A country in the Caucasus of southwestern Asia, on the western shore of the Caspian Sea; population 9,800,000 (estimated 2015); languages, Azerbaijani (official), Russian; capital, Baku.
Historically, the name Azerbaijan refers to a larger region that formed part of Persia. The northern part of this was ceded to Russia in the early 19th century; the southern part remained a region in northwestern Iran. Russian Azerbaijan was absorbed into the Soviet Union in 1922 and gained independence on the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991. Azerbaijan contains the predominantly Armenian region of Nagorno-Karabakh, over which open conflict with Armenia broke out in 1988, and which declared its independence in 1996. The Azeri autonomous republic of Naxçivan forms an enclave within the Republic of Armenia and similarly continues to be the subject of armed conflict