Armenia Emigration and Immigration

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Armenian Diaspora[edit | edit source]

  • Armenians living in their ancient homeland, which had been controlled by the Ottoman Empire for centuries, fled persecution, massacres and genocide during several periods of forced emigration, from the 1880s to the 1920s. Many Armenians settled in the United States, a majority of whom live in the state of California, France, Canada, Greece, Cyprus, Iran, Lebanon, Russia, Syria, and a small orphan population in the former Ethiopian Empire.[1]
  • The Armenian diaspora is divided into two communities – those from Ottoman Armenia (or Western Armenia) and those who are from the former Soviet Union, the independent Armenia and Iran (or Eastern Armenia).
  • Armenians of the modern Republic of Turkey do not consider themselves as part of the Armenian Diaspora, since they believe that they continue residing in their historical homeland.
  • The Armenian diaspora grew considerably during and after the First World War due to the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire. Although many Armenians perished during the Armenian genocide, some of the Armenians who managed to escape, established themselves in various parts of the world. By 1966, around 40 years after the start of the Armenian genocide, 2 million Armenians still lived in Armenia, while 330,000 lived in Russia, and 450,000 lived in the United States and Canada.
  • Their pre-World War I population area was six times larger than that of present-day Armenia, including the eastern regions of Turkey, northern part of Iran, and the southern part of Georgia.
  • By the year 2000, there were 7,580,000 Armenians living abroad in total.
  • Today, the Armenian diaspora refers to communities of Armenians living outside of Armenia. The total Armenian population living worldwide is estimated to be 11,000,000. Of those, approximately 3 million currently live in Armenia, 130,000 in the de facto independent Republic of Artsakh and 120,000 in the region of Javakheti in neighboring Georgia. This leaves approximately 7,000,000 throughout the diaspora (with the largest populations in Russia, the United States, France, Argentina, Lebanon, Syria, Iran, Turkey, Canada, Ukraine, Greece, Cyprus, and Australia).[2]

Some of the countries with the largest Armenian populations are discussed below, but there are several more countries with smaller Armenian communities.

Armenians in France[edit | edit source]

  • Although the first Armenians settled in France in the Middle Ages, like most of the Armenian diaspora, the Armenian community in France was established by survivors of the Armenian genocide of 1915. Others came through the second half of the 20th century, fleeing political and economic instability in the Middle Eastern countries (Turkey, Lebanon, Syria, Egypt and Iran) and, more recently, from Armenia.
  • In the 19th century, many young Armenian males moved to France for education.
  • During the late 19th century and early 20th century, thousands of Armenians escaped persecution in their ancestral homeland that was part of the Ottoman Empire at the time. Events like the Hamidian massacres and the Adana massacre gave rise to greater Armenian emigration. By the eve of the First World War, around 4,000 Armenians lived in France.
  • As a result of the Allied victory in the First World War, tens of thousands of survivors of the Armenian genocide found themselves living in the French-occupied part of the Ottoman Empire in Cilicia, and far more in the French Mandate territories of Syria and Lebanon.
  • In 1920, the French army ordered Armenian refugees to leave at once. France had formed a "peaceful, reconstructive policy" with the Turkish nationalists to pull French troops out of Cilicia, but all that ended up doing was allowing attacks against Armenian civilians to resume. Most Cilician Armenian fled alongside the French and were resettled in refugee camps in Alexandretta, Aleppo, the Beqaa Valley (e.g. Anjar) and Beirut.
  • From there, entire families took the opportunity to flee to France. By the early 1920s, approximately 50,000 to 60,000 Armenians lived in France.
  • Most Armenians initially arrived in Marseille, thereafter many of them spread across France and settled in large cities, especially in Paris and the urban areas across the Paris–Marseille railway, notably Lyon.
  • Immediately after the Second World War, about 7,000 Armenians repatriated to Soviet Armenia.
  • Thousands of new immigrants arrived in France from the Middle Eastern countries like Turkey, Lebanon, Syria and Iran since the 1950s. By the 1980s around 300,000 Armenians lived in France.[3]

Armenians in Lebanon[edit | edit source]

  • There has been an Armenian presence in Lebanon for centuries. According to Minority Rights Group International, there are 156,000 Armenians in Lebanon, around 4% of the population. The Armenian presence in Lebanon during the Ottoman period was minimal; however, there was a large influx of Armenians after the Armenian genocide of 1915.
  • Many Armenians inhabited the area of Karantina (literally "Quarantine", a port-side district in the Lebanese capital of Beirut). Later on, a thriving Armenian community was formed in the neighbouring district of Bourj Hammoud.
  • In 1939, after the French ceded the Syrian territory of Alexandretta to Turkey, Armenians and other Christians from the area moved to the Bekaa Valley. The Armenians were grouped in Anjar, where a community exists to this day. Some of these Armenian refugees had been settled by the French mandate authorities in camps in the South of Lebanon: El Buss and Rashidieh camps in Tyre would later make way for Palestinian refugees.[4]

Armenians in Iran[edit | edit source]

  • Iranian-Armenians are also known as Persian-Armenians. Estimates of their number in Iran range from 70,000 to 200,000. Areas with a high concentration of them include Tabriz, Tehran, Salmas and Isfahan's Jolfa (Nor Jugha) quarter.
  • Armenians have lived for millennia in the territory that forms modern-day Iran. Many of the oldest Armenian churches, monasteries, and chapels are located within modern-day Iran. Iranian Armenia, which includes modern-day Armenian Republic was part of Qajar Iran up to 1828.
  • After the Iranian Revolution, many Armenians emigrated to Armenian diasporic communities in North America and Western Europe.
  • Today the Armenians are Iran's largest Christian religious minority.
  • The ceding of what is modern-day Armenia (Eastern Armenia in general) to Russia in 1828 resulted in a large number of Armenians falling now under the rule of the Russians. Iranian Armenia was thus supplanted by Russian Armenia.
  • The Tsar had the right to encourage the resettling of Armenians from Iran into the newly established Russian Armenia. This resulted in a large demographic shift; many of Iran's Armenians followed the call. Some 35,000 Muslims out of more than 100,000 emigrated from the region, while some 57,000 Armenians from Iran proper and Turkey arrived after 1828.
  • During the Armenian genocide, about 50,000 Armenians fled the Ottoman Empire and took refuge in Persia.
  • Further immigrants and refugees from the Soviet Union numbering nearly 30,000 continued to increase the Armenian community until 1933. Thus by 1930 there were approximately 200,000 Armenians in Iran. By 1979, in the dawn of the Islamic Revolution, an estimated 250,000 - 300,000 Armenians were living in Iran.[5]

Armenians in Russia[edit | edit source]

Armenians in Russia or Russian Armenians are one of the country's largest ethnic minorities and the largest Armenian diaspora community outside Armenia. The 2010 Russian census recorded 1,182,388 Armenians in the country. Various figures estimate that the ethnic Armenian population in Russia is actually more than 2 million. Armenians populate various regions, including Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Krasnodar Krai in the North Caucasus and as far as Vladivostok in the East. The Russian government is encouraging Armenians to immigrate and settle in Russia and is providing financial and settlement incentives.[6]

Armenians in Syria[edit | edit source]

  • Syria and the surrounding areas have often served as a refuge for Armenians who fled from wars and persecutions such as the Armenian genocide. However, there has been an Armenian presence in the region since the Byzantine era.
  • According to the Ministry of Diaspora of Armenia, the estimated number of Armenians in Syria is 100,000, with more than 60,000 of them centralized in Aleppo.
  • Aleppo's large Christian population swelled with the influx of Armenian and Assyrian Christian refugees during the early 20th-century and after the Armenian genocide and Assyrian genocide of 1915.
  • The second period of Armenian flow towards Aleppo was marked by the withdrawal of the French troops from Cilicia in 1923. That wave brought more than 40,000 Armenian refugees to Aleppo between 1923 and 1925, and the population of the city skyrocketed up to 210,000 by the end of 1925, with Armenians forming more than 25% of the population.
  • Armenians formed more than half of the Christian community in Aleppo until 1947, when many groups of them left for Soviet Armenia to take advantage of the Armenian Repatriation Process (1946–1967).[7]

Armenians in Turkey[edit | edit source]

  • Armenians in Turkey, one of the indigenous peoples of Turkey, have an estimated population of 50,000 to 70,000, down from more than 1 million to 2 million Armenians in the year 1914. Today, the overwhelming majority of Turkish Armenians are concentrated in Istanbul. Until the Armenian genocide of 1915, most of the Armenian population of Turkey (then the Ottoman Empire) lived in the eastern parts of the country that Armenians call Western Armenia (roughly corresponding to the modern Eastern Anatolia Region).
  • Starting in the late 19th century, political instability, dire economic conditions, and continuing ethnic tensions prompted the emigration of as many as 100,000 Armenians to Europe, the Americas and the Middle East. This massive exodus from the Ottoman Empire is what started the modern Armenian diaspora worldwide.
  • There was conflict between Armenians and Turks between 1892 and 1915. The Armenian genocide followed in 1915–1916 until 1918, during which the Ottoman government of the time ordered the deportation and killing of more than 1 million Armenians. These measures affected an estimated 75–80% of all the Armenians living in the Ottoman Empire during World War I. Many died directly through Ottoman massacres, while others died as a result of dehydration, disease, and starvation during the death marches and in the Syrian Desert, and even more due to Kurdish raids on fleeing refugees during the death marches.
  • As for the remaining Armenians in the east, they found refuge by 1917–1918 in the Caucasus and within the areas controlled by the newly established Democratic Republic of Armenia. They never returned to their original homes in today's Eastern Turkey (composed of six vilayets, Erzurum, Van, Bitlis, Diyarbakır, Mamuretülaziz, and Sivas).
  • Most of the Armenian survivors from Cilicia and the southernmost areas with Armenians like Diyarbakır ended up in northern Syria and the Middle East.[8]

Armenians in the United States[edit | edit source]

  • The first major wave of Armenian immigration to the United States took place in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Thousands of Armenians settled in the United States following the Hamidian massacres of the mid-1890s, the Adana Massacre of 1909, and the Armenian genocide of 1915-1918 in the Ottoman Empire.
  • Since the 1950s many Armenians from the Middle East (especially from Lebanon, Syria, Iran, Iraq, Egypt and Turkey) migrated to America as a result of political instability in the region. It accelerated in the late 1980s and has continued after the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991 due to socio-economic and political reasons.
  • The 2017 American Community Survey estimated that 485,970 Americans held full or partial Armenian ancestry. Various organizations and media criticize these numbers as an underestimate, proposing 800,000 to 1,500,000 Armenian Americans instead.
  • The highest concentration of Americans of Armenian descent is in the Greater Los Angeles area, where 166,498 people have identified themselves as Armenian to the 2000 Census, comprising over 40% of the 385,488 people who identified Armenian origins in the US at the time. The city of Glendale in the Los Angeles metropolitan area is widely thought to be the center of Armenian American life (although many Armenians live in the aptly named "Little Armenia" municipality of Los Angeles).
  • Since the 19th century the first Armenians appeared in New York. The states of New York and Massachusetts were top destinations for Armenian immigrants in the early 20th century. The area between East 20th Street, Lexington Avenue and First Avenue, where a compact Armenian population lived and Armenian shops existed, was called "Little Armenia" until the 1960s. Today, according to estimates there are 150,000 Armenians in the Tri-State area. Queens is home to some 50,000 Armenian Americans, Manhattan has 10,000 Armenian population centered in Gramercy Park, Kips Bay and Murray Hill, where St. Vartan Armenian Cathedral is.
  • The Armenian community in Boston was not founded until the 1880s. Today, estimates say that Armenians number from 50,000 to 70,000 in the Greater Boston area. Worcester, Massachusetts was also a major center for Armenian immigrants in the early part of the twentieth century.
  • Other major northeastern cities with significant Armenian populations include Philadelphia and Providence. Like other Armenian communities in America, Armenian communities in these cities have their roots in the late 19th century and early 20th century. Currently, Philadelphia holds about 15,000 Armenian American population and over 7,000 live in Providence.
  • There is also a small Armenian community in Portland, Maine.
  • The early Armenian immigrants in Detroit were mostly laborers. In later decades, particularly since the 1960s Middle Eastern Armenians immigrated to Michigan. The Armenian community has been described as "highly educated, professional and prospering." Today, they number about 22,000.
  • Chicago's Armenians also first settled in the city in the late 19th century in small numbers, but it increased through the 20th century, reaching about 25,000 by today.
  • As of 2003 more than 8,000 Armenian Americans lived in Washington, DC.
  • Since the turn of the century there been a trend towards an increase in number of Armenians living outside of traditional settlement areas. For instance, the number of Armenians in Nevada increased from 2,880 in 2000 to 5,845 in 2010, Florida from 9,226 to 15,856, and Texas from 4,941 to 14,459. [9]

Records of Italian Emigrants in Their Destination Nations[edit | edit source]

Dark thin font green pin Version 4.png One option is to look for records about the ancestor in the country of destination, the country they immigrated into. See links to Wiki articles about immigration records for major destination countries below. Additional Wiki articles for other destinations can be found at Category:Emigration and Immigration Records.

For Further Reading[edit | edit source]

There are additional sources listed in the FamilySearch Catalog:

References[edit | edit source]

  1. "List of diasporas", in Wikipedia,, accessed 14 June 2021.
  2. "Armenian diaspora", in Wikipedia,, accessed 14 June 2021.
  3. "Armenians in France", in Wikipedia,, accessed 15 June 2021.
  4. "Armenians in Lebanon", in Wikipedia,, accessed 15 June 2021.
  5. "Iranian Armenians", in Wikipedia,, accessed 15 June 2021.
  6. "Armenians in Russia," in Wikipedia,, accessed 15 June 2021.
  7. "Arnmenians in Syria", in Wikipedia,, accessed 15 June 2021.
  8. "Armenians in Turkey", in Wikipedia,, accessed 15 June 2021.
  9. "Armenian Americans", in Wikipedia,, accessed 15 June 2021.