From 1988 to 1994, Armenia was embroiled in a conflict known as the Nagorno-Karabakh War, also referred to as the Artsakh Liberation War by Armenians. The horrific armed conflict — where 20,000-30,000 people are estimated to have died — was between Azerbaijan and the ethnic Armenians living in Nagorno-Karabakh, Azerbaijan.
The war’s roots were steeped in over a century of history. Various regimes held control over the region, and their splicing and dicing of the Karabakh area would generate some ethnic tensions, especially between the Christian Armenians and Turkic Azeris, that would ultimately culminate in war.
Although both groups committed brutal acts in the early 20th century, they succeeded in peacefully living among one another — even after the Soviets gained control and established the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region in Azerbaijan, populated by an ethnic Armenian majority.
Soviet control loosened in the late 1980s, amplifying the conflict between the ethnic Armenian majority in Nagorno-Karabakh and surrounding Azerbaijan. When the region’s parliament voted to join Armenia and later declared itself an independent republic, the area erupted into war.
By 1994, ethnic Armenians were in full control of most of the enclave. When a Russian-brokered ceasefire was signed in the same year, the two groups finally reached a strained truce.
The Nagorno-Karabakh War killed tens of thousands and caused more than one million people to flee their homes. Claims of ethnic cleansing were made on both sides. Peace talks, initiated by the OSCE Minsk Group, have been held ever since by Armenia and Azerbaijan.