Shirvan (from Persian : شروان, romanized: Shirvān; Azerbaijani : Şirvan; Tat: Şirvan), also spelled as Sharvān, Shirwan, Shervan, Sherwan and Šervān, is a historical Iranian region in the eastern Caucasus, known by this name in both pre-Islamic Sasanian and Islamic times. Today, the region is an industrially and agriculturally developed part of the Azerbaijan Republic that stretches between the western shores of the Caspian Sea and the Kura River, centered on the Shirvan Plain.
Vladimir Minorsky believes that names such as Sharvān (Shirwān), Lāyzān and Baylaqān are Iranian names from the Iranian languages of the coast of the Caspian Sea.
There are several explanations about this name:
However, Said Nafisi points out that according to Khaqani's poems, where Khaqani contrasts his home town with kheyrvān (Persian: خیروان), the original and correct pronunciation of the name was Sharvān. So all etymologies relating this name to sher/shir (lion in Persian) or Anushiravan are most probably folk etymology and not based on historical facts. The form Shervān or Shirvān are from later centuries. According to the Encyclopedia of Islam, Shirwan proper comprised the easternmost spurs of the Caucasus range and the lands which sloped down from these mountains to the banks of the Kur river. But its rulers strove continuously to control also the western shores of the Caspian Sea from Ḳuba (the modern town of Quba) in the district of Maskat in the north, to Baku in the south. To the north of all these lands lay Bab al-Abwab or Derbend, and to the west, beyond the modern Goychay, the region of Shaki. In mediaeval Islamic times, and apparently in pre-Islamic Sāsānid ones also, Shirwan included the district of Layzan, which probably corresponds to modern Lahidj, often ruled as a separate fief by a collateral branch of the Yazidi Shirwan Shahs.
The 19th century native historian and writer Abbasgulu Bakikhanov defines it as: "The country of Shirvan to the east borders on the Caspian Sea, and to the south on the river Kur, which separates it from the provinces of Moghan and Armenia".
Shirvanshah also spelled as Shīrwān Shāh or Sharwān Shāh, was the title in medieval Islamic times of a Persianized dynasty of Arabic origin.They ruled the area independently or as a vassal of larger empires from 809 A.D. up to 1607 A.D. when Safavid rule became firmly established.
When the Shirvanshah Shah dynasty was ended by the Safavid Shah Tahmasp I, Shirwan formed a province of the Safavids and was usually governed by a Khan, who is often called Beylerbey.Shirvan was taken by the Ottomans in 1578; however, Safavid rule was restored by 1607. In 1722, during the Russo-Persian War (1722–1723), the Khan of Quba, Husayn Ali, submitted to Peter the Great and was accepted as his dignitary. The Treaty of Saint Petersburg (1723) forced the Iranian king to recognise the Russian annexation. By the treaty between the Russian and Ottoman Empires in the year 1724, the coast of the territory of Baku, which was occupied by the Russians, was separated from the rest of Shirvan, which was left to the Ottomans. It was only when Nader Shah defeated the Ottomans (1735) that the Russians ceded back the coastal land and the other areas in the North and South Caucasus as conquered in 1722–1723 from Safavid Iran conform the Treaties of Resht and Ganja, and the area became part of the Afsharid Empire, by which century long Iranian rule was restored.
When the Qajars had succeeded in restoring the unity of Persia, the sons of the Khan were no more able to maintain their independence like the other Caucasian chiefs and had to choose between Russia and Persia.The Khan of Shirwan, Mustafa, who had already entered into negotiations with Zubov, submitted to the Russians in 1805, who occupied the Persian cities of Derbend and Baku the next year (1806) during the Russo-Persian War (1804–1813), but soon afterwards he made overtures to the Persians and sought help from them. By the Treaty of Gulistan (12/24 October 1813) following the end of the 1804–1813 war, Persia was forced to cede its territories and regions comprising Darband, Quba, Shirwan and Baku, while giving up all claims on them as well. Nevertheless, Mustafa continued to have secret dealings with Persia. It was not until 1820 that his territory was occupied by Russian troops; the Khan fled to Persia and Shemakha was irrevocably incorporated in Russian territory. Iranian anger while being dissatisfied with losing swaths of its integral territories in the North and South Caucasus subsequently sparked the Russo-Persian War (1826–1828), which resulted in another Iranian loss, as well as the ceding of its last remaining territories in the Caucasus comprising what is now Armenia, and southern parts of the contemporary Republic of Azerbaijan. The Treaty of Turkmenchay of 1828 officially ratified the forced ceding of these Iranian territories to Imperial Russia, while it would also mark the official end of millennia long intertwined Iranian hegemony, rule, and influence over the Caucasus region, including Shirvan.
The term Shirvani/Shirvanli is still in use in Azerbaijan to designate the people of Shirvan region, as it was historically.In ancient times, the bulk of the population of Shirvan were Caucasian-speaking groups. Later on Iranization of this native population and subsequent Turkification since the Seljuq era occurred. The bulk of the population today are Turkic-speaking Azerbaijanis, although there are also smaller Caucasian-speaking and Iranian-speaking minorities.
The original population were Paleo-Caucasians and spoke Caucasian languages, like the Caucasian Albanians. Today, other Daghestani Caucasian languages such as Udi, Lezgian and Avar are still spoken in the region.
Iranian penetration started since the Achaemenid era and continued in the Parthian era. However it was during the Sassanid era that the influence really increased and Persian colonies were set up in the region. According to Vladimir Minorsky: The presence of Iranian settlers in Transcaucasia, and especially in the proximity of the passes, must have played an important role in absorbing and pushing back the aboriginal inhabitants. Such names as Sharvan, Layzan, Baylaqan, etc., suggest that the Iranian immigration proceeded chiefly from Gilan and other regions on the southern coast of the Caspian.Abu al-Hasan Ali ibn al-Husayn Al-Masudi (896–956), the Arab historian states Persian presence in Aran, Bayleqan, Darband, Shabaran, Masqat and Jorjan. From the 9th century, the urban population of Shirwan increasingly spoke Persian, while the rural population seems to mostly have retained their old Caucasian languages. Up to the nineteenth century, there was still a large number of Tat people (who claim to be descendants of Sassanid era Persian settlers), however due to their similar culture and religion with the Turkic-speaking Azerbaijanis, this population was partly assimilated.
Turkic penetration in the region started in the Khazar era, however there are no unambiguous references to settlements.The Turkification of the region started in the Seljuq era, although the area in parallel maintained its Persian culture under the Persianized Shirvanshah until the Safavid era. From the Safavid era onwards, the Turkification of the region accelerated with new wave of Turkoman settlements.
Derbent, formerly romanized as Derbend, is a city in Dagestan of Russia, located on the Caspian Sea. It is the southernmost city in Russia, and it is the second-most important city of Dagestan. Derbent occupies the narrow gateway between the Caspian Sea and the Caucasus Mountains connecting the Eurasian Steppe to the north and the Iranian Plateau to the south; covering an area of 69.63 square kilometres (26.88 sq mi), with a population of roughly 120 thousand residents.
The Tat people are an Iranian people presently living within Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Russia. The Tats are part of the indigenous peoples of Iranian origin in the Caucasus.
Azerbaijanis or Azeris, also known as Azerbaijani Turks, are a Turkic ethnic group, living mainly in the sovereign Republic of Azerbaijan and the Azerbaijan region of Iran, with a mixed cultural heritage, including Turkic, Caucasian and Iranian elements. They are the second-most numerous ethnic group among the Turkic-speaking peoples after Turkish people and are predominantly Shia Muslims. They comprise the largest ethnic group in the Republic of Azerbaijan and the second-largest ethnic group in neighboring Iran and Georgia. The world's largest number of ethnic Azerbaijanis live in Iran, followed by the Republic of Azerbaijan. They speak the Azerbaijani language, belonging to the Oghuz branch of the Turkic languages.
Arran, also known as Aran was a geographical name used in ancient and medieval times to signify an Iranian region which lay within the triangle of land, lowland in the east and mountainous in the west, formed by the junction of Kura and Aras rivers, including the highland and lowland Karabakh, Mil plain and parts of the Mughan plain, and in the pre-Islamic times, corresponded roughly to the territory of modern-day Republic of Azerbaijan. The term is the Middle Persian equivalent to the Greco-Roman Albania. It was known as Aghvania, Alvan-k in Armenian, and Al-ran in Arabic.
The culture of Azerbaijan combines a diverse and heterogeneous set of elements which developed under the influence of Turkic, Iranic and Caucasian cultures. The country has a unique cuisine, literature, folk art, and music.
Khalilullah I, also known as Sultan-Khalil (سلطان-خلیل), was the Shirvanshah from 1418 to 1465. He was the son and successor of Ibrahim I. He was succeeded by his son Farrukh Yasar.
The history of Azerbaijan is understood as the history of the region now forming the Republic of Azerbaijan. Topographically, the land is contained by the southern slopes of the Caucasus Mountains in the north, the Caspian Sea in the east, and the Armenian Highlands in the west. In the south, its natural boundaries are less distinct, and here the country merges with the Iranian Plateau.
Shirvan Khanate was a khanate founded by the Afsharid dynasty that existed in what is now Azerbaijan in 1748—1820.
Farrukh Yasar was the last independent Shirvanshah of Shirvan (1465–1500). In 1500, the first Safavid ruler, Ismail I, decisively defeated and killed Farrukh Yasar during his conquest of the area. Descendants of Farrukh Yasar continued to rule Shirvan under Safavid suzerainty, until 1538, when Ismail's son and successor Tahmasp I appointed its first Safavid governor, and made it a fully functioning Safavid province.
The Azerbaijani people are of mixed ethnic origins. These include the indigenous peoples of eastern Transcaucasia, the Medians, an ancient Iranian people, and the Oghuz Turkic tribes that began migrating to Azerbaijan in the 11th century AD. Modern Azerbaijanis are the second most numerous ethnic group among the Turkic peoples after Anatolian Turks and speak North Azerbaijani and/or South Azerbaijani. Both languages also have dialects, with 21 North Azerbaijani dialects and 11 South Azerbaijani dialects.
The khanates of the Caucasus, or Azerbaijani khanates or Persian khanates, or Iranian khanates, were various provinces and principalities established by Persia (Iran) on their territories in the Caucasus from the late Safavid to the Qajar dynasty. The Khanates were mostly ruled by Khans of Turkic (Azerbaijani) origin and were vassals and subjects of the Iranian shah (King). Persia permanently lost a part of these khanates to Russia as a result of the Russo-Persian Wars in the course of the 19th century, while the others were absorbed into Persia.
Shirvanshah, also spelled as Shīrwān Shāh or Sharwān Shāh, was the title of the rulers of Shirvan from the mid-9th century to the early 16th century. The title remained in a single family, the Yazidids, an originally Arab but speedily Persianized dynasty, although the later Shirvanshahs are also known as the Kasranids or Kaqanids. The Shirvanshah established a native state in Shirvan.
The military history of Azerbaijan comprises thousands of years of armed actions in the territory encompassing modern Azerbaijan, as well as interventions by the Azerbaijani Armed Forces in conflicts abroad. The Azerbaijanis are believed to be inheritors of various ancient civilizations and peoples including the indigenous Caucasian Albanians, Iranian tribes such as Scythians and Alans, and Oghuz Turks among others.
Arabs first established themselves in the Caucasus in the eighth century, during the Arab invasion of Iran (Persia). The process of shrinking of the Abbasid Caliphate in the tenth century was followed by the establishment of several Arab-ruled principalities in the region, chiefly the principality of Shirvan ruled by the Mazyadid dynasty. As the rulers of Shirvan spread their control over much of the Southeast Caucasus and at the same time found themselves more and more isolated from the Arab world, they were undergoing gradual Persianisation. Arab personal names of the Shirvanshahs gave way to Persian ones, members of the ruling dynasty were claiming Ancient Persian descent and Persian gradually became the language of the court and the urban population, while the rural population continued to speak the indigenous languages of Caucasian Albania. However by the seventeenth century a local Turkic idiom became the language of everyday life, as well as the language of interethnic communication.
Manuchehr I was the eleventh Shah of Shirvan. He is considered to be first fully Persianized ruler of the dynasty. Starting from his rule, the Shirvanshahs favoured names from the pre-Islamic Iranian past and claimed descent from characters such as the Sasanian monarch Bahram V Gur.
Ali III was the fourteenth independent Shah of Shirvan. He was the successor and nephew of Shirvanshah Kubad. In 1049, Ali succeeded his uncle Kubad, but one year later he was deposed by his uncle, Sallar. Ali managed to escape but was captured and executed by forces of Sallar near Baylaqan.
The Derbent Khanate was a Caucasian khanate that was established in Afsharid Iran. It corresponded to southern Dagestan and its center was at Derbent. It included the northern clans of Lezgian people.
The Kasranids were a branch of the Shirvanshahs, who ruled the Shirvan region for 387 years. The word "Kasra" was derived from legendary king Kai Khosrow of Iran, reflecting a shift in naming tradition from Arabic to Persian and it was part of an effort to break with their Arabic roots by claiming to be successors of the Sassanids and the Kayanian dynasty.
Iranian Russians or Persian Russians are Iranians in the Russian Federation, and are Russian citizens or permanent residents of (partial) Iranian national background.
In the history of Azerbaijan, the Early Middle Ages lasted from the 3rd century to the 11th century. This period in the territories of today's Azerbaijan Republic begins with the incorporation of these territories into the Sasanian Persian Empire in the 3rd century AD. Feudalism started to shape in Azerbaijan in the Early Middle Ages. The territories of Caucasian Albania became an arena of wars between the Byzantine Empire and the Sassanid Empire. After the fall of the Sassanid Empire by the Arab Caliphate, Albania also weakened, and in 705 AD it was overthrown by the Abbasid Caliphate under the name of Arran. As the control of the Arab Caliphate over the Caucasus region weakened, independent states began to emerge in the territory of Azerbaijan.