Nakhchivan, the land of the ancient Azerbaijan, is one of the places of civilization in the world. The people of Azerbaijan created an old and rich culture in this land. At the same time Nakhchivan is one of the ancient cultural centers in the world. The richest historical, scientific and cultural heritage of the Azerbaijan people were formed in this land.
The origion of the word “Nakhchivan” is explained differently by scientists. According to the folk ethimology and historical sources “Nakhchivan” was derived from “Nagshijahan” which has the meaning “decoration of the world”, “adornment of the world”. But according to the wide spread story among people the word “Nakhchivan” has relation with the prophet Noah, namely, with the “world storm” that means “Nuhchuvan” –the place of Noah supporters, the land of Noah. The grave of the prophet Noah is in Nakhchivan.
Even the word Nakhchivan is explained “Nachuanna/Nakhchvan” which means “miracle and splendid waters” or “healing mineral waters” land.
Nakhchivan is one of the ancient cities. It is considered one of the ancient cities in the East and also in the world. It was Stefan Ozbeliani, middle age historian, who stated that the foundation of Nakhchivan city was laid down in 1539 B.C. The systematized written sources, the archaeological materials discovered in the area of Nakhchivan, the famous Gamigaya petrography and other monuments in the territory once again prove that the age of Nakhchivan is around 5 thousand years.
During the power of Midia IX-VI B.C. Nakhchivan was one of the famous cities. In 1633 B.C. Nakhchivan underwent the attacks of the Skuffs and was greatly damaged. Nakhchivan being under the power of the Ahamanilar from the middle of VI century B.C. (after failure the power of Midia in 550 B.C.) till the 30th years of the IV century B.C., starting from the IV century B.C. Nakhchivan was within the power of Atropaten (Lesser Midia) till the 1st half of the 1st century. Within this period Nakhchivan expanded its economic and cultural relations with several cities of the Near East greatly and established close trade relations with the antique states. At the beginning of our century Nakhchivan was a city and province in Albania (Caucasus). The province Araksena of the Caucasus Albania (it was situated along the middle and down stream of the Araz) also covered the territory of Nakhchivan. Starting from the IV century Nakhchivan was within the power of Sasanid. During the trek (364-367) of the Sasanid ruler Shapur II (309-379) Nakhchivan was destroyed and 18 thousand families from the city were taken hostages.
As at some periods Albania was under the authority of the Sasanids, Nakhchivan also was ruled by the military of the Sasanids and the headquarter of the Sasanids was moved from Dabil (Dvin) to Nakhchivan. Nakhchivan became one of the military strategical positions of the Sasanid rulers. The military troops of the Sasanid power were located in Nakhchivan. Nakhchivan being situated on the Big Silk Road and having a great trade and craftsmanship importance established close relations with Iran and Georgia, with the Black Sea ports, Small Asia and with the cities in Beynalnahreyn. In the first half of the VI cent. there was a mint in Nakhchivan belonging to the Sasanids. It is considered one of the ancient mints in Azerbaijan.
Within VII-VIII centuries Nakhchivan was occupied by the Arabians as other lands of Azerbaijan. According to the agreement signed by Habib ibn Maslama, the Emir of Arabian in 654 with the Nakhchivanis every year the people of Nakhchivan took a commitment to pay jizya and kharaj (kinds of taxes) to the ruler. In 656 a deadful war began between the Arabic and Bizantium troops around the Nakhchivan fortress walls. That time Nakhchivan was one of the main headquarters of the Arabic Caliph in Azerbaijan and also a military and administrative center of the Arabic emirs. The Khurramis-Babeki movement against the Caliph in the IX century also covered Nakhchivan. Thereafter the Arabic Caliph failure different independent states – Shirvanshahlars, Sajilar, Salarilar, Ravvadilar, Shaddadilar tribes and the state headed by Shaki rulers appeared in the world map.
At the ends of the IX century Nakhchivan was joined the power of the Sajilar and was a part of it until the 30th year of the X century. Though the state of the Sajilar collapsed but for some periods Nakhchivan stayed under the authority of Deysam ibn Ibrahim, one of the emirs, (932-937). Then Nakhchivan joined the state of the Salarilar. Nakhchivan city was the capital of the “Nakhchivanshahlig” feudaldam in the 80th year of the X century and starting from the X century was within the power of the Ravvadilar who played an important role for about a century in the history of Azerbaijan. Alp Arslan (1063-72), the king of the Saljugs, built a residence for himself in Nakhchivan as soon as putting an end the power of the Ravvadilar state. The Saljug Empire vicegerent for Azerbaijan was situated in Nakhchivan. After the collapse of the Great Saljug Empire the Atabaylar-Eldaniz state (1136-1225) was established by Shamsaddin Eldaniz (1136-1175) in the territory of Azerbaijan.
This time Nakhchivan became the capital of the Atabaylar state. That time the treasure of the Atabaylar state was kept in the Alinja fortress not far from Nakhchivan city. In the rein of Mahammad Jahan Pahlavan, the ruler of Azerbaijan (1175-1186), Gizil Arslan and after his death his wife Zahida Khatin were the rulers of Nakhchivan. Nakhchivan, one of the economic, political and cultural centers of Azerbaijan, earned a world-wide fame during the Atabaylar-Eldanizlar period.
In XIII-XIV centuries Nakhchivan turned one of the centers of the political-economic, cultural processes on going in Azerbaijan and in general, in the East. Nakhchivan being under the authority of the Hulakilar, Chobanilar, Jalairilar took a very active part in their political life. The city was governed by the representatives appointed by those states. Nakhchivan was destroyed by the Mongols in 1221. The city was pillaged and plundered. In 1225 Jalaladdin Mangburni, son of Mahommad Kharazmshah, occupied Nakhchivan. A strike against him started in Nakhchivan. In the 30th year of the XIII century Nakhchivan was included to the Gizil Orda and in 1257 it became a part of the Hulakilar state. Vilhelm de-Rubruk, a flamand traveler, who was in Nakhchivan in 1253 wrote describing that the Mongols had destroyed the city and was left an empity step after themselves. In the XIII century the 5/6 part of Nakhchivan was completely destroyed. At the end of the XIII century Nakhchivan was included to the cities headed by Gazan Khan, the Elkhani ruler. The reforms carried out by Gazan Khan on economy and policy gave an opportunity to develop Nakhchivan as well as the other cities of Azerbaijan.
In the 50 years of the XIV century Nakhchivan was under the power of the Chobanis, Jujis, Jalairis and Muzaffaris. In 1386 Nakhchivan was occupied by Tokhtamish, the ruler of Gizil Orda and destroyed.
The troops of Teymurlang occupied Nakhchivan in 1387. The local people put up a strong resistance against the troops of Teymur about 14 years (1387-1401) in the Alinja fortress. That time the Hurufi sector increased widely in Nakhchivan. Fazlullah Naimi, the founder of that sector was executed by Miranshah in Nakhchivan in 1394. Starting from 1412 Nakhchivan was in the power of the Garagoyunlu state of the Azerbaijan turk origion, but from 1468 within the state of Aghgoyunlu. In the XVI century Nakhchivan was one of the leading cities of the Azerbaijan Safavid state. In XVI-XVII centuries during the Ottoman-Safavid wars (1514, 1553, 1554, 1579, 1585, 1590, 1605, 1635) Nakhchivan was several times destroyed and plundered. In 1603 Shah Abbas the First turned Nakhchivan to the army camp and its administration was tasked to Magsud Sultan Kangarly. In 1605 the area of Nakhchivan was staked to the Ottoman Empire.
Nakhchivan was within the power of the Azerbaijan baylarbay in the XVI century and from the 2nd half of the XVII century within the Chukhursad baylarbay. In XVI-XVII centuries the rulers of Nakhchivan were appointed from the Kangarli tribal leaders. At the beginning of the XVIII century the city was captured by the troops of Nadir Shah. After the death of Nadir Shah (1747) Agha Hasan, representative of the Shah, was banished from Nakhchivan by Heydargulu Kahn, Kangarli tribal leader, and declared himself Khan. The city of Nakhchivan became the capital of the Khanate. During Russia-Iran war in 1826-1828 Nakhchivan was occupied by the Russian troops (27 June, 1827) and according to the Turkmanchay treaty (1828) was annexed to Russia. After annexation Nakhchivan became the center of the Nakhchivan region (1828-40) and then the Nakhchivan uyezd.
Nakhchivan turned to the uyezd center in 1841. The city reform carried out by tzarism (1870) also was implemented in Azerbaijan (Baki, Ganja, Nukha, Shusha, Nakhchivan and Ordubad).
The groundless land claim of Armenians from Nakhchivan became very intensive at the end of 1917 and at the beginning of 1918 it became seriously dangerous and as a result of which the regular dashnak armed forces destroyed a lot of villages of Nakhchivan and inflicted reprisals against the people. After declaring the independence of Georgia, Azerbaijan and Armenia on May 26-28, 1918 Armenia began to pursue a policy of occupation and tortured the peaceful Azerbaijani population in Azerbaijan. That time Armenia was defended by the English and USA ruling circles. Although Armenians continued to separate Nakhchivan from its mainland Azerbaijan but they met with the decisive resistance of local people and they couldn’t realize their crafty intention because of the Turkish soldiers who had already come to Nakhchivan to help the local Azerbaijanis.
According to the Mudros agreement (1918), after the Turkish withdrawal from the region, the Araz-Turk Republic was established for defending from the Armenian dashnak robbers and killers in November of the same year. The city of Nakhchivan was proclaimed the capital of it. At the beginning of 1918 year the English who had captured Nakhchivan refused to recognize the Araz-Turk Republic. Though the Dashnaks occupied Nakhchivan in July by the help of the English, after the English, the army forces of the Nakhchivan National Committee could banish the Armenian-dashnak forces.
The Nakhchivanis played a great role in keeping Nakhchivan within Azerbaijan.
The Declaration about the establishment of the Soviet Power in Baki on April 28, 1920 and in July 28 in Nakhchivan and establishment of the Azerbaijan SSR, annexation of Zangazur by Armenia, separation of Nakhchivan from Azerbaijan caused the issue of autonomy of Nakhchivan to put on the agenda.
After proclaiming the Soviet Power establishment in Armenia on November 29, 1921, Armenia SSR government did a lot to annex Nakhchivan. Turkey had a great role in getting the status of the autonomy of Nakhchivan within Azerbaijan.
The treaty signed on March 16, 1921 in Moscow and the Gars agreement signed on October 13, 1921 played a great important in solving the fortune of Nakhchivan. As a result the Autonomous Region of Nakhchivan was turned to Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic on February 9, 1924.
On February 18, 1929 the Transcaucasus Central Executive Committee under a totalitar administrative condition decided a decision about joining 9 villages of Nakhchivan ASSR; Gurdgulag, Khachik, Horadiz of Sharur region, Oghbin, Sultanbay, Aghkach, Almali, Itgiran villages of Ordubad and also the land parcels of Kilit village, corn fields and pastures to Armenia SSR. It was an obvious high treason of the Soviet Power against the Azerbaijan people that the Transcaucasus Central Executive Committee decided the border issues of Nakhchivan, gave some territories of Nakhchivan to Armenia and in both cases the signaturers of the Moscow (1921) and the Gars agreements (1921) were stood aside from the process and all these were anti international juridical principles.
When established Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic the territory of it covered the historical area of Nakhchivan -5988 km2. In 1929-1930 and later some land parts of the autonomous republic were given to Armenia by the Kremlin system. As a result of which the territory of Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic lessened to 5365 km2.
Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic is indebted to Heydar Aliyev, national leader of the Azerbaijani people, for present living standard who lived and was busy with political activity in Nakhchivan in 1990-1993 for the political prosecution.
In the hard years the people of Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic did their best to return Heydar Aliyev to the power for establishing an independent stateship and its strengthening, for ensuring the territorial integrity of our country, for regaining all kinds of democratic values in the country.
On Septemer 3, 1991 in the extraordinary session of the Supreme Majlis of Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic, by demand and wish of the people, Heydar Aliyev took the responsibility to be Chairman of the Supreme Majlis of Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic. In the November of 1992 the great intelligents and educated people, people of science and art, political figures came to Nakhchivan. Under the chairmanship of Heydar Aliyev the foundation of New Azerbaijan Party was laid.
Toward the summer of 1993 Nakhchivan was the center of the national democratic movement of the country and became a region of a strong stateship and a political stability. Then Nakhchivan acted bravely in stopping the initiative of coup-d’etat, in establishing stability and unity in the country.
At the beginning of the 90th of the XX century the government of Armenia profited by the chance and anarchy existing after the USSR collapse decided to realize their land claim from Azerbaijan, of which Nakhchivan within Azerbaijan, by means of army forces. The land of Nakhchivan faced with great difficulties. 8 hours before the attacks of the Soviet troops against Baki, namely, on January 19 passing to 20, the Soviet-Armenia armed forces attacked Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic and occupied Karki village of Sadarak. As a result of the aggressive policy of Armenia the railway and automobile ways connecting Azerbaijan with Nakhchivan during the Soviet system were cut and Nakhchivan began to live separately in a blockade condition. The careless relation of the then Azerbaijan leaders to Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic brought a double tension in solving the problems. Even the power change in May 1992, thats, the Popular Front Party’s coming to power, didn’t change the situation. Nakhchivan being in military and economic blockade by Russia-Armenia underwent a political blockade by the Azerbaijan Popular Front Power. The population of Nakhchivan being in difficulty could demonstrate fareless and invincibility against the enemy and defended the security of this ancient land of Azerbaijan from the occupation danger of Armenia and safeguarded its autonomy status. In defending Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic from the occupation danger of Armenia, in administrating the region difficultly, the Nakhchivan period activity of the national leader Heydar Aliyev, his several initiatives and decisions of great importance in leading Azerbaijan are one of the brightest pages of the Azerbaijan history. The fareless steps of the leader of the autonomous republic during those difficult years were received by the Azerbaijani people with great pleasure and impacted to all political processes covering Azerbaijan positively.
By the decision of the Supreme Soviet of Nakhchivan ASSR session held on November 17, 1990 the words “Soviet” and “Socialist” were taken out from the name of the autonomous republic and the name of the Supreme Soviet was substituted with the name of the Supreme Majlis and the tricolor flag of the Azerbaijan People’s Republic which was received in 1918 was received a flag of Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic too. The Supreme Majlis made a legislative initiative in front of the Azerbaijan Republic to take the same step. Just starting from the same time, by the initiative of Heydar Aliyev, the Supreme Legislative System of Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic decided decisions about the situation in Garabagh, to lift the extraordinary situation in Baki, also about the political value to the events happened on 19-20 January, 1990. So much important decisions about stopping the activity of the local systems of the Communist Party in the area of Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic, about the refusal of Nakhchivan population in participation in the referendum for keeping the USSR, about declaring December 31st the Day of Unity and Solidarity of the World Azerbaijanis were received.
After gained independence according to the Constitution of the Azerbaijan Republic which was adopted in 1995, Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic was given the status of the autonomous state within the Republic of Azerbaijan.
On the basis of the New Constitution the Constitution of Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic was prepared, on April 28, 1998 it was adopted by the Supreme Majlis of the autonomous republic, on December 29 of the same year it was ratified by Milli Majlis of the Azerbaijan Republic.
During the historical periods Nakhchivan lived the historical fortune within Azerbaijan together and today this process is going on. This separation of Nakhchivan from the mainland of Azerbaijan because of Armenian occupations, the beginning of the 90s blockade by Armenians committed great difficulties for the autonomous republic. But the long term blockade against the Nakhchivanis couldn’t break the will of the people, but steadfasted them. Just thanks to the resolute measures held in Nakhchivan, the Armenians failed in implementing their occupation policy in Nakhchivan which they did in Garabagh.
Today Nakhchivan is the land of Azerbaijan, Turkish world which develops dynamically.