ccording to ancient tradition,
Noah's Ark rested on Mount Ararat
Armenian Mountain Range.
Armenia's Coat of Arms has Mount Ararat with Noah's Ark on top.
Armenian historian Movses Khorenatsi (410-490 AD) recounted the tradition that Noah's son Japheth had a descendant named
Hayk who shot an arrow
in a battle near Lake Van c.2,500 BC killing Nimrod, builder of the Tower of Babel--the first tyrant of the ancient world.
is the origin of "
," the Armenian name for Armenia.
Ancient Armenians may have had some relations with the Hittites and Hurrians, who inhabited that area known as Anatolia in the 2nd millenium BC.
major city of
, founded in 782 BC in the shadow of Mount Ararat, is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world.
was mentioned in the Book of Isaiah (37:38), when King Sennacherib of Assyria invaded Judah around 701 BC.
King Hezekiah and the Prophet Isaiah prayed and Judah was spared. Sennacherib returned to Assyria:
"And it came to pass, as Sennacherib was worshipping in the house of Nisroch his god, that Adrammelech and Sharezer his sons smote him with the sword; and they escaped into the land of
was first mentioned by name in 520 BC by Darius the Great of Persia.
The country's borders reached their greatest extent under
Armenia's King Tigrane the Great
, 95-55 BC, reaching from the Caspian Sea to the Mediterranean Sea, pushing back the Parthians, Seleucids and the Roman Republic.
Saint Gregory the Illuminator is credited with turning Armenia from paganism to Christianity.
Armenia was the first nation in the world to officially adopt Christianity as its state religion when King Tiridates III converted around 301 AD.
Armenia's thousands of years of history include independence, interspersed by occupations of Greeks, Romans, Persians, Byzantines, Mongols, Arabs, Ottoman Turks, and Russians.
Armenia's medieval capitol of Ani was called "the city of a 1,001 churches,"
with a population of 200,000, rivaling Constantinople, Baghdad and Damascus.
In 704 AD, Caliph Walid tricked Armenian nobles to meet in St. Gregory's Church in Naxcawan and Church of Xram on the Araxis River and burned them to death.
In 1064, Muslim Sultan
and his Seljuk Turkish army invaded and
destroyed the city of Ani
Sibt ibn al-Jawzi recorded:
"The army entered the city, massacred its inhabitants, pillaged and burned it, leaving it in ruins ...
Dead bodies were so many that they blocked the streets; one could not go anywhere without stepping over them
. And the number of prisoners was not less than 50,000 souls ...
... I was determined to enter city and see the destruction with my own eyes.
I tried to find a street in which I would not have to walk over the corpses; but that was impossible
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Muslim Turks made conquered Christians, Jewish, and
non-Muslim populations into second-class citizens called "dhimmi"
and required them to
ransom their lives once a year by paying an exorbitant "jizyah" tax.
Sultan Murat I
(1359-1389) began the practice of
--taking boys from the conquered Armenian and Greek families.
These innocent boys were systematically traumatized and
indoctrinated into becoming ferocious Muslim warriors called "Janissaries,
" similar to Egypt's "Mamluk" slave soldiers.
were forced to call the Sultan their father and were forbidden to marry, giving rise to depraved practices and the abhorrent pederasty of the Turks.
For centuries Turks conquered throughout the Mediterranean, Middle East, Eastern Europe, Spain and North Africa,
carrying tens of thousands into slavery.
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Beginning in the
early 1800s, the Turkish Ottoman Empire began to decline
Greece, Serbia, Bulgaria and Romania won their independence.
When Armenia's sentiments leaned toward independence,
Sultan Abdul Hamid
put an end to it by massacring 100,000 from 1894-1896.
President Grover Cleveland reported to Congress, December 2, 1895:
"Occurrences in Turkey have continued to excite concern ...
Massacres of Christians in Armenia
and the development ... of a spirit of
fanatic hostility to Christian influences ... have lately shocked civilization."
The next year, President Grover Cleveland addressed Congress, December 7, 1896:
"Disturbed condition in Asiatic Turkey ... rage of mad bigotry and cruel fanaticism ... wanton destruction of homes and
the bloody butchery of men, women, and children, made martyrs to their profession of Christian faith ...
... Outbreaks of blind fury which lead to murder and pillage in Turkey occur suddenly and without notice ...
It seems hardly possible that the earnest demand of good people throughout the Christian world for its corrective treatment will remain unanswered."
President William McKinley told Congress, December 5, 1898:
"The ... envoy of the United States to ... Turkey ... is ... charged to press for a just settlement of our claims ... of the
destruction of the property
of American missionaries resident in that country during the
Armenian troubles of 1895."
On December 6, 1904, President Theodore Roosevelt reported to Congress of:
"... systematic and long-extended
cruelty and oppression ... of which the Armenians have been the victims
, and which have won for them the indignant pity of the civilized world."
Sultan Abdul Hamid II
was deposed in 1908, there was a brief euphoria as citizens naively hoped Turkey would have a constitutional government.
Instead, the government was taken over by the
led by three leaders or "pashas": Mehmed Talaat Pasha, Ismail Enver Pasha, and Ahmed Djemal Pasha.
They acted as if they were planning democratic reforms while they clandestinely planned a genocidal scheme to rid the land of all who were not Muslims Turks.
The first step involved recruiting unsuspecting Armenian young men into the military.
Next they made them "non-combatant" soldiers and took away their weapons.
Finally, they marched them into the woods and deserts where they were ambushed and massacred.
With the Armenian young men gone, Armenian cities and villages were defenseless.
Nearly 2 million old men, women and children were marched into the desert, thrown off cliffs or burnt alive
Entire Armenian communities were deported to the deserts of Syria and Mesopotamia
where hundreds of thousands were killed or starved to death.
Armenian cities of Kharpert, Van and Ani were leveled.
Armenia briefly received aid from Russia until that country was overturned by Lenin's Bolshevik revolution.
Similar to present-day headlines of the massacre of Christian minorities in Syria and Iraq, Theodore Roosevelt recorded the fate of Armenians in his 1916 book
Fear God and Take Your Own Part
, who for some centuries have sedulously
avoided militarism and war
... are so suffering precisely and exactly because they have been pacifists whereas their neighbors, the
Turks, have ... been ... militarists
... During the last year and a half ...
Armenians have been subjected to wrongs far greater than any that have been committed since the close of the Napoleonic Wars ... Fearful atrocities ...
Serbia is at this moment passing under the harrow of torture and mortal anguish ..."
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Theodore Roosevelt continued:
Armenians have been butchered under circumstances of murder and torture and rape
that would have appealed to an old-time Apache Indian ...
The Wholesale slaughter of the Armenians
... must be shared by the neutral powers headed by the United States for their failure to protest when this initial wrong was committed ...
The crowning outrage has been committed by the Turks on the Armenians.
They have suffered atrocities so hideous that it is difficult to name them, atrocities such as those inflicted upon conquered nations by the followers of Attila and of Genghis Khan.
It is dreadful to think that these things can be done and that this nation nevertheless remarks 'neutral not only in deed but in thought,' between right and the most hideous wrong, neutral between despairing and hunted people, people whose little children are murdered and their women raped, and the victorious and evil wrong-doers ...
I trust that all Americans worthy of the name feel their deepest indignation and keenest sympathy aroused by the
dreadful Armenian atrocities.
I trust that they feel ... that a peace obtained without ... righting the wrongs of the Armenians would be worse than any war."
Historian Arnold Toynbee wrote:
The Turks draft the criminals from their prisons into the Gendarmeri
to exterminate the Armenian race
... In 1913 the Turkish Army was engaged in
exterminating the Albanians ... Greeks and Slavs left in the territory
campaign of extermination has been waged against the Nestorian Christians on the Persian frontier
In Syria there is a reign of terror ..."
... is ...
slaughtering or driving from their homes, the Christian population
Only a third of the two million Armenians in Turkey have survived
, and that at the price of apostatizing to Islam or else of leaving all they had and fleeing across the frontier ..."
Armenia's pleas at the Paris Peace Conference led Democrat President Wilson in a failed effort to make Armenia a U.S. protectorate.
Woodrow Wilson, who was born DECEMBER 28, 1856, addressed Congress, May 24, 1920:
"The Senate Committee on Foreign Relations has established
the truth of the reported massacres and other atrocities from which the Armenian people have suffered .
deplorable conditions of insecurity, starvation, and misery now prevalent in Armenia
Sympathy for Armenia
among our people has sprung from untainted consciences, pure Christian faith and an earnest desire to see Christian people everywhere succored in their time of suffering."
On August 29, 2014, the California Senate unanimously passed the
Armenian Genocide Education Act
mandating that among the human rights subjects covered in public schools,
instruction shall be made of the genocide committed in Armenia at the beginning of the 20th century
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