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Caucasian Albanians, the original inhabitants of northeastern Azerbaijan, ruled that area from around the 4th century BC, and established an independent kingdom.
The Sasanian Empire turned Caucasian Albania into a vassal state in 252, while King Urnayr officially adopted Christianity as the state religion in the 4th century.
Later it became part of Alexander the Great's Empire and its successor, the Seleucid Empire.
During this period, Zoroastrianism spread in the Caucasus and Atropatene.
The power vacuum left by the decline of the Abbasid Caliphate was filled by numerous local dynasties such as the Sallarids, Sajids, and Shaddadids.
At the beginning of the 11th century, the territory was gradually seized by waves of Oghuz Turks from Central Asia.
Azerbaijan has diplomatic relations with 158 countries and holds membership in 38 international organizations.
and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.
Despite being one of the chief vassals of the Sasanian emperor, the Albanian king had only a semblance of authority, and the Sasanian marzban (military governor) held most civil, religious, and military authority.
It is bound by the Caspian Sea to the east, Russia to the north, Georgia to the northwest, Armenia to the west and Iran to the south.
The exclave of Nakhchivan is bound by Armenia to the north and east, Iran to the south and west, and has an 11 km long border with Turkey in the north west.
Most Azerbaijanis, however, do not actively practice any religion, and the country has been seen to be one of the most irreligious countries in the Muslim world, with 53% stating religion has little to no importance in their lives, according to Pew Research Center and Gallup polls.
The original etymology of this name is thought to have its roots in the once-dominant Zoroastrianism.