Topography of the Caucasus
|Partially recognized countries|
|Autonomous republics and federal regions|
|Time Zones||UTC+02:00, UTC+03:00, UTC+03:30, UTC+4:00, UTC+04:30|
|Highest Mountain||Mt Elbrus|
|Height of the highest peak||5,642 m|
The Caucasus // or Caucasia // is an area situated between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea and occupied by Russia, Georgia, Azerbaijan, and Armenia. It is home to the Caucasus Mountains, including the Greater Caucasus mountain range, which has historically been considered a natural barrier between Eastern Europe and Western Asia, but is today accepted by the majority of scholars as being part of Asia.
The Black Sea is a body of water and marginal sea of the Atlantic Ocean between the Balkans, Eastern Europe, the Caucasus, and Western Asia. It is supplied by a number of major rivers, such as the Danube, Dnieper, Southern Bug, Dniester, Don, and the Rioni. About a third of Europe drains into the Black Sea, including the countries of Austria, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Georgia, Germany, Hungary, Moldova, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Turkey and Ukraine.
The Caspian Sea is the world's largest inland body of water, variously classed as the world's largest lake or a full-fledged sea. It is an endorheic basin located between Europe and Asia, to the east of the Caucasus Mountains and to the west of the broad steppe of Central Asia. It is bounded by Kazakhstan to the northeast, Russia to the northwest, Azerbaijan to the west, Iran to the south, and Turkmenistan to the southeast. The Caspian Sea is home to a wide range of species and may be best known for its caviar and oil industries. Pollution from the oil industry and dams on rivers draining into the Caspian Sea have had negative effects on the organisms living in the sea.
Russia, officially the Russian Federation, is a transcontinental country in Eastern Europe and North Asia. At 17,125,200 square kilometres (6,612,100 sq mi), Russia is the largest country in the world by area, covering more than one-eighth of the Earth's inhabited land area, and the ninth most populous, with about 146.77 million people as of 2019, excluding Crimea. About 77% of the population live in the western, European part of the country. Russia's capital, Moscow, is the largest metropolitan area in Europe proper and one of the largest cities in the world; other major cities include Saint Petersburg, Novosibirsk, Yekaterinburg and Nizhny Novgorod. Extending across the entirety of Northern Asia and much of Eastern Europe, Russia spans eleven time zones and incorporates a wide range of environments and landforms. From northwest to southeast, Russia shares land borders with Norway, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland, Belarus, Ukraine, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, China, Mongolia and North Korea. It shares maritime borders with Japan by the Sea of Okhotsk and the U.S. state of Alaska across the Bering Strait. However, Russia recognises two more countries that border it, Abkhazia and South Ossetia, both of which are internationally recognized as parts of Georgia.
Europe's highest mountain, Mount Elbrus, at 5,642 metres (18,510 ft) is located in the west part of the Greater Caucasus mountain range. On the southern side, the Lesser Caucasus includes the Javakheti Plateau and grows into the Armenian highlands, part of which is located in Turkey.
Mount Elbrus is a dormant volcano in the Caucasus Mountains in Southern Russia, near the border with Georgia. It could be considered the highest mountain in Europe, notwithstanding the fact that Caucasus mountains are at the intersection of Europe and Asia, and it is the tenth most prominent peak in the world.
Greater Caucasus is the major mountain range of the Caucasus Mountains.
Lesser Caucasus, also called Caucasus Minor is second of the two main mountain ranges of Caucasus mountains, of length about 600 km (370 mi). The western portion of the Lesser Caucasus overlaps and converges with the high plateau of Eastern Anatolia, in the far northeast of Turkey.
The Caucasus region is separated into northern and southern parts – the North Caucasus (Ciscaucasus) and Transcaucasus (South Caucasus), respectively. The Greater Caucasus mountain range in the north is within the Russian Federation, while the Lesser Caucasus mountain range in the south is occupied by several independent states, namely Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, and the partially recognised Artsakh Republic.
The North Caucasus or Ciscaucasia is the northern part of the Caucasus region between the Sea of Azov and Black Sea on the west and the Caspian Sea on the east, within European Russia. Geographically, the Northern Caucasus includes the Russian republics and krais of the North Caucasus. As part of the Russian Federation, the Northern Caucasus region is included in the North Caucasian and Southern Federal Districts and consists of Krasnodar Krai, Stavropol Krai, and the constituent republics, approximately from west to east: the Republic of Adygea, Karachay–Cherkessia, Kabardino-Balkaria, North Ossetia–Alania, Ingushetia, Chechnya, and the Republic of Dagestan.
Georgia is a country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded to the west by the Black Sea, to the north by Russia, to the south by Turkey and Armenia, and to the southeast by Azerbaijan. The capital and largest city is Tbilisi. Georgia covers a territory of 69,700 square kilometres (26,911 sq mi), and its 2017 population is about 3.718 million. Georgia is a unitary semi-presidential republic, with the government elected through a representative democracy.
Armenia, officially the Republic of Armenia, is a country in the South Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located in Western Asia on the Armenian Highlands, it is bordered by Turkey to the west, Georgia to the north, the de facto independent Republic of Artsakh and Azerbaijan to the east, and Iran and Azerbaijan's exclave of Nakhchivan to the south.
The region is known for its linguistic diversity: aside from Indo-European and Turkic languages, the Kartvelian, Northwest Caucasian, and Northeast Caucasian families are indigenous to the area.
The Indo-European languages are a language family of several hundred related languages and dialects.
The Turkic languages are a language family of at least thirty-five documented languages, spoken by the Turkic peoples of Eurasia from Eastern Europe, the Caucasus, Central Asia, and West Asia all the way to North Asia and East Asia. The Turkic languages originated in a region of East Asia spanning Western China to Mongolia, where Proto-Turkic is thought to have been spoken, according to one estimate, around 2,500 years ago, from where they expanded to Central Asia and farther west during the first millennium.
The Kartvelian languages are a language family indigenous to the Caucasus and spoken primarily in Georgia, with large groups of native speakers in Russia, Iran, the United States, the European Union, Israel, and northeastern parts of Turkey. There are approximately 5.2 million speakers of Kartvelian languages worldwide. The Kartvelian family is not known to be related to any other language family, making it one of the world's primary language families. The first literary source in a Kartvelian language is the Old Georgian inscriptions of Bir el Qutt, written in ancient Georgian Asomtavruli script at the once-existing Georgian monastery near Bethlehem, which dates back to c. 430 AD.
The term Caucasus is not only used for the mountains themselves but also includes Ciscaucasia (which is part of the Russian Federation) and Transcaucasia.According to Alexander Mikaberidze, Transcaucasia is a "Russo-centric" term.
Transcaucasia, or the South Caucasus, is a geographical region in the vicinity of the southern Caucasus Mountains on the border of Eastern Europe and Western Asia. Transcaucasia roughly corresponds to modern Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan. Total area of these countries is about 186,100 square kilometres. Transcaucasia and Ciscaucasia together comprise the larger Caucasus geographical region that divides Eurasia.
Alexander Mikaberidze is a Georgian lawyer, author and historian who specializes in Napoleonic studies, Russian history and Georgian history. He is a full professor of history and social sciences at Louisiana State University in Shreveport.
Pliny the Elder's Natural History (77–79 AD) derives the name of the Caucasus from Scythian kroy-khasis ("ice-shining, white with snow").German linguist Paul Kretschmer notes that the Latvian word Kruvesis also means "ice".
Pliny the Elder was a Roman author, naturalist and natural philosopher, a naval and army commander of the early Roman Empire, and friend of emperor Vespasian.
The Natural History is a book about the whole of the natural world in Latin by Pliny the Elder, a Roman author and naval commander who died in 79 AD.
Paul Kretschmer was a German linguist who studied the earliest history and interrelations of the Indo-European languages and showed how they were influenced by non-Indo-European languages, such as Etruscan.
In the Tale of Past Years (1113 AD), it is stated that Old East Slavic Кавкасийскыѣ горы (Kavkasijskyě gory) came from Ancient Greek Καύκασος (Kaukasos; later Greek pronunciation Kafkasos)),which, according to M. A. Yuyukin, is a compound word that can be interpreted as the "Seagull's Mountain" (καύ-: καύαξ, καύηξ, ηκος ο, κήξ, κηϋξ "a kind of seagull" + the reconstructed *κάσος η "mountain" or "rock" richly attested both in place and personal names.)
According to German philologists Otto Schrader and Alfons A. Nehring, the Ancient Greek word Καύκασος (Kaukasos) is connected to Gothic Hauhs ("high") as well as Lithuanian Kaũkas ("hillock") and Kaukarà ("hill, top").British linguist Adrian Room points out that Kau- also means "mountain" in Pelasgian.
The Transcaucasus region and Dagestan were the furthest points of Parthian and later Sasanian expansions, with areas to the north of the Greater Caucasus range practically impregnable. The mythological Mount Qaf, the world's highest mountain that ancient Iranian lore shrouded in mystery, was said to be situated in this region. In Middle Persian sources of the Sasanian era, the Caucasus range was referred to as Kaf Kof.The term resurfaced in Iranian tradition later on in a variant form when Ferdowsi, in his Shahnameh , referred to the Caucasus mountains as Kōh-i Kāf. "Most of the modern names of the Caucasus originate from the Greek Kaukasos (Lat., Caucasus) and the Middle Persian Kaf Kof".
"The earliest etymon" of the name Caucasus comes from Kaz-kaz, the Hittite designation of the "inhabitants of the southern coast of the Black Sea".
It was also noted that in Nakh Ков гас (Kov gas) means "gateway to steppe"
The modern name for the region is usually similar in the many languages, and is generally between Kavkaz and Kawkaz.
The North Caucasus region is known as the Ciscaucasus, whereas the South Caucasus region is commonly known as the Transcaucasus .
The Ciscaucasus contains most of the Greater Caucasus mountain range. It consists of Southern Russia, mainly the North Caucasian Federal District's autonomous republics, and the northernmost parts of Georgia and Azerbaijan. The Ciscaucasus lies between the Black Sea to its west, the Caspian Sea to its east, and borders the Southern Federal District to its north. The two Federal Districts are collectively referred to as "Southern Russia."
The Transcaucasus borders the Greater Caucasus range and Southern Russia to its north, the Black Sea and Turkey to its west, the Caspian Sea to its east, and Iran to its south. It contains the Lesser Caucasus mountain range and surrounding lowlands. All of Armenia, Azerbaijan (excluding the northernmost parts) and Georgia (excluding the northernmost parts) are in the South Caucasus.
The watershed along the Greater Caucasus range is generally perceived to be the dividing line between Europe and Southwest Asia. The highest peak in the Caucasus is Mount Elbrus (5,642 meters) located in western Ciscaucasus, and is considered as the highest point in Europe.
The Caucasus is one of the most linguistically and culturally diverse regions on Earth.[ citation needed ] The nation states that comprise the Caucasus today are the post-Soviet states Georgia (including Adjara), Azerbaijan (including Nakhchivan), Armenia, and the Russian Federation. The Russian divisions include Dagestan, Chechnya, Ingushetia, North Ossetia–Alania , Kabardino–Balkaria , Karachay–Cherkessia , Adygea, Krasnodar Krai and Stavropol Krai, in clockwise order.
Three territories in the region claim independence but are recognized as such by only a handful entities: Artsakh , Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Abkhazia and South Ossetia are recognized by the world community as part of Georgia, and Artsakh as part of Azerbaijan.
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The region has many different languages and language families. There are more than 50 ethnic groups living in the region.No fewer than three language families are unique to the area. In addition, Indo-European languages, such as Armenian and Ossetian, and Turkic languages, such as Azerbaijani, Kumyk language and Karachay–Balkar, are spoken in the area. Russian is used as a lingua franca most notably in the North Caucasus.
The peoples of the northern and southern Caucasus tend to be either Sunni Muslims, Eastern Orthodox Christians and Armenian Christians. Twelver Shi'ism has many adherents in the southeastern part of the region, in Azerbaijan which extends into Iran.
Located on the peripheries of Turkey, Iran, and Russia, the region has been an arena for political, military, religious, and cultural rivalries and expansionism for centuries. Throughout its history, the Caucasus was usually incorporated into the Iranian world.At the beginning of the 19th century, the Russian Empire conquered the territory from Qajar Iran.
The territory of the Caucasus region was inhabited by Homo erectus since the Paleolithic Era. In 1991, early human (that is, hominin) fossils dating back 1.8 million years were found at the Dmanisi archaeological site in Georgia. Scientists now classify the assemblage of fossil skeletons as the subspecies Homo erectus georgicus .
The site yields the earliest unequivocal evidence for presence of early humans outside the African continent;and the Dmanisi skulls are the five oldest hominins ever found outside Africa.
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Kura–Araxes culture from about 4000 BC until about 2000 BC enveloped a vast area approximately 1,000 km by 500 km, and mostly encompassed, on modern-day territories, the Southern Caucasus (except western Georgia), northwestern Iran, the northeastern Caucasus, eastern Turkey, and as far as Syria.
Under Ashurbanipal (669–627 BC) the boundaries of the Assyrian Empire reached as far as the Caucasus Mountains. Later ancient kingdoms of the region included Armenia, Albania, Colchis and Iberia, among others. These kingdoms were later incorporated into various Iranian empires, including Media, the Achaemenid Empire, Parthia, and the Sassanid Empire, who would altogether rule the Caucasus for many hundreds of years. In 95–55 BC under the reign of Armenian king Tigranes the Great, the Kingdom of Armenia included Kingdom of Armenia, vassals Iberia, Albania, Parthia, Atropatene, Mesopotamia, Cappadocia, Cilicia, Syria, Nabataean kingdom, and Judea. By the time of the first century BC, Zoroastrianism had become the dominant religion of the region; however, the region would go through two other religious transformations. Owing to the strong rivalry between Persia and Rome, and later Byzantium, the latter would invade the region several times, although it was never able to hold the region.
As the Arsacid dynasty of Armenia (an eponymous branch of the Arsacid dynasty of Parthia) was the first nation to adopt Christianity as state religion (in 301 AD), and Caucasian Albania and Georgia had become Christian entities, Christianity began to overtake Zoroastrianism and pagan beliefs. With the Muslim conquest of Persia, large parts of the region came under the rule of the Arabs, and Islam penetrated into the region.
In the 10th century, the Alans (proto-Ossetians)founded the Kingdom of Alania, that flourished in the Northern Caucasus, roughly in the location of latter-day Circassia and modern North Ossetia–Alania, until its destruction by the Mongol invasion in 1238–39.
During the Middle Ages Bagratid Armenia, Kingdom of Tashir-Dzoraget, Kingdom of Syunik and Principality of Khachen organized local Armenian population facing multiple threats after the fall of antique Kingdom of Armenia. Caucasian Albania maintained close ties with Armenia and the Church of Caucasian Albania shared same Christian dogmas with the Armenian Apostolic Church and had a tradition of their Catholicos being ordained through the Patriarch of Armenia.
In the 12th century, the Georgian king David the Builder drove the Muslims out from Caucasus and made the Kingdom of Georgia a strong regional power. In 1194–1204 Georgian Queen Tamar's armies crushed new Seljuk Turkish invasions from the south-east and south and launched several successful campaigns into Seljuk Turkish-controlled Southern Armenia. The Georgian Kingdom continued military campaigns in the Caucasus region. As a result of her military campaigns and the temporary fall of the Byzantine Empire in 1204, Georgia became the strongest Christian state in the whole Near East area, encompassing most of the Caucasus stretching from Northern Iran and Northeastern Turkey to the North Caucasus.
The Caucasus region was conquered by the Ottomans, Mongols, local kingdoms and khanates, as well as, once again, Iran.
Up to and including the early 19th century, the Southern Caucasus and southern Dagestan all formed part of the Persian Empire. In 1813 and 1828 by the Treaty of Gulistan and the Treaty of Turkmenchay respectively, the Persians were forced to irrevocably cede the Southern Caucasus and Dagestan to Imperial Russia.In the ensuing years after these gains, the Russians took the remaining part of the Southern Caucasus, comprising western Georgia, through several wars from the Ottoman Empire.
In the second half of the 19th century, the Russian Empire also conquered the Northern Caucasus. In the aftermath of the Caucasian Wars, an ethnic cleansing of Circassians was performed by Russia in which the indigenous peoples of this region, mostly Circassians, were expelled from their homeland and forced to move primarily to the Ottoman Empire.
In the 1940s, around 480,000 Chechens and Ingush, 120,000 Karachay–Balkars and Meskhetian Turks, thousands of Kalmyks, and 200,000 Kurds in Nakchivan and Caucasus Germans were deported en masse to Central Asia and Siberia. About a quarter of them died.
The Southern Caucasus region was unified as a single political entity twice – during the Russian Civil War (Transcaucasian Democratic Federative Republic) from 9 April 1918 to 26 May 1918, and under the Soviet rule (Transcaucasian SFSR) from 12 March 1922 to 5 December 1936. Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, Georgia, Azerbaijan and Armenia became independent nations.
The region has been subject to various territorial disputes since the collapse of the Soviet Union, leading to the Nagorno-Karabakh War (1988–1994), the East Prigorodny Conflict (1989–1991), the War in Abkhazia (1992–93), the First Chechen War (1994–1996), the Second Chechen War (1999–2009), and the 2008 South Ossetia War.
In Greek mythology the Caucasus, or Kaukasos, was one of the pillars supporting the world. After presenting man with the gift of fire, Prometheus (or Amirani in the Georgian version) was chained there by Zeus, to have his liver eaten daily by an eagle as punishment for defying Zeus' wish to keep the "secret of fire" from humans.
In Persian mythology the Caucasus might be associated with the mythic Mount Qaf which is believed to surround the known world. It is the battlefield of Saoshyant and the nest of the Simurgh.
The Roman poet Ovid placed the Caucasus in Scythia and depicted it as a cold and stony mountain which was the abode of personified hunger. The Greek hero Jason sailed to the west coast of the Caucasus in pursuit of the Golden Fleece, and there met Medea, a daughter of King Aeëtes of Colchis.
The Caucasus is an area of great ecological importance. The region is included in the list of 34 world biodiversity hotspots.It harbors some 6400 species of higher plants, 1600 of which are endemic to the region. Its wildlife includes Persian leopards, brown bears, wolves, bison, marals, golden eagles and hooded crows. Among invertebrates, some 1000 spider species are recorded in the Caucasus. Most of arthropod biodiversity is concentrated on Great and Lesser Caucasus ranges.
The region has a high level of endemism and a number of relict animals and plants, the fact reflecting presence of refugial forests, which survived the Ice Age in the Caucasus Mountains. The Caucasus forest refugium is the largest throughout the Western Asian (near Eastern) region.The area has multiple representatives of disjunct relict groups of plants with the closest relatives in Eastern Asia, southern Europe, and even North America. Over 70 species of forest snails of the region are endemic. Some relict species of vertebrates are Caucasian parsley frog, Caucasian salamander, Robert's snow vole, and Caucasian grouse, and there are almost entirely endemic groups of animals such as lizards of genus Darevskia . In general, species composition of this refugium is quite distinct and differs from that of the other Western Eurasian refugia.
The natural landscape is one of mixed forest, with substantial areas of rocky ground above the treeline. The Caucasus Mountains are also noted for a dog breed, the Caucasian Shepherd Dog (Rus. Kavkazskaya Ovcharka, Geo. Nagazi). Vincent Evans noted that minke whales have been recorded from the Black Sea.
Caucasus has many economically important minerals and energy resources, such as alunite, gold, chromium, copper, iron ore, mercury, manganese, molybdenum, lead, tungsten, uranium, zinc, oil, natural gas, and coal (both hard and brown).
2014 Winter Olympics venue, Sochi, Russia. Krasnaya Polyana — a popular centre of mountain skiing and a 2015 European Games snowboard venue. The first in the history of the European Games to be held in Azerbaijan.
The Azerbaijan Grand Prix (motor racing) venue was the first in the history of Formula One to be held in Azerbaijan The Rugby World Cup U20 (rugby) was in Georgia (country) 2017 In 2017 U-19 Europe Championship (Football) was held in Georgia.
Georgia is a country in the Caucasus region. Situated at the juncture of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded to the west by the Black Sea, to the north by Russia, to the south by Turkey and Armenia, and to the east by Azerbaijan. Georgia covers an area of 69,700 square kilometres (26,900 sq mi).
The Caucasus Mountains are a mountain system at the intersection of Europe and Asia. Stretching between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea, it surrounds the eponymous Caucasus region and is home to Mount Elbrus, the highest peak in Europe.
The Ossetians or Ossetes are an Iranic speaking North Caucasian ethnic group of the Caucasus Mountains, indigenous to the ethnolinguistic region known as Ossetia. They speak Ossetic, an Eastern Iranian (Alanic) language of the Indo-European languages family, with most also fluent in Russian as a second language. The Ossetian language is neither closely related to nor mutually intelligible with any other language of the family today. Ossetic, a remnant of the Scytho-Sarmatian dialect group which was once spoken across the Pontic–Caspian Steppe, is one of the few Iranian languages inside Europe.
The Caucasian languages are a large and extremely varied array of languages spoken by more than ten million people in and around the Caucasus Mountains, which lie between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea.
The Treaty of Turkmenchay was an agreement between Persia (Iran) and the Russian Empire, which concluded the Russo-Persian War (1826–28). It was signed on 10 February 1828 in Torkamanchay, Iran. By the treaty, Persia ceded to Russia control of several areas in the South Caucasus: the Erivan Khanate, the Nakhchivan Khanate, and the remainder of the Talysh Khanate. The boundary between Russian and Persia was set at the Aras River. These territories comprise modern-day Armenia, the southern parts of the modern-day Republic of Azerbaijan, Nakhchivan, as well as Iğdır Province.
The Armenian Highlands is the central-most and highest of three land-locked plateaus that together form the northern sector of the Middle East. To its west is the Anatolian plateau which rises slowly from the lowland coast of the Aegean Sea and converges with the Armenian Highlands to the east of Cappadocia. To its southeast is the Iranian plateau, where the elevation drops rapidly by about 600 metres (2,000 ft) to 1,500 metres (5,000 ft) above sea level. The Caucasus extends to the northeast of the Armenian Highlands. To the southwest of the Armenian Highlands is Upper Mesopotamia.
The Azerbaijan Democratic Republic, also known as Azerbaijan People's Republic or Caucasus Azerbaijan in diplomatic documents, was the third democratic republic in the Turkic world and Muslim world, after the Crimean People's Republic and Idel-Ural Republic. The ADR was founded by the Azerbaijani National Council in Tiflis on 28 May 1918 after the collapse of the Russian Empire. Its established borders were with Russia to the north, the Democratic Republic of Georgia to the north-west, the First Republic of Armenia to the west, and Iran to the south. It had a population of 2.86 million. Ganja was the temporary capital of the Republic as Baku was under Bolshevik control. The name of "Azerbaijan" which the leading Musavat party adopted, for political reasons, was, prior to the establishment of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic in 1918, exclusively used to identify the adjacent region of contemporary northwestern Iran.
The Russo-Persian Wars or Russo-Iranian Wars were a series of wars fought between the Russian Empire and the Persian Empire between the 17th and 19th centuries. As Russia grew in power, it started to contest the hegemony of Ottoman Turkey and Safavid Iran in the Black Sea region, Caspian Sea region, and most importantly, the Caucasus. All the Russo-Persian Wars therefore concerned the Caucasus region. Throughout its history, Transcaucasia and large parts of Dagestan were usually incorporated into the Iranian world. During the course of the 19th century, the Russian Empire conquered the territory from Qajar Iran. The most important of the Russo-Persian Wars were:
Russian Armenia is the period of Armenian history under Russian rule from 1828, when Eastern Armenia became part of the Russian Empire following Qajar Iran's loss in the Russo-Persian War (1826–1828) and the subsequent ceding of its territories that included Eastern Armenia per the out coming Treaty of Turkmenchay of 1828.
Caucasus or Caucasia is a geographic region in Eurasia.
The peoples of the Caucasus are diverse comprising more than 50 ethnic groups throughout the Caucasus region.
Azerbaijan is a country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. It is bounded by Caspian Sea to the east, Russia's Daghestan region to the north, Georgia to the north-west, Armenia and Turkey to the south-west, and Iran to the south. Azerbaijan is a home to various ethnicities, majority of which are Azerbaijani, a Turkic ethnic group which numbers close to 9 million in the independent Republic of Azerbaijan.
The history of the Caucasus region may be divided into the history of the Northern Caucasus (Ciscaucasia), historically in the sphere of influence of Scythia and of Southern Russia, and that of the Southern Caucasus in the sphere of influence of Persia, Anatolia and for a very brief time Assyria.
The ethnic groups in the Middle East refers to the peoples that reside in West Asia and Egypt in North Africa. The region has historically been a crossroad of different cultures. Since the 1960s, the changes in political and economic factors have significantly altered the ethnic composition of groups in the region. While some ethnic have been present in the region for millennia, others have arrived fairly recently through immigration. The five largest ethnic groups in the region are Arabs, Azerbaijanis, Kurds, Persians, and Anatolian Turks but there are dozens of other ethnic groups which have hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of members.
Islam in Georgia was introduced in 654 when an army sent by the Third Caliph of Islam, Uthman, conquered Eastern Georgia and established Muslim rule in Tbilisi. Currently, Muslims constitute approximately 9.9% of the Georgian population. According to other sources, Muslims constitute 10-11% of Georgia's population.
The Georgia–Russia border is the state border between Georgia and Russia. It runs mostly along the Caucasus range and thus closely follows the conventional boundary between Europe and Asia. Peaks along the border include Shota Rustaveli Peak, Dzhangi-Tau, Shkhara, Dzhimara, Kazbek and Tebulosmta.
The watershed of the Greater Caucasus, the backbone of the system, traditionally has been part of the line dividing Europe and Asia; but the whole region is so subject to Asian influences that there is now general agreement on assigning the Caucasus to Asia.
West of the Kura-Aras Lowland rises the Lesser Caucasus range, which is extended southward by the Dzhavakhet Range and the Armenian Highland, the latter extending southwestward into Turkey.
Caucasia includes not only the mountain ranges of the Caucasus proper but also the country immediately north and south of them. The land north of the Greater Caucasus is called Ciscaucasia (Predkavkazye, or “Hither Caucasia”) and that south of it is Transcaucasia (Zakavkazye, or “Farther Caucasia”).
Georgia may have been the cradle of the first Europeans...Archaeologists now believe that our ancestors left for Europe at least 1.8 million years ago, before returning to Africa and developing into Homo Sapiens...The Dmanisi bones may have belonged to an early Homo erectus which lived in Georgia before moving on to the rest of Europe.
(..) It is difficult to establish exactly when Islam first appeared in Russia because the lands that Islam penetrated early in its expansion were not part of Russia at the time, but were later incorporated into the expanding Russian Empire. Islam reached the Caucasus region in the middle of the seventh century as part of the Arab conquest of the Iranian Sassanian Empire.
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