During the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, Armenia became part of the Ottoman Empire. The leaders of the Ottoman Empire were generally Muslim, while the Armenians were Christians, so they received higher taxes and had very few political and legal rights.
Despite all of those setbacks, the Armenians thrived. They were better educated and were wealthier than their Turkish neighbors, who started to hate the Armenians. There were also common suspicion that Christian Armenians would be more loyal to a Christian ruler than to the Ottoman caliphate.
As the Ottoman Empire collapsed, the suspicions grew and grew. At the end of the 1800's, the king of the Ottoman Empire, Sultan Abdul Hamid II, was obsessed with loyalty. Finally, he said he would "solve the Armenian equation."
Between 1894-6, the Ottoman Empire had a state-sanctioned pogrom. The government sacked Armenian villages and cities and massacred their citizens. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians were killed. In 1908, a new government came to power. A group of reformers called the "Young Turks" overthrew the current Sultan and established a more constitutional government. The Armenians thought they would be better off, but the "Young Turks" were even more nationalistic than the previous government.
On April 24, 1915, the Armenian Genocide began. That day, the Turkish government arrested and killed several hundred Armenian scholars. After that, ordinary Armenians were sent out of their houses and forced to walk through the Mesopotamian Desert without food or water until they died, and if they stopped to rest, they would be shot.
At the same time, the Young Turks created an organization that killed many Christians. They drowned people in rivers, threw them off cliffs, and burned them alive. In 1922, only 300,000 Armenians remained in the Ottoman Empire.
In March 2010, Congress finally voted to recognize the Armenian Genocide as a Genocide, as they were reluctant to do so for so many years, due to their alliance with Turkey.