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    Azerbaijan Early History
    Source: The Library of Congress Country Studies

    As a crossroads of tribal migration and military campaigns, Azerbaijan underwent a series of invasions and was part of several larger jurisdictions before the beginning of the Christian era.

    Persian and Greek Influences

    In the ninth century B.C., the seminomadic Scythians settled in areas of what is now Azerbaijan. A century later, the Medes, who were related ethnically to the Persians, established an empire that included southernmost Azerbaijan. In the sixth century B.C., the Archaemenid Persians, under Cyrus the Great, took over the western part of Azerbaijan when they subdued the Assyrian Empire to the west. In 330 B.C., Alexander the Great absorbed the entire Archaemenid Empire into his holdings, leaving Persian satraps to govern as they advanced eastward. According to one account, Atropates, a Persian general in Alexander's command, whose name means "protected by fire," lent his name to the region when Alexander made him its governor. Another legend explains that Azerbaijan's name derives from the Persian words meaning "the land of fire," a reference either to the natural burning of surface oil deposits or to the oil-fueled fires in temples of the once-dominant Zoroastrian religion (see Religion , this ch.).

    Data as of March 1994

    NOTE: The information regarding Azerbaijan on this page is re-published from The Library of Congress Country Studies. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of Azerbaijan Early History information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about Azerbaijan Early History should be addressed to the Library of Congress.

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    Revised 04-Jul-02
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