Azerbaijan is one of the most ancient cradles of global civilization. Its historic boundaries encompassed the eastern part of the South Caucasus and the northwestern regions of Iran. The surveys of the Guruchay archaeological culture, which was doubtless the most ancient in the whole expanse of the former Soviet Union territory and is analogous to the Olduwai culture in Africa, confirm that the territory of Azerbaijan was within the zone where the humanity emerged. In the Azikh cavern located on the left bank of River Guruchay the fragment of the jaw of the ancient human being - azikhantropos - was found; that population inhabited the locality 350-400 thousand years ago. Tribal associations were forming in the territory of Azerbaijan and attempted to establish political unions in the 23d century.
The written witness and a vast archaeological material basis show that the territorial division, one of the primary signs of statehood, replaced tribalism in Azerbaijan beginning from the end of the I millennium. According to the ancient texts of that era, several 'principalities' were joined in order to withstand the external aggression together. Archaeological research conducted to date indicates the very early formation of states in the South of Azerbaijan, in the cis-Urmian zone. Those were the states that laid the foundation of the first major political formation that was known as the Manna Kingdom. According to the historical sources, the territory of Manna was roughly the same as that of the later Mydia and Atropatena (that is to say, the territory of the modern Southern Azerbaijan). Manna's submission to the Mada state (Mydia) at the end of the VII to the beginning of the VI centuries extinguished local statehood in Azerbaijan for a number of centuries. It was only in the 30s of IV century after the Macedonian troops had defeated the state of Mada that a new-stage of Azeri statehood development began in the region.
Atropatena that arose at the historical scene two centuries and a half after the fall of Manna (otherwise called Atrapatakan. Aderbadagan, and hence the derivation 'Azerbaijan') was the first Oriental state ever to become politically independent from the Greek-Macedonian conquerors. The Researchers think that there was an independent monarchic system in the territory of Atropatena like in other countries of that age; later, however, the ever increasing influence and power of the Mydian Magi converted that state into a theocratic formation.
Various studies witness that Albania located in the northern lands of Azerbaijan, also had statehood organisation in the Hellenic period. The earliest coins minted locally that are discovered in the former territories of both Albania and Atropatena date back to the first half of III century In the feudal era, unlike the territory of Atropatena that had come to be one of the provinces of the Sasanis Empire, Albania managed to preserve relative sovereignty up till the Arabian conquest.
In the second half of IX century AD the internal friction in the Arabian Khalifat provided an important factor pre-conditioning appearance of new feudal formations in the historic territories of Azerbaijan. Among them stand out the State of the Shirvanshahs, the rulers of which fought for independence by themselves for ten centuries and were only suppressed by the Sefevi State in 1538. That newly-formed state's structure followed the established tradition of local Turkic states of the Garagoyunlu and Aggoyunlu (the formations of the XV century).
In the middle of the XVII century the process of emergence of independent states commenced in the territory of Azerbaijan. Those were the khanats of Baku, Sheki, Nakhchivan, Garabag, Ganja, Shamaha, Guba, Urmiya, Irevan, Tabriz, Maraga and etc. As Russia conquered the northern territories of Azerbaijan in the beginning of the XIX century, the Azeri khanats lost their independence. Pursuant to the Turkmenchay Treaty of 1828 between Russia and Iran the territories of the southern khanats transfered to Iran. Thus the nation was separated.
Since the Tsarist regime was overthrown in 1917, the political situation in Azerbaijan was changing. The independence of the Northern Azerbaijan was restored after the more than a century-long intermission on 28 May 1918, and that was the emergence of the first ever Muslim republic. The Republic of Azerbaijan existed only for 23 months. Ignoring the state sovereignty of Azerbaijan, the Soviet Russia sent down the XI Red Army corps to Azerbaijan in late April 1920. The Soviet power was declared in Azerbaijan on 28 April 1920. Despite the formal political independence, Azerbaijan had became a part of the Soviet Empire ruled by the Communist Party. Internal decay and collapse of the Soviet regime began in the 80s, and the presidential post was instituted at the historic session of the Supreme Council of Azerbaijan on 18 May 1990.
At the session of the Supreme Council of the Republic on 5 February 1991 our country was renamed as the Azerbaijan Republic; the three-coloured flag and the state emblem of 1918-1920 were restored as the official symbols of the State. It was resolved that the orders and medals of Azerbaijan would be introduced and the national currency printed and minted. The Azerbaijan Republic is party to the European Union for security and co-operation and the United Nations Organization. Despite the fact that our independent state is passing through the most difficult period of its history, it is in a position to revive its economy and develop the national culture. There is the powerful patriotic potencial and the ancient and rich history of statehood which have supported this drive to development.
On August 30, 1991, Azerbaijan’s Parliament adopted the Declaration on the Restoration of the State Independence of the Republic of Azerbaijan, and on October 18, 1991, the Constitutional Act on the State Independence of the Republic of Azerbaijan was approved.