|Capital||Karvachar (formerly Shahumian)|
|• Total||1,830 km2 (710 sq mi)|
|Area rank||Ranked 3rd|
|• Rank||Ranked 8th|
|• Density||1.4/km2 (3.6/sq mi)|
The Shahumian Region (Armenian: Շահումյան) is a disputed region, formerly a district of Azerbaijan SSR outside of Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast. Before the Nagorno-Karabakh War of the 1990s, the region had a substantial Armenian population. The eastern part of the territory remains under the control of Azerbaijan and is incorporated into Goranboy Rayon, but the area is claimed by the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic.
In antiquity the territory was a part of Artsakh; in the Middle Ages it was part of the principality of Khachen; in the 17-18th centuries the territory formed part of Melik-Abovian dynasty's melikdom1 of Gulistan, with its capital in the fortress of that name. During Soviet times in the area was renamed after the Armenian Bolshevik Stepan Shahumyan, its administrative center taking the same name.
By the 1990s the population of Shahumian district was almost exclusively Armenian by language and ethnicity, though the area was not included within the boundaries of the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast by the Soviet Union.
In the spring-summer of 1991, Soviet premier Mikhail Gorbachev ordered Operation Ring2 in which the Soviet Red Army surrounded some of the area's Armenian villages (notably Getashen and Martunashen) and violently deported their inhabitants to Armenia.
Approximately 17,000 Armenians living in Shahumian's twenty-three villages were deported out of the region.3
In December 1991 with the Soviet Union imploding, Shahumian was claimed by the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic and became the focus for considerable fighting. This reached a climax in summer 1992 when most of the area was retaken by the Azerbaijan army. Damage was severe and the Armenian population fled.
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