The history of Azerbaijan as a state is approximately 5 thousand years old. The first state bodies on the territory of Azerbaijan appeared in late 4,000 – early 3,000 BC. In 1,000 BC there existed Manna, Iskim, Skit, Scyth and such strong states as the Caucasian Albania and Atropatena. These states played a big role in strengthening the culture of government, in the history of economic culture of the country as well as in the uniform nation formation.
In the beginning of 20th centery the start of the genocide of Azerbaijanians from the part of Armenian neighbors. The fight for freedom in Northern Azerbaijan was very intense. Due to the assistance from Turkey the liberation movement won, and in 1918 the first democratic republic in the Orient right in Northern Azerbaijan – the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic (ADR) was founded .
Its existence was brief, though. On April 28, 1920 it was announced about the creation of the Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic (Azerbaijan SSR) on the territory of the ADR. In December 1922 Azerbaijan , Georgia and Armenia formed the Transcaucasian Socialist Federal Soviet Republic . In 1922 it became a part of the USSR , and in 1936 the TSFSR was dismissed, and Azerbaijan SSR joined the USSR as an independent republic which existed until 1991.
Present-day Azerbaijan is a key country in the East–West energy corridor. The Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline and Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum gas pipeline deliver Azerbaijani hydrocarbon resources to Europe. They connect the rich resources of the Caspian basin with the world energy markets.
Azerbaijan is also poised to be a major contributor to the network of pipelines comprising the proposed Southern Corridor, which will ensure secure energy transit from Central Asia to Europe for many decades to come. The planned projects include the Nabucco Pipeline; the Trans-Anatolian Gas Pipeline; and Interconnector Turkey-Greece-Italy (ITGI).
Against the background of this economic prosperity lies a deeply traditional ethos with a strong sense of the family. The unique culture and history of Azerbaijan has resulted in an intriguing national character – moderate Muslim and essentially Turkic, yet Eurocentric. A tradition of hospitality prevails at every strata of society, and all visitors are guaranteed a warm welcome.
Armenia continues to occupy the formerly autonomous region of Nagorno-Karabakh and seven surrounding districts, amounting to nearly 20 per cent of Azerbaijani territory. This illegal military incursion has created nearly one million Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and refugees.
A ceasefire in the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno- Karabakh conflict was negotiated in 1994, and steps were taken to resolve the conflict within the norms of international law. Following this, a balanced foreign policy was developed. The country was subsequently integrated into the international community, achieving efficient co- operation with international organisations. The concept of statehood introduced during this period remains in effective operation.
Azerbaijan is renowned for its ethnic diversity and religious tolerance. In addition, there are over 20m ethnic Azerbaijanis living in Iran, and strong relations are maintained between them and other Azerbaijani diaspora members.