Azerbaijan has an ancient and historic cultural heritage. The Azerbaijani Republic was one of the very first Muslim-majority countries to have operas and theaters. The Azerbaijan Democratic Republic was proclaimed in 1918, but was incorporated into the Soviet Union in 1920 as the Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic.
Azerbaijan proclaimed its independence in October 1991, before the official dissolution of the USSR. Earlier, in September 1991, the disputed Armenian-majority Nagorno-Karabakh region affirmed its willingness to create a separate state as the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic. As of this writing, Nagorno Karabakh Republic has not been diplomatically recognized by any other state.
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