The tomb of Cyrus Zoroastrianism Hellenistic InfluencesRoman Influences Silk Road The Church of KisChirag Gala is a 5th-century-C.E. Sassanid castle Chirag Gala is a 5th-century-C.E. Sassanid castle Abbasid Empire or Caliphate A monument to Babak Khorram-Din in Baku, Azerbaijan A Turkmen girl in traditional clothing, standing in front of a yurt. Great Atabeg State of Azerbaijan Mongol archer, 15th-16th century C.E. early 19th-century Shah Ismail IThe Four Azerbaijani Berglerbeglik The Kurekchay Treaty Illustration depicting the Treaty of Turkmenchay A pumping unit for the mechanical extraction of oil, outside of Baku. The painting 17 October 1905 by Ilya Repin depicts the revolts of the Bolsheviks.Bolshevik forces march on Red Square, 1917. First meeting of the Parliament of the Azerbaijani Democratic RepublicThe Red Army occupation of Baku in April 1920.Transcausasian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic nearly 100% of Azerbaijani men and women can read.22 2324 The Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) oil pipeline
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40,000 B.C.E.
Pictograms found in Gobustan, a UNESCO World Heritage Site near Baku, reveal early human settlement in Azerbaijan. Earliest pictograms date to 40,000 B.C.E.
6th Century B.C.E.
Cyrus the Great expands his empire to include the Median Empire, encompassing Azerbaijan.
330 B.C.E.
Alexander the Great conquers Azerbaijan, along with its surrounding territories.

323 B.C.E.
After the death of Alexander the Great, his expansive empire is divided. The former territory of the Median Empire is split in two, and Atropates, a former Median governor, comes to rule the smaller region, named Azerbaijan (Media Atropatena), which includes Nakhichevan in the northwest as well as South Azerbaijan. The lands of North Azerbaijan, including Karabakh region, become part of the Caucasian Albania—an indigenous kingdom populated by several tribes speaking Caucasian languages.

1st Century B.C.E.-16th Century C.E.
Azerbaijan sits along a critical juncture of the Silk Road (a modern term referring to a historical network of interlinking trade routes across the Eurasian continent that connected East, South, and Western Asia with the Mediterranean and European world, as well as parts of North and East Africa). Extending 6,500 km (4,000 mi.), the Silk Road gets its name from the lucrative Chinese silk trade along it, which began during the Han Dynasty (206 B.C.E.-220 C.E.).
313 C.E.
Caucasian Albania, also known as North Azerbaijan, adopts Christianity. (section 7) According to 1st century B.C.E.- 1st century C.E. Greek geographer Strabo, Caucasian Albanians spoke 26 dialects, and before adopting Christianity as a state religion were pagan or Zoroastrian, depending on the tribe and geographic location in the region.
6th Century C.E.
Turkic tribes of Savirs (Sabirs) and especially Khazars become very prominent in Caucasus, periodically invading and making part of their domain lands of Caucasian Albania (North Azerbaijan), Iberia (Georgia), and Armenia, as well as of the Byzantine Empire, Iran and as far as Iraq. Between 618 and 1048 C.E., the Khazar Turks had a powerful empire (Khazar Khaganate), which in the 10th century converted their state religion from Turkic Tengrism to Judaism. The military, political, economic, and demographic influence of the Khazars on the entire South Caucasus was significant.
705 C.E.
Muslim Arabs make Caucasian Albania (North Azerbaijan) and Atropatena (South Azerbaijan) a province of the Umayyad Caliphate (which later became the Abbasid Caliphate). Islam rapidly spreads in historic Azerbaijan, with the majority of the Caucasian Albanian population becoming Muslim, and some of those living in the highlands, such as in Karabakh region, remaining Christian.
9th Century C.E.
Babak Khorram-Din (Babek) leads a rebellion of Azerbaijani and Iranian freedom fighters against their Arab Abbasid Caliphate overlords. Today, both Azerbaijan and Iran consider Babak a national hero; their Spartacus.
11th Century C.E.
The Oghuz Turks begin settling in Azerbaijan in large numbers, augmenting an already strong centuries-old presence by other Turkic peoples such as Kipchaks, Sabirs, Barsiles, Saragurs, Huns and Khazars, contributing to the growth of a strong Turkic identity in the region.  Seljuks, a branch of the Oghuz, establish a dynasty and empire encompassing much of the Caucasus, Central Asia, the Iranian plateau, Iraq, and Anatolia.
12th Century C.E.
Azerbaijan becomes a unified and strong state, Atabakan-e Adarbayjan, under the rule of a powerful Turkic dynasty of Ildegozid atabegs (also spelled atabek; literally, father-lords, or custodians, of Seljuk sultans). While nominally part of the Great Seljuk Empire, the Great Atabeg State of Azerbaijan served as the de facto ruler of the entire empire, and unlike all other atabegs, the Azerbaijani rulers carried the title of Atabeg-e-Azam (Great Atabeg).Under the Azerbaijani atabegs, patronage of arts flourished. The great Azerbaijani poet Nizami Ganjavi (1141-1209) composed his quintet of epic poems in Ganja (dedicating some to the atabegs), and architect Ajami Ibn Nakchivani built structures that are currently on the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites.
1225 C.E.
Mongols invade much of Southeast Asia and Eastern Europe, eventually establishing the Ilkhanid dynasty in Azerbaijan and the larger region. The Great Atabeg State of Azerbaijan (Atabakan-e Adarbayjan) falls.
1307 C.E.-1357 C.E.
The institution of beglerbeglik (also spelled beylerbeylik; literally, “the governorate of the bey [lord] of all beys,” or the overlord, or governorate-general) over Karabakh set up for the first time. Chobanid dynasty, the Muslim Turkic-Mongol rulers of the beglerbeglik were called beglerbeg, starting with Choban Noen son of Melik (c.1307-1327), Sheikh Khasan Kucuk (1327-43), and Malik al-Ashraf (1343-57).

Late 14th Century C.E.
Timur (Tamerlane) establishes a Turko-Mongol empire in Iran, Azerbaijan, the rest of Caucasus, and Central Asia.

15th Century C.E.
Azerbaijan is ruled by the Turkic dynasties of Kara Koyunlu (1375-1468) and Ak Koyunlu (1378-1508).
1501 C.E.
Ismail I, grandson of Uzun Hasan, the Ak Koyunlu emperor, establishes the Safavid Empire (Dowlat-e Safavi) by crowning himself as the Shah of Azerbaijan, and in 1502 as the Shah of Iran. The young empire is strongly influenced by Azerbaijani Turkic culture. Azerbaijani Turkic is the language of the court and military, and the first capital of the empire is Tabriz. Ismail was also a prolific poet who under the pen name Khatai (“Sinner”) contributed greatly to the literary development of the Azerbaijani language.

1547 C.E.
All of historic Azerbaijan is divided into four beglerbeglik (also spelled beylerbeylik; governorate-general) by the Azerbaijani Turkic shah of the Safavid dynasty. The rulers of the beglerbeglik were called beglerbeg, and ruled over all khans, reporting directly to the Shah or to the Grand Vizier. The four Azerbaijani beglerbeglik were Karabakh (Ganja) ruled by the Qajar (Kajar) family of Ziyadoglu, one of the most important Azerbaijani Turkic tribes, and future royal dynasty of the Qajar Empire; Chukhursaad (also spelled as Iravan, Erivan, Yerevan); Shirvan; and Tabriz (Azerbaijan).

18th Century C.E.
Safavid Empire slowly declines, resulting in widespread political decentralization by 1722. In 1736, the empire is replaced by two other Azerbaijani Turkic dynasties, the Afshars (Dowlat-e Afshar, until 1748) and the Qajars (Dowlat-e Qajar, until 1925). The Safavid and Afshar empires’ decline allows for component khanates—semi-autonomous Azerbaijani kingdoms, such as the Karabakh, Erivan, Nakhichevan, Sheki, Quba, Shirvan, Ganja, Tabriz, Khoy, Maki, Maragha, Ardabil, Urmiya, and other khanates—to gain full or partial independence.
1805 C.E.
On May 14, the Kurekchay Treaty, became the first legally-binding treaty signed by one of the independent Azerbaijani khanates that turned into a Muslim kingdom protectorate of the Russian Empire on that day. Ruler Ibrahim Khalil Khan Javanshir of the Karabakh Khanate signed the treaty with the plenipotentiary representative of Czar Alexander I. The Sheki and Shirvan khanates, which also were independent from the Qajar Empire, followed suit the same year, signing similar treaties with the Russian Empire. Under the terms of the Kurekchay Treaty, Ibrahim Khalil Khan declared his submission to the Russian czar and agreed to pay tribute annually. Russian authorities would have full control over the khanate’s external affairs and would station troops in Shusha. Russia agreed to recognize Ibrahim Khalil as the ruler of Karabakh and bestowed him the rank of Lieutenant-General of the Russian Army. The khan’s descendants also were recognized, becoming Major-Generals and Colonels of the Russian Army, through the eldest son, as rulers of Karabakh in perpetuity with full authority over all domestic affairs of the khanate. However, the next year, in 1806, the Russian military killed the elderly khan and most of his family.
1813 C.E.
In spite of the fact that many of the Azerbaijani khanates were independent from the Azerbaijani Turkic Qajar Empire, the Qajar Shah, himself Azerbaijani, laid claim on all khanates as well as on Georgia (i.e., the entire territory of South Caucasus). Likewise, the Russian Empire was not satisfied with having Karabakh, Sheki, and Shirvan, as well as Georgia, agreeing to be protectorates of the Russian Empire. This created a situation of nearly permanent warfare from 1801 to 1828, between Russian and Qajar empires trying to occupy and annex the Azerbaijani khanates. The first major agreement signed between the Russian Empire and the Qajar Empire was the Treaty of Gulistan (1813). The Treaty was signed in Gulistan, which is in Goranboy district of the Karabakh region of North Azerbaijan. The Treaty recognized Russian suzerainty by the Qajar Empire over most of modern day-Azerbaijan, Daghestan (Russia), and Eastern Georgia.
1822 C.E.
After the murder of the elderly Ibrahim Khalil Khan of Karabakh by the Russian forces, his throne was succeeded by his son Mekhti Kuli Khan. However, in 1822 Russians abolished the Karabakh khanate and made it an ordinary province (guberniya) of the Empire. Mekhti Kuli fled to the Qajar Empire along with thousands of Azerbaijani residents of Karabakh.

1828 C.E.
On February 10, 1828, the Qajar Empire reiterated its recognition of the Gulistan Treaty, as well as recognized Russian suzerainty over the remaining Azerbaijani Muslim kingdoms: the Erivan khanate (modern day Armenia), the Nakhichevan khanate, and the remainder of the Talysh khanate. The Treaty was signed in a place called Turkmenchay near Tabriz in South Azerbaijan. The border between the two empires was the river Araxes, which split historic Azerbaijan into two parts; North Azerbaijan became part of Russia, and South Azerbaijan was recognized as part of the Qajar Empire.

1836 C.E.
The Russian Czar abolishes the Caucasian Albanian Catholicosate (Caucasian Albanian autocephalous Apostolic Church), and transfers all of its property all over the world to the domain of the Armenian Gregorian Church.

1870s C.E.
Oil boom: Azerbaijan experiences exponential growth due to widespread development of its oil reserves. Following the drilling in Bibi-Heybat near Baku of the world’s first commercial oil well (1846), the world’s first oil pipeline is built in Baku and the world’s first successful oil tanker, “Zoroaster,” is used in Baku (both, 1877).

1905 C.E.
The first attempt at revolution in Russia reverberates throughout the Russian Empire, including the territory of Azerbaijan.

1917 C.E.
February: Czar Nicholas II of Russia is ousted, and a brief provisional government is established. November (October according to the old calendar): Bolsheviks revolt against the provisional government to begin Russian civil war, dubbed by them as the Great October Socialist Revolution.

1918 C.E.
On April 28, the three nations of Azerbaijan, Armenia, and Georgia establish the Transcaucasian Democratic Federative Republic, which lasts for less than a month, until May 26, when Georgia declares its independence. Azerbaijan declares independence on May 28, establishing itself as the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic—the first-ever parliamentary democracy in the Muslim world.

1920 C.E.
Bolshevik Russia and its Red Army occupies Azerbaijan Democratic Republic (ADR) on April 28, eventually incorporating it into the Soviet Union.In December, the Soviet Bolshevik government awards Azerbaijan’s Zangezur region to Armenia. As such, Azerbaijan loses the land corridor from its Karabakh region to the Nakhichevan region (which becomes an exclave), and further on to Ottoman Empire (eventually Turkey). This was a deliberate attempt to separate two Turkic nations, Azerbaijan and Turkey. Notably, in 1897, the last official Russian census, the Azerbaijani population was 51.7% in Zangezur.

1920-1982 C.E.
Soviet government continues to award villages and lands in Qazakh, Karabakh, and Nakhichevan regions of Soviet Azerbaijan to Soviet Armenia. The territory of Azerbaijan decreased from 114,000 sq.km (44,016 sq. mi.) under the ADR to 86,600 sq. km (33,436 sq. mi.) in Soviet times.

1921 C.E.
The Treaty of Moscow and the Treaty of Kars are signed, defining the mutual borders of Soviet Azerbaijan, Soviet Armenia, Soviet Georgia, with the Ataturk’s Turkey

1922 C.E.
Azerbaijan forms the Transcaucasian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic (TSFSR) with Armenia and Georgia, a new attempt at a common state for the three nations of the South Caucasus.

1941 C.E.
Nazis invade Soviet Union on June 22, bringing war to the USSR. Between 1940 and 1946, the population of Azerbaijan decreased from 3.27 million to 2.73 million, a loss of at least 534,000 people. In other words, one out of every six citizens of Soviet Azerbaijan became a victim of World War II (the total human losses of USSR as a whole are estimated to have been around 26 million).

1941-45 C.E.
Azerbaijani natural resources are vital for the Soviet war effort. In the war years, 80% of the USSR’s total amount of petrol, 90% of its naphtha, and 90% of its aviation fuel were produced in Soviet Azerbaijan. 80% of Soviet aircraft, tanks, and motorcars were fueled with petrol produced at Baku oil refineries from oil extracted from Baku oil fields.

1954 C.E.
Josef Stalin dies; a new chapter in the USSR and Soviet Azerbaijan begins.

1987 C.E.
In November some of the first refugees of the nascent Nagorno-Karabakh conflict appear; ethnically Azerbaijani refugees from Soviet Armenia, who according to Soviet statistics numbered some 4,000, flee to settle in Baku and Sumgait.

1988 C.E.
On February 24, the first casualties of the Nagorno-Karabakh (NK) conflict, a conflict fueled by attempts of Armenian nationalists to change Azerbaijan’s borders and award NK to Armenia, were two Azerbaijani youths. Bakhtiyar Uliyev, 16, and Ali Hajiyev, 23, were shot dead  that day in the Karabakh region of Azerbaijan.

1991 C.E.
Soviet Union disintegrates, Azerbaijan declares independence on October 18 under President Ayaz Mutalibov and establishes the Republic of Azerbaijan.

1992 C.E.
February 25-26 the Khojaly Massacre is perpetrated by the Armenian military, with nearly 800 Azerbaijanis and Ahiska Turks slaughtered, and many more wounded, becoming the largest war crime in the South Caucasus in the second part of the 20th century.

1992 C.E.
On May 8-9, Armenia’s army occupies the strategically and symbolically important Karabakh town of Shusha, and on May 18 Armenia’s army occupies the district of Lachin. On June 7, Abulfaz Aliyev (a.k.a. Elchibey) is elected President of the Republic of Azerbaijan.

1993 C.E.
Heydar Aliyev is elected President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, after his predecessor’s government falls amid hyperinflation and occupation by Armenia of Kelbajar district in the Karabakh region of Azerbaijan.

1994 C.E.
Azerbaijan signs the “Contract of the Century,” worth tens of billions of dollars, with several international oil companies. A consortium of top energy corporations begins to revitalize the Azerbaijan oil industry. The contract is projected to bring in some $200 billion to the Azerbaijani state budget over 30 years.

2003-06 C.E.
The Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) and the Baku-Tbilisi-Erzerum (BTE) pipelines are completed. Owned in part by the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan Republic (SOCAR), the pipelines transport oil and natural gas, respectively, from the Caspian Sea to the Mediterranean, where oil is shipped to Western countries via tankers and gas to Europe via other pipelines.

2003 C.E.
Ilham Aliyev is elected and in 2008 re-elected at the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan.