Armenians (Armenian: հայեր, hayer ) are a nation and ethnic group native to the Armenian Highland.
The Republic of Armenia and the unrecognized de facto independent Nagorno-Karabakh Republic are the two countries where Armenians form a majority, both with a nearly homogeneous population. Because of a wide-ranging and long-lasting diaspora, an estimated total of 5-7 million people of full or partial Armenian ancestry live outside of Armenia. As a result of the Armenian Genocide, a large number of survivors fled to many countries throughout the world. The largest Armenian populations are in Russia, the United States, France, Georgia, Iran, Lebanon, and Syria.
Most Armenians adhere to the Armenian Apostolic Church, a non-Chalcedonian church, which is also the world's oldest national church. Christianity began to spread in Armenia soon after Jesus's death, due to the efforts of two of his apostles, St. Thaddeus and St. Bartholomew. In the early 4th century, the Kingdom of Armenia became the first nation to adopt Christianity as a state religion.
Armenian is an Indo-European language isolate. It has two mutually intelligible and written forms: Eastern Armenian, today spoken mainly in Armenia, Nagorno-Karabakh, Iran and the former Soviet republics, and Western Armenian, used in the historical Western Armenia and, after the Armenian Genocide, primarily amongst the Armenian diaspora and West Armenian descendants living in the Samtskhe-Javakheti province of the Republic of Georgia.
The unique Armenian alphabet was invented in 405 AD by the scholar and evangelizer Mesrop Mashtots.