History of the Armenian Genocide

The Armenian Genocide—the first genocide of the 20th century—took the lives of 1.5 million Armenians, who were massacred by Ottoman Turkey’s “Young Turk” government beginning in 1915. The deportation and mass extermination of Armenians continued until 1923. Planned and executed during World War I, the Armenian Genocide saw the virtual elimination of Armenians from their ancestral homeland. Those who were not killed immediately were led on horrific death marches. The Armenian Genocide began on April 24, 1915, when Ottoman authorities arrested and killed some 250 Armenian intellectuals and community leaders in Constantinople. Those arrested included Armenian doctors, lawyers, parliamentarians, authors, and artists. Armenian civilians—including the elderly, women and children—were then forcibly removed from their homes and sent on death marches for hundreds of miles, with no food or water. Armenian communities around the world commemorate each April 24 as “Armenian Martyrs Day,” which they observe with religious and cultural memorials. To this day, Turkey continues to deny that the Armenian Genocide took place, although historians and scholarly authorities throughout the world recognized the Genocide as a tragic fact of history.