Today Azerbaijan celebrates the Republic Day. Azerbaijan People’s Republic - the first republic in the Muslim world - was proclaimed on May 28, 1918.
Azerbaijan proclaimed its independence after the collapse of the Transcaucasian Democratic Federative Republic on May 26, 1918 caused by confrontations between Georgian, Armenian and Azerbaijani factions in the Transcaucasian parliament. On May 26 Georgian Deputies dropped out of the Federation and proclaimed independence of Georgia and on May 27 members of the Muslim faction of the Transcaucasian parliament decided to proclaim independence of Azerbaijan and announced themselves the Interim National Council of Azerbaijan. At that session Mamed Emin Rasulzada was elected chairman of the National Council of Azerbaijan.
The Independence Declaration was adopted on May 28, 1918. The Declaration announced creation of the democratic parliament republic in Azerbaijan and it said that all nations living in Azerbaijan have sovereign rights and Azerbaijan is an independence state.
The National Council operated in Tbilisi for 18 days and then moved to Ganja. At that time Baku was controlled by the Baku commune led by Stepan Shaumian. In September 1918 the Azerbaijan People’s Republic government moved to Baku after the liberation of Baku from the Menshevik government “Dictatorship of Central Caspian” by the Caucasian Turkish Islamic army.
Azerbaijan People’s Republic guaranteed rights and freedoms of all citizens, irrespective of their nationality and religion. For the first time in the Muslim world women had electoral rights and the Republic was recognized at the Versailles World Conference.
During 23 months Azerbaijan People’s Republic’s government adopted several laws, implemented political, military, legal and economic reforms and created the first university.