|Quindio, Armenia today. Not named after the original Armenia. (Photo: Skyscraper City)|
|A location map of Armenia, |
While the historical story is moving, it appears to be false. In fact, Armenia, in Quindio Department, received its name in the 1880s or '90s, decades before the genocide took place in the Ottoman Empire. In that era, it was fashionable in Colombia to give places biblical names. Armenia was the world's first nation to adopt Christianity as its national religion, in 301 A.D.
However, the Armenians are a long-suffering people. And, as a Christian minority in the declining Ottoman Empire, they had suffered many previous persecutions and even massacres. So it is possible that Colombia's Armenia was named after a previous massacre of Armenians.
|Coat of arms of Armenia, |
After the Ottoman Empire's disintegration during World War I, Armenia was briefly an independent nation, before being swallowed up by the Soviet Union. It finally gained lasting independence in 1991, after the Soviet disintegration. Today, it is a parliamentary republic with an authoritarian government.
Many call the massacres of 1915 the 20th Century's first genocide. While planning the genocide of the Jews, Gypsies, communists and others, Adolf Hitler reportedly asked 'Who remembers the Armenians?'
Today, it seems, much of the world does remember the Armenians - but the Turkish government stubbornly refuses to acknowledge a genocide which the nearly all serious historians do agree happened. Sadly, too, U.S. presidents have not used the word 'genocide' so as not to damage relations with their Turkish ally.
In February, Turkey's increasingly authoritarian Erdogan visited Bogotá to talk about trade. Colombian Pres. Santos, who wants the whole world to pay attention to human rights violations in his country, didn't mention human rights violations in Turkey, past or present.
|Armenians massacred by the Ottoman Turks during the 1915 genocide.|
|Flag of the nation of Armenia.|
By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours