|1.||a republic in NW Asia: the region was acquired by Russia from Persia in the early 19th century; became the Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic in 1936 and gained independence in 1991; consists of dry subtropical steppes around the Aras and Kura rivers, surrounded by the Caucasus; contains the extensive Baku oilfields. Language: Azerbaijani (or Azeri). Religion: Shiite Muslim. Currency: manat. Capital: Baku. Pop: Pop: 8 447 000 (2004 est). Area: 86 600 sq km (33 430 sq miles)|
|2.||a mountainous region of NW Iran, separated from the republic of Azerbaijan by the Aras River: divided administratively into Eastern Azerbaijan and Western Azerbaijan. Capitals: Tabriz and Orumiyeh. Pop: 2 119 524 (2002 est)|
Note: This former member of the Soviet Union declared its independence in 1991.
Note: Predominantly Muslim, Azerbaijan has been involved in an often violent dispute with Armenia, its predominantly Christian neighbor, over Nagorno-Karabakh, a mainly Armenian region of Azerbaijan.
Note: The country possesses valuable oil reserves.