Karabakh is one of the most ancient regions of not only Azerbaijan but also the entire world. The site of the most ancient human beings was found in the Azykh cave of this region. It proves Azerbaijan to be one of the cradles of the mankind along with Karabakh, the Mediterranean Sea basin and East Africa. The researcher of the Azykh cave, Azerbaijani scientist M.Guseynov wrote: "River stone instruments discovered in the Azykh cave are close to those of the Orduvay culture of East Africa. At the same time the instruments were prepared in different ways thus making it possible to single out the Guruchay culture composed of the labor instruments found in the lower layers of the Azykh cave…The Guruchay culture can be dated back to 1 million 200 thousand years ago".
The jaw bone of the Azykh human -Azykhantrope was found in the Acheulian layer of the Azykh cave in 1968. The Azykhantrope is proposed to live 350-400 thousand years ago. The mustye culture of Karabakh was mainly represented by the Taghlar cave. The continuation of the archeological investigation of Karabakh may also prove the high level of development of Mezolite and Neolite periods of the Stone Age. Great changes occurred in the life of Karabakh in the neolite (6-4th millenniums B.C.), bronze and the first iron age (late 4th-early 1 millenniums B.C.). The late Bronze and early iron ages (13-8th centuries B.C) were called the Khodjaly-Gedebey culture. The agate beads with the cuneiform once belonging to the Assyria ruler Adad nirar were found in the archeological monument of the Khodjaly cemetery of that period. These findings and a number of others confirm the existence of economic and culture relations with the Near East.
Ethno-political processes developed along with the industrial and cultural ones. The strong state Manna appeared in the south of Azerbaijan (9-6 centuries B.C), and it managed to protect its independence in the fight with Assyria and Urartu. Urartu's intervention bypassed the lands of the North Azerbaijan including Karabakh. Armenian ethnos did not exist at that time in the South Caucasus (Transcaucasia). Prominent researches, collective monographs authors expressed unanimous views on the political history of Transcaucasia. The major part of Urartu was located out of the bounds of USSR. The areas of compact settlement of Armenians of the ancient period and Middle Ages were also out of the bounds of the present-day Armenia SSR. The situation changed in times of the Midia state (672-550 B.C) that put an end to the wealth of Urartu. Midia subdued the South-Eastern Transcaucasia. Such a state were typical of the Akhameni period (550-330 B.C).
The political processes stepped to a new stage following the overthrow of the Ahameni state by Macedonian Alexander. As a result of that after the death of Macedonian Alexander that ruled for a short period of time, his empire fell into a number of states and Atropatena appeared in the south of Azerbaijan, while Albania -in the north. (In the recent time Azerbaijani historians enriched Atropatena and Albania studies with new scientific works. They made a great contribution to the correction of scientific facts of that period that was so much falsified by Armenian authors. We think it unnecessary to cite them here). Atropatena owned the north lands of Azerbaijan in the 4th B.C and part of the lands that constituted Karabakh were subdued to that very state.
Albania that established simultaneously with Atropatena existed in the 4-8th centuries B.C and played a great role in the history of Azerbaijan of nearly 1200 years. Albania covered the entire territory of Karabakh and it did everything possible to hold this region in its hands and reached its aim with few exceptions. The sixth maps of F.Mamedova that reflected the historical dynamics of the area and borders of Albania and the regions it included (Sakasena, Otena-Uti, Orkhistena-Arsakh, Araksena, etc) proves this fact irrefutably as well.
Likewise Karabakh belonged to Azerbaijani Albania state, the ethnic communities residing there-uti, sovdey, qargar and others were also Albanian tribes.
Armenians first appeared in the South Caucasus (Transcaucasia) after the 2nd century B.C. Their aggressive activity against local states and peoples started with their settlement in these regions. At that time Armenians called the Armenian kingdom in the east of the Asia Minor the Great Armenia and tried to introduce the lands in which they settled as their own. As a result of the defeat of Tigran the Second by the Roman Empire in 66 B.C the false legend about the Great Armenia failed and Armenians were turned into the vassals of the Roman Empire. The situation remained changeless till the 4th century. In this case the declaration of the historical lands of Albania the native regions of Armenia was scientifically and historically baseless. Yet, unlike Armenians Albania state continued its independent policy and included the historical province Karabakh. A number of researches wrote: "the investigation of the sources and the realities of the 1st-4th century assures us that the southern border of Albania was stretching along the Araz river" .
The all-Turk prominent monument of the oral folklore literature epos Kitabi Dede Gorgut also proves that Karabakh belongs to Azerbaijan and different Turkic tribes lived in the country. The epos Dede Gorgut was widely spread in all the regions of Azerbaijan including Karabakh and the basin of the Goycha lake in the 6-7th centuries. As stated in this valuable national epos, some oghuz heroes even met with him to express their respect. The famous Oghuzname (from the Kitabi-Diyarbekir written by Abu Bekr Tehrani in 1470) written by the instruction of the Aggoyunlu ruler Uzun Gasan (1453-1478) proved that the Goycha lake pastures and Karabakh belonged to ancient oghuz turks, that the forefather of the oghuz turks Oghuz Khagan was buried on the Goycha lake shore and that Bayandur khagan lived and buried in Karabakh on the Goycha lake pastures.
Karabakh in times of the Arabian Caliphate. On Armenification and Gregorianization in Arsakh
The dramatic changes occurred in the history of Karabakh with the intervention of Arabian Caliphate and the downfall of Albania. Before Arabian intervention the ethnic composition of the historical population of Karabakh had been homogeneous that is all the tribes generated from Azeri-Arbanian roots while as a result of the tragic policy of Arabic caliphate the religion of Armenians dominated in the mountain regions of the province and later this process occurred in the ethnic field as well: the population of the historical region of Albania Arsakh was first converted to gregorianity and later armenified.
Z.Bunyadov conducted a special investigation of the reasons and proceeding of the grigorianization and armenification and the role of the Armenian-Caliphate cooperation and other problems as well as their reflection in the historical literature. No wonder that the process of armenification took more time than gregorianization.
Therefore, Z.Bunyadov regarded the Albanian church of the 7th and later centuries (if exactly of early 8th century) as part of Armenian church and wrote opposing the idea of armenification of Sunik, Arsakh, Uti and others: "The matter that attracts a great deal of attention is the confusion of two different concepts: Armenification and gregorianization. It is possible to talk only over the gregorianization of the population of Arran by the help of the Armenian church. The view of S.T.Yeremyan was only partially truthful as most part of the Sunik province and Arsakhyn of the Arran province were armenified in the beginning of the 12th century.
This view (as well as the conclusion drawn out by S.T.Yeremyan) proves that the population residing in that part of Karabakh was not Armenians there generated from local Albanian-Azeri tribes and were later armenified, i.e. first converted to gregorianity and then armenified.
Odontological researches, based on the modern scientific achievements and presenting information on the population ethnogeny and its reciprocal interaction also prove that. It is in no way by accident that Sunik and Arsakh-Khachyn principalities established on that lands after the downfall of the Arabian caliphate. "In late 12th century the Sunik kingdom fell and the dynastic rule ceased there after the death of Gregor and Smbat in 1166. According to the prince I.A.Orbel the Khachyn principality that blossomed on the territory of Arsakh was part of the ancient Albania in late 12th-13th centuries. Therefore, no wonder that the states that established after the downfall of the Arabian caliphate did not include any Armenian state. That proves Armenians not to have an ancient state system establishment history in the South Caucasus unlike Azerbaijan and Georgia.
The 19th-early 13th centuries, the period of the Sadjids-Atabeys-Shirvanshahs were the times pf the strengthening of Azerbaijan in the entire South Caucasus. In fact Sadjids and Atabeys unified the historical lands of Azerbaijan. The Khachyn principality, established on the territory of the former Albania reached the highest level of its development in times of Gasan Djelal (1215-1261) from the dynasty of Mehranies. He is known as the prince of the Khachyn states, the mighty prince of the Khachyn and Arsakh states as well as the ruler of Albania in the narrative and epigraphic monuments of that period. In other words, the great titles of Gasan Djalal related to the history of Azerbaijani Albania. One of the most wonderful pearls of Albanian architecture-the Ganzasar monastery was erected at that period…
Karabakh as one of the political centers of Azerbaijan (XIII- the 40s of XVIII)
In period of the ruling of Kharezmshah Djelaleddin, that ruined Atabeys state weakened by the first intervention of Mongolians (1220-1222) Karabakh was controlled by him (1225-1231).
In period of the second intervention of Mongolians and the completion of Azerbaijan's occupation (1231-1239) Karabakh like other lands of Azerbaijan was part of the Mongolian khaganate (1239-1256) and later of Hulakues (Elkhanies ) state (1256-1357). The information of this period of Karabakh's history is much wider and well studied.19The word combination composed of the words Gara (black) and bagh (garden) referred to a definite territory at that period.
V.Piriyev wrote: "The name of the Arran Karabakh was first mentioned in the creation of Radhid ad-Din "Djame at-tevarikh" in connection with the events of 1284". At that period Karabakh was composed of the single area that connected the mountain and foothill regions of Arran. Karabakh played an important role in the political history of Elkhanis state in the 13-14th centuries. V.Piriyev noted that the permanent wintering of Mongolian rulers in Karabakh caused a number of events of state importance. It would be enough to say that two of the Mongolian rulers (Gazan khan and Arpa khan) ascended the throne in Karabakh and two others (Argun khan and Abu Said) died there." Karabakh was part of Azerbaijan in the 13-14th centuries as well and Azeri Turks dominated the population of the region.
In the 15th century Karabakh was part of the Azeri states Garagoyunlu (1410-1467) and Aggoyunlu (1468-1501). Yet in times of Garagoyunlus an event occurred in the life of Karabakh which told on its further history. The dynasty of the former Albanian ruler Gasan Djelal (Djelali) was attached the title of the melik (ruler) from the Garagoyunlu shah Djahan in the 15th century. Later the property of Djelalis was dividec in five feudal principalities (Gulistan, Djeravert, Khachyn, Varanda and Dizaq)…
The centralization of all the lands of Azerbaijan was initiated with the establishment of the Sefevi state (1501). The lands of Azerbaijan were completely centralized as a single state in the mid 16th century. Thus, the Sefeli state of Azerbaijan became the second larger region after the Osmanly empire. At that period the ethnic and political predominance of Armenians was not possible. On the contrary, the ethnic and political borders of Azerbaijan became clearer then. Sefevis established four principalities in Azerbaijan including the Karabakh or Ganja province. The detailed journals worked out in that regions creates clear picture of the administrative division of the said principality. According to the date of 1593 the Ganja-Karabakh province fell into 7 regions and 36 districts. Almost all of 1.3 thousand geographical names were taken from Azeri language. None of them belonged to Armenians.
After the Sefevies lost their strong positions, the lands of Azerbaijan became the center of wars between, Iran, Russian and the Osmanly empire.
At that period the Ganja-Karabakh lands were part of the Osmanly empire. The journals worked out in times of the Osmanly empire also prove the domination of Azerbaijanis among the region's population. According to the census enumerations the population of the Ganja-Karabakh province totaled 122 thousand people in 1727. Azerbaijanis accounted for 80.3 thousand people (66%), Armenians (if exactly the armenified Albanians converted to gregorianism) -for 37.8 thousand people (31%), Kurds-for 3.7 thousand people (3.1%). At the reported period the Albanians that were converted to gregorianism intensified their political activity under the active support of Russia.
Nadir shah Afshar who came to power overthrowing the last Sefevi ruler Abbas the third applied cruel punitive measures to the Turkic-Muslim population of the Ganja-Karabakh province that did not recognize his government. This factor helped consolidation of the Karabakh Albanian meliks and provoked the separatism. After the death of Nadir his state fell into pieces and new states-khanates were established in Azerbaijan. In other words, Azerbaijan restored its independence through creation of such states. Two Azeri khanates Ganja and Karabakh established on the territory of the former Ganja-Karabakh province. Let us review in details the territorial claims of Armenians against Azerbaijan as they are connected with the Karabakh khanate.
Source: Yagub Mahmudov, Karim Shukurov: Garabagh - Real history, facts, documents, Baku – 2005