Armenia, an inland region of western Asia, mostly * within the present limits of Asiatic Turkey, but extending into the adjacent dominions of Russia and Persia. Its boundaries have varied greatly at different periods, and are not now authoritatively fixed, estimates of its area varying from 50,000 up to 150,000 sq. m. In its largest sense, it formerly reached toward or to the Caucasus mountains on the N., nearly or quite to the Caspian sea on the E., included (according to some) the modern lake of Urumiah on the S. E., and embraced a part of Cappadocia on the S. W. and W.; thus extending from about lon. 36° to 49° E. and from about lat. 37° to 42° N. Ar-menia Minor or Lesser Armenia lay W. of the Euphrates, and was the eastern part of Asia Minor; Armenia Major or Greater Armenia, usually called simply Armenia, sometimes Ar-menia Proper, lies entirely E. of the Euphra-tes. In its most flourishing period Armenia was divided into 15 provinces and 187 cantons or subdivisions, the central province being Ararad or Ararat. Armenia Major is an elevated and mountainous region, watered with abundant rains, and covered for some months in the year with deep snows. Its climate is severe for its latitude, which is that of New Jersey and Delaware, but is generally healthy.

Its winter lasts from October to May; its summer is short and warm. It has five principal rivers: the Euphrates and Tigris, which unite and flow into the Persian gulf; the Kur (anciently Cyrus) and Aras (Araxes), which unite and fall into the Caspian sea; and the Tcho-rnk (anciently Acampsis), which falls into the Black sea. A high table land, 4,000 to 8,000 ft. above the sea, constitutes a considerable part of the country, and is supposed to have been once a large inland sea, from which the Taurus, Antitaurus, and other mountains were upheaved by volcanic action. Its highest mountain is the Great Ararat, which rises more than 3 m. above the level of the sea, and is covered with perpetual ice and snow. An eruption of Ararat and disastrous earthquakes occurred in 1840. Traces of volcanic action abound through a large part of this whole region. Among its rocks are trap, porphyry, basalt, granite, syenite, limestone, sandstone, etc. It has mines of gold, silver, lead, iron, copper, and rock salt. Its largest lake, Van, is salt, nearly 5,500 ft. above the sea, with an area of about 1,400 sq. m. The lake of Urumiah is also salt, but is not generally included in Armenia. The lake of Sevan in Russian Armenia is sometimes called "sweet sea," to distinguish it from the salt lakes.

The agricultural resources of Armenia are good, but, in consequence of misgovernment, much of the land is unimproved. There are rich pastures; some parts yield abundantly grain, tobacco, manna, hemp, cotton, melons, cucumbers, grapes, figs, pomegranates, apples, peaches, mulberries, and walnuts. Among its forest trees are chestnut, beech, walnut, ash, maple, pine, fir, and oak. Horses, cows, oxen, buffaloes, sheep, and goats are common domestic animals. Erzerum, generally considered the chief city of Turkish Armenia, is the abode of a high pasha, who bears the title of seraskier. Van, Bayazid, Ears, Bitlis. and Mush, to which some add Diarbekir and Batum, are other important places in Turkish Armenia. Erivan, Nakhtchevan, Shusha, and Akhaltzikh are leading cities of Russian Armenia, which also contains Etchmiadzin, the abode of the catholicos or head of the Armenian church. Urumiah, Khoi, and even Tabriz, in Persia, have been reckoned as cities of Armenia. - The Armenians proper, who however form but a small portion of the inhabitants of Armenia, call themselves Haiks, from a traditional ancestor Haig or Haicus, whom they represent as the son of Togar-mah, who was a great-grandson of Noah through the line of Japheth and Gomer (Gen. x.). Haig, they say, was one of the prefects or directors in building the tower of Babel, but, refusing to pay divine homage to the image of Belus, who reigned in Babylonia, went northward with his family and others into the region of Ararat. Belus or Bel pursued them, and was slain in battle by Haig, who then went on to found cities, introduce wise laws and regulations, and promote the prosperity of his people, till his death, at the age of nearly 400 years.

His eldest son, Armenag, succeeded him as king, and was himself succeeded by his son Aramais, who gave name to Armavir, a large and beautiful city, built of hewn stone, and situated probably at a place called Kasagh, near the Araxes. Armavir was the capital of the kingdom for about 1,800 years, while the Haig dynasty, including 59 kings, were on the throne. Aram, the seventh of this dynasty, and contemporary with the patriarchs Isaac and Jacob, is said to have defeated the Babylonian and Median invaders, conquered a large part of Asia Minor, and built the old city of Mazaca, afterward called CAesa-rea and Kaisariyeh, in Cappadocia; and according to some traditions it was he (according to others Armenag) who left his name to Armenia. His son Arab, renowned for his beauty, was sought in marriage by Semiramis, and lost his life in the disastrous battle which followed his refusal. Semiramis grieved much over his death, placed on his throne his young son Gar-tos, also called Arah, and founded a magnificent city, long known among the Armenians as Shamiramagerd (city of Semiramis), now Van, which she made her royal summer residence.

The Armenians were now for some time tributary to the Assyrians; but their ruler Parsuis is said to have joined the Median prince Arba-ces and the Babylonian Belesis in destroying the empire of Sardanapalus, and to have afterward, as king of Armenia, hospitably received Sennacherib's sons Adrammelech and Sharezer, whose posterity subsequently established the kingdom of Vashburagan. Haikak II,, king of Armenia 607-509 B. C, joined Nebuchadnezzar in his expedition against the Jews, and brought into Armenia a Jewish noble named Shambat with his family. From this Shambat descended the Armenian royal family of the Bagratides or Bagradites, some of whom, under the name Bagration, still hold high offices in Russia. The Armenians celebrate Tigranes I. or Dikran as their most powerful and excellent king, who put the Greeks under tribute; aided Cyrus the Persian in conquering the Medes, Lydians, and Babylo-nians; built Tigranocerta; reigned 45 years, and died five years after Cyrus. His son and successor Vahakn gained by his great courage and strength the title of Hercules the second, and was worshipped as a god.

Van, king 371- 351 B. C, enlarged and embellished the city of Semiramis and called it by his own name.

Alexander the Great having defeated Vahey and brought the Haig dynasty to an end, the Armenians were for 164 years (323-159) ruled by governors really or nominally subject to the Macedonians or Syrian Greeks. The Romans make Artaces or Artaxias, one of these gover-nors, and an Armenian, the founder of an inde-pendent kingdom and of the dynasty of the Arsacidae, as well as of the city and capital Artaxata, on the Araxes, about 189 B. C. The Armenians make the founder of this dynasty to be Vagharshag or Valarsaces, brother of the Parthian king Arshag or Arsaces the Great, who gave Nisibis to Valarsaces for his capital about 149. According to the Romans, also, Zadriates, another prefect or governor, became king of Armenia Minor about 189; but his kingdom lasted only a short time. Great obscurity rests on the history of Armenia under the Arsacidae. Tigranes II., sometimes called Tigranes the Great, and also Tigranes I., was, according to the Armenians, a great conqueror, and brother-in-law of the Georgian chief Mith-ridates, whom he appointed king of Pontus. This Tigranes is said to have made Nisibis his capital, rebuilt the old Tigranocerta, and founded another city of the same name on the Nymphius, a branch of the Tigris. His son and successor Ardavast was treacherously seized by Mark Antony, carried in chains to Egypt, and put to death in 34 B. 0. Alexander, son of Antony and Cleopatra, ruled in Armenia a little while; but, after various changes, we find Abgar or Abgarus, grandson of Tigranes the Great, on the throne of Armenia at Edessa. The Armenians universally believe that this Abgar wrote the famous letter to Jesus which is quoted as genuine by Eusebius and others.

In his reign all parts of Armenia became tributary to the Romans. About A. D. 78 Erovant transferred the capital to Armavir, and then built a new capital, Erovantashad, a little W. of Armavir. The Armenians speak of another Artaces, who ruled x\. D. 88-129, built bridges, roads, and ships, encouraged literature, science, commerce, and every branch of industry, and died universally lamented; but Armenia afterward suffered much from struggles with and between the Romans and Parthians, and from persecutions, especially after the Parthian dynasty of the Arsacidae gave place to the Sassanidae, 226. The Armenian Arsacidae continued to reign till 428. Then for about 200 years Armenia was subject to the Sassanidae of Persia. In 037 the Arabian caliphs first invaded Armenia, and 10 years afterward imposed the capitation tax upon the nation. The rivalries between the courts of Damascus and Constantinople were long a source of great suffering in Armenia,; but in 859 the Mohammedan court set up .a tributary dynasty in that country, the Bagra-tides, of Jewish origin, as already noticed, who reigned there till 1079. Their capital was Ani, on the Akhurian, a few miles S. E. of Kars. A branch of the Bagratides reigned at Kars from 9G1. There was also a third Armenian kingdom about this time, that of Vashburagan, with Van for its capital.

These little kingdoms, though inferior to the Byzantine empire in population, are said to have surpassed it commercially, industrially, and financially. But after various changes and disasters there came in 1049 the bloody and complete destruction of Ardzen, near the modern Erzerum, by the Seljukian Turks under Toghrul, which was followed by the similar destruction of Ani under his successor. One by one the Armenian kings migrated with their people, and their kingdoms soon ceased to exist, though another, established in the Cilician Taurus in 1080 by Rupen, lasted till it was conquered by the Egyptian Mamelukes in 1375. The Armenian nationality was now extinguished; Arme-nia itself, devastated by Genghis Khan and about 1390 by Tamerlane, afterward received as conquerors first the Turcomans and then the Os-manli Turks, while the Kurds, the Persians, and the Russians have at different times taken pos-session of certain portions. - The Armenians are now widely scattered, yet they everywhere retain their own language, customs, and habits, with a special love of their country, are exten-sively engaged in commercial and industrial pursuits, and possess great influence, particularly in Russia and Turkey. Their present number is variously estimated at from 2 1/2 to 10 or even 12 millions.

Probably there are 2 1/2 mil-lion Armenians in the Turkish empire alone.