Armenia is a historical, geographical region in the north of Western Asia, where the Armenian nation was formed and passed its historical path. It includes the Armenian Highlands, which is one of the largest plateaus of Western Asia.
According to different estimations the area of Armenia is 290,000 / 300,000 – 360,000km2. The highlands have been inhabited since ancient times. Archeological discoveries testify that archaic humans (Homo erectus) lived here 1.8 million years ago. Traces, left by Hominidae, represent all periods of the Stone Age.
During its whole history the region was an organic part of many countries and was being wholly reigned by just one governor for too short periods. The borders of entire historical and geographical Armenia coincide with the borders of historical countries of Greater Armenia (Metc Hayq) and Lesser Armenia (Poqr Hayq).
Natives –Armenians- called their country “Hayastan” or ”Hayq”. Sumerians used to call it “Aratta”, and Acadians called it “Armani” or “Armanum”. Hittites used the names “Hayasa” and “Armatana”, and Assyrians preferred the names “Uruatry/Urartu” and “Armi”. Persians called this country “Arminiua”, people of Elam called it “Harminua”, and Egyptians used the name “Ermenen”. Georgians called this country სომხეთი (Somkheti).
In European languages the name of the country came from the name “Armenia”, which is the Latin version of Greek name “Ἀρμενία”
The earliest references about Armenia are dated to 2237-2200 BC. Persian king Darius I in Behistun Inscription (6th century BC) the land of Urartu by the names “Armina” (old Persian) and “Arminua” (Elamite) in three languages.
The word “Αρμένιοι” appeared in old Greek approximately at the same period. For the first time it was used by Hecataeus of Miletus in 476 BC.
In the reign of the Arsacid dynasty of Armenia Greater Armenia was divided into 15 regions or “worlds”, each one of which was an independent historical and economical unit with its traditions, cloths and dialects.
Lesser Armenia occupied the territory from the west of the river Euphrates to Anti-Taurus Mountains. During the Byzantine domination Lesser Armenia was divided into 3 administrative marzs – First Hayq, Second Hayq and Third Hayq.