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Smallest of the former Soviet republics, Armenia lies landlocked and earthquake ridden in rugged mountains. In A.D. 301, Armenia became the first Christian nation; today it is almost surrounded by Islamic nations. During World War I the Ottoman Turks brutally forced out Armenians, causing a diaspora to foreign havens. Armenia gained independence in 1918, but succumbed to a Red Army invasion in 1920. In 1988 a devastating earthquake killed 25,000 people, and conflict erupted with Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh (a region of 140,000 ethnic Armenians). Armenia won independence in 1991; by 1994 Armenians had defeated Azeri forces and had control of Nagorno-Karabakh—but the dispute remains unresolved.1

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