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Map of the Armenian diaspora
The Armenian diaspora refers to the communities of Armenians outside the Republic of Armenia including the de facto independent Nagorno-Karabakh Republic. Since antiquity, Armenians have established communities in many regions throughout the world. However, the modern Armenian diaspora was largely formed as a result of the Armenian Genocide of 1915, when the Armenians living in their ancestral homeland in eastern Turkey, known as Western Armenia to Armenians, were systematically exterminated by the Ottoman government.
In Armenian, the diaspora is referred to as spyurk (pronounced [spʰʏrkʰ]), spelled սփիւռք in classical orthography and սփյուռք in reformed orthography. In the past, the word gaghut ( pronounced [ɡɑˈʁutʰ]) was used mostly to refer to the Armenian communities outside the Armenian homeland. It is borrowed from the Aramaic (Classical Syriac) cognate of Hebrew galut (גלות).
The Armenian diaspora has been present for over seventeen hundred years. The modern Armenian diaspora was formed largely after World War I as a result of the Armenian Genocide. According to Randall Hansen, "Both in the past and today, the Armenian communities around the world have developed in significantly different ways within the constraints and opportunities found in varied host cultures and countries."
After the fall of the Ottoman Empire, Turkish nationalists led by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk took the region of Western Armenia. As a result of the Armenian Genocide, Armenians were forced to flee to different parts of the world (approximately half a million in number) and created new Armenian communities far from their native land. Through marriage and procreation, the number of Armenians in the diaspora who trace their lineage to those Armenians who survived and fled Western Armenia is now several million. Since the breakup of the Soviet Union, approximately one million Armenians have joined the diaspora largely as a result of difficult economic conditions in Armenia. Jivan Tabibian, an Armenian scholar and former diplomat in Armenia said, Armenians "are not place bound, but ... are intensely place-conscious."
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