Russo-Persian Wars

Last updated

The Russo-Persian Wars or Russo-Iranian Wars were a series of wars fought between the Russian Empire and the Persian Empire between the 17th and 19th centuries. As Russia grew in power, it started to contest the hegemony of Ottoman Turkey and Safavid Iran (followed by Afsharid and Qajar Iran) in the Black Sea region, Caspian Sea region, and most importantly, the Caucasus. All the Russo-Persian Wars therefore concerned the Caucasus region. Throughout its history, Transcaucasia (comprising modern day Georgia, Azerbaijan and Armenia) and large parts of Dagestan were usually incorporated into the Iranian world. [1] During the course of the 19th century, the Russian Empire conquered the territory from Qajar Iran. [1] The most important of the Russo-Persian Wars were:

Russian Empire former country, 1721–1917

The Russian Empire was an empire that extended across Eurasia and North America from 1721, following the end of the Great Northern War, until the Republic was proclaimed by the Provisional Government that took power after the February Revolution of 1917.

Persian Empire ancient empire, comprising many dynasties

The Persian Empire refers to a series of imperial dynasties that were centred in Persia/Iran from the 6th century BC Achaemenid Empire era to the 20th century AD in the Qajar dynasty era.

Black Sea Marginal sea of the Atlantic Ocean between Europe and Asia

The Black Sea is a body of water and marginal sea of the Atlantic Ocean between the Balkans, Eastern Europe, the Caucasus, and Western Asia. It is supplied by a number of major rivers, such as the Danube, Dnieper, Southern Bug, Dniester, Don, and the Rioni. Areas of many countries drain into the Black Sea, including Austria, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Georgia, Germany, Hungary, Moldova, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Turkey and Ukraine.


List of conflicts

1 Russo-Persian War (1651–53) Persian victory. Safavids destroy the Russian fortress on the Persian side of the Terek River, and expel its garrison. Safavids gain more influence in the North Caucasus.
2 Russo-Persian War (1722–1723) Russian victory. Russia gains possession of Derbent, Baku, and the provinces of Shirvan, Gilan, Mazandaran, and Astrabad, but returns all territories to Persia about 10 years later. [2]
3 Russo-Persian War (1796) Status quo ante bellum [3]
4 Russo-Persian War (1804–13) Russian victory. Treaty of Gulistan [4] – Persia cedes what is now Georgia, Dagestan, parts of northern Armenia, and most of what now comprises modern Azerbaijan to Russia. [5] [6]
5 Russo-Persian War (1826–28) Russian victory. Treaty of Turkmenchay [7] – Persia cedes all of what is now the Armenian Republic, Nakhchivan, Azerbaijan, and Iğdır to Russia. [8] Consolidation of the Gulistan treaty.

See also

Caucasian War war

The Caucasian War of 1817–1864 was an invasion of the Caucasus by the Russian Empire which resulted in Russia's annexation of the areas of the North Caucasus, and the ethnic cleansing of Circassians. It consisted of a series of military actions waged by the Empire against the peoples of the Caucasus including the Adyghe, Abkhaz–Abaza, Ubykhs, Kumyks and Nakh and Dagestanians as Russia sought to expand. In Dagestan, resistance to the Russians was described as jihad.

Russian conquest of the Caucasus

The Russian conquest of the Caucasus mainly occurred between 1800 and 1864. In that era the Russian Empire expanded to control the region between the Black Sea and Caspian Sea, the territory that is modern Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, and parts of Iran and Turkey, as well as the North Caucasus region of modern Russia. Multiple wars were fought against the local rulers of the regions, as well as the dominant powers, the Ottoman Empire and Persian Empire, for control. By 1864 the last regions were brought under Russian control.

History of the Caucasus

The history of the Caucasus region may be divided into the history of the Northern Caucasus (Ciscaucasia), historically in the sphere of influence of Scythia and of Southern Russia, and that of the Southern Caucasus in the sphere of influence of Persia, Anatolia and for a very brief time Assyria.

Related Research Articles

Abbas Mirza Qajar crown prince

Abbas Mirza was a Qajar crown prince of Persia. He developed a reputation as a military commander during the Russo-Persian War of 1804-1813 and the Russo-Persian War of 1826-1828 with neighbouring Imperial Russia, as well as through the Ottoman-Persian War of 1821-1823 with the Ottoman Empire. He is furthermore noted as an early modernizer of Persia's armed forces and institutions, and for his death before his father, Fath Ali Shah. Abbas was an intelligent prince, possessed some literary taste, and is noteworthy on account of the comparative simplicity of his life.


Transcaucasia also known as the South Caucasus, is a geographical region in the vicinity of the southern Caucasus Mountains on the border of Eastern Europe and Western Asia. Transcaucasia roughly corresponds to modern Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan. Total area of these countries is about 186,100 square kilometres. Transcaucasia and Ciscaucasia together comprise the larger Caucasus geographical region that divides Eurasia.

Qajar dynasty Iranian royal dynasty of Turkic origin

The Qajar dynasty was an Iranian royal dynasty and empire of Turkic origin, specifically from the Qajar tribe, from 1789 to 1925. The Qajar family took full control of Iran in 1794, deposing Lotf 'Ali Khan, the last Shah of the Zand dynasty, and re-asserted Iranian sovereignty over large parts of the Caucasus. In 1796, Mohammad Khan Qajar seized Mashhad with ease, putting an end to the Afsharid dynasty, and Mohammad Khan was formally crowned as Shah after his punitive campaign against Iran's Georgian subjects. In the Caucasus, the Qajar dynasty permanently lost many of Iran's integral areas to the Russians over the course of the 19th century, comprising modern-day Georgia, Dagestan, Azerbaijan and Armenia.

Russo-Turkish War (1787–1792) conflict from 1787–1792

The Russo–Turkish War of 1787–1792 involved an unsuccessful attempt by the Ottoman Empire to regain lands lost to the Russian Empire in the course of the previous Russo-Turkish War (1768–1774). It took place concomitantly with the Austro-Turkish War (1788–1791).


Kakhetians are an ethnographic subgroup of Georgians who speak Kakhetian dialect of Georgian language. Kakhetians are indigenous population of Kakheti, historical region in eastern Georgia, a fertile valley which produces much of the country's wine. Today they are mainly followers of Georgian Orthodox Church.

Western Armenia a term used for eastern parts of Turkey (formerly the Ottoman Empire) that were part of the historical homeland of Armenians.

Western Armenia, located in Western Asia, is a term used to refer to eastern parts of Turkey that were part of the historical homeland of Armenians. Western Armenia, also referred to as Byzantine Armenia, emerged following the division of Greater Armenia between the Byzantine Empire and Sassanid Persia in 387 AD.

Russo-Persian War (1722–1723)

The Russo-Persian War of 1722–1723, known in Russian historiography as the Persian campaign of Peter the Great, was a war between the Russian Empire and Safavid Iran, triggered by the tsar's attempt to expand Russian influence in the Caspian and Caucasus regions and to prevent its rival, the Ottoman Empire, from territorial gains in the region at the expense of declining Safavid Iran.

Shirvan Khanate

Shirvan Khanate was a khanate founded by the Afsharid dynasty that existed in what is now Azerbaijan in 1748—1820.

Blue Mosque, Yerevan cultural heritage monument of Armenia

The Blue Mosque is an 18th-century Shia mosque in Yerevan, Armenia. During the Soviet era, the mosque stopped its services and housed the History Museum of Yerevan. Following Armenia's independence, the mosque was renovated with the support from the Iranian government and again started acting as a mosque, mostly for Iranians residing in the country. It is currently the only active mosque in Armenia.

Peace of Amasya

The Peace of Amasya was a treaty agreed to on May 29, 1555 between Shah Tahmasp of Safavid Iran and Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent of the Ottoman Empire at the city of Amasya, following the Ottoman–Safavid War of 1532–1555.

The Treaty of ConstantinopleRusso-Ottoman Treaty or Treaty of the Partition of Persia was a treaty concluded on 24 June 1724 between the Ottoman Empire and the Russian Empire, dividing large portions of the territory of mutually neighbouring Safavid Iran between them.

Russian Orthodox Church in Azerbaijan

The Russian Orthodox Church in Azerbaijan constitutes the main community of Eastern Orthodox Christianity in that country. Majority of its members are ethnic Russians of Azerbaijan. Entire territory of Azerbaijan is under ecclesiastical jurisdiction of the Russian Orthodox Eparchy of Baku and Azerbaijan, centered in the Holy Myrrhbearers Cathedral in Baku. The Church of Michael Archangel also exist in Baku.

Battle of Kozludzha

The Battle of Kozludzha, fought on 20 June 1774 near the village of Kozludzha, was one of the final and decisive battles of the Russo-Turkish War (1768–74). The Russians managed to rout the Ottoman army, scoring a major victory. This battle, alongside several others in this campaign, established the reputation of the Russian general Alexander Suvorov as a brilliant commander of his era.

The Treaty of Resht was signed between the Russian Empire and Safavid Empire at Rasht on 21 January 1732. According to this treaty Russia waived its claim to any territory south of the Kura River. This included return of the provinces of Gilan, Mazandaran, and Astrabad, conquered by Peter I in the early 1720s. The Iranian cities of Derbent, Tarki, Ganja, etc. north of the Kura river would be returned three years later. In return, the Persians, now de facto ruled by the militarily successful Nader Shah granted trade privileges to the Russian merchants and promised to restore the Georgian king Vakhtang VI, then residing in exile in Russia, on the throne of Kartli as soon as the Ottoman troops could be expelled from that country. The provisions were confirmed by the 1735 Treaty of Ganja, according which treaty all the regions north of the Kura river were returned as well.

The Treaty of Saint Petersburg of 21 September [O.S. 12 September] 1723 concluded the Russo-Persian War of 1722-1723 between Imperial Russia and Safavid Iran. It ratified for Iran's forced ceding of its territories in the North Caucasus, South Caucasus, and contemporary mainland Northern Iran, comprising Derbent (Dagestan), Baku, the respective surrounding lands of Shirvan, as well as the provinces of Gilan, Mazandaran, and Astarabad. The treaty further specified that the Iranian king would receive Russian troops for domestic peacekeeping.

After Nader Shah was assassinated in 1747, his nephew Ali Qoli seized the throne and proclaimed himself Adil Shah. He ordered the execution of all Nader's sons and grandsons, with the exception of the 13-year-old Shahrokh, the son of Reza Qoli. Meanwhile, Nader's former treasurer, Ahmad Shah Abdali, had declared his independence by founding the Durrani Empire. In the process, the eastern territories were lost and in the following decades became part of Afghanistan, the successor-state to the Durrani Empire. The Ottomans regained lost territories in Eastern Anatolia and Mesopotamia. The northern territories, Iran's most integral regions, had a different fate. Erekle II and Teimuraz II, who, in 1744, had been made the kings of Kakheti and Kartli respectively by Nader himself for their loyal service, capitalized on the eruption of instability, and declared de facto independence. Erekle II assumed control over Kartli after Teimuraz II's death, thus unifying the two as the Kingdom of Kartli-Kakheti, becoming the first Georgian ruler in three centuries to preside over a politically unified eastern Georgia. Due to the frantic turn of events in mainland Iran he would be able to remain de facto autonomous through the Zand period. Under the successive Qajar dynasty, Iran managed to restore Iranian suzerainty over the Georgian regions, until they would be irrevocably lost in the course of the 19th century, to neighbouring Imperial Russia. Meanwhile, Azad Khan Afghan managed to take control over the land between the Aras river, and the Urmia Lake by 1750. Azad Khan would later go on to capture Isfahan and occupy Shiraz, before losing all his territories by 1758 to Karim Khan. Meanwhile, the Absheron Peninsula and surrounding territories, were under the control of the Khanate of Baku, while the Avar Khanate took control over modern day Dagestan. Alongside eastern Georgia, these territories would all be re-incorporated into Iran but eventually permanently and irrevocably lost as well in the course of the 19th century, through the two Russo-Persian Wars of the century, to neighbouring Imperial Russia. Lastly, Oman and the Uzbek khanates of Bukhara and Khiva regained independence. The Afsharid dynasty would continue to live on in parts of Khorasan with Mashhad as the capital. When the Zand empire expanded rapidly, Karim khan allowed the Afsharids to continue rule in Khorasan, showing his respect for Nader Shah. It was eventually dissolved upon the Qajars ascension to the throne.

Iranian Russians or Persian Russians are Iranians in the Russian Federation, and are Russian citizens or permanent residents of (partial) Iranian national background.

The Storming of Derbent took place on 10 May 1796 during the Persian Expedition of 1796. Derbent, an ancient city with thick walls has a favorable geopolitical position, which locks the coastal passage between the Caucasus Mountains and the Caspian.

Mostafa Khan was the last khan of Shirvan, until 1820.


  1. 1 2 Multiple Authors. "Caucasus and Iran". Encyclopædia Iranica. Retrieved 2012-09-03.
  2. Alexander Mikaberidze, Conflict and Conquest in the Islamic World: A Historical Encyclopedia, Vol. I, ed. Alexander Mikaberidze, (ABC-CLIO, 2011), 850.
  3. Hunczak, Taras; Kohn, Hans, eds. (2000). Russian Imperialism from Ivan the Great to the Revolution (2 ed.). University Press of America. p. 250. ISBN   978-0761817086.
  4. Treaty of Gulistan, Wars and Peace Treaties: 1816 to 1891, (Routledge, 1992), 67.
  5. Timothy C. Dowling Russia at War: From the Mongol Conquest to Afghanistan, Chechnya, and Beyond pp 728-729 ABC-CLIO, 2 dec. 2014. ISBN   978-1598849486
  6. Mikaberidze, Alexander. Conflict and Conquest in the Islamic World: A Historical Encyclopedia 2 volumes: A Historical Encyclopedia ABC-CLIO, 22 jul. 2011 ISBN   978-1598843378 p 351
  7. Zirisnky, M. "Reza Shah's abrogation of capitulation, 1927-1928" in The Making of Modern Iran: State and Society Under Riza Shah 1921–1941, Stephanie Cronin (ed.) London: Routledge, 2003, p. 81: "The context of this regime capitulations, of course, is that by the end of the reign of Fath Ali Shah (1798–1834), Iran could no longer defend its independence against the west. ... For Iran this was a time of weakness, humiliation and soul-searching as Iranians sought to assert their dignity against overwhelming pressure from the expansionist west."
  8. Timothy C. Dowling Russia at War: From the Mongol Conquest to Afghanistan, Chechnya, and Beyond pp 729-730 ABC-CLIO, 2 dec. 2014. ISBN   978-1598849486