"To Know Wisdom and Instruction": The Armenian Literary Tradition at the Library of Congress
The Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries
The eighteenth century is considered a period of an Armenian enlightenment as the subjects of Armenian publications expanded to include a broader spectrum of disciplines. The Diaspora itself, propelled by Armenian mercantile activity, expanded into influential communities further into Asia, even for a short period into India, where, in Calcutta, the first Armenian newspaper was published in 1795. Russian expansionism led to its takeover in 1828 of the Caucasus, consisting of present-day Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia. Armenians started presses in Yerevan and elsewhere in the Russian Empire. As a result of massacres and war, Armenians in the Ottoman Empire were forced to emigrate, and many came to the United States, where the first press was established in 1888.
Throughout this period manuscript copying, albeit to a much-reduced degree, coexisted with printed works. Monastery-based presses, such as those in Venice and Vienna, as well as other presses elsewhere in Europe, Constantinople, and Jerusalem, produced studies about specific topics ranging from cotton production to firefighting, books in Armeno-Turkish (Turkish written in the Armenian alphabet), newspapers, and journals. During the nineteenth century scholarly and literary Armenian periodicals began to be published throughout the Armenian world.