The Armenian National Education Committee (ANEC) recently published the bilingual, Armenian and English, Atlas of Historical Armenia, edited by Dr. Vartan Matiossian, Executive Director of ANEC. The publication was accomplished under the auspices of His Eminence Archbishop Oshagan Choloyan, Prelate of the Eastern Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic Church of America, on the 500th anniversary of Armenian printing. The cost of the publication was underwritten through the generous donation of the Hagopian family of Providence, Rhode Island, in memory of their parents, Ervant and Serpouhi Hagopian.
While the primary targets of the book are students and teachers, the Atlas is equally valuable for the general public. The basic premise is to offer readers an essential core that may serve as a starting point to widen their knowledge. To this end, the new edition has been rewritten and updated, with the addition of four new chapters. The Atlas contains 32 chapters, 30 maps, and 174 photographs (148 in full color). The maps are also provided on a CD attached to the book.
The Atlas combines three books in one: a book of historical geography (maps), a book of history (text), and a book of illustrated history (photographs). It is an educational tool that may be used as a standard textbook of Armenian history in Armenian and English that supersedes any other textbook on the subject currently used by day and Saturday schools.
The book is structured in four sections. It opens with an overview of Armenian historical geography, followed by a second section on Armenian cultural heritage. The main section of the book is the third, which introduces compact chapters on Armenian history from the origins to 1991. The final section, entitled “Armenians Today,” presents chapters on the Republic of Armenia, the Republic of Nagorno Karabagh, and the Diaspora. An extensive chapter on the Armenian Church is followed by an “Afterword” that exposes succinctly the current status of Armenians and Armenia.
As part of its series of publications in Armenian Studies, ANEC released the first edition of the Atlas, written by Dr. Garbis Armen and edited by Vrej-Armen Artinian, in 1987. The Atlas was and is a first of its kind, as it remains the only bilingual atlas of Armenian history ever published; other atlases were published before and after, but all of them were monolingual (Armenian, French, or English). Incidentally, the Atlas was the first such publication in English until Dr. Robert Hewsen’s Armenia: A Historical Atlas (2001), an erudite work with a different audience.
The unprecedented historical transformations that followed the initial publication of the Atlas in 1987, including the birth of the independent republics of Armenia and Nagorno Karabagh (Artsakh) in 1991, demanded a revision. After a long hiatus, work on the new edition of the Atlas resumed in 2010 and came to an end after a painstaking effort. Twenty-five years after the first edition, ANEC has succeeded in offering a new Atlas for a new generation as part of its continuing effort to contribute to the development of Armenian education.
Copies of the Atlas of Historical Armenia ($40, plus S & H) are available from the Eastern Prelacy Bookstore, 138 E. 39th Street, New York, NY 10016, Tel. (212) 689-7810, e-mail: email@example.com.