Armenian diaspora

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The Armenian diaspora refers to the communities of Armenians outside the Republic of Armenia and self-proclaimed de facto independent Nagorno-Karabakh Republic. Since antiquity, Armenians have established communities in many regions throughout the world. However, the modern Armenian diaspora was largely formed as a result of the Armenian Genocide of 1915, when the Armenians living in their ancestral homeland in eastern Turkey—known as Western Armenia to Armenians—were systematically exterminated by the Turkish government.[1]

Terminology[edit]

In Armenian, the diaspora is referred to as spyurk (pronounced [spʰjurkʰ]), spelled սփիւռք in classical orthography and սփյուռք in reformed orthography).[2][3] In the past, the word gaghut (գաղութ pronounced [ɡɑˈʁutʰ]) was mostly used to refer to the Armenian communities outside the Armenian homeland. It is borrowed from the Aramaic (Classical Syriac) cognate[4] of Hebrew galut (גלות).[5][6]

History[edit]

The Armenian diaspora has been present for over seventeen hundred years.[7] The modern Armenian diaspora was formed largely after the World War I as a result of the Armenian Genocide. According to Randall Hansen, "Both in the past and today, the Armenian communities around the world have developed in significantly different ways within the constraints and opportunities found in varied host cultures and countries."[1]

After the fall of the Ottoman Empire, Turkish nationalists led by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk took the region of Western Armenia. As a result of the genocide, Armenians were forced to flee to different parts of the world (approximately half a million in number) and created new Armenian communities far from their native land. Through marriage and procreation, the number of Armenians in the diaspora who trace their lineage to those Armenians who survived and fled Western Armenia is now several million. Since the breakup of the Soviet Union, approximately one million Armenians have joined the diaspora largely as a result of difficult economic conditions in Armenia. Jivan Tabibian, an Armenian scholar and former diplomat in Armenia said, Armenians "are not place bound, but... are intensely place- conscious."[8]

In the fourth century, Armenian communities already existed outside of Greater Armenia. Diasporic Armenian communities emerged in the Sassanid and Persian empires, and also to defend eastern and northern borders of the Byzantine Empire.[9] In order to populate the less populated areas of Byzantium, Armenians were relocated to those regions. Some Armenians converted to Greek Orthodoxy while retaining Armenian as their language, whereas others stubbornly clung on to remain in the Armenian Church despite pressure from official authorities. A growing number of Armenians voluntarily migrated or were compelled to move to Cilicia during the course of the eleventh and twelfth centuries. After the fall of the kingdom to the Mamelukes and loss of Armenian statehood in 1375, up to 150,000 went to Cyprus, the Balkans, and Italy.[9] Although an Armenian diaspora existed during Antiquity and the Middle Ages, it grew in size due to emigration from the Ottoman Empire and Russia and the Caucasus.

The Armenian diaspora is divided into two communities –those from Ottoman Armenia or Western Armenian and those who are from the former Soviet Union and the independent Republic of Armenia.

Armenians of the modern Republic of Turkey do not consider themselves as part of the Armenian Diaspora, since they believe that they continue residing in their historical homeland.[citation needed]

The Armenian diaspora grew considerably during and after the First World War due to dissolution of the Ottoman Empire.[10] Although many Armenians perished during the Turkish War of Independence, some of the Armenians managed to escape, and established themselves in various parts of the world.

Distribution[edit]

Today, the Armenian diaspora refers to communities of Armenians living outside the Republic of Armenia and the Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh, since these regions form part of Armenians' indigenous homeland. The total Armenian population living worldwide is estimated to be 11,000,000.

Of those, approximately 3 million live in Armenia, 130,000 in the unrecognized de facto independent Nagorno-Karabakh Republic and 120,000 in the region of Javakhk in neighboring Georgia. This leaves approximately 7,000,000 in diaspora (with the largest populations in Russia, the United States, France, Argentina, Lebanon, Syria, Iran, Turkey, Canada, Ukraine, Greece, and Australia).[11]

Less than half of the world's Armenian population lives in Armenia. Their pre-World War I population area was six times larger than that of present-day Armenia, including the eastern regions of Turkey, northern part of Iran, southern part of Georgia, Nagorno-Karabakh and Nakhichevan regions of Azerbaijan. These regions were part of the Ottoman empire and other states.[12]

Population by country[edit]

The table below lists countries and territories where at least a few Armenians live, with their number according to official data and estimates by various organizations and media.

Estimates may vary greatly, because no reliable data are available for some countries. In France, Syria, Iran, Lebanon, Germany and many other countries, ethnicity was never enumerated during population censuses and it is virtually impossible to determine the actual number of Armenians living there. Data on people of foreign origin (born abroad or having a foreign citizenship) is available for most European Union countries, but doesn't present the whole picture and can hardly be taken as a source for the number of Armenians, because in many countries, most prominently France, most Armenians aren't from the Republic of Armenia and they don't have any legal connection with their ancestral homeland. Also, not all Armenian citizens and people born in Armenia are ethnic Armenians, but the overwhelming majority of them are, as about 97.9% of the country's population is Armenian.[13]

For other countries, such as Russia, the official number of Armenians is believed, by many, to have been underrated, because many migrant workers live in the country.

List of countries and territories by Armenian population
Rank Country/territory Official data (latest available) Estimations or unofficial data Article
1  Russia 1,182,388 (2010 census)[14] 1,500,000,[15] 2,500,000,[16] 2,900,000[17] Armenians in Russia
2  United States 483,366 (2011 ACS)[18] 1,000,000,[19] 1,500,000[20] Armenian American
3  France 12,355 (2005, born in Armenia)[21] 300,000,[15] 400,000,[22] 500,000,[23] 750,000[24] Armenians in France
4  Georgia 248,929 (2002 census)[25] Armenians in Georgia
5  Ukraine 99,894 (2001 census)[26] 100,000,[27] 250,000[28] Armenians in Ukraine
6  Iran N/A 80,000,[29] 120,000,[30] 150,000[29] Iranian Armenians
7  Turkey[note 1] 55,354 (1965, Armenian speakers)[note 2] 50,000,[15] 50,000–70,000,[32] 60,000[33] Armenians in Turkey
8  Lebanon N/A 70,000–80,000,[34] 100,000[15] Armenians in Lebanon
9  Argentina 1,227 (2001, born in Armenia)[35] 70,000[36] Armenians in Argentina
10  Syria N/A 35,000–40,000,[37] 60,000,[38] Armenians in Syria
11  Canada 50,500 (2006 census)[39] 50,000,[40] 60,000–65,000[41] Armenian Canadian
12  Greece 7,742 (2001, Armenian citizens)[42] 60,000,[43] 70,000-80,000[44] Armenians in Greece
13  Abkhazia[note 3] 41,907 (2011 census)[45] 50,000,[46] 70,000[47] Armenians in Abkhazia
14  Bulgaria 10,832 (2001 census)[48] 50,000[49] Armenians in Bulgaria
15  Uzbekistan 50,537 (1989 census)[50] 42,359,[51] 50,000,[52] Armenians in Uzbekistan
16  Spain 11,706 (2011, Armenian citizens)[42] 45,000,[53] 80,000[54] Armenians in Spain
17  Germany 11,205 (2011, Armenian citizens)[42] 30,000,[55] 50,000-60,000[56] Armenians in Germany
18  Poland 3,000 (2011 census)[57] 15,000–30,000,[49] 40,000,[58] 50,000[59] Armenians in Poland
19  Australia 15,791 (2006 census)[60] 50,000[61] Armenians in Australia
20  Brazil N/A 30,000,[62] 35,000-40,000[63] Armenian Brazilian
21  Belarus 8,512 (2009 census)[64] 25,000,[65] 30,000[66] Armenians in Belarus
22  Turkmenistan 31,829 (1989 Soviet census)[67] 20,000-22,000,[68] 30,000[69] Armenians in Turkmenistan
23  Azerbaijan[note 4] 183 (2009 census)[71] 2,000–3,000,[72] 20,000,[73] 30,000[74] Armenians in Azerbaijan
24  Kazakhstan 11,031 (2010 official est.)[75] 20,000-25,000,[76] 25,000[77] Armenians in Kazakhstan
25  United Kingdom 1,720 (2011, Armenian citizens)[78]
18,000[79] Armenians in the United Kingdom
26  Hungary 161 (2011, Armenian citizens)[42] 6,000,[49] 30,000[80] Armenians in Hungary
27  Uruguay N/A 15,000[81] Armenians in Uruguay
28  Iraq N/A 10,000[82] Armenians in Iraq
29  Netherlands 705 (2011, Armenian citizens)[42] 12,000[83] Armenians in the Netherlands
30  Belgium 9,633 (2011, Armenian citizens)[42] 7,000[84] Armenians in Belgium
31  Kuwait N/A 6,000[85] Armenians in Kuwait
32  Egypt N/A 6,000[86] Armenians in Egypt
33  Czech Republic 2,100 (2011, born in Armenia)[21] ~10,000[87] Armenians in the Czech Republic
34  Sweden 1,672 (2011, born in Armenia)[21] 5,000[88] Armenians in Sweden
35  Austria 2,667 (2009, Armenian citizens)[42] 4,000[89] Armenians in Austria
36  Romania 1,780 (2002 census)[90] 5,000,[91] 7,500-10,000[49] Armenians in Romania
37  Latvia 2,742 (2008 yearly statistics)[92] 3,000[93] Armenians in Latvia
38   Switzerland 612 (2010, Armenian citizens)[94] 4,500[95] Armenians in Switzerland
39  Venezuela N/A 3,500[96]
40  Estonia 1,402 (2011 census)[97] 3,000[98] Armenians in Estonia
41  Italy 666 (2011, Armenian citizens)[42] 3,000[99] Armenians in Italy
42  Denmark 605 (2011, born in Armenia)[21] 3,000[100] Armenians in Denmark
43  United Arab Emirates N/A 3,000[65] Armenians in the UAE
44  Tajikistan 5,651 (1989 Soviet census)[101] 3,000[102] Armenians in Tajikistan
45  Jordan N/A 3,000[103] Armenians in Jordan
46  Moldova 2,873 (1989 Soviet census)[104] 2,000-4,000[105] Armenians in Moldova
47  Lithuania 1,477 (2001 census)[106] 2,500[107] Armenians in Lithuania
48  Israel N/A 2,000,[108] 3,000[109] Armenians in Israel
49  Cyprus 1,341 (2001 census)[110] 2,000[111] Armenians in Cyprus
50  Kyrgyzstan 1,364 (1999 census)[112] 900-1,000[113] Armenians in Kyrgyzstan
51  Chile N/A 1,500[114]
52  Norway 275 (2012, country of origin)[note 5] 1,000[116]
53  Finland 93 (2011, Armenian citizens)[42] 200,[117] 1,000[65]
54  Malta 10 (2008, Armenian citizens)[42] 500[118]
55  Slovakia 261 (2005, born in Armenia)[21] 500[119]
56  Slovenia 7 (2005, born in Armenia)[21] 500[119]
57  Albania N/A 400[120]
58  Mexico N/A 400[121]
59  Serbia 222 (2011 census)[122] 300–350[123] Armenians in Serbia
60  Republic of Macedonia N/A 300[124]
61  South Africa N/A 300[125]
62  Peru N/A 250[125]
63  New Zealand N/A 200[126]
64  India N/A 200[127]
65  Ireland 70 (2011, born in Armenia)[21] 150[128]
66  Portugal 105 (2009, born in Armenia)[21]
67  Ethiopia N/A 80-90[129]
68  Cuba N/A 80[130]
69  Singapore N/A 80[131] Armenians in Singapore
70  China N/A 50-60[132] Armenians in China
71  Japan N/A 50-60[133]
72  Thailand N/A 40-50[134]
73  Morocco N/A 25-30[135]
74  Luxembourg 7 (2001, Armenian citizens)[42]
Total
5,661,058
6,849,191 — 10,507,132
Notes
  1. ^ Hamshenis and Crypto-Armenians are not included.
  2. ^ According to the Turkish 1965 census, 33,094 people indicated Armenian as their mother language and 22,260 as their second best language spoken.[31]
  3. ^ De facto independent, de jure part of Georgia.
  4. ^ Excluding Nagorno-Karabakh. The Nagorno-Karabakh Republic (NKR) is a de facto independent state that is generally not considered part of the Armenian diaspora. It is internationally recognized as de jure part of Azerbaijan. According to the 2005 census, the number of Armenians in NKR is 137,380.[70]
  5. ^ Immigrants and Norwegian-born to immigrant parents.[115]

References[edit]

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Bibliography
  • Ayvazyan, Hovhannes (2003). Հայ Սփյուռք հանրագիտարան [Encyclopedia of Armenian Diaspora] (in Armenian) 1. Yerevan: Armenian Encyclopedia publishing. ISBN 5-89700-020-4. 

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