Dating all the way back to Stone Age Armenia is one of the oldest living civilizations in the world. During those long millennia Armenia lived through everything. From horrific crimes against humanities all the way to being one of the most powerful states of the time.
Several 325,000 year-old stone tools have been excavated from the Armenian Plateau. They prove that there have been civilization in this area at those times. In 1960s archeologists found the remains of a hearth, human cranial fragment and a tooth from Yerevan 1 cave that were 48,000 years old. A very recent discovery of the earliest known leather shoe (3,500 BC, displayed in History Museum of Armenia), a straw skirt (3,900 BC) and wine-making facility (4,000 BC) in Areni-1 cave demonstrate leading development positions of locals during that era. Armenia is present on one of the oldest map found – Babylonian map of 500 BC.
According to legend Armenian history begins when Hayk Nahapet kills King Bel with a three-headed arrow and frees his nation from tyranny, calling the country “Hayq” (Armenian – Հայք) and people “Hay” (Armenian – հայ).
According to Bible, Gen. 8:4, the new civilization started when Noah’s Ark came to rest on a biblical mountain called Ararat, which from ancient Armenian literally means a place for creating.
During the Bronze Age several states flourished in greater Armenia area (territory between Black, Caspian and Mediterranean seas also called Armenian Plateau). Some of the most influential states were Hittite Empire and Mitanni.
Little later Nairi and the Kingdom of Urartu became ruling states in the region. King Sarduri 1st won the war with Assyrians making the Kingdom of Urartu the most powerful state in the Middle East with capital of Tushpa (modern Van).
During its extensive history Armenia has had 13 capitals:
Armenia was at its peak during the reign of Tigran The Great. During the 40 years of his rule (95–55 BC) Armenian borders reached three seas – Caspian, Black and Mediterranean, hence the name From Sea to Sea Armenia. Many evidences state that Tigranian troops reached as far as China.
In 301 Armenia became the first country in the world to adopt Christianity as state religion. Christianity played a huge role in Armenian history and culture. Ever since adoption of Christianity Armenians have shed a lot of blood to retain their religion and therefore identity.
After adopting Christianity the need for recovering Armenian alphabet grew bigger and bigger. In 405 linguist and hymnologist Mesrop Mashtots went for a long trip to several countries to retrieve the Armenian alphabet. His retrieval was so complete that we use that same alphabet after more than 16 centuries.
In 1915 Armenia was part of Ottoman Empire. The despotic state had planned a massive cleansing of Armenians and other minorities in the Empire. On 24th of April 1915 more than 250 Armenian intellectuals and leaders have been arrested and deported from Constantinople (today’s Istanbul) and later killed by the state. The First World War created the perfect circumstances for Ottoman Empire to implement their horrifying plan. Some 1.5 mln Armenians have been tortured, starved, raped and marched to death. Thousands of Armenian churches and cultural monuments have been destroyed.
Wounded Armenia tried hard to stand back up on its feet and created the first Armenian Republic on 28th of May 1918 with the capital of Yerevan. The first Republic of Armenia had 1.3 mln population and about 70,000 km2 area.
The Soviet Era for Armenia started on 2nd December 1920. During the Soviet Era Armenia prospered once again, becoming the center of science and technology of USSR and creating the first computer of USSR in Mergelyan Center, Yerevan. Almost all domains of economy, education, politics and the overall quality of life in Armenia rose greatly.
After the collapse of the USSR Armenia continued to develop independently. With one of a kind technological facilities in the region (EIF, GTC, TUMO, etc.) and big investments in tourism, agriculture and industry Armenia will live to see civilizations go by.