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{{Use dmy dates|date=August 2019}}{{short description|An area situated between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea}}{{About|the geographic region in Eurasia|other uses|Caucasus (disambiguation)|and|Caucasia (disambiguation)}}

Caucasus in Encyclopedia Britannica|data1={{ublist|class=nowrap
Armenia}} Armenia
Azerbaijan}} Azerbaijan
Georgia (country)}} Georgia
Russia}} Russia {{Collapsible list| title = Related areas
Iran}} Iran
!! Armenia! Azerbaijan! Georgia! Total! Coat of arms! Flag! Capital| Yerevan| Baku| Tbilisi| {{NA}}! Independence! Political system! Parliament! Current President| Armen Sarkissian| Ilham Aliyev| Salome Zourabichvili| {{NA}}! Population (2019)| {{decrease}}3,018,854| {{increase}}10,000,000| {{increase}}3,723,500| {{increase}}16,742,354! Area| 29,743 km2 = 11,484 sq mi| 86,600 km2 = 33,400 sq mi| 69,700 km2 = 26,900 sq mi| 186,043 km2 = 71,831 sq mi! Density| 101.5/km2 = 39.1/sq mi| 115/km2 = 44.4/sq mi| 53.5/km2 = 20.6/sq mi| 90/km2 = 34.7/sq mi! Water area %|–|1.6%| 3.2%| ! GDP (nominal) total (2018)| $13.302 billion| $45.592 billion| $17.836 billion| $76.730 billion! GDP (nominal) per capita (2019)| $4,446| $4,586| $4,805| $4,612! Military budget (2019)| $1.805 billion| $625 million| $327 million| $2.757 billion! Gini Index| 32.5| 16.6| 37.9| {{NA}}! HDI! Internet TLD| .am| .az| .ge| {{NA}}! Calling code| +374| +994| +995| {{NA}}
Turkey}} Turkey}}}}|label2=Partially recognized countries|data2={{ublist|class=nowrapAbkhazia}}borderRepublic of Artsakh>Artsakhborder|22px) South Ossetia}}|label3=Autonomous republics and federal regions|data3={{flag|Russia}}
  • {{flag|Adygea}}
  • {{flag|Chechnya}}
  • {{flag|Dagestan}}
  • {{flag|Ingushetia}}
  • {{flag|Kabardino-Balkaria}}
  • {{flag|Kalmykia}}
  • (File:Flag of Karachay-Cherkessia.svg|border|22px|link=) Karachay-Cherkessia
  • {{flag|Krasnodar Krai}}
  • (File:Flag of North Ossetia.svg|border|22px|link=) North Ossetia-Alania
  • {{Flag|Stavropol Krai}}
{{flag|Georgia (country)}} {{flag|Azerbaijan}}
  • (File:Flag of Azerbaijan.svg|border|22px|link=) Nakhchivan|label4=Demonym|data4=Caucasian
data5=(UTC+02:00), (UTC+03:00), (UTC+03:30), (UTC+4:00), (UTC+04:30)data6=Mt Elbrusdata7=5,642 m}}The Caucasus {{IPAc-en|ˈ|k|ɔ:|k|ə|s|ə|s}} or Caucasia {{IPAc-en|k|ɔ:|ˈ|k|eɪ|ʒ|ə}} is an area situated between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea and mainly occupied by Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Russia. It is home to the Caucasus Mountains, including the Greater Caucasus mountain range, which has historically been considered a natural barrier between Eastern Europe and Western Asia.WEB, Caucasus - region and mountains, Eurasia, Encyclopedia Britannica, 26 November 2018,weblink Europe's highest mountain, Mount Elbrus, at {{convert|5642|m}} is located in the west part of the Greater Caucasus mountain range. On the southern side, the Lesser Caucasus includes the Javakheti Plateau and grows into the Armenian highlands, part of which is located in Turkey.WEB, Caucasus - region and mountains, Eurasia, Encyclopedia Britannica, 26 November 2018,weblink West of the Kura-Aras Lowland rises the Lesser Caucasus range, which is extended southward by the Dzhavakhet Range and the Armenian Highland, the latter extending southwestward into Turkey., The Caucasus region is separated into northern and southern parts – the North Caucasus (Ciscaucasus) and Transcaucasus (South Caucasus), respectively. The Greater Caucasus mountain range in the north is mostly shared by Russia and Georgia, as well as the northernmost parts of Azerbaijan. The Lesser Caucasus mountain range in the south is occupied by several independent states, namely, mostly by Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia, but also extending to parts of northwestern Turkey, northern Iran and the partially recognised Artsakh Republic. The region is known for its linguistic diversity: aside from Indo-European and Turkic languages, the Kartvelian, Northwest Caucasian, and Northeast Caucasian families are indigenous to the area.

Origin of the name

The term Caucasus is derived from Caucas the forefather of Nakh peoples. According to Leonti Mroveli, the XI century Georgian chronicler, the word Caucasian is derived from the Vainakh ancestor Kavkas.The work of Leonti Mroveli: "The history of the Georgian Kings" dealing with the history of Georgia and the Caucasus since ancient times to the 5th century AD, is included in medieval code of Georgian annals "Kartlis Tskhovreba"."The Vainakhs are the ancient natives of the Caucasus. It is noteworthy, that according to the genealogical table drawn up by Leonti Mroveli, the legendary forefather of the Vainakhs was "Kavkas", hence the name Kavkasians, one of the ethnicons met in the ancient Georgian written sources, signifying the ancestors of the Chechens and Ingush. As appears from the above, the Vainakhs, at least by name, are presented as the most "Caucasian" people of all the Caucasians (Caucasus - Kavkas - Kavkasians) in the Georgian historical tradition."WEB,weblink Caucasian Knot | An Essay On the History of the Vainakh People. On the origin of the Vainakhs,, November 3, 2012,weblink" title="">weblink 3 December 2013, dead, WEB,weblink Microsoft Word - 4C04B861-0826-0853BD.doc, PDF, November 3, 2012, dead,weblink February 25, 2012,


The term Caucasus is not only used for the mountains themselves but also includes Ciscaucasia (which is part of the Russian Federation) and Transcaucasia.WEB, Caucasus - region and mountains, Eurasia, Encyclopedia Britannica, 26 November 2018,weblink Caucasia includes not only the mountain ranges of the Caucasus proper but also the country immediately north and south of them. The land north of the Greater Caucasus is called Ciscaucasia (Predkavkazye, or “Hither Caucasia”) and that south of it is Transcaucasia (Zakavkazye, or “Farther Caucasia”)., According to Alexander Mikaberidze, Transcaucasia is a "Russo-centric" term.BOOK, Rowman & Littlefield, 978-1-4422-4146-6, Mikaberidze, Alexander, Historical Dictionary of Georgia, 6 February 2015, Pliny the Elder's Natural History (77–79 AD) derives the name of the Caucasus from Scythian kroy-khasis ("ice-shining, white with snow")."Natural History," book six, chap. XVII German linguist Paul Kretschmer notes that the Latvian word Kruvesis also means "ice".JOURNAL, Kretschmer, Paul, Paul Kretschmer, 1928, Weiteres zur Urgeschichte der Inder, More about the Pre-History of the Indians, German, Zeitschrift für vergleichende Sprachforschung auf dem Gebiete der indogermanischen Sprachen [Journal of Comparative Linguistic Research into Indo-European Philology], 55, 75–103, JOURNAL, Kretschmer, Paul, Paul Kretschmer, 1930, Zeitschrift für vergleichende Sprachforschung auf dem Gebiete der indogermanischen Sprachen [Journal of Comparative Linguistic Research into Indo-European Philology], 57, 251–255, In the Tale of Past Years (1113 AD), it is stated that Old East Slavic Кавкасийскыѣ горы (KavkasijskyÄ› gory) came from Ancient Greek Καύκασος (Kaukasos; later Greek pronunciation Kafkasos)), which, according to M. A. Yuyukin, is a compound word that can be interpreted as the "Seagull's Mountain" (καύ-: καύαξ, καύηξ, ηκος ο, κήξ, κηϋξ "a kind of seagull" + the reconstructed *κάσος η "mountain" or "rock" richly attested both in place and personal names.)CONFERENCE,weblink О происхождении названия Кавказ, M. A., Yuyukin, 18–20 June 2012, Индоевропейское языкознание и классическая филология – XVI (материалы чтений, посвященных памяти профессора И. Ðœ. Ð¢Ñ€Ð¾Ð½ÑÐºÐ¾Ð³Ð¾), Saint Petersburg, 893–899 and 919, 978-5-02-038298-5, 19 March 2017, Russian, On the Origin of the Name of the Caucasus, According to German philologists Otto Schrader and Alfons A. Nehring, the Ancient Greek word Καύκασος (Kaukasos) is connected to Gothic Hauhs ("high") as well as Lithuanian KaÅ©kas ("hillock") and Kaukarà ("hill, top").ENCYCLOPEDIA, Vasmer, Max Julius Friedrich, Max Vasmer, Indogermanische Bibliothek herausgegeben von Hans Krahe. Reihe 2: Wörterbüche [Indo-European Library Edited by Hans Krahe. Series 2: Dictionaries], Russisches etymologisches Wörterbuch, Russian Etymological Dictionary, German, 1953–1958, Carl Winter, 1, Heidelberg, BOOK, Schrader, Otto, Otto Schrader (philologist), 1901, Reallexikon der indogermanischen Altertumskunde: Grundzüge einer Kultur- und Völkergeschichte Alteuropas, Real Lexicon of the Indo-Germanic Antiquity Studies: Basic Principles of a Cultural and People's History of Ancient Europe, German, Strasbourg, Karl J. Trübner, British linguist Adrian Room points out that Kau- also means "mountain" in Pelasgian.BOOK, Room, Adrian, 1997, Placenames of the World: Origins and Meanings of the Names for over 5000 Natural Features, Countries, Capitals, Territories, Cities, and Historic Sites,weblink Jefferson, North Carolina, Jefferson, NC, McFarland & Company, 978-0-7864-0172-7, The Transcaucasus region and Dagestan were the furthest points of Parthian and later Sasanian expansions, with areas to the north of the Greater Caucasus range practically impregnable. The mythological Mount Qaf, the world's highest mountain that ancient Iranian lore shrouded in mystery, was said to be situated in this region. In Middle Persian sources of the Sasanian era, the Caucasus range was referred to as Kaf Kof.WEB, Gocheleishvili, Iago, Caucasus, pre-900/1500,weblink Encyclopaedia of Islam, THREE, 3 June 2018,weblink" title="">weblink 12 June 2018, dead, The term resurfaced in Iranian tradition later on in a variant form when Ferdowsi, in his Shahnameh, referred to the Caucasus mountains as Kōh-i Kāf. "Most of the modern names of the Caucasus originate from the Greek Kaukasos (Lat., Caucasus) and the Middle Persian Kaf Kof". "The earliest etymon" of the name Caucasus comes from Kaz-kaz, the Hittite designation of the "inhabitants of the southern coast of the Black Sea". It was also noted that in Nakh Ков гас (Kov gas) means "gateway to steppe"Bolatojha J. "Древняя родина Кавкасов [The Ancient Homeland of the Caucasus]", p. 49, 2006.File:Эльбрус с перевала Гумбаши.JPG|thumb|right|upright=1.25|Mount ElbrusMount ElbrusFile:Bazarduzu robl.JPG|thumb|right|upright=1.25|Mount BazardüzüMount BazardüzüFile:ÅžahdaÄŸ Mountain, Qusar, 2013.JPG|thumb|right|upright=1.25|Mount ShahdaghMount Shahdagh

Endonyms and exonyms

The modern name for the region is usually similar in the many languages, and is generally between Kavkaz and Kawkaz.{{Div col}}
  • Kavkaz
  • Kʺaukʺaz/s
    • al-Qawqāz
  • Kovkas
  • Kawkaz
  • Kavkaz
  • K'avk'asia
    • Káfkasos
  • Kawkaz
  • Kavkaz
  • Qawqaz
    • Kkawkkaz
  • K'awk'az
  • K'avk'acia
  • Kavkaz
  • Qafqāz
  • Kavkaz
  • Kavkaz
    • Kavkaz
{{col div end}}

Political geography

The North Caucasus region is known as the Ciscaucasus, whereas the South Caucasus region is commonly known as the Transcaucasus.(File:Caucasus-political en.svg|thumb|right|upright=1.45|Political map of the Caucasus region (2008))The Ciscaucasus contains most of the Greater Caucasus mountain range. It consists of Southern Russia, mainly the North Caucasian Federal District's autonomous republics, and the northernmost parts of Georgia and Azerbaijan. The Ciscaucasus lies between the Black Sea to its west, the Caspian Sea to its east, and borders the Southern Federal District to its north. The two Federal Districts are collectively referred to as "Southern Russia."The Transcaucasus borders the Greater Caucasus range and Southern Russia to its north, the Black Sea and Turkey to its west, the Caspian Sea to its east, and Iran to its south. It contains the Lesser Caucasus mountain range and surrounding lowlands. All of Armenia, Azerbaijan (excluding the northernmost parts) and Georgia (excluding the northernmost parts) are in the South Caucasus.The watershed along the Greater Caucasus range is generally perceived to be the dividing line between Europe and Southwest Asia. The highest peak in the Caucasus is Mount Elbrus (5,642 meters) located in western Ciscaucasus, and is considered as the highest point in Europe.The Caucasus is one of the most linguistically and culturally diverse regions on Earth.{{citation needed|date=May 2017}} The nation states that comprise the Caucasus today are the post-Soviet states Georgia (including Adjara and Abkhazia), Azerbaijan (including Nakhchivan), Armenia, and the Russian Federation. The Russian divisions include Dagestan, Chechnya, Ingushetia, {{nowrap|North Ossetia–Alania}}, {{nowrap|Kabardino–Balkaria}}, {{nowrap|Karachay–Cherkessia}}, Adygea, Krasnodar Krai and Stavropol Krai, in clockwise order.Three territories in the region claim independence but are recognized as such by only a handful of entities: {{nowrap|Artsakh}}, Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Abkhazia and South Ossetia are recognized by the world community as part of Georgia, and {{nowrap|Artsakh}} as part of Azerbaijan.

General statistics of South Caucasian states {| classwikitable border"2" cellpadding"5" style"margin:auto; border-collapse:collapse;"

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History of Armenia>Early historyFirst Republic of ArmeniaIndependence Day (Armenia)>21 September 1991History of Azerbaijan>Early historyAzerbaijan Democratic RepublicIndependence Day (Azerbaijan)>30 August 1991History of Georgia (country)>Early historyDemocratic Republic of GeorgiaIndependence Day (Georgia)>9 April 1991| {{NA}}
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National Assembly (Armenia)>KhorhrdaranNational Assembly (Azerbaijan)>Milli MajlisParliament of Georgia>Parlamenti| {{NA}}
Developed country>High)Developed country>High)Developed country>High)| {{NA}}


{{multiple image
| align = right
| direction = vertical
| width = 200
| header = Population pyramids of caucasian countries
| image1 = Bevölkerungspyramide Armenien 2016.png
| caption1 = Population pyramid of Armenia, 2016
| image2 = Bevölkerungspyramide Georgien 2016.png
| caption2 = Population pyramid of Georgia, 2016
| image3 = Bevölkerungspyramide Aserbaidschan 2016.png
| caption3 = Population pyramid of Azerbaijan, 2016
}}{{Further|Languages of the Caucasus}}{{refimprove|section|date=July 2018}}File:Caucasus-ethnic en.svg|thumb|upright=1.45|Ethno-linguistic groupEthno-linguistic groupThe region has many different languages and language families. There are more than 50 ethnic groups living in the region.ENCYCLOPEDIA,weblink Caucasian peoples, Encyclopædia Britannica, No fewer than three language families are unique to the area. In addition, Indo-European languages, such as Armenian and Ossetian, and Turkic languages, such as Azerbaijani, Kumyk language and Karachay–Balkar, are spoken in the area. Russian is used as a lingua franca most notably in the North Caucasus.The peoples of the northern and southern Caucasus tend to be either Sunni Muslims, Eastern Orthodox Christians and Armenian Christians. Twelver Shi'ism has many adherents in the southeastern part of the region, in Azerbaijan which extends into Iran.


{{Further|History of the Caucasus}}Located on the peripheries of Turkey, Iran, and Russia, the region has been an arena for political, military, religious, and cultural rivalries and expansionism for centuries. Throughout its history, the Caucasus was usually incorporated into the Iranian world.ENCYCLOPEDIA, Multiple Authors, Caucasus and Iran, Encyclopædia Iranica, 3 September 2012,weblink At the beginning of the 19th century, the Russian Empire conquered the territory from Qajar Iran.


File:Gobustan ancient Azerbaycan full.jpg|thumb|left|upright|Petroglyphs in Gobustan, Azerbaijan, dating back to 10,000 BC. It is a UNESCO World Heritage SiteWorld Heritage SiteThe territory of the Caucasus region was inhabited by Homo erectus since the Paleolithic Era. In 1991, early human (that is, hominin) fossils dating back 1.8 million years were found at the Dmanisi archaeological site in Georgia. Scientists now classify the assemblage of fossil skeletons as the subspecies Homo erectus georgicus.NEWS, Derbyshire, David, 9 September 2009, Ancient Skeletons Discovered in Georgia Threaten to Overturn the Theory of Human Evolution,weblink Mail Online, Georgia may have been the cradle of the first Europeans...Archaeologists now believe that our ancestors left for Europe at least 1.8 million years ago, before returning to Africa and developing into Homo Sapiens...The Dmanisi bones may have belonged to an early Homo erectus which lived in Georgia before moving on to the rest of Europe., The site yields the earliest unequivocal evidence for presence of early humans outside the African continent;Vekua, A., Lordkipanidze, D., Rightmire, G. P., Agusti, J., Ferring, R., Maisuradze, G., et al. (2002). A new skull of early Homo from Dmanisi, Georgia. Science, 297:85–9. and the Dmanisi skulls are the five oldest hominins ever found outside Africa.


{{unreferenced section|date=May 2017}}Kura–Araxes culture from about 4000 BC until about 2000 BC enveloped a vast area approximately 1,000 km by 500 km, and mostly encompassed, on modern-day territories, the Southern Caucasus (except western Georgia), northwestern Iran, the northeastern Caucasus, eastern Turkey, and as far as Syria.Under Ashurbanipal (669–627 BC), the boundaries of the Assyrian Empire reached as far as the Caucasus Mountains. Later ancient kingdoms of the region included Armenia, Albania, Colchis and Iberia, among others. These kingdoms were later incorporated into various Iranian empires, including Media, the Achaemenid Empire, Parthia, and the Sassanid Empire, who would altogether rule the Caucasus for many hundreds of years. In 95–55 BC, under the reign of Armenian king Tigranes the Great, the Kingdom of Armenia included Kingdom of Armenia, vassals Iberia, Albania, Parthia, Atropatene, Mesopotamia, Cappadocia, Cilicia, Syria, Nabataean kingdom, and Judea. By the time of the first century BC, Zoroastrianism had become the dominant religion of the region; however, the region would go through two other religious transformations. Owing to the strong rivalry between Persia and Rome, and later Byzantium, the latter would invade the region several times, although it was never able to hold the region.

Middle Ages

File:Georgian empire with tributaries.png|upright=1.2|thumb|right|Kingdom of GeorgiaKingdom of GeorgiaAs the Arsacid dynasty of Armenia (an eponymous branch of the Arsacid dynasty of Parthia) was the first nation to adopt Christianity as state religion (in 301 AD), and Caucasian Albania and Georgia had become Christian entities, Christianity began to overtake Zoroastrianism and pagan beliefs. With the Muslim conquest of Persia, large parts of the region came under the rule of the Arabs, and Islam penetrated into the region.BOOK, "(..) It is difficult to establish exactly when Islam first appeared in Russia because the lands that Islam penetrated early in its expansion were not part of Russia at the time, but were later incorporated into the expanding Russian Empire. Islam reached the Caucasus region in the middle of the seventh century as part of the Arab Muslim conquest of Persia, conquest of the Iranian Sassanian Empire. ", Islam in Russia: The Politics of Identity and Security, Shireen, Hunter, M.E. Sharpe, 2004, 3, etal, In the 10th century, the Alans (proto-Ossetians)WEB,weblink Яндекс.Словари,, {{Dead link|date=June 2019 |bot=InternetArchiveBot |fix-attempted=yes }} founded the Kingdom of Alania, that flourished in the Northern Caucasus, roughly in the location of latter-day Circassia and modern North Ossetia–Alania, until its destruction by the Mongol invasion in 1238–39. During the Middle Ages Bagratid Armenia, Kingdom of Tashir-Dzoraget, Kingdom of Syunik and Principality of Khachen organized local Armenian population facing multiple threats after the fall of antique Kingdom of Armenia. Caucasian Albania maintained close ties with Armenia and the Church of Caucasian Albania shared same Christian dogmas with the Armenian Apostolic Church and had a tradition of their Catholicos being ordained through the Patriarch of Armenia.NEWS,weblink Caucasian Albanian Church celebrates its 1700th Anniversary, 9 August 2013, The Georgian Church for English Speakers, 2 March 2018, en-US, In the 12th century, the Georgian king David the Builder drove the Muslims out from Caucasus and made the Kingdom of Georgia a strong regional power. In 1194–1204 Georgian Queen Tamar's armies crushed new Seljuk Turkish invasions from the south-east and south and launched several successful campaigns into Seljuk Turkish-controlled Southern Armenia. The Georgian Kingdom continued military campaigns in the Caucasus region. As a result of her military campaigns and the temporary fall of the Byzantine Empire in 1204, Georgia became the strongest Christian state in the whole Near East area, encompassing most of the Caucasus stretching from Northern Iran and Northeastern Turkey to the North Caucasus. The Caucasus region was conquered by the Ottomans, Mongols, local kingdoms and khanates, as well as, once again, Iran.File:Ejmiadzin Cathedral2.jpg|Etchmiadzin Cathedral in Armenia, original building completed in 303 AD, a religious centre of Armenia. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.File:Svetitskhoveli Cathedral, Mtskheta, Georgia P. Liparteliani.jpg|Svetitskhoveli Cathedral in Georgia, original building completed in the 4th century. It was a religious centre of monarchical Georgia. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.File:Caftan MET DT1115.jpg|Northwest Caucasus caftan, 8-10th century, from the region of Alania.File:Ushguli towers in Svaneti, Georgia.png|Svaneti defensive tower houses File:Şirvanşahlar saray kompleksi.jpg|Palace of the Shirvanshahs, 13-th-15th centuriesFile:İmamzadə türbəsi (Gəncə) 2.jpg|Imamzadeh of Ganja, 7th-9th centuries

Modern period

File:CircassianCoastBattle.JPG|thumb|Circassian strike on a Russian military fort in Caucasus, 1840]]Up to and including the early 19th century, the Southern Caucasus and southern Dagestan all formed part of the Persian Empire. In 1813 and 1828 by the Treaty of Gulistan and the Treaty of Turkmenchay respectively, the Persians were forced to irrevocably cede the Southern Caucasus and Dagestan to Imperial Russia.Timothy C. Dowling Russia at War: From the Mongol Conquest to Afghanistan, Chechnya, and Beyond pp 728–730 ABC-CLIO, 2 dec. 2014. {{ISBN|978-1598849486}} In the ensuing years after these gains, the Russians took the remaining part of the Southern Caucasus, comprising western Georgia, through several wars from the Ottoman Empire.Suny, page 64Allen F. Chew. "An Atlas of Russian History: Eleven Centuries of Changing Borders", Yale University Press, 1970, p. 74In the second half of the 19th century, the Russian Empire also conquered the Northern Caucasus. In the aftermath of the Caucasian Wars, an ethnic cleansing of Circassians was performed by Russia in which the indigenous peoples of this region, mostly Circassians, were expelled from their homeland and forced to move primarily to the Ottoman Empire.Yemelianova, Galina, Islam nationalism and state in the Muslim Caucasus. Caucasus Survey, April 2014. p. 3Memoirs of Miliutin, "the plan of action decided upon for 1860 was to cleanse [ochistit'] the mountain zone of its indigenous population", per Richmond, W. The Northwest Caucasus: Past, Present, and Future. Routledge. 2008.In the 1940s, around 480,000 Chechens and Ingush, 120,000 Karachay–Balkars and Meskhetian Turks, thousands of Kalmyks, and 200,000 Kurds in Nakchivan and Caucasus Germans were deported en masse to Central Asia and Siberia. About a quarter of them died.BOOK, A century of genocide: utopias of race and nation, Weitz, Eric D., 2003, Princeton University Press, 0-691-00913-9, 82,weblink The Southern Caucasus region was unified as a single political entity twice â€“ during the Russian Civil War (Transcaucasian Democratic Federative Republic) from 9 April 1918 to 26 May 1918, and under the Soviet rule (Transcaucasian SFSR) from 12 March 1922 to 5 December 1936. Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, Georgia, Azerbaijan and Armenia became independent nations.File:1993 Georgia war1.svg|thumb|Georgian Civil War and the War in Abkhazia in August–October 1993]]The region has been subject to various territorial disputes since the collapse of the Soviet Union, leading to the Nagorno-Karabakh War (1988–1994), the East Prigorodny Conflict (1989–1991), the War in Abkhazia (1992–93), the First Chechen War (1994–1996), the Second Chechen War (1999–2009), and the 2008 South Ossetia War.


In Greek mythology, the Caucasus, or Kaukasos, was one of the pillars supporting the world. After presenting man with the gift of fire, Prometheus (or Amirani in the Georgian version) was chained there by Zeus, to have his liver eaten daily by an eagle as punishment for defying Zeus' wish to keep the "secret of fire" from humans.In Persian mythology, the Caucasus might be associated with the mythic Mount Qaf which is believed to surround the known world. It is the battlefield of Saoshyant and the nest of the Simurgh.The Roman poet Ovid placed the Caucasus in Scythia and depicted it as a cold and stony mountain which was the abode of personified hunger. The Greek hero Jason sailed to the west coast of the Caucasus in pursuit of the Golden Fleece, and there met Medea, a daughter of King Aeëtes of Colchis.


File:View of the village Zrikh in Dagestan, RF.jpg|thumb|View of the Caucasus Mountains in DagestanDagestanThe Caucasus is an area of great ecological importance. The region is included in the list of 34 world biodiversity hotspots.Zazanashvili N, Sanadiradze G, Bukhnikashvili A, Kandaurov A, Tarkhnishvili D. 2004. Caucasus. In: Mittermaier RA, Gil PG, Hoffmann M, Pilgrim J, Brooks T, Mittermaier CG, Lamoreux J, da Fonseca GAB, eds. Hotspots revisited, Earth's biologically richest and most endangered terrestrial ecoregions. Sierra Madre: CEMEX/Agrupacion Sierra Madre, 148–153WEB,weblink WWF – The Caucasus: A biodiversity hotspot,, 2 August 2012,weblink" title="">weblink 8 May 2013, dead, It harbors some 6400 species of higher plants, 1600 of which are endemic to the region.WEB,weblink Endemic Species of the Caucasus, Its wildlife includes Persian leopards, brown bears, wolves, bison, marals, golden eagles and hooded crows. Among invertebrates, some 1000 spider species are recorded in the Caucasus.WEB,weblink A faunistic database on the spiders of the Caucasus, Caucasian Spiders, 17 September 2010, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 28 March 2009, JOURNAL, Chaladze, G., Otto, S., Tramp, S., A spider diversity model for the Caucasus Ecoregion, 10.1007/s10841-014-9649-1, Journal of Insect Conservation, 18, 3, 407–416, 2014, Most of arthropod biodiversity is concentrated on Great and Lesser Caucasus ranges. The region has a high level of endemism and a number of relict animals and plants, the fact reflecting presence of refugial forests, which survived the Ice Age in the Caucasus Mountains. The Caucasus forest refugium is the largest throughout the Western Asian (near Eastern) region.van Zeist W, Bottema S. 1991. Late Quaternary vegetation of the Near East. Wiesbaden: Reichert.JOURNAL, Tarkhnishvili, D., Gavashelishvili, A., Mumladze, L., Palaeoclimatic models help to understand current distribution of Caucasian forest species, 10.1111/j.1095-8312.2011.01788.x, Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 105, 231, 2012, The area has multiple representatives of disjunct relict groups of plants with the closest relatives in Eastern Asia, southern Europe, and even North America.Milne RI. 2004. "Phylogeny and biogeography of Rhododendron subsection Pontica, a group with a Tertiary relict distribution". Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 33: 389–401.Kikvidze Z, Ohsawa M. 1999. "Adjara, East Mediterranean refuge of Tertiary vegetation". In: Ohsawa M, Wildpret W, Arco MD, eds. Anaga Cloud Forest, a comparative study on evergreen broad-leaved forests and trees of the Canary Islands and Japan. Chiba: Chiba University Publications, 297–315.Denk T, Frotzler N, Davitashvili N. 2001. "Vegetational patterns and distribution of relict taxa in humid temperate forests and wetlands of Georgia Transcaucasia". Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 72: 287–332. Over 70 species of forest snails of the region are endemic.Pokryszko B, Cameron R, Mumladze L, Tarkhnishvili D. 2011. "Forest snail faunas from Georgian Transcaucasia: patterns of diversity in a Pleistocene refugium". Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 102: 239–250 Some relict species of vertebrates are Caucasian parsley frog, Caucasian salamander, Robert's snow vole, and Caucasian grouse, and there are almost entirely endemic groups of animals such as lizards of genus Darevskia. In general, species composition of this refugium is quite distinct and differs from that of the other Western Eurasian refugia.The natural landscape is one of mixed forest, with substantial areas of rocky ground above the treeline. The Caucasus Mountains are also noted for a dog breed, the Caucasian Shepherd Dog (Rus. Kavkazskaya Ovcharka, Geo. Nagazi). Vincent Evans noted that minke whales have been recorded from the Black Sea.The Status of Cetaceans in the Black Sea and Mediterranean SeaBOOK, Horwood, Joseph, Biology and Exploitation of the Minke Whale, 1989, 27, JOURNAL, 2003, Current knowledge of the cetacean fauna of the Greek Seas,weblink pdf, 219–232, 21 April 2016,

Energy and mineral resources

Caucasus has many economically important minerals and energy resources, such as alunite, gold, chromium, copper, iron ore, mercury, manganese, molybdenum, lead, tungsten, uranium, zinc, oil, natural gas, and coal (both hard and brown).



File:Arabika from Aibga.jpg|thumb|Rosa Khutor alpine ski resort near Krasnaya Polyana, SochiSochi2014 Winter Olympics venue, Sochi, Russia. Krasnaya Polyana â€” a popular centre of mountain skiing and a snowboard venue.The 2015 European Games is the first in the history of the European Games to be held in Azerbaijan.Mountain-skiing complexes: The Azerbaijan Grand Prix (motor racing) venue was the first in the history of Formula One to be held in AzerbaijanThe Rugby World Cup U20 (rugby) was in Georgia (country) 2017In 2017 U-19 Europe Championship (Football) was held in Georgia.


See also

{{Wikipedia books}}




  • Caucasus: A Journey to the Land Between Christianity and Islam, by Nicholas Griffin
  • Small Nations and Great Powers: A Study of Ethnopolitical Conflict in the Caucasus, by Svante E. Cornell
  • The Caucasus, by Ivan Golovin
  • BOOK

, Suny
, Ronald Grigor
, Ronald Grigor Suny
, The Making of the Georgian Nation
, Indiana University Press
, 1994
, 2nd
, 0-253-20915-3,
  • BOOK, Oxford University Press, 2010, 0-19-539977-3, The Caucasus: An Introduction, Thomas, de Waal, Thomas de Waal, {{inconsistent citations, }}
  • BOOK, Routledge, 2009, The Caucasus: An Introduction, Frederick, Coene, 978-0-415-48660-6, {{inconsistent citations, }}

Further reading

External links

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