The Armenian Genocide, also known as the Armenian Holocaust, the Armenian Massacres and, among Armenians, the Great Crime was the Ottoman government’s systematic uprooting and extermination of its minority Armenian population from their historic homeland in Turkey.
Those tragic events took place during and after World War I, in two phases: the wholesale killing and enslavement of the able-bodied males, and the deportation of women, children, the elderly and infirm on death marches to the Syrian Desert.
The total number of people killed as a result is estimated at between 1 and 1.5 million. The Assyrians, the Greeks and other minority groups were similarly targeted for extermination by the Ottoman government, as part of the same genocidal policy.
It is considered by many to have been the first modern genocide, due to the organized manner in which the killings were carried out to eliminate the Armenians.
The starting date of the genocide is conventionally held to be April 24, 1915, the day when Ottoman authorities arrested some 250 Armenian intellectuals and community leaders in Constantinople.
Later, the Ottoman military uprooted Armenians from their homes and forced them to march for hundreds of miles, without food and water, to the Syrian desert. Massacres ensued, as well as rape and other sexual abuse.
The majority of Armenian diaspora communities were founded as a result of the Armenian genocide.
Modern Turkey, the successor state of the Ottoman Empire, claims the word genocide is an inaccurate description of those events. To date, twenty countries have officially recognized the events of the period as genocide, and most genocide scholars and historians accept this view.