The photo above depicts a festive procession and military parade in Yerevan in honor of the birthday of the First Republic of Armenia. Exactly 100 years ago, on May 28, 1919, the Parliament of the First Republic at a specially convened solemn meeting adopted a historic act, the Declaration on United and Independent Armenia.
This was the realization of the most cherished idea of the Armenian nation that had survived the Armenian Genocide – to unite and include the historical territories of Eastern Armenia and Western Armenia into one Armenian statehood.
The declaration adopted by the Armenian parliament said: “To restore the integrity of Armenia and to ensure absolute freedom and prosperity of the nation, the Government of Armenia, according to the unanimous will and desire of the Armenian people, states that from today, the divided parts of Armenia are united forever as one independent state.”
The unique historical photograph captures a fragment from the parade held in Yerevan on May 28, 1919, in honor of the first anniversary of the independence of the Republic of Armenia and the creation of United Armenia.
The celebration was organized using all the attributes of an independent republic. The parade was officially hosted by the Acting Prime Minister Alexander Khatisian (Prime Minister Kajaznuni was on a diplomatic visit to the United States at that time) and Minister of War Kristapor Araratian, who had been one of the Armenian commanders in the Sardarapat Battle.
According to the memoirs of the contemporaries of the First Republic, the event was attended by many Armenians. Present were members of the Armenian parliament, members of the government, high officials of the Armenian army, diplomatic representatives of all embassies accredited in Armenia, numerous guests from the Armenian diaspora, as well as children from orphanages.
The festive parade took place along the central streets of Yerevan, and the main events took place on the Central Square (Republic Square). To the sounds of a brass band, the military units of the Yerevan regiment marched across the square in full dress uniform.
Since Yerevan was full of refugees from Western Armenia, Armenians from different regions participated in the festive procession in separate groups, in clothes appropriate to the given region, and with posters on which the names of their areas were written.
Thus, a young independent Armenia embarked on a difficult, full of internal and external dangers road, on which a free and independent state was to be finally established. However, all this was brought to an end in the autumn of 1920, when the Russian-Turkish joint army treacherously attacked, occupied, and divided the historical lands of Armenia.