An independent Republic of Armenia was proclaimed at the end of the 1914-1918 War but it lasted only until the beginning of the 1920s when the Bolsheviks incorporated it into the Soviet Union. Armenia's return to independence in 1991 was overshadowed by the conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh, the predominantly Armenian-populated region in Azerbaijan (see Current conflicts section). Full-scale war broke out the same year as ethnic Armenians in Karabakh fought for independence, supported by troops and resources from Armenia proper. A ceasefire in place since 1994 has failed to deliver any lasting solution.
Russia, France and the US co-chair the OSCE's Minsk Group, which has been attempting to broker an end to the dispute for over a decade. In 1997, the group tabled settlement proposals seen as a starting point for negotiations by Azerbaijan and Armenia but not by the de facto authorities in Nagorno-Karabakh itself. When the then-Armenian-president Levon Ter-Petrosyan tried to encourage Nagorno-Karabakh to enter into talks he was forced to resign amid cries of betrayal. Azerbaiijan declared illegitimate a referendum held in the region in December 2006.
Armenia's president Serzh Sarkisian and Azerbaijan's Ilham Aliyev agreed in November 2008 to intensify their efforts to find a political settlement to the dispute over Nagorno-Karabakh. They claimed to have made significant progress at talks in Prague in May 2009 on the sidelines of the EU's Eastern Partnership summit. This overview is based on the BBC online country profile for Armenia.