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Atlas Armenia

K.A Former Pupils Worldwide

If you are a former pupil of Kilmarnock Academy
and you currently live or work in this country (or have lived in it for a period of time), then e-mail us at kaworldwide@kilmarnockacademy.co.uk with your details. The essential details are: your name; the years you attended Kilmarnock Academy; where in the country you live or work (if you no longer live or work in this country, please state the years you were in residence there).

If you want to - and it does make things a lot more interesting - you can also provide us with a brief account of a favourite place or fond memory or favourite anecdote or local customs or local cuisine (or anything else about this country that you'd like to share with us). You can, if you wish, also include one or two photographs of places you lived in or visited during your stay in this country.

K.A. International - Worldwide Learning Network
If you know of a school in this country (possibly one that your own children have attended) that would be interested in developing links and engaging in joint projects with pupils at K.A., then please e-mail kaworldwide@kilmarnockacademy.co.uk with contact details. You can get more information on this initiative by clicking here.

N. McIlvanney 2005

K.A Former Pupils in Armenia

Name                                                   Years attended K.A.                                   Area, City or Town of Residence

K.A. Pupils' Postcards
If you are a pupil or former pupil of Kilmarnock Academy
and you have visited this country, then e-mail us at postcard@kilmarnockacademy.co.uk with your details. The essential details are: your name; the years you attended Kilmarnock Academy; where in the country you visited.

If you want to - and it does make this page a lot more worthwhile - you can also provide us with a brief account of a favourite place or fond memory or unusual experience or local customs or local cuisine or first impressions or lasting impressions. (You can, if you wish, also include one or two photographs of a place you visited in this country).

N. McIlvanney 2005

K.A Pupils' Postcards from Armenia

Name                                                   Years attended K.A.                                    Area, City or Town Visited

Country (long form)

Republic of Armenia
Total Area
11,505.84 sq mi
29,800.00 sq km
3,344,336 (July 2000 est.)
Estimated Population in 2050
Armenian 96%, Russian 2%, other 2%
99.0% total, 99.0% male, 98% female (1989 est.)
Armenian Orthodox 94%
Life Expectancy
61.98 male, 71.04 female (2000 est.)
Government Type
1 dram = 100 luma
GDP (per capita)
$2,900 (1999 est.)
Labor Force (by occupation)
agriculture 55%, services 25%, manufacturing, mining, and construction 20% (1999 est.)
metal-cutting machine tools, forging-pressing machines, electric motors, tires, knitted wear, hosiery, shoes, silk fabric, washing machines, chemicals, trucks, watches, instruments, microelectronics
fruit (especially grapes), vegetables; livestock
Arable Land
diamonds, scrap metal, machinery and equipment, cognac, copper ore
natural gas, petroleum, tobacco products, foodstuffs, diamonds
Natural Resources
small deposits of gold, copper, molybdenum, zinc, alumina
Current Environmental Issues
soil pollution from toxic chemicals such as DDT; energy blockade, the result of conflict with Azerbaijan, has led to deforestation when citizens scavenged for firewood; pollution of Hrazdan (Razdan) and Aras Rivers; the draining of Sevana Lich (Lake Sevan), a result of its use as a source for hydropower, threatens drinking water supplies; restart of Metsamor nuclear power plant without adequate (IAEA-recommended) safety and backup systems
Telephones (main lines in use)
583,000 (1995)
Telephones (mobile cellular)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs)
1 (1999)

Poor little Armenia has been the mouflon in the sandwich between warring nations and factions for millennia, and its people have been used as spear fodder time and time again. They've been shipped or fled back and forth across burning deserts with shifting borders at the whim of empire builders in far flung capitals. National borders - historic and present - tend to waver depending on who you're talking to, but what is certain is that the isthmus between the Black and the Caspian seas has long been a who-what-where pressure cooker of ethnic migrations, competing religions, jostling international egos, envy, ethnic hatred, warring armies, grand victories and devastating losses.

The first empires and kingdoms that encompassed parts or all of present day Armenia were the Urartu (originally under King Argistis, who built a fort at present day Yerevan), the Persian Achaemenian, Alexander the Great's Macedonian Empire, the Seleucid, the Roman and the Byzantine. The Persians threw a punch around 428 AD, and when they tried to impose the Zoroastrian religion in 451 they sparked a revolt that eventually won Armenians a degree of political and religious freedom.

Muslim Arabs ventured north in the 7th century AD, and local big shot Ashot Bagratuni the Carnivorous (no prizes for guessing his favourite food) came to power and launched a period of prestige for his line. But in the 11th century the Byzantines expanded into the region again, and scarcely had the dust settled than the Turks marched in. Before the end of the 12th century came Egyptian Mamluks and European crusaders (who didn't rule but managed to bring in a few Western style reforms and leave some French words). The Persians and the Ottoman Turks were the next to come to blows in the region, and the Ottomans managed to cling on to most of Armenia for the better part of 400 years.

From the 18th century, Armenians within various empires agitated for reform and political and cultural self-determination. Armenian literature, art, religion and education boomed under the Ottoman and the Russian Empires, which eventually led to the formation of Armenian political movements. During the early 19th century, Russia gained control of Yerevan and an area that encompassed parts of present day Turkey, leading eventually to the Russo-Turkish War of the 1870s. Armenians in Turkey were massacred - an early form of ethnic cleansing - as local nationalist movements grew, and hundreds of thousands had been killed by the 1890s.

Ironically, the 1905 Russian revolution, and even more ironically, the Young Turk revolution of 1908, raised Armenian hopes for the chance to build a nation in their historical homeland. Those hopes were dashed as the Ottoman and Russian Empires came to blows during World War I.

After years of on-off fighting, the Armenians were seen as being sympathetic to and aiding the advancing Russian army. On 20 April 1915 the Armenians of Van rose in revolt, massacred the local Muslims, took the fortress and held it until the Russian army arrived. Four days after the start of this revolt, on 24 April (now commemorated as Armenian Martyrs' Day), the Ottoman government began to deport the Armenian population. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians (mostly men)were massacred in the process, the rest (mostly women and children)were marched to Syria in great privation. However, this event still remains highly contentious. The Armenians claim that between 1.2 and 1.5 millions Armenians were killed between 1915 and 1923. The Turkish government denies responsibility, claiming that numbers are exaggerated and between 300,000 and 500,000 Armenians died.

In 1916, Russia took Ottoman Armenia but had to hand it back temporarily, since WWI had knocked the stuffing out of its military. The independent state of Transcaucasia was quickly declared, but it lasted a grand total of one month and four days. Local differences split it into Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia. Turkey immediately jumped back in and stole a chunk and the Russians, under the brand new banner of the Soviet Union, came back and took control by early 1921. They fooled with local borders, sowing seeds for later discontent, but the Soviet apparatus of control kept a lid on Armenian/Azerbaijani tension for nearly 70 years. When glasnost peered under the lid and then threw it away, the stage was set for another round of violence.

In December 1988 an earthquake struck north-western Armenia, killing around 25,000 people and leaving half a million more without shelter. It also destroyed about 10% of the nation's industrial capacity and housing. Meanwhile, Nagorno-Karabakh, the Armenian Christian enclave in Muslim Azerbaijan, voted for unification with Armenia, protesting that the 80% 'minority' of Armenians there had been victims of repression. The region, incidentally, holds untapped oil reserves worth billions of dollars, and the Soviets had placed it into Azerbaijan in a classic act of wobbly cartography. Violence soon flared in Sumgait as dozens of Armenians were killed. Hundreds of thousands of Azerbaijanis and Armenians, suddenly finding themselves on the wrong side of the border, fled. Battles broke out between Armenian and Azerbaijani militias and more Armenians were massacred in Baku, the Azerbaijani capital, as the Soviet Union stumbled. The Soviet army finally fought its way into Baku and restored its version of order, and while Azerbaijan voted communist at the 1990 elections, an Armenian nationalist president, Levon Ter Petrosian, managed to restore control in Armenia. The Soviet Union would soon be history anyway, and Armenia voted for independence in 1991.

By 1993, Armenia controlled over one fifth of Azerbaijan, including much of Nagorno-Karabakh. The warring parties signed a ceasefire in 1994, and have maintained an uneasy truce ever since. The military campaign drained resources from the new republic, and Iran and Turkey also imposed an economic blockade. A large part of the historical Armenian heartland, including Mt Ararat, now lies in Turkey, but Armenia has more or less dropped its claims there. 'To aspire to Ararat is more noble and exciting than to reach Ararat', wrote an Armenian poet. Nagorno-Karabakh is still nominally part of Azerbaijan, but accessible only from Armenia and patrolled by Armenian troops. This situation has strained the weak economy further, and a conflict in Georgia has cut off supply routes, squeezing even more sap out of the economy. At the March 1998 elections Robert Kocharyan was elected (with 59% of the vote) as President for a term of five years.