One of the republics that became independent with the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Azerbaijan has great possibilities for development, thanks mainly to its important oil reserves.
Azerbaijan is located in the eastern part of the Caucasus, on the edge of the Caspian Sea, and is limited to the north by Russia, to the west by the Caspian Sea, to the southwest by Iran, to the southwest by Armenia and to the northwest by Georgia. In an area of 86,600 km2, three different regions are distinguished: the mountains of the Greater Caucasus, to the north; the lowlands of the Kura River valley, in the center, and the mountains of the Little Caucasus, to the south. About forty percent of the territory is made up of plains, irrigated by a vast network of canals between the country’s two main rivers, the Kura and the Araks. In the central and eastern regions, the dry subtropical climate prevails, with long, hot summers. In the southwest, the humid subtropical climate is responsible for the highest rainfall in the country. In the autonomous republic of Nakhichevan, the climate is dry continental.
Today’s Azerbaijani Turks, who comprise about three-quarters of the population, combine Turkish ancestry, resulting from the great migrations that took place in the 11th century, with that of older peoples who have inhabited the area since time immemorial. In the autonomous republic of Nakhichevan, almost all the inhabitants are Azerbaijani, while in Nagorno-Karabakh province more than eighty percent of the population are Armenians. The predominant religion among Azerbaijans is Muslim, while Armenians are overwhelmingly Christian. About a third of the population lives in Baku, the country’s capital.
The industrial and agrarian sectors compete in a balanced way for the formation of the gross domestic product. The main agricultural product is cotton, followed by tobacco, grapes and tea. The irrigation system also allows for abundant vegetable crops. Azerbaijan came to account for ten percent of all agricultural production in the former Soviet Union.
Birthplace of the world oil industry, Azerbaijan is an important oil producer. Other important natural resources are natural gas and lead, zinc, iron and copper ores. The country has a very diversified industrial park, much of which is installed in Baku. In addition to the oil and natural gas industries, the country produces machinery and equipment, mineral fertilizers, plastics, chemicals and metallurgical products. The light industry produces food, cotton and wool items, shoes and other consumer goods. After the end of the Soviet Union, the country began the transition to a market economy. (For economic data).
According to Themotorcyclers.com, the Azerbaijani people and the populations of the contiguous Iranian provinces, called East Azerbaijan and Western Azerbaijan, have basically the same origin, but only enjoyed political unity from the 11th century to 1723 and, again, from 1735 to 1813, when both territories came under Persian domain. Azerbaijan has also been conquered, throughout its history, by Arabs, Turks and Mongols.
In the 19th century the country was divided between Russia and Iran according to current borders. After the revolutions of 1905 and 1917, Russian domination cooled and Azerbaijan was able to found, with Turkey’s support, an independent republic, inaugurated in 1918. Two years later, however, the Red Army invaded the country and integrated it into the Union Soviet. With the end of this, in 1991, Azerbaijan regained political sovereignty and joined the Commonwealth of Independent States, along with ten other former Soviet republics.
As an independent country, Azerbaijan continued to face a problem of the past: the dispute, with the neighboring Republic of Armenia, for the province of Nagorno-Karabakh.