic Khazars, who continued to launch devastating raids deep into Transcaucasia. In one such raid in 730, the Khazars inflicted a major defeat on the Umayyad forces at the Battle of Ardabil, killing al-Jarrah, but were in turn defeated the next year and pushed back north. Maslama then recovered Derbent, which became a major Arab military outpost and colony, before being replaced by Marwan ibn Muhammad (the future caliph Marwan II) in 732. A period of relatively localized warfare followed until 737, when Marwan led north a massive expedition that reached the Khazar capital Atil on the Volga. After securing some form of submission by the khagan, the Arabs withdrew.
The 737 campaign marked the end of large-scale warfare between the two powers, establishing Derbent as the northernmost Muslim outpost and securing Muslim dominance over Transcaucasia. At the same time, the continuing warfare weakened the Umayyad army and contributed to the eventual fall of the dynasty to the Abbasid Revolution a few years later. Relations between the Muslims of the Caucasus and the Khazars remained largely peaceful thereafter, apart from two Khazar raids in the 760s and in 799, resulting from failed efforts to secure an alliance through marriage between the Arab governors or local princes of the Caucasus and the Khazar khagan. Occasional warfare continued in the region between the Khazars and the Muslim principalities of the Caucasus until the collapse of the Khazar state in the late 10th century, but the great wars of the 8th century were never repeated.Caucasian Albania
Caucasian Albania is a modern exonym for an ancient country in the eastern Caucasus, on the territory of present-day republic of Azerbaijan (where both of its capitals were located) and southern Dagestan. Its endonym is unknown. The name Albania is derived from the Ancient Greek name Ἀλβανία and Latin Albanía. The prefix "Caucasian" is used purely to avoid confusion with modern Albania of the Balkans, of which it has no known geographical or historical connections to Caucasian Albania.
Little is known of the region's prehistory, including the origins of Caucasian Albania as a geographical and/or ethnolinguistic concept. In the 1st century BC and the 1st century AD, the area south of the Greater Caucasus and north of the Lesser Caucasus was divided between Caucasian Albania in the east, Caucasian Iberia in the center, Kolchis in the west, Armenia in the southwest and Atropatene to the southeast.
After the rise of the Parthian Empire the kings of Caucasian Albania were replaced with an Arsacid family and would later be succeeded by another Iranian royal family in the 5th century AD, the Mihranids.Caucasus
The Caucasus or Caucasia is an area situated between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea and occupied by Russia, Georgia, Azerbaijan, and Armenia. It is home to the Caucasus Mountains, including the Greater Caucasus mountain range, which has historically been considered a natural barrier between Eastern Europe and Western Asia.Europe's highest mountain, Mount Elbrus, at 5,642 metres (18,510 ft) is located in the west part of the Greater Caucasus mountain range. On the southern side, the Lesser Caucasus includes the Javakheti Plateau and grows into the Armenian highlands, part of which is located in Turkey.The Caucasus region is separated into northern and southern parts – the North Caucasus (Ciscaucasus) and Transcaucasus (South Caucasus), respectively. The Greater Caucasus mountain range in the north is within the Russian Federation, while the Lesser Caucasus mountain range in the south is occupied by several independent states, namely Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, and the partially recognised Artsakh Republic.
The region is known for its linguistic diversity: aside from Indo-European and Turkic languages, the Kartvelian, Northwest Caucasian, and Northeast Caucasian families are indigenous to the area.Caucasus Viceroyalty (1801–1917)
The Caucasus Viceroyalty was the Imperial Russian administrative and political authority in the Caucasus region exercised through the offices of glavnoupravlyayushchiy (Russian: главноуправляющий) (1801–1844, 1882–1902) and namestnik (наместник) (1844–1882, 1904–1917). These two terms are commonly, but imprecisely, translated into English as viceroy, which is frequently used interchangeably with governor general. More accurately, glavnoupravljajuçij is referred to as High Commissioner of the Caucasus, and namestnik as Viceroy.
Over more than a century of the Russian rule of the Caucasus, the structure of the viceroyalty underwent a number of changes, with the addition or removal of administrative positions and redrawing of provincial divisions.Eldiguzids
The Ildegizids, Eldiguzids (Azerbaijani: Eldəgəzlər or Eldənizlər, Turkish: İldenizli Atabeyliği, Persian: ایلدگزیان) or Ildenizids, also known as Atabegs of Azerbaijan (Persian: اتابکان آذربایجان Atabakan-e Āzarbayjan, were a dynasty of Kipchak origin which controlled most of northwestern Persia/eastern Transcaucasia, including Arran, most of Azerbaijan, and Djibal. At their extent, the territory under their control, roughly corresponds to most of north-western and upper-central modern Iran, most of the regions of modern Azerbaijan and smaller portions in modern Armenia (southern part), Turkey (northeastern part) and Iraq (eastern part).
Down to the death in war 1194 of Toghril b. Arslan, last of the Great Seljuq rulers of Iraq and Persia, the Ildenizids ruled as theoretical subordinates of the Sultans,
acknowledging this dependence on their coins almost down to the end of the Seljuqs. Thereafter, they were in effect an independent dynasty, until the westward expansion of the Mongols and the Khwarazm-Shahs weakened and then brought the line to its close.Atabeg (literally means "fatherly lord" in Turkic) was the title conferred upon the Turkic officers who served as guardians of minor Seljuq rulers. In the political circumstances of the time, Atabegs were not only tutors and vice-regents of their princes, but also de facto rulers. At the height of Eldiguzid power, their territory stretched from Isfahan in the south to the borders of Kingdom of Georgia and Shirvan in the north. However, closer to the end of their reign amidst continuous conflicts with the Kingdom of Georgia, the Eldiguzid territory shrank to include only Azerbaijan and eastern Transcaucasia.The historical significance of the Atabeg of Azerbaijan lies in their firm control over north-western Persia during the later Seljuq period and also their role in Transcaucasia as champions of Islam against the Bagratids of Georgia.Khojaly–Gadabay culture
The Khodzhaly-Kedabek culture (also Khojaly-Gadabay and variants (Azerbaijani: Xocalı-Gədəbəy mədəniyyəti, Russian ходжалы-кедабекская культура), also known as the Gandzha-Karabakh culture (ганджа-карабахская культура) is an archaeological culture of the Late Bronze Age to Early Iron Age (roughly 13th to 7th centuries BC) in the Karabakh region of Transcaucasia. The eponymous sites are at Khojaly, Gadabay and Ganja in Azerbaijan.
It was excavated by Soviet archaeologists beginning in the 1920s.It was described by Boris Piotrovsky and other archaeologists specializing in the prehistory of Transcaucasia during the 1930s to 1970s.
Findings from Khojaly burial grounds discovered in 1895 by E. Resler. Hermitage MuseumList of historical currencies
This is a list of historical currencies.Purple hairstreak
The purple hairstreak (Neozephyrus quercus) is a butterfly in the family Lycaenidae distributed throughout much of Europe, North Africa, Anatolia, Caucasia, and Transcaucasia.
The larva feeds on Quercus robur, Quercus petraea, Quercus cerris and Quercus ilex.Russian Armenia
Russian Armenia is the period of Armenian history under Russian rule from 1828, when Eastern Armenia became part of the Russian Empire following Qajar Iran's loss in the Russo-Persian War (1826–1828) and the subsequent ceding of its territories that included Eastern Armenia per the out coming Treaty of Turkmenchay of 1828.Eastern Armenia remained part of the Russian Empire until its collapse in 1917.Special Transcaucasian Committee
The Special Transcaucasian Committee (Russian: Особый Закавказский Комитет Osobyi Zakavkazskii Komitet (OZaKom, Ozakom or OZAKOM)) was established on March 9, 1917, with Member of the State Duma V. A. Kharlamov as Chairman, to replace the Imperial Viceroy Grand Duke Nikolai Nikolaevich and with special instruction to establish civil administrations in areas occupied in the course of the war on the Caucasian front by the Russian Provisional Government in the Transcaucasia as the highest organ of civil administrative body. Commissars were appointed for the Terek and Kuban oblasts, and these as well as the Committee were to carry on relations with central government institutions through a Commissar for Caucasian Affairs in Petrograd attached to the Provisional Government.
Soviets also sprang up throughout the area and, in time, organized an influential Regional Center at Tiflis using the loyalty of the Russian Armenians. Hakob Zavriev was instrumental in having Ozakom issue a decree about the administration of the occupied territories. This region was officially identified as "the land of Turkish Armenia" and transferred to a civilian rule under Zavriev, who oversaw districts Trebizon, Erzurum, Bitlis, and Van. Each of the districts under Administration for Western Armenia had their own Armenian governor, with Armenian civil officials. The position of the Caucasian Muslems was different though membership was drown from ethnically representatives of Duma deputies.
In November 1917, the first government of the independent Transcaucasia was created in Tbilisi as the "Transcaucasian Commissariat (Sejm)" replaced "Transcaucasian Committee" following the Bolshevik seizure of power in St. Petersburg. It was headed by a Georgian Menshevik Nikolay Chkheidze. On December 5, 1917, this new "Transcaucasian Committee" given the endorsement to Armistice of Erzincan that was signed with the Ottoman command of Third Army. This was followed with what is known as Trabzon peace nogetions. On February 10, 1918, the Sejm gathered and made the decision to establish independence. On February 24, 1918, Sejm proclaimed Transcaucasia independent under Transcaucasian Democratic Federative Republic. Headed by the Georgian Social Democrat Evgeni Gegechkori, Transcaucasian Commissariat was anti-Bolshevik in its political goals and sought the separation of Transcaucasia from Bolshevik Russia.
The committee ignored the Social Democratic hegemony in the region and provoked the Soviet to demand its abolition.Swabian German
Swabian (Schwäbisch ) is one of the dialect groups of Alemannic German that belong to the High German dialect continuum. It is mainly spoken in Swabia which is located in central and southeastern Baden-Württemberg (including e.g. its capital Stuttgart and the Swabian Jura region) and the southwest of Bavaria (Bavarian Swabia). Furthermore, Swabian German dialects are spoken by Caucasus Germans in Transcaucasia. The dialects of the Danube Swabian population of Hungary, the former Yugoslavia and Romania are only nominally Swabian and can be traced back not only to Swabian but also to Frankonian, Bavarian and Hessian German dialects, with locally varying degrees of influence of the initial dialects.Third Perso-Turkic War
The Third Perso-Turkic War was the third and final conflict between the Sassanian Empire and the Western Turkic Khaganate. Unlike the previous two wars, it was not fought in Central Asia, but in Transcaucasia. Hostilities were initiated in 627 AD by Khagan Tong Yabghu of the Western Göktürks and Emperor Heraclius of the Eastern Roman Empire. Opposing them were the Sassanid Persians, allied with the Avars. The war was fought against the background of the last Byzantine-Sassanid War and served as a prelude to the dramatic events that changed the balance of powers in the Middle East for centuries to come (Battle of Nineveh, Islamic conquest of Persia).Transcaucasian Commissariat
The Transcaucasian Commissariat was established at Tbilisi on 11 November 1917, as the first government of the independent Transcaucasia following the October Revolution in Petrograd. The Commissariat decided to strengthen the Georgian–Armenian–Azerbaijani union by convoking a Diet or general assembly (Sejm) in January 1918.Transcaucasian Democratic Federative Republic
The Transcaucasian Democratic Federative Republic (TDFR; Закавказская демократическая Федеративная Республика (ЗКДФР); Zakavkazskaya Demokraticheskaya Federativnaya Respublika (ZKDFR); 22 April – 28 May 1918), also known as the Transcaucasian Federation, was a short-lived South Caucasian state extending across what are now the modern-day countries of Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia, plus parts of Eastern Turkey as well as Russian border areas.Transcaucasian Highway
The Transcaucasian Highway, or Transkam is a mountain highway in the Transcaucasia region, connecting southern Russia and Georgia.Transcaucasian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic
The Transcaucasian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic (Transcaucasian SFSR or TSFSR), also known as the Transcaucasian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic, was a constituent republic of the Soviet Union that existed from 1922 to 1936. It embraced Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia. As they were separated from Russia by the Caucasus Mountains, they were known traditionally as the Transcaucasian Republics. Created ostensibly to consolidate the economic situation of the region, the TSFSR was also useful in consolidating Bolshevik control over the states. It was one of the four republics to sign the treaty establishing the Soviet Union in 1922.Transcaucasian mole vole
The Transcaucasian mole vole (Ellobius lutescens) is a species of rodent in the family Cricetidae.It is found in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Iran, and Turkey.Treaty of Bucharest (1812)
The Treaty of Bucharest between the Ottoman Empire and the Russian Empire, was signed on 28 May 1812, in Manuc's Inn
in Bucharest, and ratified on 5 July 1812, at the end of the Russo-Turkish War of 1806–12.Under its terms, the eastern half of the Principality of Moldavia, between Prut and Dniester Rivers, with an area of 45,630 km2 (17,617.8 sq mi) (Bessarabia), was ceded by the Ottoman Empire (to which Moldavia was a vassal) to Russia. Also, Russia obtained trading rights on the Danube.
A truce was signed (Article 8 of the Treaty) with the rebelling Serbs and autonomy given to Serbia.The treaty, signed by the Russian commander Mikhail Kutuzov, was ratified by Alexander I of Russia 13 days before Napoleon's invasion of Russia.
In Transcaucasia, the Ottomans renounced their claims to most of western Georgia, but retained control of Akhalkalaki, Poti, and Anapa previously captured by the Russo-Georgian troops in the course of the warTreaty of Finckenstein
The Treaty of Finckenstein, often spelled Finkenstein, was concluded between France and Persia (modern-day Iran) in Finckenstein Palace (East Prussia) on 4 May 1807 and formalised the Franco-Persian alliance. Napoleon I guaranteed the integrity of Persia, recognized part of Georgia and the other parts of Transcaucasia and a part of the North Caucasus (Dagestan) as Fath Ali Shah's possession, and was to make all possible efforts for restoring those territories to him. Napoleon also promised to furnish the Shah with arms, officers and workmen. France on its side required the Shah to declare war against the United Kingdom, to expel all British people from Persia, and to maintain an open way if France wanted to attack British possessions in the far east. Despite the Treaty of Finckenstein, France failed to win a diplomatic war around Persia and none of the terms of the treaty were realized. On 12 March 1809, the United Kingdom signed a treaty with Persia forcing the French out of that country.