Northern Artsakh (Armenian: Հյուսիսային Արցախ, Hyusisayin Artsakh), sometimes referred to as Lower Artsakh (Armenian: Դաշտային Արցախ Dashtayin Artsakh) is a geopolitical concept used in the Republic of Armenia to refer the region in north-western Azerbaijan, lying north of Nagorno-Karabakh Republic (Mountainous Artsakh) and between the Kura river and the border of the Republic of Armenia, which had a significant Armenian population from antiquity up to the 1987–1992, when Nagorno-Karabakh conflict broke out.
Historically, the region was known as Gardman. During the early medieval period, Northern Artsakh (it was more known under the name of Gardman in the Middle Ages) included some of the districts of Utik and Artsakh provinces of Greater Armenia, such as Koght, Kust-i-Parnes, Gardman, Shakashen, etc.
Under Russian Empire (1804–1918)
During the late medieval period, it formed part of Ganja khanate, being later incorporated into the territory of Russia, after which it became known under the name of Elisabethpol Governorate. During 1918–1920 period it was part of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic.
August von Haxthausen, an ethnographer and an official from Prussia who visited Ganja in the 1850, writes:
|“||Gandzak District is inhabited by the Armenians and the Tartars, the former dwelling in the mountains and the latter in the fertile plains. The Armenians are mainly engaged in farming and gardening (they grow wheat, barley, millet, maize and flax), while the Tartars' main occupation is stock-breeding: the majority of the latter is lazy but rich, whereas the former, on the contrary, are very hard-working. The Turkish villages are rather large, unlike the Armenian ones that comprise a small number of houses...||”|
Soviet era (1920–1991)
After the Soviet takeover, the region was annexed to the Republic of Azerbaijan, being divided into the following administrative units:
- Getabek (Кедабекский район)
- Dashkesan (Дашкесанский район)
- Touz (Таузский район)
- Khanlar (Ханларский район)
- Kasum-Ismayilov (Касум-Исмаиловский район)
- Ghazakh (Казахский район)
- Shamkhor (Шамхорский район)
- Shahumian (Шаумяновский район)
The following table shows the data from two Soviet censuses about the ethnic makeup of the region by districts (rayons) according to the 1939 and 1959 Soviet censuses.
|city of Kiorvabad||27,676||24||49,755||50.3||115,120||37,462||27.1||63,258||54.5||138,239||40,588||21.4||189,512||64.9||189,512||40,354||17.5||167,251||72.4||231,066|
Karabakh War and aftermath
In May 1991, the Soviet sceurity forces (MVD and OMON) started the military Operation Ring in the region of Shahumyan, north of the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast of the Azerbaijan SSR. Officially dubbed a "passport checking operation", the stated goal launched by the Soviet Union's internal and defense ministries was to disarm Armenian militia detachments which were organized in "[illegally] armed formations." The operation involved the use of soldiers who accompanied a complement of military vehicles, artillery and helicopter gunships to be used to root out the self-described Armenian fedayeen.
However, contrary to their stated objectives, Soviet troops and the predominantly Azeri soldiers in the OMON and army forcibly depopulated many Armenians living in the twenty-four villages strewn across Shahumyan to leave their homes and settle elsewhere in Nagorno-Karabakh or in the neighboring Armenian SSR. Some authors have also described the actions of the joint Soviet and Azeri force as ethnic cleansing.
Thus, the population of about 25 Armenian villages in Shahumyan and Khanlar districts (known to Armenians as Getashen and Martunashen) were deported to Armenia and NKAO.
Armenians of Shamkor and Dashkesan left their homes even before the military conflict started.
Republic of Azerbaijan
According to the 1999 Azeri official census, there were about 100 Armenians in the districts, known as Northern Arstakh: 32 in Ganja, 22 in Shamkir, 18 in Tovuz, 8 in Goranboy, 8 in Xanlar, 7 in Ağstafa, 7 in Gadabay, 6 in Dashkasan and 4 in Samux.
- ↑ (Armenian) Ulubabyan, Bagrat. «Գարդման» (Gardman). Armenian Soviet Encyclopedia. vol. ii. Yerevan: Armenian Academy of Sciences, 1977, p. 700.
- ↑ Baron August von Haxthausen, Studien über die innern Zustände, das Volksleben und insbesondere die ländlichen Einrichtungen Russlands, 1847-1852
- ↑ (Russian) НАСЕЛЕНИЕ АЗЕРБАЙДЖАНА
- ↑ The Annihilation of the Armenian Cemetery by Nakhijevan's Azerbaijani Authorities / Nakhijevan: A Historical Introduction, by Dr. Armen Haghnazarian, 2006, p. 5
- ↑ De Waal, Thomas. Black Garden: Armenia and Azerbaijan Through Peace and War. New York: New York University Press, 2003, p. 114. ISBN 0-8147-1945-7.
- ↑ De Waal. Black Garden, p. 120.
- ↑ Melander, Erik in "State Manipulation or Nationalist Ambition" in The Role of the State in West Asia. Ed. Annika Rabo and Bo Utas. New York: I.B. Tauris, 2006, p. 173. ISBN 91-86884-13-1.
- ↑ Ethnic compostition of Azerbaijan 1999
- Northern Artsakh by Samvel Karapetyan
- La tutela del patrimonio culturale in caso di conflitto, edited by Fabio Maniscalco. 2002
- Samvel Karapetyan, Northern Artsakh, Yerevan: Gitutiun Publishing House, 2004 (re-published in 2007, ISBN 5-8080-0677-5) - .
- Historical Structures of Northern Artsakh by Research on Armenian Architecture
- Armenian Architectural Monuments of Northern Artsakh
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