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The Armenians trace their history to sixth century B.C. Throughout history Armenia has been a battlefield for many invaders, contending empires, and a bridge for many cultures and civilizations. During the past 2,700 years, Armenia was conquered by the Persian Empire, Alexander the Great, the Roman Empire, Byzantium, the Arabs, Seljuqs, Mongols, Tatars, the Ottoman Empire, Safavid Persia, and the Russian Empire.
Armenian kingdoms, principalities and even a short-lived empire (95-55 B.C.) managed to survive and thrive for some 1,700 years. Under various kings and princes, the Armenians developed a sophisticated culture, an original architecture and their own national alphabet. In the year 2001, the Armenians will celebrate the 1700th anniversary of the adoption of Christianity as their religion. The Seljuq conquest of the last Armenian kingdom in the 11th century marked the beginning of an exodus of the Armenians from historical Armenia resulting in the advent of an Armenian Diaspora. As a result of this migration, an Armenian kingdom was established on the shores of the Mediterranean, in Cilicia. This kingdom, often an ally to the West during the period of the Crusades, absorbed Frankish culture. The kingdom fell in 1375, ending the independence of the Armenian Statehood.