The map of the Baku Armenian Cultural Union, courtesy of Husik Ghulyan.

In 1908, the Baku Armenian Cultural Union published a detailed map of the distribution of Armenian population throughout the Caucasus region of the Russian empire. The map was likely substantially based on the Russian imperial census data from 1897. The outline of the most densely Armenian parts (shown in darker hues) roughly follows the future borders of the Soviet Armenian Republic and the Nagorno Karabakh Autonomous Oblast, established about 15 years later, with a few exceptions.

Thus, the highest Armenian concentrations shown on the map are around Aleksandropol (present-day Gyumri) and Nor Bayazet (Gavar), each at over 80 percent of the total population, as well as Akhalkalaki with about 75 percent and the mountainous portion of Karabakh’s Shushi uezd, where the Armenian population made up between 75 and 86 percent. Armenians also made up a majority of the northern portion of Aresh uezd, in what is now Agdash and Gabala districts in north-central Azerbaijan (also seen in this 1880 map).

A large non-Armenian enclave is visible immediately south of Erivan (Yerevan) in what later became the Masis and Vedi districts, then known as Ulukhanlu and Vedibasar. Also, with the exception of Sisian area (58 percent), Armenians were not a majority in most of Zangezur. By contrast the area around the town of Nakhichevan was over 50 percent Armenian. Between 1918-20 a substantial “population exchange” occurred between Nakhichevan and Zangezur, solidifying Azerbaijani and Armenian control in those respective areas.

In the North Caucasus portion of the map, Armenian enclaves can be seen in Edissia in present-day Stavropol and Kizlyar and Karabagli in Dagestan; those communities were founded in the 18th century, primarily by Karabakh Armenians.