Capital: Baku (Baki, Baky)
Brief History of Azerbaijan:
The name Azerbaijan comes from the Persian phrase ?Land of Fire?. The country's history is a combination of the Turks from the 11th century and the ancient Persians.
The area we know today as Azerbaijan's history was conquered by the Arabs in 642 AD. The people were converted to Islam at the time. For the next several hundred years, the area was an Arab province and prospered. After the Arab empire fell, the Mongols invaded. Throughout the 13th-15th centuries the area was ruled by first the Mongol II-Khans, then by local rule for sometime, and later under Persian rule.
Azerbaijan had a strategic location both with ports on the Caspian Sea and trade routes between Asia, the Middle East, and Europe. As a result it was fought over by major empires including the Ottoman Empire, Russia, and the Persian Empire. In 1828, the Russians and the Persians split up Azerbaijan.
Up until WWI and the collapse of the Russian Empire in 1917, Azerbaijan was ruled by Russia and Persia and was valued because of its oil resources. There was a short period of time between 1918 and 1920 where the country was independent, however, the Soviet Union invaded in 1920 and Azerbaijan became part of the Soviet Union. It would remain there until August 20, 1991 when it would declare independence.
The Geography of Azerbaijan
Total Size: 86,600 square km
Size Comparison: slightly smaller than Maine
Geographical Coordinates: 40 30 N, 47 30 E
World Region or Continent: Asia
General Terrain: large, flat Kur-Araz Ovaligi (Kura-Araks Lowland) (much of it below sea level) with Great Caucasus Mountains to the north, Qarabag Yaylasi (Karabakh Upland) in west; Baku lies on Abseron Yasaqligi (Apsheron Peninsula) that juts into Caspian Sea
Geographical Low Point: Caspian Sea -28 m
Geographical High Point: Bazarduzu Dagi 4,485 m
Climate: dry, semiarid steppe
Major cities: BAKU (capital) 1.95 million (2009), Ganja 313,000 (2009), Sumqayit
The People of Azerbaijan
Type of Government: republic
Languages Spoken: Azerbaijani (Azeri) 89%, Russian 3%, Armenian 2%, other 6% (1995 est.)
Independence: 30 August 1991 (from Soviet Union)
National Holiday: Founding of the Democratic Republic of Azerbaijan, 28 May (1918)
Nationality: Azerbaijani(s), Azeri(s)
Religions: Muslim 93.4%, Russian Orthodox 2.5%, Armenian Orthodox 2.3%, other 1.8% (1995 est.)
National Symbol: flames of fire
National Anthem or Song: Azerbaijan Marsi (March of Azerbaijan)
Economy of Azerbaijan
Major Industries: petroleum and natural gas, petroleum products, oilfield equipment; steel, iron ore; cement; chemicals and petrochemicals; textiles
Agricultural Products: cotton, grain, rice, grapes, fruit, vegetables, tea, tobacco; cattle, pigs, sheep, goats
Natural Resources: petroleum, natural gas, iron ore, nonferrous metals, alumina
Major Exports: oil and gas 90%, machinery, cotton, foodstuffs
Major Imports: machinery and equipment, oil products, foodstuffs, metals, chemicals
Currency: Azerbaijani manat (AZM)
National GDP: $93,050,000,000
** Source for population (2012 est.) and GDP (2011 est.) is CIA World Factbook.
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