The Caucasian Republics examines the three republics of the Transcaucasus - Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia - which are situated in the area between Europe and Asia, extending from the Greater Caucasus to the Turkish and Iranian borders, between the Black and Caspian seas. Although small and isolated by mountain chains, the region's location at crossroads between major world cultures has historically enhanced its importance as it served as a buffer zone between competing nations and a center of trade. Today, the region's oil and gas resources, and its geopolitical importance, have attracted the attention of both Western and Russian businessmen. Western companies see the region as a bridge between Central Asia and the open seas, enabling them to avoid both Iran and Russia. For Russia, the region is both a gateway to the Middle East and a bulwark against Western or Turkish influences on its southern borders. This richly informative volume is an ideal starting point for students and general readers interested in the countries and peoples of this region.