Hotak dynasty

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Hotak Empire

Black flag.svg
Map of The Hotakids.png
Hotak Empire at its peak (1722–1729)
Capital Kandahar
Common languages Pashto
Sunni Islam
GovernmentAbsolute monarchy
Mirwais Hotak
Abdul Aziz Hotak
Mahmud Hotak
Ashraf Hotak
Hussain Hotak
Historical era Early modern period
21 April 1709
24 March 1738
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Safavid Flag.svg Safavid dynasty
Blank.png Mughal Empire
Afsharid dynasty Nader Shah Flag.svg

The Hotak dynasty (Pashto : د هوتکيانو ټولواکمني) was an Afghan monarchy of the Ghilji Pashtuns, [1] [2] established in April 1709 by Mirwais Hotak after leading a successful revolution against their declining Persian Safavid overlords in the region of Loy Kandahar ("Greater Kandahar") in what is now southern Afghanistan. [1] It lasted until 1738 when the founder of the Afsharid dynasty, Nader Shah Afshar, defeated Hussain Hotak during the long siege of Kandahar, and started the reestablishment of Iranian suzerainty over all regions lost decades before against the Iranian archrival, the Ottoman Empire, and the Russian Empire. [3] At its peak, the Hotak dynasty ruled briefly over an area which is now Afghanistan, Iran, western Pakistan, and some parts of Tajikistan and Turkmenistan.

Monarchy system of government where the head of state position is inherited within family

A monarchy is a form of government in which a single person holds supreme authority in ruling a country, also performing ceremonial duties and embodying the country's national identity. Although some monarchs are elected, in most cases, the monarch's position is inherited and lasts until death or abdication. In these cases, the royal family or members of the dynasty usually serve in official capacities as well. The governing power of the monarch may vary from purely symbolic, to partial and restricted, to completely autocratic.

(Tarakai : ترہ کئ Taraki )

Mirwais Hotak Founder of Hotak dynasty

Mīrwais Khān Hotak, also known as Shāh Mirwais Ghiljī, was an influential tribal chief of the Ghilji Pashtuns from Kandahar, Afghanistan, who founded the Hotak dynasty that existed from 1709 to 1738. After revolting and killing the Safavid Persian governor over the region, Gurgin Khan in April 1709, he declared the Loy Kandahar region in what is now southern Afghanistan independent. He is widely known as Mīrwais Nīkə or Mīrwais Bābā in the Pashto language.


In 1715, Mirwais died of a natural cause and his brother Abdul Aziz succeeded the monarchy. He was quickly followed by Mahmud who ruled the empire at its largest extent for a mere three years. Following the 1729 Battle of Damghan, where Ashraf Hotak was roundly defeated by Nader Shah, Ashraf was banished to what is now southern Afghanistan with Hotak rule being confined to it. Hussain Hotak became the last ruler until he was also defeated in 1738.

Shāh Abdul Azīz Hotak was the second ruler of the Ghilji Hotak dynasty of Kandahar, in what is now the modern state of Afghanistan. He was crowned in 1715 after the death of his brother, Mirwais Hotak. He is the father of Ashraf Hotak, the fourth ruler of the Hotak dynasty. Abdul Aziz was killed in 1717 by his nephew Mahmud Hotak.

Mahmud Hotak ruler of the Hotaki dynasty from Afghanistan

Shāh Mahmūd Hotak,, also known as Shāh Mahmūd Ghiljī, was an Afghan ruler of the Hotak dynasty who overthrew the heavily declined Safavid dynasty to briefly become the king of Persia from 1722 until his death in 1725.

Battle of Damghan (1729)

The Battle of Damghan ‌ or Battle of Mehmandoost ‌ was fought on September 29 to October 5, 1729, near the city of Damghan. It resulted in an overwhelming victory for Nader and the Safavid cause he had taken up, though by itself it did not end Ashraf's rule in Persia, it was a significant triumph which led to further successes in the following engagements of the campaign to restore Tahmasp II to the throne. The battle was followed by another one in Murcheh-Khort, a village near Isfahan. Nader's forces were victorious in both battles, which led him to remove the Ghilzai Afghan dynasty from their short stay on the Persian throne. The Hotakis were forced back to their territory in what is now southern Afghanistan.

Rise to power

Loy Kandahar was ruled by the Shi'a Safavids as their far easternmost territory from the 16th century until the early 18th century, while the native Afghan tribes living in the area were Sunni Muslims. Immediately to the east began the Sunni Mughul Empire, who occasionally fought wars with the powerful Safavids over the territory of southern Afghanistan. [4] The area to the north, was controlled by the Khanate of Bukhara at the same time.

Shia Islam Denomination of Islam which holds that Muhammad designated Ali as his successor and leader (imam), whose adherents form the majority of the population in Iran, Iraq, Azerbaijan, and Bahrain

Shia Islam is one of the two main branches of Islam. It holds that the Islamic prophet Muhammad designated Ali ibn Abi Talib as his successor and the Imam (leader) after him, most notably at the event of Ghadir Khumm, but was prevented from the caliphate as a result of the incident of Saqifah. This view primarily contrasts with that of Sunni Islam, whose adherents believe that Muhammad did not appoint a successor and consider Abu Bakr, who they claim was appointed caliph by a small group of Muslims at Saqifah, to be the first rightful caliph after the Prophet.

Sunni Islam denomination of Islam

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.

Khanate of Bukhara former country

The Khanate of Bukhara was an Uzbek state from the second quarter of the 16th century to the late 18th century in Central Asia. Bukhara became the capital of the short-lived Shaybanid empire during the reign of Ubaydallah Khan (1533–1540). The khanate reached its greatest extent and influence under its penultimate Shaybanid ruler, the scholarly Abdullah Khan II.

By the late 17th century, the Iranian Safavids, like their arch rival the Ottoman Turks, had been starting to heavily decline due to misrule, sectarian strife, and foreign interests. In 1704, the Safavid Shah Husayn appointed his Georgian subject and king of Kartli George XI (Gurgīn Khān), who had converted to Islam like many other Georgians under Ottoman or Persian rule, as the commander-in-chief of the easternmost provinces of the Safavid Empire, in what is now Afghanistan. [5] His first task was to quell the uprisings in the region. Gurgin began imprisoning and executing Afghans, especially those suspected of organizing rebellions, successfully crushing the rebellions.[ citation needed ] One of those arrested and imprisoned was Mirwais who belonged to an influential Hotak family in the Kandahar region. Mirwais was sent as a prisoner to the Persian court in Isfahan but the charges against him were dismissed by Shah Husayn, so he was sent back to his native land as a free man. [6]

The Ottoman Turks were the Turkish-speaking population of the Ottoman Empire who formed the base of the state's military and ruling classes. Reliable information about the early history of Ottoman Turks is scarce, but they take their Turkish name, Osmanlı, from the house of Osman I, the founder of the dynasty that ruled the Ottoman Empire for its entire 624 years. After the expansion from its home in Bithynia, the Ottoman principality began incorporating other Turkish-speaking Muslims and non-Turkish Christians, becoming the Ottoman Turks and ultimately the Turks of the present. The Ottoman Turks blocked all land routes to Europe by conquering the city of Constantinople, the capital city of the Byzantine Empire, and Europeans had to find other ways to trade with Eastern countries.

Sultan Husayn King of Iran

Sultan Husayn, reigned 1694–1722; was a Safavid Shah of Iran (Persia). He ruled from 1694 until he was overthrown in 1722 by rebellious marauder Mahmud Hotaki, an Afghan of Pashtun ethnic background. His reign saw the downfall of the Safavid dynasty, which had ruled Persia since the beginning of the 16th century.

Kartli Historical Region in Georgia

Kartli is a historical region in central-to-eastern Georgia traversed by the river Mtkvari (Kura), on which Georgia's capital, Tbilisi, is situated. Known to the Classical authors as Iberia, Kartli played a crucial role in the ethnic and political consolidation of the Georgians in the Middle Ages. Kartli had no strictly defined boundaries and they significantly fluctuated in the course of history. After the partition of the kingdom of Georgia in the 15th century, Kartli became a separate kingdom with its capital at Tbilisi. The historical lands of Kartli are currently divided among several administrative regions of Georgia.

In April 1709, Mirwais, protected by the Ghaznavid Nasher Khans, [7] and along with his followers revolted against the Safavid rule at Kandahar. The uprising began when Gurgīn Khān and his escort were killed during a feast that was organized by Mirwais at his farmhouse outside the city. It is reported that drinking of wine was involved. Next, Mirwais ordered the killings of the remaining Persian military officials in the region. The Afghans then defeated a twice as large Persian army that had been dispatched from Isfahan (capital of the Safavids), one which included Qizilbash and Georgian/Circassian troops. [8]

Farmhouse main house of a farm

A farmhouse is a building that serves as the primary residence in a rural or agricultural setting. Historically, farmhouses were often combined with space for animals called a housebarn. Other farmhouses may be connected to one or more barns, built to form a courtyard, or with each farm building separate from each other.

Wine alcoholic drink made from grapes

Wine is an alcoholic drink made from fermented grapes. Yeast consumes the sugar in the grapes and converts it to ethanol, carbon dioxide, and heat. Different varieties of grapes and strains of yeasts produce different styles of wine. These variations result from the complex interactions between the biochemical development of the grape, the reactions involved in fermentation, the terroir, and the production process. Many countries enact legal appellations intended to define styles and qualities of wine. These typically restrict the geographical origin and permitted varieties of grapes, as well as other aspects of wine production. Wines not made from grapes include rice wine and fruit wines such as plum, cherry, pomegranate, currant and elderberry.

Qizilbash ethnic group

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.

Several half-hearted attempts to subdue the rebellious city having failed, the Persian Government despatched Khusraw Khán, nephew of the late Gurgín Khán, with an army of 30,000 men to effect its subjugation, but in spite of an initial success, which led the Afgháns to offer to surrender on terms, his uncompromising attitude impelled them to make a fresh desperate effort, resulting in the complete defeat of the Persian army (of whom only some 700 escaped) and the death of their general. Two years later, in A.D. 1713, another Persian army commanded by Rustam Khán was also defeated by the rebels, who thus secured possession of the whole Loy Kandahar region. [8]

Kaikhosro, of the House of Bagrationi, was a titular king of Kartli, eastern Georgia, from 1709 to 1711. He reigned in absentia since he served during the whole of this period as a Persian commander-in-chief in what is now Afghanistan.

Edward G. Browne, 1924
Kandahar (Candahar) during the Afsharid and Mughal period. Map of Afghanistan during the Safavid and Moghul Empire.jpg
Kandahar (Candahar) during the Afsharid and Mughal period.

Refusing the title of king, Mirwais was called "Prince of Qandahár and General of the national troops" by his Afghan countrymen. He died peacefully in November 1715 from natural causes and was succeeded by his brother Abdul Aziz; the latter was murdered later by Mirwais' son Mahmud. In 1720, Mahmud's Afghan forces crossed the deserts of Sistan and captured Kerman. [8] His plan was to conquer the Persian capital, Isfahan. [9] After defeating the Persian army at the Battle of Gulnabad on March 8, 1722, he proceeded to and besieged Isfahan for 6 months, after which it fell. [10] On October 23, 1722, Sultan Husayn abdicated and acknowledged Mahmud as the new Shah of Persia. [11]

The majority of the Persian people, however, rejected the Afghan regime as usurpers from the start. For the next seven years until 1729, the Hotaks were the de facto rulers of most of Persia, and the southern and eastern areas of Afghanistan still remained under their control until 1738.

The Hotak dynasty was a troubled and violent one from the very start as internecine conflict made it difficult to establish permanent control. The dynasty lived under great turmoil due to bloody succession feuds that made their hold on power tenuous, and after the massacre of thousands of civilians in Isfahan – including more than three thousand religious scholars, nobles, and members of the Safavid family – the Hotak dynasty was eventually removed from power in Persia. [12] On the other hand, the Afghans had also been suppressed by the Iranian Safavid government represented by its governor Gurgin Khan before their uprising in 1709. [6]


Ashraf Hotak, who took over the monarchy following Shah Mahmud's death in 1725, and his soldiers were crushingly defeated in the October 1729 Battle of Damghan by Nader Shah Afshar, an Iranian soldier of fortune from the Sunni Afshar tribe, and the founder of the Afsharid dynasty that replaced the Safavids in Persia. Nader Shah had driven out and banished the remaining Ghilji forces from Persia and began enlisting some the Abdali Afghans of Farah and Kandahar in his military. Nader Shah's forces (among them were Ahmad Shah Abdali and his 4,000 Abdali troops) conquered Kandahar in 1738. They besieged and destroyed the last Hotak seat of power, which was held by Hussain Hotak (or Shah Hussain). [9] [13] Nader Shah then built a new town nearby, named after himself, "Naderabad". The Abdalis were also restored to the general area of Kandahar, with the Ghilji's being pushed back to their former stronghold of Kalat-i Ghilji—an arrangement that lasts to the present day.

List of rulers

Part of a series on the
History of Afghanistan
Shuja Shah Durrani of Afghanistan in 1839.jpg
Associated Historical Names for the Region
NamePictureReign startedReign ended
Mirwais Hotak
Woles Mashar
Abdul Aziz Hotak
Noimage.png 17151717
Mahmud Hotak
SHAH-MAHMUD-HOTAK.jpg 17171725
Ashraf Hotak
Ashraf Shah Hotaki 1725-1729.jpg 17251729
Hussain Hotak
Shah-Husain-Hotak.jpg 17291738

See also

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