The South Caucasus
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The South Caucasus, also known as Transcaucasia, is a geographical region on the border of
Eastern Europe Eastern Europe is the eastern region of . There is no consistent definition of the precise area it covers, partly because the term has a wide range of , geographical, ethnic, cultural, and connotations. , located in Eastern Europe, is both the ...

Eastern Europe
and
Western Asia Western Asia, West Asia, or Southwest Asia, is the westernmost subregion A subregion is a part of a larger region In geography, regions are areas that are broadly divided by physical characteristics ( physical geography), human impact character ...

Western Asia
, straddling the southern
Caucasus Mountains The Caucasus Mountains, : pronounced * hy, Կովկասյան լեռներ, : pronounced * az, Qafqaz dağları, pronounced * rus, Кавка́зские го́ры, Kavkázskiye góry, kɐfˈkasːkʲɪje ˈɡorɨ * tr, Kafkas Dağlar ...

Caucasus Mountains
. The South Caucasus roughly corresponds to modern
Armenia Armenia,, officially the Republic of Armenia,, is a landlocked country located in the Armenian Highlands of Western Asia.The UN]classification of world regions places Armenia in Western Asia; the Central Intelligence Agency, CIA The World ...

Armenia
, Georgia (country), Georgia, and
Azerbaijan Azerbaijan (, ; az, Azərbaycan ), officially the Republic of Azerbaijan ( az, Azərbaycan Respublikası ), is a country in the Transcaucasia, Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Eastern Europe and Western Asia, it is boun ...

Azerbaijan
, which are sometimes collectively known as the Caucasian States. The total area of these countries measures about . The South Caucasus and the
North Caucasus The North Caucasus ( ady, Темыр Къафкъас, Temır Qafqas; kbd, Ишхъэрэ Къаукъаз, İṩxhərə Qauqaz; ce, Къилбаседа Кавказ, Q̇ilbaseda Kavkaz; rus, Северный Кавказ, r=Severnyy Kav ...
together comprise the larger
Caucasus The Caucasus (), or Caucasia (), is a region spanning Europe Europe is a which is also recognised as part of , located entirely in the and mostly in the . It comprises the westernmost peninsulas of the of Eurasia, it shares the contin ...
geographical region that divides
Eurasia Eurasia () is the largest continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, up to seven geographical regions are commonly regarded as cont ...

Eurasia
.


Geography

The South Caucasus spans the southern portion of the
Caucasus Mountains The Caucasus Mountains, : pronounced * hy, Կովկասյան լեռներ, : pronounced * az, Qafqaz dağları, pronounced * rus, Кавка́зские го́ры, Kavkázskiye góry, kɐfˈkasːkʲɪje ˈɡorɨ * tr, Kafkas Dağlar ...

Caucasus Mountains
and their lowlands, straddling the border between the continents of
Europe Europe is a which is also recognised as part of , located entirely in the and mostly in the . It comprises the westernmost peninsulas of the of Eurasia, it shares the continental landmass of with both and , and is bordered by the to the ...

Europe
and
Asia Asia () is 's largest and most populous , located primarily in the and . It shares the continental of with the continent of and the continental landmass of with both Europe and . Asia covers an area of , about 30% of Earth's total lan ...

Asia
, and extending southwards from the southern part of the
Greater Caucasus The Greater Caucasus ( az, Böyük Qafqaz, Бөјүк Гафгаз, بيوک قافقاز; ka, დიდი კავკასიონი, ''Didi K’avk’asioni''; russian: Большой Кавказ, ''Bolshoy Kavkaz'', sometimes translate ...
mountain range of southwestern
Russia Russia ( rus, link=no, Россия, Rossiya, ), or the Russian Federation, is a country spanning Eastern Europe Eastern Europe is the eastern region of Europe. There is no consistent definition of the precise area it covers, partly becau ...

Russia
to the
Turkish Turkish may refer to: * of or about Turkey Turkey ( tr, Türkiye ), officially the Republic of Turkey, is a country straddling Southeastern Europe and Western Asia. It shares borders with Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), offi ...

Turkish
and
Armenia Armenia,, officially the Republic of Armenia,, is a landlocked country located in the Armenian Highlands of Western Asia.The UN]classification of world regions places Armenia in Western Asia; the Central Intelligence Agency, CIA The World ...

Armenia
n borders, and from the
Black Sea , with the skyline of Batumi Batumi (; ka, ბათუმი ) is the second largest city of Georgia Georgia usually refers to: * Georgia (country) Georgia ( ka, საქართველო; ''Sakartvelo''; ) is a country locat ...

Black Sea
in the west to the
Caspian Sea The Caspian Sea (also known as Mazandaran Sea, Hyrcanian Ocean, or Khazar Sea), tk, Hazar deňzi, az, Xəzər Dənizi, russian: Каспийское море, script=Latn, fa, دریای مازندران، دریای خزر, script=Latn, tly, ...

Caspian Sea
coast of
Iran Iran ( fa, ایران ), also called Persia, and officially the Islamic Republic of Iran, is a country in Western Asia Western Asia, West Asia, or Southwest Asia, is the westernmost subregion A subregion is a part of a larger regio ...

Iran
in the east. The area includes the southern part of the Greater Caucasus mountain range, the entire
Lesser Caucasus The Lesser Caucasus, also called Caucasus Minor, is the second of the two main mountain range A mountain range is a series of mountains ranged in a line and connected by high ground. A mountain system or mountain belt is a group of mountain ran ...
mountain range, the
Colchis Lowland Colchis Lowland ( ka, კოლხეთის დაბლობი) is a geographical area in Georgia (country), Georgia, which consists of a coastal lowland plain of the eastern Black Sea. Named after Colchis, an Ancient Greece, ancient Greek na ...
s, the
Kura-Aras LowlandImage:Topo map AZ AM en.png, upright=1.5, Topographic map of Armenia and Azerbaijan, Kura-Aras Lowland stretching from Northwest to Southeast. The Kura-Aras Lowland, Kura-Aras Depression or Kura-Aras Basin ( az, Kür-Araz ovalığı) is a vast Depr ...
s, Arasbaran, Qaradagh, the Talysh Mountains, the Lankaran Lowland, Javakheti and the eastern portion of the Armenian Highland. All of present-day
Armenia Armenia,, officially the Republic of Armenia,, is a landlocked country located in the Armenian Highlands of Western Asia.The UN]classification of world regions places Armenia in Western Asia; the Central Intelligence Agency, CIA The World ...

Armenia
is in the South Caucasus; the majority of present-day Georgia (country), Georgia and
Azerbaijan Azerbaijan (, ; az, Azərbaycan ), officially the Republic of Azerbaijan ( az, Azərbaycan Respublikası ), is a country in the Transcaucasia, Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Eastern Europe and Western Asia, it is boun ...

Azerbaijan
, including the exclave of Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic, Nakhchivan, also fall within the region. Parts of Iran and Turkey are also included within the region of the South Caucasus. Goods produced in the region include Petroleum, 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 South Caucasus.


Etymology

Nowadays, the region is referred to as the ''South Caucasus'' or ''Southern Caucasia'' ( hy, Անդրկովկաս, Andrkovkas, az, Cənubi Qafqaz, ''Ҹәнуби Гафгаз''; ka, სამხრეთ კავკასია, tr; russian: Южный Кавказ, Yuzhnyy Kavkaz). Former name of the region ''Transcaucasia'' is a Latin rendering of the Russian language, Russian-language word ''Zakavkazye'' (), meaning "[the area] beyond the Caucasus". 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, Transkavkaz).


History


Prehistory

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 people, including Scythians, Alani, Armenians, Huns, Khazars, Arabs, Seljuk dynasty, Seljuq Turkic peoples, Turks, and Mongols settled in Caucasia. These invasions influenced on the culture of the peoples of the South Caucasus. In parallel Middle Eastern influence disseminated the Iranian languages and Islamic religion in Caucasus. Located on the peripheries of
Iran Iran ( fa, ایران ), also called Persia, and officially the Islamic Republic of Iran, is a country in Western Asia Western Asia, West Asia, or Southwest Asia, is the westernmost subregion A subregion is a part of a larger regio ...

Iran
,
Russia Russia ( rus, link=no, Россия, Rossiya, ), or the Russian Federation, is a country spanning Eastern Europe Eastern Europe is the eastern region of Europe. There is no consistent definition of the precise area it covers, partly becau ...

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 Empire, Achaemenid, Neo-Assyrian Empire, §716. Parthian Empire, Parthian, Roman Empire, Roman, Sassanian Empire, Sassanian, Byzantine Empire, Byzantine, Mongol Empire, Mongol, Ottoman Empire, Ottoman, successive History of Iran, Iranian (Safavid dynasty, Safavid, Afsharid dynasty, Afsharid, Qajar dynasty, Qajar), and Russian Empire, Russian Empires, all of which introduced their faiths and cultures. Throughout history, most of the South Caucasus was usually under the direct rule of the various in-Iran based empires and part of the History of Iran, Iranian world."Caucasus and Iran" in Encyclopaedia Iranica, Multiple Authors
/ref> In the course of the 19th century, Qajar Iran had to irrevocably cede the region (alongside its territories in Dagestan,
North Caucasus The North Caucasus ( ady, Темыр Къафкъас, Temır Qafqas; kbd, Ишхъэрэ Къаукъаз, İṩxhərə Qauqaz; ce, Къилбаседа Кавказ, Q̇ilbaseda Kavkaz; rus, Северный Кавказ, r=Severnyy Kav ...
) as a result of the two Russo-Persian Wars of that century to Imperial Russia. Ancient kingdoms of the region included Colchis, Urartu, Kingdom of Iberia (antiquity), Iberia, Kingdom of Armenia (antiquity), Armenia and Caucasian Albania, Albania, 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 Eastern Christianity, the new religion, Zoroastrianism lost its prevalence and only survived because of Persian power and influence still lingering in the region. Thus, the South Caucasus became the area of not only military, but also religious convergence, which often led to Roman–Persian Wars, 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 the South Caucasus, namely the Arsacid dynasty of Armenia, the Arsacid dynasty of Iberia, and the Arsacid Dynasty of Caucasian Albania.


Middle ages and Russian rule

In the middle of the 8th century, with the capture of Derbend by the Umayyad armies during the Arab–Khazar wars, most of the South Caucasus became part of the Caliphate and Islam spread throughout the region. Later, the Eastern Orthodox, Orthodox Christian Kingdom of Georgia dominated most of the South Caucasus. The region was then conquered by the Great Seljuq Empire, Seljuk, Mongol Empire, Mongol, Turkic peoples, Turkic, Safavid dynasty, Safavid, Ottoman Empire, Ottoman, Afsharid Empire, Afsharid and Qajar Empire, 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 the South Caucasus (and Dagestan in the
North Caucasus The North Caucasus ( ady, Темыр Къафкъас, Temır Qafqas; kbd, Ишхъэрэ Къаукъаз, İṩxhərə Qauqaz; ce, Къилбаседа Кавказ, Q̇ilbaseda Kavkaz; rus, Северный Кавказ, r=Severnyy Kav ...
) 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 (country), 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 Armenia,, officially the Republic of Armenia,, is a landlocked country located in the Armenian Highlands of Western Asia.The UN]classification of world regions places Armenia in Western Asia; the Central Intelligence Agency, CIA The World ...

Armenia
and the remainder of the contemporary Azerbaijani Republic that remained in Iranian hands. After the Russo-Turkish War (1828–1829), 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 (country), Georgia,
Armenia Armenia,, officially the Republic of Armenia,, is a landlocked country located in the Armenian Highlands of Western Asia.The UN]classification of world regions places Armenia in Western Asia; the Central Intelligence Agency, CIA The World ...

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 Russo-Turkish War (1877–78), 1877-78 Russo-Turkish War, Russia annexed Kars, Ardahan, Ağrı, Agri and Batumi from the Ottomans, joined to this unit, and established the province of Kars Oblast as its most southwesterly territory in the South Caucasus.


Modern era

After the Russian Revolution, fall of the Russian Empire in 1918, the South Caucasus 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 three Soviet Socialist Republics of Armenian Soviet Socialist Republic, Armenia, Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic, Azerbaijan and Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic, Georgia. All three regained independence in 1991 when the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Soviet Union dissolved. The Russo-Georgian War took place in 2008 across the South Caucasus, 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. Since their independence, the three countries have had varying degrees of success in their relations with Russia and other countries. In Georgia, after the Rose Revolution in 2004, the country, like the Baltic states, began integrating into Western Europe by opening up relations with NATO and the European Union. Armenia continues to foster relations with Russia while Azerbaijan relies less on Russia, strategically partnering with Turkey and other NATO states.


Wine

The South Caucasus, in particular where modern-day Turkey, Georgia (country), Georgia,
Armenia Armenia,, officially the Republic of Armenia,, is a landlocked country located in the Armenian Highlands of Western Asia.The UN]classification of world regions places Armenia in Western Asia; the Central Intelligence Agency, CIA The World ...

Armenia
and
Iran Iran ( fa, ایران ), also called Persia, and officially the Islamic Republic of Iran, is a country in Western Asia Western Asia, West Asia, or Southwest Asia, is the westernmost subregion A subregion is a part of a larger regio ...

Iran
are located, is one of the native areas of the wine-producing vine ''Vitis vinifera''.But was it plonk?
''Boston Globe''
Some experts speculate that the South Caucasus may be the birthplace of wine production. Archaeological excavations and carbon dating of grape seeds from the area have dated back to 8000–5000 BC. Wine found in Iran has been dated to BC and BC, while wine found in Georgia has been dated to BC. The earliest winery, dated to BC, was found in Armenia.


See also

*
Caucasus The Caucasus (), or Caucasia (), is a region spanning Europe Europe is a which is also recognised as part of , located entirely in the and mostly in the . It comprises the westernmost peninsulas of the of Eurasia, it shares the contin ...
* Caucasus Greeks * Community for Democracy and Rights of Nations *
Eastern Europe Eastern Europe is the eastern region of . There is no consistent definition of the precise area it covers, partly because the term has a wide range of , geographical, ethnic, cultural, and connotations. , located in Eastern Europe, is both the ...

Eastern Europe
* Eastern European Group * Eastern Partnership * Eurasian Economic Union * Eurovoc * Ibero-Caucasian languages *
North Caucasus The North Caucasus ( ady, Темыр Къафкъас, Temır Qafqas; kbd, Ишхъэрэ Къаукъаз, İṩxhərə Qauqaz; ce, Къилбаседа Кавказ, Q̇ilbaseda Kavkaz; rus, Северный Кавказ, r=Severnyy Kav ...
(Ciscaucasia) * Peoples of the Caucasus * Post-Soviet states * Regions of Europe * South Kipchakya


References


External links


''Caucasian Journal''
— a multilingual online journal on the South Caucasus
Caucasian Review of International Affairs - an academic journal on the South Caucasus

Caucasus Analytical Digest - Journal on the South Caucasus


{{Authority control South Caucasus, * Caucasus, * Geography of Western Asia Eastern Europe, Caucasus03 Western Asia, Caucasus03 Regions of Asia Regions of Europe Regions of Eurasia