Today, Armenia is a little country between Russia and Turkey, but Armenians have played a large role in history. They’ve been around since at least 1000 BC. They claim their race was founded by Noah’s great-great-grandson Hayk, around 2500 BC. Their homeland has always been in the shadow of Mount Ararat, the legendary resting place of Noah’s Ark.
Armenia was the first country to officially adopt Christianity as the state religion, 20 years before Constantine made it the religion of the Roman Empire. Their language is one of the oldest branches of the Indo-European group, and they have a unique alphabet.
At its peak, the Armenian Empire stretched from modern Armenia to Syria including much of Anatolia. When the Ottoman Turks overran Anatolia, Armenians became subjects, but due to their keen intelligence Armenians often held positions of importance in the Ottoman Empire – merchants, bureaucrats, architects, even generals.
The Armenian genocides of 1894-1923 destroyed much Armenian culture and scattered the survivors over the earth. Today, according to Gary and Susan Lind-Sinanian, there are five distinct Armenian regional dance styles – Istanbul Armenian, Western Armenian, Levantine Continental, Eastern Armenian, and Armenian-American. Their history of Armenian dance can be found here:
Anyone whose name ends with -ian or -yan is probably an Armenian, like author William Saroyan, composer Aram Khachaturian, filmmaker Atom Egoyan, and celebrities Kim Kardashian, Charles Aznavour(ian), and Cher (Sarkissian).