According to ancient tradition, Noah’s Ark rested on Mount Ararat in the 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, who was the first powerful tyrant of the ancient world. Hayk is the origin of “Hayastan,” 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.
Armenia’s major city of Yerevan, founded in 782 BC in the shadow of Mount Ararat, is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world.
Armenia 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 Armenia.”
Armenia was first mentioned by name in 520 BC by Darius the Great of Persia.
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.
Armenia was the first nation in the world to officially adopt Christianity as its state religion around 301 AD, with the conversion of King Tiridates III.
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 1064, Sultan Alp Arslan and Muslim Turks invaded and destroyed the city of Ani. Arab historian 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.”
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 “devshirme” – 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.
Janissaries 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. 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 1894-1986.
President Grover Cleveland told 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.”
President Grover Cleveland told 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.”
President Theodore Roosevelt described to Congress, December 6, 1904:
“…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.”
When Sultan Abdul Hamid II was deposed in 1908, there was a brief euphoria, with citizens naively hoping that Turkey would have a constitutional government.
The government was taken over by the “Young Turks,” led by three leaders or “pashas”: Mehmed Talaat Pasha, Ismail Enver Pasha, and Ahmed Djemal Pasha. They appeared as if they were planning to enact democratic reforms while they were clandestinely implementing a genocidal plan 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. Russia came to Armenia’s aid until Russia was overturned by Lenin’s Bolshevik revolution
Theodore Roosevelt wrote in Fear God and Take Your Own Part (1916):
“Armenians, 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…”
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…Wholesale slaughter of the Armenians… The crowning outrage has been committed by the Turks on the Armenians…I trust that all Americans worthy of the name feel their deepest indignation and keenest sympathy aroused by the dreadful Armenian atrocities.”
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… The same campaign of extermination has been waged against the Nestorian Christians on the Persian frontier… In Syria there is a reign of terror…”
“Turkish rule… 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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