May 28 is First Republic Day in Armenia. The holiday commemorates the establishment of a short-lived “first republic” in Armenia in 1918 during the chaos that ensued in the Russian Empire following World War I and during the Russian Civil War.
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After the 1917 Red Revolution in Russia, a “Trans-Caucasian territory” was formed that included modern day Armenia, Georgia, and Azerbaijan. It only lasted one year, however, before it declared itself independent in 1918. And soon afterward, on 28 May 1918, Armenia declared itself independent of both the USSR and “Transcaucasia”.
There had not been an independent Armenia since the Middle Ages, and hopes ran high. But by 1920, the USSR invaded Armenia and put down the “rebellion”.
It was 70 years later that Armenia again gained its independence upon the breakup of the USSR, and it’s first republic of 1918 to 1920 was very brief. Nonetheless, after independence was gained the second time, First Republic Day was made a national holiday to remember when it had been gained the first time.
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