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Baku

BAKU

Baku is the capital of Azerbaijan and a major port on the Caspian Sea. The city was first taken by Peter I in the 1710s and held for two decades. The entire region of Caucasia was conquered by Russian forces in a war against Iran in the 1800s and confirmed by the 1813 Treaty of Gulistan.

Baku has meant two things to Russia: oil and strikes. The former has had the more enduring significance. The Baku oil fields were the object of Russian desire since the occupation by Peter I. Significant output began only with drilling in the 1870s. The oil rush of the last third of the nineteenth century brought thousands of Russian peasants to the Baku region to work in the oil fields. By the imperial census of 1897, the Russians were nearly as numerous as the native Azerbaijani Turks (approximately 37,400 to 40,000). By the 1903 city census, the Russians outnumbered them (57,000 to 44,000). Other national groups came to Baku. Armenians were a small but economically powerful minority with long-established communities, mostly involved in trade. Iranian Azerbaijanis crossed the border in large numbers. They were part of the same ethnic and religious group, speaking the same language as did the local residents. There were also communities of Georgians, Jews, Germans, and peoples from the Caucasus Mountains. Europeans arrived as investors, engineers, and skilled technicians. By 1900, Baku had a telephone system, European-style buildings, and an active City Council (Duma). It had a relatively high crime rate and a reputation akin to that of the Wild West in North America.

In the dangerous conditions of the oil fields, a labor movement emerged around the turn of the century. The Russian Social Democrats regarded Baku's activity as an alarm bell for the strike movement across the southern part of the empire. Baku provided a training ground for such future luminaries as Grigory Ordzhonikidze and Josef Stalin. For a time under Menshevik leadership, the Baku Committee of the party permitted the formation of a special party only for the Muslim workers, the Hummet. Class solidarity usually broke down along national lines, however, and the violence occasionally led to arson in the oil fields. In 1918 a Bolshevik-led government, known as the Baku Commune, ran the city briefly before the city fell to the invading Turkish army. Baku was the capital of the independent Republic of Azerbaijan (19181920) and, from April 1920 to 1991, of the Soviet Republic of Azerbaijan.

Although Baku's oil was largely depleted by the 1920s, the city was a target of Nazi advances in World War II. The Soviet Gosplan invested very little in the oil industry in Baku after the war and left its infrastructure to languish.

In the post-Soviet period, offshore drilling has taken the place of the old wells as a prize for foreign investors. Russia has tried, again, to maintain access to the oil and has fought proposals by Azerbaijan and foreign oil companies that seek to route the oil around Russian pipelines and Black Sea ports.

See also: azerbaijan and azeris; caucasus

bibliography

Altstadt, Audrey. (1986). "Baku: Transformation of a Muslim Town." In The City in Late Imperial Russia, ed. Michael F. Hamm. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.

Audrey Altstadt

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"Baku." Encyclopedia of Russian History. . Encyclopedia.com. 20 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Baku." Encyclopedia of Russian History. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 20, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/baku

"Baku." Encyclopedia of Russian History. . Retrieved August 20, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/baku

Baku

Baku Capital of Azerbaijan, a port on the w coast of the Caspian Sea. A trade and craft centre in the Middle Ages, Baku prospered under the Shirvan shahs in the 15th century. Commercial oil production began in the 1870s. At the beginning of the 20th century, Baku lay at the centre of the world's largest oilfield. Industries: oil processing and equipment, shipbuilding, electrical machinery, chemicals. Pop. (1997) 1,725,500.

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"Baku." World Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. 20 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Baku." World Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 20, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/baku

"Baku." World Encyclopedia. . Retrieved August 20, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/baku

Baku

Baku: see Bakı, Azerbaijan.

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"Baku." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. 20 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Baku." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 20, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/baku

"Baku." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved August 20, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/baku

Baku

BakuBaku, raku •haiku • Shikoku • cuckoo

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"Baku." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Encyclopedia.com. 20 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Baku." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 20, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/baku

"Baku." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Retrieved August 20, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/baku