Nagorno-KarabakhNagorno-Karabakh is an enclave of the Caucasus, claimed by both Armenia and Azerbaijan. The majority of the population is Armenian, but the area is geographically separated from the country by Azerbaijani territory.
The region's area is 1,699 square miles, and as of 1990 it had a population of 192,000. The population is mainly Armenian (76%), with Azeri (23%), Russian, and Kurdish minorities. The capital is Stepanakert, and the only other major city is Shushi.
The area was taken by Armenia in the 1st century and by the Arabs in the 7th century. In the early 17th century, it passed to Persia, which allowed local autonomy, and in the mid-18th century the Karabakh khanate was formed. Karabakh passed to the Russians by the Treaty of Gulistan in 1813. In 1822 the Karabakh khanate was dissolved and the area became a Russian province. The Nagorno-Karabakh (Mountain-Karabakh) Autonomous Region was established in 1923. The autonomous status of the region was abolished in 1989.
In the late 1980s and early 1990s, the region became the center of a war between Armenia and Azerbaijan, as Armenian nationalists demanded the inclusion of the region in Armenia. By the end of 1993, Armenians had gained control of most of the region; more than a million people were made refugees by the fighting. An unofficial cease-fire was reached in 1994 through Russian negotiation. Nagorno-Karabakh's parliament declared the region independent in 1991.