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Atlas Azerbaijan


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 Azerbaijan

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 Azerbaijan

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


Country (long form)

Azerbaijani Republic
Capital
Baku (Baki)
Total Area
33,436.45 sq mi
86,600.00 sq km
Population
7,748,163 (July 2000 est.)
Estimated Population in 2050
10,664,940
Languages
Azeri 89%, Russian 3%, Armenian 2%, other 6% (1995 est.)
Literacy
97.0% total, 99.0% male, 96% (1989 est.)
Religions
Muslim 93.4%, Russian Orthodox 2.5%, Armenian Orthodox 2.3%, other 1.8% (1995 est.) note: religious affiliation is still nominal in Azerbaijan; percentages for actual practicing adherents are much lower
Life Expectancy
58.51 male, 67.45 female (2000 est.)
Government Type
republic
Currency
1 manat = 100 gopiks
GDP (per capita)
$1,770 (1999 est.)
Labor Force (by occupation)
agriculture and forestry 32%, industry and construction 15%, services 53% (1997)
Industry
petroleum and natural gas, petroleum products, oilfield equipment; steel, iron ore, cement; chemicals and petrochemicals; textiles
Agriculture
cotton, grain, rice, grapes, fruit, vegetables, tea, tobacco; cattle, pigs, sheep, goats
Arable Land
18%
Exports
oil and gas 70%, machinery, cotton, foodstuffs
Imports
machinery and equipment, foodstuffs, metals, chemicals
Natural Resources
petroleum, natural gas, iron ore, nonferrous metals, alumina
Current Environmental Issues
local scientists consider the Abseron Yasaqligi (Apsheron Peninsula) (including Baku and Sumqayit) and the Caspian Sea to be the ecologically most devastated area in the world because of severe air, water, and soil pollution; soil pollution results from the use of DDT as a pesticide and also from toxic defoliants used in the production of cotton
Telephones (main lines in use)
640,000 (1995)
Telephones (mobile cellular)
6,000 (1995)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs)
2 (1999)

History
Azerbaijan has been inhabited for at least 3000 years, and probably a lot longer than that. Bronze Age settlements have been found in and around Baku. Scythians settled in the area in the 9th century BC, followed by the Medes, followers of Zoroastrianism. The Archaemenid Persians took over half the country 200 years later, only to be absorbed by the Greeks in 330 BC.

Beginning in the 1st century AD, the area came under the control of the Romans, though after the 3rd century the Persians came back into the picture. Arabs had control by the 11th century, but Seljuk Turks displaced them, laying the foundation of modern Azerbaijan. Beginning around 1050, the country enjoyed a cultural renaissance that witnessed many of its greatest architectural and artistic achievements.

A three-way struggle between Russia, Turkey and Persia ended in 1813, when Russia and Persia divided Azerbaijan along the Aras River. During the period of Russian rule, Azerbaijan's economy grew in relation to Russia's. The region was a participant in the birth of the modern petroleum industry. The first oil well was drilled in 1848, and the first oil refinery constructed in 1859. Azerbaijan provided Russia, and later the Soviet Union, with crude oil, chemicals, textiles, food and wine.

The denationalisation of the oil industry in 1872 changed Baku from a dusty backwater to a wealthy and sophisticated city attracting European investors, including the Rothschilds, and accounting for more than half of the world's oil production by the end of the century. Labour exploitation made a political hotbed of the city - it's here that Stalin cut his political teeth.

While its days as a Soviet supplier dwindled its petroleum supply, Azerbaijan remained a healthy producer of crude oil and textiles throughout the 20th century.

It had a brief taste of independence between 1918 and 1920, but was lumped by the Soviet Union into a 'federated republic' with Armenia and Georgia in 1922. In 1924, the USSR created the autonomous province of Nagorno-Karabakh, which at that time was virtually all Armenian (and thus Christian), inside the Azerbaijan Republic, placing it under Azeri rule. The Soviets dissolved the federated republic in 1936 but held the three republics within its orbit. After the brief Soviet occupation of northern Iran during WWII, the Iranian government crushed the nascent independence movement that had been started there by ethnic Azerbaijanis.

Armenians living in Nagorno-Karabakh had long resented Azerbaijani rule; the conflict erupted in 1988 and escalated after Azerbaijan's independence in October 1991. Armenian attacks on Azeri citizens in the region prompted repeated attacks from Azerbaijani forces, leading to a string of defeats for the Azerbaijanis and the resignation of two presidents. By 1993, the conflict had created thousands of casualties and about one million refugees.

A cease-fire in 1994 stemmed the worst of the blood-letting, but by 1999 the conflict was far from resolved. Nagorno-Karabakh declared itself a republic and showed little interest in giving back any territory to Azerbaijan, including the narrow strip of land connecting Karabakh with Armenia proper.

Azerbaijan's other major preoccupation has long been, and remains, oil. The Caspian region is reputed to hold about 100 billion barrels of oil and about as much natural gas, and Azerbaijan has laid claim to much of it. Azerbaijan's State Oil Company spent the 1990s making deals left and right with foreign developers for exploration and production. As a result, Baku gained the buzz of a boom town, with the first oil coming ashore in 1997.

Democracy remains an endangered species in Azerbaijan, with President Aliyev's ruling New Azerbaijan Party romping home in the November 1995 parliamentary elections, October 1998 presidential elections, December 1999 municipal elections and November 2000 parliamentary elections. Western powers interested in exploiting the country's usefulness as an alternative source of energy are keen to see increased stability in the region and an improved human rights record for Azerbaijan.

Meanwhile, Azerbaijan's future prosperity depends to some extent on geography: namely, is the Caspian Sea a sea or a lake? The question is crucial for all countries bordering the body of water, as its answer will determine how oil revenues will be divided.