Armenia is a unitary, multi-party, democratic nation-state with a long history. Urartu was founded around 860 BC, and by the 6th century BC, it had been supplanted by the Satrapy of Armenia. Tigranes the Great led the Kingdom of Armenia to its apex in the first century BC. Armenia became the world’s first state to make Christianity its official religion. The polity became the first Christian country in the late third and early fourth centuries. The official year of state conversion to Christianity is 301 AD. Around the early fifth century, the old Armenian monarchy was divided between the Byzantine and Sasanian Empires. The Bagratid Kingdom of Armenia was reestablished in the 9th century by the Bagratuni dynasty. The kingdom collapsed in 1045 as a result of battles against the Byzantines, and Armenia was shortly overrun by the Seljuk Turks. Between the 11th and 14th centuries, Cilician Armenia was an Armenian principality and subsequently a kingdom on the Mediterranean Sea’s coast.
Between the 16th and 19th centuries, the ancient Armenian heartland of Eastern and Western Armenia was governed by the Ottoman and Iranian empires, which alternately reigned throughout the ages. Eastern Armenia had been captured by the Russian Empire by the nineteenth century, while the majority of the western portions of the ancient Armenian country remained under Ottoman control. The Armenian Genocide occurred during World War I, when Armenians residing in their ancestral territories in the Ottoman Empire were ruthlessly killed. Following the Russian Revolution in 1918, all non-Russian nations proclaimed their independence when the Russian Empire ceased to exist, resulting in the formation of the First Republic of Armenia. By 1920, the state had been absorbed into the Transcaucasian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic, and by 1922, it had become a founding member of the Soviet Union. The Transcaucasian state was disbanded in 1936, converting its component nations, notably the Armenian Soviet Socialist Republic, into full Union republics. During the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the current Republic of Armenia gained independence.
The Armenian Apostolic Church, the world’s oldest national church, is recognized as the country’s main religious institution by the Republic of Armenia. Mesrop Mashtots created the distinctive Armenian script in 405 AD.
Armenia is a member of the Council of Europe, the Eurasian Economic Union, and the Collective Security Treaty Organization. Armenia backs the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, which declared independence in 1991.