This essay focuses on the political, economic, and cultural history of three countries in the South Caucasus region – Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia. I search for historical influences on their economic transformations since they gained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. I discuss settlement, the accomplishments of early kingdoms, Russian and Soviet colonial rule, and political and economic changes since independence. I wrote these lectures for a Stanford Travel/Study program, Armenia, Georgia, and Azerbaijan, in September 2012.
I begin with the struggle between Rome and Persia for control of Armenia, the survival of medieval Georgia during the incursions of the Seljuk Turks and the Mongols, and the influences of Safavid Persia on Azerbaijan. I then look at how Romanov Russia ruled the South Caucasus, why independence after World War I was transitory, and how seven decades of Soviet rule affected the region. I close by discussing the evolution of the politics in Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia since independence, the Karabakh, Abkhazia, and South Ossetia conflicts, and the three countries’ economic progress. I append a time line, bibliography, and description of sites that I visited in the South Caucasus region.
Caspian Journey: Traveling the Road to a New World Chief Executives Organization (CEO), Baku, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia, and Azerbaijan, Yerevan, Armenia, Garni and Geghard, Echmiadzin and Zvartnots, Armenia, Khor Virap and Noravank,Tbilisi, Georgia, Gori and Uplistsikhe, Alaverdi and Tsinandali, Sighnagi and Bodbe, Sheki and Kish, Azerbaijan, Absheron Peninsula and Qala, Zoroastrian,