Where Is Transcaucasia?
Transcaucasia is a region located near the Caucasian Mountains, and acts as a boundary between Eastern Europe and Western Asia. Countries in the region include Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan. The southern part of the Great Caucasus Mountains is also in the region, and covers an area from south-western Russia to the Caspian Sea in the east. The region also stretches to the Iranian border, the Turkish border, and the Black Sea. The word Transcaucasia means "area beyond the Caucasus Mountains," and hence a good vantage point. Accordingly, the name means that one can have a good view of the lands just before the mountains. In the past, the region was a good staging point for conquests into Central Asia by foreign armies.
History of Transcaucasia
The Transcaucasia region was a theatre of war between Russians and Persians, who fought twice between 1804 and 1828. Before the wars, the area had been inhabited by the Mongols, Arabs, Turks and the Huns. Invasions by ancient kingdoms, such as the Ottoman Empire, as well as Persian and Russian empires, meant that different cultures became incorporated into the region. The Russian Empire was the last to occupy the territory after defeating the Persians in 1828 and later the Ottoman Turks, whom they defeated. After the fall of the Russian empire due to revolution by the Bolsheviks, the region was united into a single political region that was short lived.
Economic Activities of Transcaucasia
The region is famous for the production of wine. In fact, archaeologists speculate the region may be the origin of wine after conducting studies on grape seeds that show wine production took place here. Carbon dating on the seeds show that they were used to produce wine between 7000 BC and 5500 BC. Even today, the region remains renowned for the quality of wine it produces. For example, Georgian wine still fetches high prices and good reviews by international standards. Oil and gas production has also taken root here, particularly at the Caspian Sea and Black Sea. Countries in this region benefit from the sale and manufacture of oil, which brings significant revenue. International oil companies have set up camp to explore the region for more oil and gas deposits.
Instability in the Region
The region has not been without conflicts. Georgia has been embroiled in a bitter dispute with Russia, which led to the invasion and occupation of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. The dispute started when Russian speakers in those regions wanted to secede from Georgia. Russian troops invaded after Georgian forces attempted to crush the secession movements. Although Russia won the war, it resulted in international sanctions against Russia and the regions (Abkhazia and South Ossetia) were denied international recognition.
Nagorno-Karabakh is another region under dispute between Armenia and Azerbaijan, and the two countries fought a four-day border war in 2016. Both nations claim the resource-rich region as their own, and tensions still exist.