Last Updated: Tuesday, 13 April, 2004, 10:05 GMT 11:05 UK
A chronology of key events:
1915 – 1917 – Between 600,000 and 1.5 million Armenians are massacred or
deported from their homeland in Anatolia to present-day Syria. The Ottoman
government had suspected them of harbouring pro-Russian sympathies.
1916 – Armenia is conquered by tsarist Russia. Joins alliance with Georgia
and Azerbaijan. YEREVAN
Capital’s history stretches back more than 2,500 years
1920: Became capital of Armenian republic
Population: 1.2 million
1918 – Armenia becomes an independent republic.
1920 – Armenia is invaded by Turkey and Bolshevik Russia. An agreement with
the Bolsheviks leads to Armenia proclaiming itself a socialist republic.
1922 – Armenia is incorporated into the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics,
1930s – Armenians suffer under Stalin’s purges, but the country also
experiences industrial development.
The modern period
1988 – Encouraged by the new policy of openness (“glasnost”), Armenians
begin to campaign for Nagorno-Karabakh, a region with a predominantly
Armenian population in the neighbouring Soviet republic of Azerbaijan, to be
united with Armenia.
1988 December – Earthquake in northern Armenia kills 25,000 and leaves
hundreds of thousands homeless. The relief effort is slow and chaotic.
Armenians say 1.5 million died in last years of Ottoman Empire
2001: Bitter history of Armenian genocide row
Correspondent: Armenians say US failed them
1989 – Conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh begins. It lasts intermittently for
five years. Many Azeri citizens are forced to flee their homes.
1990 – Armenian nationalists win parliamentary elections. Independence is
declared, but ignored by Moscow.
1991 September – A referendum sees 94% vote for secession from the Soviet
1991 October – Levon Ter-Petrossian elected president.
1991 December – Armenia joins the Commonwealth of Independent States, the
successor to the Soviet Union. Armenia recognised as independent by the US.
1992 – Armenia joins the United Nations. A trade and energy embargo is
imposed by Azerbaijan. The conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh continues.
1994 – Demonstrations in Yerevan over shortages of food and energy. A
Russian-brokered ceasefire ends the Nagorno-Karabakh fighting. The region is
left a self-proclaimed republic, with ethnic Armenian forces in control of
Azerbaijani territory surrounding Karabakh. NAGORNO-KARABAKH
Feuding over enclave has claimed thousands of lives
2001: Age-old enmity in the Caucasus
2000: Tug-of-war for Nagorno-Karabakh
1995 – The government launches privatisation and price liberalisation
programme. Parliamentary elections return the ruling party. The powers of
the president are widened.
1996 – Ter-Petrossian is re-elected president. Tanks are deployed on the
streets of Yerevan to quell protests over alleged electoral fraud.
1998 – Ter-Petrossian resigns over opposition to his efforts to find a
compromise with Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh. Nationalist Robert
Kocharyan is elected president.
1999 – Gunmen, led by a local journalist Nairi Hunanyan, open fire in the
Armenian parliament. The prime minister, parliamentary speaker and six other
officials are killed. The gunmen accuse the government of leading Armenia
into political and economic ruin. They say the desperate plight of the
people is the reason for the killings.
2000 – Prime Minister Andranik Markarian admits that – 12 years on – those
affected by the 1988 earthquake are still living in a disaster zone.
Prime minister and speaker were amongst those killed by gunmen
1999: In pictures – Armenia’s grief
2003: Armenia parliament killers jailed
BBC’s Tigran Hizmalyan describes storming
2001 January – Becomes full member of Council of Europe.
France ignores Turkish objections and introduces a law stating that Ottoman
Turks committed genocide against Armenians in 1915.
Armenia celebrates the 1,700th anniversary of the adoption of Christianity.
2001 September – Vladimir Putin becomes first Russian president to visit
Armenia since independence.
Pope John Paul II pays his first visit; most Armenians pledge allegiance to
Armenian Apostolic Church which broke away from Vatican in sixth century.
2003 March – President Robert Kocharyan wins further term in second round of
presidential elections. Election monitors complain of ballot-stuffing.
2003 May – European observers find parliamentary elections in which
pro-presidential candidates win majority of seats fall short of
Referendum rejects constitutional amendments concerning role of parliament.
2003 August – Death penalty abolished; President Kocharyan commutes
sentences of 42 death row prisoners to life.
2003 December – Six sentenced to life imprisonment for their roles in 1999
parliament shootings in which prime minister, speaker and other officials
2004 April – Thousands of opposition supporters march against president.