As the Soviet Union entered its death throes, the self-determination of the nations within its republics became an issue over which people were prepared to die. When Azerbaijan declared its independence, the Armenian enclave of Nagorno-Karabagh followed suit. Before long, pogrom and war were the order of the day, resulting in thousands of Armenian and Azeri casualties. This book examines the history of Mountainous Karabagh, the ancient Artsakh of the Armenians, and assesses the mass of archaeological material and documentary evidence supporting the conflicting Azeri and Armenian claims. The authors follow the populations of the area from antiquity through periods of Mongol, Turkmen and Persian occupation, on to Turkey's and Russia's entry onto the scene, the period of Bolshevik rule, perestroika and, finally, the war with Azerbaikjan. This book highlights the Armenian culture of the enclave, traces Karabagh's demographic evolution and situates the current hostilities in terms of the interests of neighbouring Russia, Iran and Turkey. The picture that emerges of a clash of nationalistic passions and of Russian economic, military and diplomatic calculation is a signpost for future conflicts on both sides of the Caucasus. The assertion of Armenian and Azeri identity and culture remain at the heart of this tragedy. This book helps us to understand why the Armenians feel so strongly that Artsakh is theirs and is worth dying for.