Hay, plural Hayq or Hayk member
of a people with an ancient culture who originally lived in the region known as Armenia,
which comprised what is now northeastern Turkey
and the Republic of Armenia. Although some remain in Turkey, more than three
million Armenians live in the republic; large numbers also live in Azerbaijan,
other areas of the Caucasus and the Middle East. Many other Armenians
have migrated to Europe and North America.
are the descendants of a branch of the Indo-Europeans. The ancient Greek
historians Herodotus and Eudoxus of Rhodes related the Armenians to the Phrygians—who
entered Asia Minor from Thrace—and to the peoples of the ancient kingdom upon
whom the Phrygians imposed their rule and language. Known to the Persians as
Armina and to the Greeks as Armenioi, the Armenian people call themselves
Hayq (singular: Hay) and their country Hayastan, and they look back to a folk
language is Indo-European, but the phonetics and grammar have some features in
common with the Caucasian languages. The Armenians are traditionally
members of either the Monophysite Armenian Apostolic (Orthodox) church or
the Armenian Catholic branch of the Roman Catholic church.
early 20th century, the Armenians were primarily an agricultural people.
From 1930 to 1990, however, considerable industrial development took place in
the Armenian S.S.R., and by the late 20th century two-thirds of the
population of the republic, which is about nine-tenths Armenian, had
become urbanized. This urban trend has also predominated among Armenians
who have migrated to Europe and North America.
ancient Armenian culture found expression in architecture, painting, and
sculpture. The periods of greatest artistic activity tended to correspond to
those of national independence or semi-independence, but, for the most part,
this activity had reached its high point by the end of the 14th century. Armenian
literature continued to develop after that period and witnessed a strong revival
during the 19th century in the face of Turkish
domination. Armenian writers did much to awaken the national
consciousness of the Armenians, who became increasingly impatient with
foreign rule. Growing nationalism on the part of Armenians provoked
massacres by the Turks and confiscations by the Russians. The greatest single
disaster occurred with the outbreak of World War I. In 1915 the Turks, regarding
the Armenians as a dangerous foreign element, decided to deport the
entire Armenian population of about 1,750,000 to Syria and Mesopotamia.
An estimated 600,000 died of starvation or were killed en route. (See Researcher's
Note: Armenian massacres.) About one-third escaped deportation.