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Armenia prides itself on being the first nation to formally adopt Christianity (early 4th century). Despite periods of autonomy, over the centuries Armenia came under the sway of various empires including the Roman, Byzantine, Arab, Persian, and Ottoman. During World War I in the western portion of Armenia, Ottoman Turkey instituted a policy of forced resettlement coupled with other harsh practices that resulted in at least 1 million Armenian deaths. The eastern area of Armenia was ceded by the Ottomans to Russia in 1828; this portion declared its independence in 1918, but was conquered by the Soviet Red Army in 1920. Armenian leaders remain preoccupied by the long conflict with Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh, a primarily Armenian-populated region, assigned to Soviet Azerbaijan in the 1920s by Moscow. Armenia and Azerbaijan began fighting over the area in 1988; the struggle escalated after both countries attained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. By May 1994, when a cease-fire took hold, ethnic Armenian forces held not only Nagorno-Karabakh but also a significant portion of Azerbaijan proper. The economies of both sides have been hurt by their inability to make substantial progress toward a peaceful resolution. Turkey closed the common border with Armenia in 1994 in support of Azerbaijan in its conflict with Armenia over control of Nagorno-Karabakh and surrounding areas, further hampering Armenian economic growth. In 2009, senior Armenian leaders began pursuing rapprochement with Turkey, aiming to secure an opening of the border.


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Southwestern Asia, between Turkey (to the west) and Azerbaijan

Geographic coordinates
40 00 N, 45 00 E

Map references
Middle East

Area World Ranking: 143
Total 29,743 sq km
Land 28,203 sq km
Water 1,540 sq km

Area - comparative
Slightly smaller than Maryland

Land boundaries
Total 1,254 km
Border countries
Azerbaijan-proper 566 km, Azerbaijan-Naxcivan exclave 221 km, Georgia 164 km, Iran 35 km, Turkey 268 km

0 km (landlocked)

Maritime claims
None (landlocked)

Highland continental, hot summers, cold winters

Armenian Highland with mountains; little forest land; fast flowing rivers; good soil in Aras River valley

Elevation extremes
Lowest point Debed River 400 m
Highest point Aragats Lerrnagagat' 4,090 m

Natural resources
Small deposits of gold, copper, molybdenum, zinc, bauxite

Land use
Arable land 16.78%
Permanent crops 2.01%
Other 81.21% (2005)

Irrigated land
2,740 sq km (2003)

Total renewable water resources
10.5 cu km (1997)

Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural)
Total 2.95 cu km/yr (30%/4%/66%)
Per capita 977 cu m/yr (2000)

Natural hazards
Occasionally severe earthquakes; droughts

Environment - current issues
Soil pollution from toxic chemicals such as DDT; the energy crisis of the 1990s led to deforestation when citizens scavenged for firewood; pollution of Hrazdan (Razdan) and Aras Rivers; the draining of Sevana Lich (Lake Sevan), a result of its use as a source for hydropower, threatens drinking water supplies; restart of Metsamor nuclear power plant in spite of its location in a seismically active zone

Environment - international agreements
Party to
Air Pollution, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Wetlands
Signed, but not ratified
Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants

Geography - note
Landlocked in the Lesser Caucasus Mountains; Sevana Lich (Lake Sevan) is the largest lake in this mountain range


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  GPS points from Armenia (Yerevan)

Ashtarakats' Gyugh Aragatsotn

Zorak Ararati Marz

Kagbei Syunik'i Marz

Beriavad Armenia (general)

Getatakh Syunik'i Marz

Ch'obanlu Syunik'i Marz

Tashir Armenia (general)

K'ari Lich Aragatsotn
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