The Aq Qoyunlu confederation at its greatest extent
|Kara Yuluk Osman|
|Murad ibn Ya'qub|
The Aq Qoyunlu or Ak Koyunlu, also called the White Sheep Turkomans (Persian : آق قویونلوĀq Quyūnlū) was a Persianate Sunni Oghuz Turkic tribal confederation that ruled parts of present-day Eastern Turkey from 1378 to 1501, and in their last decades also ruled Armenia, Azerbaijan, most part of Iran, and Iraq.
Persian, also known by its endonym Farsi, is a Western Iranian language within the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European language family. It is a pluricentric language primarily spoken in Iran, Afghanistan and Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and some other regions which historically were Persianate societies and considered part of Greater Iran. It is written right to left in the Persian alphabet, a modified variant of the Arabic script.
Sunni Islam is the largest denomination of Islam, followed by 75-90% of the world's Muslims. Its name comes from the word sunnah, referring to the behaviour of the Islamic prophet Muhammad. The differences between Sunni and Shia Muslims arose from a disagreement over the succession to Muhammad and subsequently acquired broader political significance, as well as theological and juridical dimensions.
The Oghuz, Oguz or Ghuzz Turks were western Turkic people who spoke the Oghuz languages from the Common branch of Turkic language family. In the 8th century, they formed a tribal confederation conventionally named the Oghuz Yabgu State in central Asia. The name Oghuz is a Common Turkic word for "tribe". Byzantine sources call the Oghuz the Uzes. By the 10th century, Islamic sources were calling them Muslim Turkmens, as opposed to shamanist or Buddhist. By the 12th century this term had passed into Byzantine usage and the Oghuzes were overwhelmingly Muslim.
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According to chronicles from the Byzantine Empire, the Aq Qoyunlu are first attested in the district of Bayburt south of the Pontic mountains from at least the 1340s,and a number of their leaders, including the dynasty's founder, Qara Osman, married Byzantine princesses.
The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire or Byzantium, is the common name given to the surviving Roman Empire in its eastern provinces during Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, when its capital city was Constantinople. It survived the fragmentation and fall of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century AD and continued to exist for an additional thousand years until it fell to the Ottoman Turks in 1453. During most of its existence, the empire was the most powerful economic, cultural, and military force in Europe. Both "Byzantine Empire" and "Eastern Roman Empire" are terms created after the end of the realm; its citizens continued to refer to their empire simply as the Roman Empire, or Romania (Ῥωμανία), and to themselves as "Romans".
Bayburt Province is a province of Turkey. Located in the Northeast Anatolia region of the country, the capital city is Bayburt, and with a population of 74,412 is the least-populous province in Turkey.
A dynasty is a sequence of rulers from the same family, usually in the context of a feudal or monarchical system, but sometimes also appearing in elective republics. Alternative terms for "dynasty" may include "house", "family" and "clan", among others. The longest-surviving dynasty in the world is the Imperial House of Japan, otherwise known as the Yamato dynasty, whose reign is traditionally dated to 660 BC.
The Aq Qoyunlu Turkomans first acquired land in 1402, when Timur granted them all of Diyar Bakr in present-day Turkey. For a long time, the Aq Qoyunlu were unable to expand their territory, as the rival Kara Koyunlu or "Black Sheep Turkomans" kept them at bay. However, this changed with the rule of Uzun Hasan, who defeated the Black Sheep Turkoman leader Jahān Shāh in 1467.
Timur, sometimes spelled Taimur and historically best known as Amir Timur or Tamerlane, was a Turco-Mongol Persianate conqueror. As the founder of the Timurid Empire in and around modern-day Iran and Central Asia, he became the first ruler of the Timurid dynasty. According to John Joseph Saunders, Timur was "the product of an Islamized and Iranized society", and not steppe nomadic.
Diyār Bakr is the medieval Arabic name of the northernmost of the three provinces of the Jazira, the other two being Diyar Mudar and Diyar Rabi'a. According to al-Baladhuri, all three provinces were named after the main Arab tribes that were settled there by Mu'awiyah in the course of the Muslim conquests of the 7th century. The Diyar Bakr was settled by the Rabi'a subgroup of the Banu Bakr, and hence the two provinces are sometimes referred to collectively as "Diyar Rabi'a". In later Turkish usage, "Diyar Bakr" referred to the western portion of the former province, around Amid.
The Kara Koyunlu or Qara Qoyunlu, also called the Black Sheep Turkomans, were a Muslim Oghuz Turkic monarchy that ruled over the territory comprising present-day Azerbaijan, Georgia, Armenia, northwestern Iran, eastern Turkey, and northeastern Iraq from about 1374 to 1468.
After the defeat of a Timurid leader, Abu Sa'id Mirza, Uzun Hasan was able to take Baghdad along with territories around the Persian Gulf. He expanded into Iran as far east as Khorasan. However, around this time, the Ottoman Empire sought to expand eastwards, a serious threat that forced the Aq Qoyunlu into an alliance with the Karamanids of central Anatolia.
Abū Saʿīd Mirza was an important member of the Timurid dynasty. He was the ruler of a large area in Transoxiana, Khurasan and the southern Caspian region. However, his greater claim to fame lies in his bloodline and subsequent lineage: Abu Sa'id Mirza was a male-line great-grandson of Timur the Great, and he was the paternal grandfather of Babur, who would found the Mughal empire of India.
Baghdad is the capital of Iraq. The population of Baghdad, as of 2016, is approximately 8,765,000, making it the largest city in Iraq, the second largest city in the Arab world, and the second largest city in Western Asia.
The Persian Gulf is a mediterranean sea in Western Asia. The body of water is an extension of the Indian Ocean through the Strait of Hormuz and lies between Iran to the northeast and the Arabian Peninsula to the southwest. The Shatt al-Arab river delta forms the northwest shoreline.
As early as 1464, Uzun Hasan had requested military aid from one of the Ottoman Empire's strongest enemies, Venice. Despite Venetian promises, this aid never arrived and, as a result, Uzun Hassan was defeated by the Ottomans at the Battle of Otlukbeli in 1473,though this did not destroy the Aq Qoyunlu.
The Republic of Venice or Venetian Republic, traditionally known as La Serenissima was a sovereign state and maritime republic in northeastern Italy, which existed for over a millennium between the 7th century and the 18th century from 697 AD until 1797 AD. It was based in the lagoon communities of the historically prosperous city of Venice, and was a leading European economic and trading power during the Middle Ages and the Renaissance.
The Battle of Otlukbeli or Otluk Beli was a battle between Ak Koyunlu and the Ottoman Empire that was fought on August 11, 1473.
When Uzun Hasan died early in 1478, he was succeeded by his son Khalil Mirza, but the latter was defeated by a confederation under his younger brother Ya'qub at the Battle of Khoy in July.
Yaqub b. Uzun Hasan commonly known as Sultan Ya'qub was the ruler of Aq Qoyunlu dynasty from 1478 until his death in December 14, 1490. A son of Uzun Hasan, he became the ruler of the dynasty after the death of Sultan Khalil. The borders of Aq Qoyunlu dynasty remained stable during his reign. In his book Alam-Aray-i Amini, Fazl b. Ruzbihan Khunji praised him as a decent successor of Uzun Hasan. Other historians also praised Ya'qub for his patronage of scientists and poets.
Ya'qub, who reigned from 1478 to 1490, sustained the dynasty for a while longer. However, during the first four years of his reign there were seven pretenders to the throne who had to be put down.Following Ya'qub's death, civil war again erupted, the Aq Qoyunlus destroyed themselves from within, and they ceased to be a threat to their neighbors.
The early Safavids, who were followers of the Safaviyya religious order, began to undermine the allegiance of the Aq Qoyunlu. The Safavids and the Aq Qoyunlu met in battle in the city of Nakhchivan in 1501 and the Safavid leader Ismail I forced the Aq Qoyunlu to withdraw.
In his retreat from the Safavids, the Aq Qoyunlu leader Alwand destroyed an autonomous state of the Aq Qoyunlu in Mardin. The last Aq Qoyunlu leader, Murad, brother of Alwand, was also defeated by the same Safavid leader. Though Murād briefly established himself in Baghdad in 1501, he soon withdrew back to Diyar Bakr, signaling the end of the Aq Qoyunlu rule.
The leaders of Aq Qoyunlu were from the Begundur or Bayandur clan of the Oghuz Turksand were considered descendants of the semi-mythical founding father of the Oghuz, Oghuz Khan. The Bayandurs behaved like statesmen rather than warlords and gained the support of the merchant and feudal classes of Transcaucasia (present day Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia).
With the conquest of Iran, not only did the Aq Qoyunlu center of power shift eastward, but Iranian influences were soon brought to bear on their method of government and their culture.In the Iranian provinces Uzun Hassan maintained the preexisting administrative system along with its officials, whose families had in some cases served under different dynasties for several generations. There were only four top civil posts, all held by Iranians, in Uzun Hassan's time: those of the vizier, who headed the great council (divan); the mostawfi al-mamalek, who was in charge of the financial administration; the mohrdar, who affixed the state seal; and the marakur "stable master", who looked after the royal court.
In letters from the Ottoman Sultans, when addressing the kings of Aq Qoyunlu, such titles as Arabic : ملك الملوك الأيرانية "King of Iranian Kings", Arabic : سلطان السلاطين الإيرانية "Sultan of Iranian Sultans", Persian : شاهنشاه ایران خدیو عجمShāhanshāh-e Irān Khadiv-e Ajam "Shahanshah of Iran and Ruler of Persia", Jamshid shawkat va Fereydun rāyat va Dārā derāyat "Powerful like Jamshid, flag of Fereydun and wise like Darius" have been used. Uzun Hassan also held the title Padishah-i Irān "Padishah of Iran", which was re-adopted again in the Safavid times through his distaff grandson Ismail I, founder of the Safavid Empire.
Amidst the struggle for power between Uzun Hasan's grandsons Baysungur (son of Yaqub) and Rustam (son of Maqsud), their cousin Ahmed Bey appeared on the stage. Ahmed Bey was the son of Uzun Hasan's eldest son Uğurlu Muhammad, who, in 1475, escaped to the Ottoman Empire, where the sultan, Mehmed the Conqueror, received Uğurlu Muhammad with kindness and gave him his daughter in marriage, of whom Ahmed Bey was born.
According to Hasan Rumlu's Ahsan al-tavarikh, in 1496-7, Hasan Ali Tarkhani went to the Ottoman Empire to tell Sultan Bayezid II that Azerbaijan and Persian Iraq were defenceless and suggested that Ahmed Bey, heir to that kingdom, should be sent there with Ottoman troops. Beyazid agreed to this idea, and by May 1497 Ahmad Bey faced Rustam near Araxes and defeated him.
The Safavid dynasty was one of the most significant ruling dynasties of Iran, often considered the beginning of modern Iranian history. The Safavid shahs ruled over one of the Gunpowder Empires. They ruled one of the greatest Iranian empires after the 7th-century Muslim conquest of Iran, and established the Twelver school of Shia Islam as the official religion of the empire, marking one of the most important turning points in Muslim history.
Ismail I, also known as Shah Ismail I, was the founder of the Safavid dynasty, ruling from 1501 to 23 May 1524 as Shah of Iran (Persia).
Uzun Hasan or Uzun Hassan was the 9th shahanshah of the Oghuz Turkic Aq Qoyunlu dynasty, also known as the White Sheep Turkomans, and generally considered to be its strongest ruler. Hasan ruled between 1453 and 1478, and would preside over the federations' territorial apex, when it included parts or all of present-day Iraq, Turkey, Azerbaijan, Iran, Transcaucasia and Syria.
Muzaffar al-Din Jahan Shah ibn Yusuf was the leader of the Kara Koyunlu Oghuz Turks dynasty in Azerbaijan and Arran who reigned c. 1438 – 1467. During his reign he managed to expand the Kara Koyunlu’s territory to its largest extent, including Eastern Anatolia, most of present-day Iraq, central Iran, and even eventually Kerman. He also subjugated neighbouring states. He was one of the greatest rulers of the Kara Koyunlu. He was also allegedly fond of drinking and entertainment. During his reign Jahan Shah had the Gökmedrese and Muzafferiye theological schools constructed in his capital city Tabriz.
Qara Osman was a late 14th and early 15th-century leader of the Turkmen tribal federation of Aq Qoyunlu in what is now eastern Turkey, Iran, Azerbaijan and Iraq.
Qizilbash or Kizilbash were a wide variety of Shi'i militant groups that flourished in Iranian Azerbaijan, Anatolia and Kurdistan from the late 15th century onwards, some of which contributed to the foundation of the Safavid dynasty of Iran.
The Shamlu tribe was one of the seven original and the most powerful Qizilbash tribes of Turcoman origin in Iran.
Shaykh Haydar or Sheikh Haydar was the successor of his father as leader of the Safavid order from 1460-1488. Haydar maintained the policies and political ambitions initiated by his father. Under Sheikh Haydar, the order became crystallized as a political movement with an increasingly extremist heterodox Twelver Shi'i coloring and Haydar was viewed as a divine figure by his followers. Shaykh Haydar was responsible for instructing his followers to adopt the scarlet headgear of 12 gores commemorating The Twelve Imams, which led to them being designated by the Turkish term Qizilbash "Red Head".
Jalaluddin Muhammad bin As'ad dawani, often referred to as Jalaluddin Dawani, Jalal Al-Din Muhammad ibn Asad Al-Dawani, or Allamah Mohaghegh, was a leading philosopher, theologian, jurist and poet of 15th Century Iran. He spent most of his life in Dawan and he had strong connections with the local Qara Qoyunlu, Aq Qoyunlu, Timurid and Ottoman rulers, accepting a number of important government positions from them. He wrote a number of works on theology, philosophy and law. He died shortly after the founding of the Safavid dynasty, but before Shah Isma'il I captured the province of Fars.
After the devastating invasions by Timur and subsequent enfeeblement of the Kingdom of Georgia, it soon faced a new threat. Timur's death in 1405 marked the beginning of the end of his Empire, unified only by fear and blood of the subjected peoples. Turkomans, particularly the Kara Koyunlu clan, were among the first to rebel against Shah Rukh who ruled most of the Persia and Mawerannahr. Qara Yusuf, ruler of the Kara Koyunlu, defeated Shah Rukh, captured Baghdad, and repulsed Timurids from western Persia. After they established themselves as the new leading power in the middle east. They took advantage of the temporary weakness of Georgians and launched attacks against them, apparently in which, George VII of Georgia was killed. Constantine I of Georgia, fearing further encroachment, allied himself with the Shirvanshah Ibrahim I to counter Turkoman advance and engaged them in the Battle of Chalagan, in which he was defeated and taken captive. In captivity Constantine behaved very proudly, which infuriated Qara Yusuf to such an extent, that he ordered his, his half-brother David's and 300 Georgian nobles' execution.
Sara Khatun, or Saray Khatun, was a diplomat of Aq Qoyunlu state and Uzun Hassan’s mother.
The Battle of Chapakchur (Turkish:Çapakçur) was a decisive battle fought between Kara Koyunlu under the leadership of Jahan Shah and Aq Qoyunlu under the leadership of Uzun Hasan. Jahan Shah was defeated by Uzun Hasan in a battle near the sanjak of Çapakçur in present-day eastern Turkey on October 30, 1467.
Theodora Megale Komnene, also known as Despina Khatun, was the daughter of John IV of Trebizond, who married the Aq Qoyunlu ruler Uzun Hasan in 1458. She became the mother of Martha (Halima) who became the mother of first Safavid king, Shah Ismail I.
Hossein Beg Laleh Shamlu was a Qizilbash officer of Turkoman origin, who occupied high offices under the Safavid king Ismail I and was the first person to serve as the vakil (vicegerent) of the empire.
Alam-Aray-i Amini is a book on the history of Aq Qoyunlu dynasty and the rise of Safavids. Dedicated to Abul Fath Mirza Baysonqor, the book is written by Fazl b. Ruzbihan Khunji in Persian language between 892 and 897 AH. The book is translated by Vladimir Minorsky into English. Minorsky highly praised the author for his neutrality. The book is one of the few primary sources on the history of Aq Qoyunlu dynasty and in particular, it contains valuable information about the reigns of Sultan Ya'qub, Sultan Khalil and Uzun Hasan.
Tajlu Khanum, also known by her title of Shah-Begi Khanum, was a Turcoman princess from the Mawsillu tribe. She was a granddaughter of the Aq Qoyunlu ruler Yaqub bin Uzun Hasan.