The Nagorno-Karabakh region
In the early 1920s, Soviet rulers established the Nagorno-Karabakh autonomous region within Soviet Azerbaijan. Nagorno means “mountainous” in Russian, while Karabakh means “black garden” in Azeri. Armenians call the region Artsakh, an ancient Armenian name for the area. Stepanakert – Khankendi, in Azeri – is an administrative centre of the region. The breakaway region is not recognised by any country including Armenia, which supports it politically and financially.
Nagorno-Karabakh is located within Azerbaijan, but the ethnic Armenians who make up the vast majority of the estimated 150,000-strong population reject Azeri rule. Long-standing tensions in the region between Christian Armenians and their Muslim neighbours flared in the late 1980s.
The conflict escalated into war in 1991 between Azerbaijan’s troops and Nagorno-Karabakh’s ethnic Armenian forces backed by Armenia. An estimated 30,000 people were killed and many more were displaced. This map shows the areas in the two countries with a predominant share of Armenians and Azeris as of 2019.