From the ancient times until independence
As for Azerbaijan territory is situated in a very important military-strategic location connecting Europe with Asia, Russia with the Near and Middle East and have natural resources she has left deep traces in the historical destiny of the Azerbaijani people.
At the result of powerful states policy to assimilate Azerbaijanis completely and reduce them to zero and to clean Caucasus from Azerbaijanis which in different historical periods tried to occupy the Azerbaijani lands and get consolidated there, the Azerbaijanis, who constantly undergone persecutions, repressions, deportation and genocide were obliged to leave their native lands and had scattered about different countries of the world.
At present besides their native land - the Azerbaijan Republic (North Azerbaijan) and South Azerbaijan, the Azerbaijanis as aborigine population live compact in different regions of Iran, Iraq, Western Anatolia, Georgia (mainly in the south-east of the country, in the historical territory of Borchaly district), Daghistan and other places as well, where they have been living since the ancient times. As the result of wars of aggression and colonization policy of Russian empire in South Caucasus at the beginning of the XIX century the Azerbaijanis were forced out from their primordial lands - from the lands of Western Azerbaijan having the same borders with Turkey and Iran, and in this territory was created "the Armenian province" in 1828 and the state of Armenia in 1918.
Having been driven out of their native lands in different periods of history now the Azerbaijanis are living in Turkey, the Russian Federation, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, the Ukraine, Belarus, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and other countries as well.
Due to the discrimination policy and hard persecution the Azerbaijanis living in South Azerbaijan and other regions of Iran were obliged to migrate in great masses to the countries of Europe, America, the Near and Middle East, as well as to different countries of Africa and Australia. At present several Azerbaijani Diasporas are functioning in the countries of Europe, Asia and America.
Azerbaijanis are one of those nations who have the ancient statehood traditions. The Azerbaijani people's statehood history dates back to roughly 5.000 years. The early tribe unions and state structures in Azerbaijan territory were formed at the end of the IV-early III millennium ВС. Such powerful kingdoms as Manna, Iskit (Skit, Skif), Massaget and states as Albania and Atropathena existed in the Azerbaijani lands in the I millennium ВС and early I millennium AD. These states had played a significant role in the formation process of unique nation in the country's territory and in ethno-political history of Azerbaijan.
Azerbaijan was invaded by Sasani-Iran empire in the III and the Arabian caliphate in the VII century. The Arab sources assert "Azerbaijan to be the ancient Turkic country.
In the early centuries AD the Turkish ethnoses forming the bulk of the population and being stronger and more organized had played a significant role in the formation process of the single nation. The Oghuz Turks outnumbered other Azerbaijani Turkish ethnoses. The ancient Turks, including the first Oghuzes had spread to South Caucasus - a part of ancient all Turks dwellings, to Azerbaijan as well, passing through the passage of Darband called by the ancient Turks "Damir-gapi" and other mountain passes of the Major Caucasus.
The facts given in Oghuzname-"Kitabi-Diyarbakriyya" written by Abu-Bakr al-Tehrani al-Isfahani by the order of the most powerful ruler of Aghgoyunlu from the Oghuz Turks -Uzun Hassan (1453-1478) also prove that the Oghuz Turks, including the Aghgoyunlu and Garagoyunlu standing in the ethno-origin of our nation had been one of the ancient dwellers of Azerbaijan in all South Caucasus and Forward Asia as well.
Inclusion of Azerbaijan to the state where Oghuz khagan was ruling then and the great ruler – Oghuz khagan's death here - around the Goyja Sea (now - Sevan) proves this country to be one of the ancient Oghuz dwellings.
Unlike other nations and ethnic groups the Turkish tribes having spread throughout Azerbaijan - both in the north and in the south were in majority. That's why the Turkish language had become the main means of intercourse among the minor nations and ethnic groups living in the territory of Azerbaijan. Besides, the Turkish language played a connective role between the northern and the southern lands of Azerbaijan. This factor was of a great importance in the formation process of the single nation then, because at the above spoken period monotheism - a single religious outlook embracing all territory of Azerbaijan hadn't existed yet. But there existed Zoroastrianism and fire-worship. People were worshiping the sun, the moon, the heavens, the stars, the earth, the water etc. The ancient Turks' monotheism -worshiping to a single God couldn't force out the other religious outlooks completely. In the north of the country - in some places of Albania was spreading Christianity
In the VII century the adoption of Islam in Azerbaijan gave a powerful incentive to the formation of the single nation and language and helped this process to speed up. Religious community of the Turkish and non-Turkish ethnoses gave reason for the formation of the common traditions in the territory of Azerbaijan where they were spread to the extension of relative ties and to deepening of the intermingling process.
Beginning the mid of the IX century - after the decline of the caliphate the ancient statehood traditions of Azerbaijan revived again.
A new political revival took place in Azerbaijan. New native states such as the Sajis, Shirvanshahs, Salaris, Ravvadis, Shaddadis and Sheki governorship were created. The Azerbaijani Turkish became the main means for intercourse throughout the country.
Beginning from the 70s of the IX century in the course of more than half a century (879-941) being the Azerbaijani lands in the content of the single Azerbaijani Turkish state - the Sajis favourably affected on the deepening of economic and cultural relations, elimination of ethnic differences throughout the country and the process of formation of the single Azerbaijani Turkish nation.
In its most powerful times the state of Sajis was covering the vast areas from Zanjan to Darband, from the Caspian Sea to the cities Ani and Dabil. All the Azerbaijani lands were in the content of the state Sajis. The Sajis defeating the Armenian and Georgian feudals patronized and directed towards the east -Azerbaijan by the Byzantine Empire subdued them to themselves and all these played a significant role in the preservation of territorial integrity and statehood of Azerbaijan and in the consolidation of ethno-political unity in the state's territory. Right in this period the dissemination process of the epos "Kitabi-Dede Gorgud" - the masterpiece of all Turkish literature in all the Azerbaijani lands come to an end.
Thus, creation of native states (Sajis, Shirvanshahs, Salaris, Ravvadis, Shadadis, Sheki governorship),after the Sasani-Iran and Arab tyranny which had lasted roughly for 600 years, and Islam the official state religion in all these countries played a significant role in the evaluation of the Azerbaijani people and in the formation of the single language and culture.
Long-term political stability wasn't achieved in the country as for none of Azerbaijani states having been formed after the decline of Arabian caliphate could become a single, durable and mighty state covering the territory of all the country during the long historical period. Right at this period - in the mid of the XI century an important turning point began in the history of the Near and Middle East. Great Saljugi empire covering the territories from Middle Asia till the coasts of the Mediterranean Sea and from Darband passage till Iranian gulf was created. Azerbaijan was included into the next Oghuz-Turkic state - the Great Saljugi empire.
Saljugi period played a decisive role in the fortune of Azerbaijan's and the Azerbaijani people's history. After Sultan Alp Arslan destroyed the military forces of the Byzantine empire in the battle Malazgird (August 26, 1071) the Turkish-Islamic union won a decisive victory over the Byzantine empire which tried to invade Azerbaijan and the Armenian-Georgian feudals it supported..
During the coming of Saljugi streams the new groups of Oghuz Turks settled down in Azerbaijan. The Saljugi Turks being from the same root and adopting Islam very soon mixed with the Azerbaijani Turks. Formation process of the Azerbaijani nation ended. By forcing out the small local languages in a limited circle, as well as Arabic and Persian the simple Azerbaijani Turkish became the living national language throughout the whole South Caucasus, including the territory of Azerbaijan.
The local Azerbaijani states — the states of Shirvanshah and Eldanize (Atabey), reviving and strengthening after the decline of the Great Saljugi empire played an important role in the continuation of the statehood traditions of Azerbaijani nation.
"Turned to - the most powerful state in the Near and Middle East the state of Eldanize particularly played a great role in the ethno-political history of the Azerbaijani nation and in spreading the sphere of influence of Azerbaijani language in the territory where Azerbaijani Turks", Azerbaijani Turkish and culture more and more expanded. Thus, beginning from the mid of the IX century - after the decline of Arabian caliphate the role of Turkish-Islamic states (Saji, Shirvanshah, Safari, Ravvadi, Shaddadi, Shaki governoship, Saljug, Eldanize, Mongol, Elkhani-Hulaku, Teymuri, Osmanli, Garagoyunlu, Aghgoyunlu, Safavi, Afshar, Gajar, etc) in the Caucasus, as well as in all the Near and Middle East increased. For a long time Azerbaijan was the central area of these states Tabriz being the capital.
In the XV-XVIII centuries Garagoyunlu, Aghgoyunlu, Safavi and Afshar empires of the East possessing great territories were the Azerbaijani-Turkic dynasties.
From the end of the XVIII century the Azerbaijani dynasty of Gajar began to govern over Iran as well. This important factor affected positively internal and international relations of Azerbaijan, extended the military and political sphere of influence of Azerbaijanis and the using areas of Azerbaijani language. It created a favourable condition for the progress of material and moral culture of Azerbaijan.
At the second half of the XVIII century Azerbaijan was divided into small states - khanates. Began the period of the military and political decline. Taking advantage of this, Gajars Iran and Russian Empire used Azerbaijan as a bloody field for wars between them. Under the Gulustan (1813) and Turkmenchay (1828) treaties Azerbaijan was divided between the two empires. The north of the country (North Azerbaijan) was consolidated to Russia and the south (South Azerbaijan) to Gajar Iran. With this like the Azerbaijani lands the Azerbaijani people was torn as well into two parts. At the result began the period of russianization in the north and of persianization in the south. The nation stepped into the stage of fight for freedom against the invaders both in the north and in the south.
After the Turkmenchay (1828) treaty Russian empire aiming further advance to the East and have outlet to the warm seas began the policy of deporting Azerbaijanis from Caucasus. She relied on the Christian population of Caucasus - the Christian Albanians in Azerbaijan and Georgians. In order to strengthen in Azerbaijan the invaders used the Christian-Albanian population of the country.
Thus, after 1200 years of Islam's spread Christian factor revived again in South Caucasus. Attempts were made to bring Christian population from Russia to Azerbaijani territories. As this policy was not realized, Russia moved Armenians in masses from neighbouring countries to the Azerbaijani lands, she occupied, in particular to the mountainous lands of Garabagh, former Irevan and Nakhchivan khanates in order to create a stronghold for herself in South Caucasus. In the lands of Western Azerbaijan bordering with Turkey and Iran - in the territories of former Irevan and Nakhchivan khanates "Armenian province" was established (1828). Thus, in Azerbaijani lands the foundation of future Armenian state was established.
Besides the aforesaid, in 1836 Russia liquidating the independent Albanian church gave it under the subordination of Armenian Gregorian church. By this, more auspicious condition was created for making Gregorians and Armenians to the Christian Albanians who were the oldest population of Azerbaijan. At the result of plans carried out by the Russian empire on purpose, new territorial claims of Armenians against the Azerbaijanis were founded. Tzarist Russia that was not satisfied by this, undertook a dirty policy: Armenians were armed and brought against the Turkish-Moslem people and it was begun to procreate mass genocide to the Azerbaijanis. At the same time, the process of removing the Christian people from Russia to Azerbaijan was speeded. The policy that is the same in essence was implemented by the Gajar Iran in the south of Azerbaijan. As a result both in the north and in the south the liberty fight became stronger. Iran and Russia being historically enemies and waged bloody wars between them for appropriating Azerbaijan before became reliable allies. Despite of all these, Azerbaijan people did not stop fight for independence against the domination of Russia and Iran and in order to revive its independent state rebellions were made, a great number of people were killed.
During the World War I (1914-1918) Azerbaijanis stood up to revive its national statehood traditions both in the north and in the south. In Northern Azerbaijan liberty fight resulted by the tragedies having no equivalent in the world. Dashnak-bolshevik state of S. Shaumian who occupied the power in Baki realized a terrible genocide to Azerbaijanis in March-April, 1918. Fraternal Turkey helped to Azerbaijan. Liberation movement won. On 28 May 1918 the first democratic republic in the East, - Azerbaijan People Republic was established in Azerbaijan. And in the south of Azerbaijan was established the independent state of Azadistan. But Bolshevik Russia and Iran's shah reign stained both two Azerbaijani states with blood. Again began Russia and Iran servitude in the country. Was established Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic in the east part of Northern Azerbaijani lands (1920), which was occupied by Soviet Russia, and was established at first the Republic of Armenia, then the Armenian Soviet Socialist Republic (1920) in the part of Northern Azerbaijani lands. Thus, during the period of the Bolshevik power, Russian made a step in the direction of strengthening Armenians in Azerbaijan lands that having the same border with Turkey-establishing a buffer Christian state. In Northern Azerbaijan during the Soviet power, resistance movement against the Bolsheviks took a step in a new stage. In Ganja, Garabagh, Shamkir, Zagatala, Shaki and other places, the people were engaged in fierce fighting against to the Bolshevik occupiers. The people rebellions continued against the soviet-colonial regime afterwards. Goynuk (Shaki) rebels, who stood up for the armed revolt against the Bolsheviks were terribly killed on a mass scale (1930). The people who longed for liberty underwent to the bloody slaughters, repressions and exiles. National Government that established in the south of Azerbaijan was overthrown by reactionary Iran regime in 1945. Thereafter began the period of removing Azerbaijanis from their native land - from the south and north. In 1948-1953 it was begun to remove Azerbaijanis from their native land, from the western districts of Northern Azerbaijan (from the Armenian Soviet Socialist Republic) on a mass scale. Armenians got firmly consolidated in the western lands of Northern Azerbaijani (the territory of present Armenia). Their number superiority was provided at the same territory. The Pahlavi regime of Iran implemented "religious community" externally, drew "Moslem" and "Iranian" front plan, but in reality tried to make religious rank among other Turkish people, and tried to abolish Azerbaijanis as people by prohibiting education in Azerbaijani (reactionary circles of Iran still are continuing this policy).
Heydar Aliyev`s coming to power in Azerbaijan on July 14, 1969, became a historic event that allowed the country to address many fateful challenges.
Large-scale measures aimed at developing the economy in the early 1970s and early 1980s, including the establishment of a number of industrial enterprises and state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities transformed the republic from an agrarian into an industrial one.
In the process of destruction of the USSR Northern Azerbaijan became one of the centers of people liberty movement of former soviet time.