The Azerbaijanis are the most numerous Caucasian nation representing a majority population of Azerbaijan and a significant portion of the population of northwestern Iran. It has a total of more than 30 million inhabitants.
The Azerbaijanis are a Turkic people belonging to the Caspian type of the Europoid race. Azerbaijani is one of the languages in the Southwestern (Oghuz) branch of Turkic languages. Since the 14th century Azerbaijani has been the “lingua franca” for inhabitants of the Central and Eastern Caucasus as well as the population of the Northwestern Iran and Southern Dagestan. The Azerbaijani ethnic group was being formed in the territory of the Eastern Caucasus and Northwest Iran.
The Azerbaijani People make up for 91.6% of population of the Republic of Azerbaijan. The Azerbaijanis also live in:
– Iran (most of them in the provinces of Western and Eastern Azerbaijan, Ardabil, Zanjan, Hamadan, partially in Kurdistan, Qazvin and the cities of Tehran, Karaj and Mashhad);
– Russia (they have a status of an original national minority in Southern Dagestan; most of them live in Derbents rayon, they compactly settled in there more rayons);
– Georgia (most of them in Marneuli, Gardabani, Bolnisi and Dmanisi, in six more rayons and the cities of Tbilisi and Rustavi);
– Turkey (in the province of Kars, Idgyr and the Şenkaya rayon);
– until the outbreak of the conflict in Karabakh the Azerbaijanis had lived compactly in the current Republic of Armenia. However, in the period between 1988 and 1991 all the Azerbaijanis were driven out. Currently, they are living in the Republic of Azerbaijan with the status of refugees.