The Azerbaijan Portal

A view of Baku, Azerbaijan
A view of Baku, Azerbaijan

Coat of arms of Azerbaijan
Map of Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan (UK: /ˌæzərbˈɑːn, -ˈæn/ (listen), US: /ˌɑːzərbˈɑːn, ˌæz-/; Azerbaijani: Azərbaycan [ɑːzæɾbɑjˈdʒɑn]), officially the Republic of Azerbaijan, is a transcontinental country located at the boundary of Eastern Europe and Western Asia. It is a part of the South Caucasus region and is bounded by the Caspian Sea to the east, Russia (Republic of Dagestan) to the north, Georgia to the northwest, Armenia and Turkey to the west, and Iran to the south. Baku is the capital and largest city.

The Azerbaijan Democratic Republic proclaimed its independence from the Transcaucasian Democratic Federative Republic in 1918 and became the first secular democratic Muslim-majority state. In 1920, the country was incorporated into the Soviet Union as the Azerbaijan SSR. The modern Republic of Azerbaijan proclaimed its independence on 30 August 1991, shortly before the dissolution of the Soviet Union in the same year. In September 1991, the ethnic Armenian majority of the Nagorno-Karabakh region formed the self-proclaimed Republic of Artsakh. The region and seven surrounding districts are internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan pending a solution to the status of the Nagorno-Karabakh through negotiations facilitated by the OSCE, although became de facto independent with the end of the First Nagorno-Karabakh War in 1994. Following the Second Nagorno-Karabakh War in 2020, the seven districts and parts of Nagorno-Karabakh were returned to Azerbaijani control.

The vast majority of the country's population (97%) is nominally Muslim, but the constitution does not declare an official religion and all major political forces in the country are secularist. Azerbaijan is a developing country and ranks 88th on the Human Development Index. It has a high rate of economic development, literacy, and a low rate of unemployment. However, the ruling New Azerbaijan Party, in power since 1993, has been accused of authoritarian leadership under the leadership of both Heydar Aliyev and his son Ilham Aliyev, and deteriorating the country's human rights record, including increasing restrictions on civil liberties, particularly on press freedom and political repression. (Full article...)

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The Battle of Kalbajar took place in March and April 1993, during the First Nagorno-Karabakh War. It resulted in the capture of the Kalbajar District of Azerbaijan by Armenian military forces.

Kalbajar lies outside the contested enclave of the former Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast (NKAO). The offensive was the first time Armenian forces from Nagorno-Karabakh had advanced beyond the boundaries of the enclave (besides the capture of Lachin in 1992). Kalbajar District, located between Armenia and the western border of the former NKAO, was composed of several dozen villages and its provincial capital, also named Kalbajar. The Armenian side launched an attack from four directions, including Armenia proper. After initial heavy resistance, the Azerbaijani defence quickly collapsed and the provincial capital fell on April 3, 1993. Armenian forces captured an area of more than 1,900 square kilometres, establishing a second overland link between Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh. (Full article...)
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