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Map of Caucasus region prepared by the U.S.
State Department, 1994.
The South Caucasus is a geopolitical region located on the border of Eastern Europe and Southwest Asia Georgia, from Foreign and Commonwealth Officemarker Georgia, from Intute Georgia, from National Geographicmarker also referred to as Transcaucasia, or The Transcaucasus. More specifically, the South Caucasus area spans the southern portion of the Caucasus Mountainsmarker and its lowlands, lying between the two continents of Europe and Asia and extending from the southern part of the Greater Caucasus Mountain range of southwestern Russiamarker and going southerly to the Turkishmarker and Armenianmarker borders, travelling between the Blackmarker and Caspian Seasmarker. The area includes the southern part of the Greater Caucasus Mountain range, the entire Lesser Caucasus Mountain range, the Colchis Lowlands and Kura-Aras Lowlands, the Talysh Mountains, the Lenkoran Lowlands, and the Javakheti-Armenian Uplandsmarker. The Transcaucasus, or South Caucasus area, is a part of the entire Caucasus geographical region that essentially divides the Eurasian transcontinent into two.

All of Armeniamarker is in Southern Caucasus; the majority of Georgiamarker and Azerbaijanmarker, including the exclave of Naxçivanmarker, fall within this area. The countries of the region are producers of oil, manganese ore, tea, citrus fruits, and wine.

In Western languages, the terms Transcaucasus and Transcaucasia are translations of the Russian zakavkazie meaning "the area beyond the Caucasus Mountains", i.e., as seen from the Russian capital (analogous to the Roman terms Transalpine and Transpadania). The region remains one of the most complicated in the post-Sovietmarker area, and comprises three heavily disputed areas – Abkhaziamarker and South Ossetiamarker in Georgiamarker, and Nagorno-Karabakh in Azerbaijanmarker. Several wars, including the 2008 South Ossetia war, Ossetian-Georgian conflict, and the Nagorno-Karabakh war have been waged in this region.

History

Located on the peripheries of Turkeymarker, Iranmarker and Russiamarker, the region has been an arena for political, military, religious, and cultural rivalries and expansionism for centuries.

Ancient kingdoms of the region included Armeniamarker, Albania, and Iberia, among others. These kingdoms were later incorporated into various empires, including Achaemenid Empire, Parthian Empire, Sassanid Empire, during which Zoroastrianism followed by Eastern Christianity became the dominant religions in the region.

In 8th century A.D., most of South Caucasus became part of the Caliphate and Islam spread throughout the region. The region would later be conquered by the Seljuks, Mongols, local Turkic dynasties until the establishment of Safavid dynasty in 1501. From that time till the mid-19th century, South Caucasus remained in Safavid domain, except for the brief period in 17th century when it came under Ottoman control.

After the fall of Safavid dynasty in 1736, semi-independent khanates were established in South Caucasus under the nominal control of Persia. In the first quarter of 19th century, after two Russo-Persian wars, the region was finally conquered by Russian Empiremarker.

The region was unified as a single political entity twice – during the Russian Civil War (Transcaucasian Democratic Federative Republicmarker) from 9 April 1918 to 26 May 1918, and under the Sovietmarker rule (Transcaucasian SFSR) from 12 March 1922 to 5 December 1936.

Transcaucasia, in particular where modern day Georgia and Armenia are located, is one of the native areas of the wine producing vine vitis vinifera. Some experts speculate that it may be the birthplace of wine production. Archeological excavation and carbon dating of grape pips from the area have dated back to 7000-5000 BC.

See also



References

  1. Georgia, from Encarta
  2. Thorez, Pierre. "Caucasus." Encyclopaedia Iranica. June 2, 2007
  3. Hugh Johnson Vintage: The Story of Wine pg 15 Simon & Schuster 1989
  4. Ibid. pg 17


External links




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