Artsakh, or Nagorno-Karabakh, is located in the southeast of the Armenian Highlands. Myriad sources confirm that it has been a part of historical Armenia since antiquity. In the medieval period, however, it fell under foreign rule: first to Persia and then to nomadic Turkic tribes that began invading its borders in the 18th century, starting centuries-long wars against local Armenian noble families.
1988 was a turning point in the history of Karabakh. The people of Artsakh raised their voices using their constitutional rights, seeking to secede from Azerbaijan according to Soviet laws on self-determination.
However, every effort to discuss the dispute in a civilized fashion was followed by an escalation of violence. By 1994, the self-defense forces of Artsakh had driven out all Azeri military and civilian presence, establishing de facto rule over Artsakh including territories liberated in 1993-94.
Today, the unrecognized country is officially known as the Republic of Artsakh, after changing its name from the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic (NKR).