Talysh Khanate

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Khanate of Talysh

Persian: Khānāt-e Talesh

Azerbaijani: Talış xanlığı

Talysh: Tolışi xanәti
1747–1828 [1]
Talysh zamin.png
Talysh Khanate at its greatest extent
Status Khanate
Under Iranian suzerainty [2]
Capital Lankaran
Common languages Persian (official), [3] [4] Talysh [ verification needed ]
1828 [1]
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Nader Shah Flag.svg Afsharid dynasty
Russian Empire Flag of Russia.svg
Today part ofFlag of Iran.svg  Iran
Flag of Azerbaijan.svg  Azerbaijan

The Talysh Khanate (Persian : خانات تالش Khānāt-e Tālesh, Azerbaijani : Talış xanlığı, Talysh: Tolışi xanəti), also known as the Lenkaran Khanate, [5] was a khanate of Iranian origin that was established in Persia and existed from the middle of the 18th century till the beginning of the 19th century, located in the south-west coast of the Caspian Sea.

Persian language Western Iranian language

Persian, also known by its endonym Farsi, is one of the Western Iranian languages within the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European language family. It is 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.

Azerbaijani language Turkic language

Azerbaijani or Azeri, also sometimes referred to as Azeri Turkic or Azeri Turkish, is a term referring to two Turkic lects that are spoken primarily by the Azerbaijanis, who live mainly in Transcaucasia and Iran. North Azerbaijani and South Azerbaijani have significant differences in phonology, lexicon, morphology, syntax, and loanwords. ISO 639-3 groups the two lects as a "macrolanguage".

Talysh language Iranic language spoken in Northwestern Iran and Southeastern Azerbaijan

The Talysh language is a Northwestern Iranian language spoken in the northern regions of the Iranian provinces of Gilan and Ardabil and the southern regions of the Republic of Azerbaijan by around 200,000 people. Talysh language is closely related to the Tati language. Historically, the language and its people can be traced through the middle Iranian period back to the ancient Medes. It includes many dialects usually divided into three main clusters: Northern, Central (Iran) and Southern (Iran). Talyshi is partially, but not fully, intelligible with respect to Persian. Talysh is classified as "vulnerable" by UNESCO's Atlas of the World's Languages in Danger.


It comprised the southeastern part of the modern day Republic of Azerbaijan and the eastern tip of north-western Iran. The capital of the khanate was its chief city, Lenkaran. Its population mainly consisted of Azerbaijanis and Talysh people. [6]

Iran Country in Western Asia

Iran, also called Persia and officially known as the Islamic Republic of Iran, is a country in Western Asia. With over 81 million inhabitants, Iran is the world's 18th most populous country. Comprising a land area of 1,648,195 km2 (636,372 sq mi), it is the second largest country in the Middle East and the 17th largest in the world. Iran is bordered to the northwest by Armenia and the Republic of Azerbaijan, to the north by the Caspian Sea, to the northeast by Turkmenistan, to the east by Afghanistan and Pakistan, to the south by the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman, and to the west by Turkey and Iraq. The country's central location in Eurasia and Western Asia, and its proximity to the Strait of Hormuz, give it geostrategic importance. Tehran is the country's capital and largest city, as well as its leading economic and cultural center.

Azerbaijanis ethnic group

Azerbaijanis or Azeris, also known as Azerbaijani Turks, are a Turkic people living mainly in the Iranian region of Azerbaijan and the sovereign Republic of Azerbaijan. They are the second-most numerous ethnic group among the Turkic peoples after Anatolian Turks. They are predominantly Shi'i Muslims, and have a mixed cultural heritage, including Turkic, Iranian, and Caucasian elements. 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.

Talysh are an Iranian ethnic group indigenous to a region shared between Azerbaijan and Iran which spans the South Caucasus and the southwestern shore of the Caspian Sea. They speak the Talysh language, one of the Northwestern Iranian languages. It is spoken in the northern regions of the Iranian provinces of Gilan and Ardabil and the southern parts of the Republic of Azerbaijan. Northern Talysh was historically known as Talish-i Gushtasbi. In Iran there is a Talesh County in Gilan Province.

As a result of the Persian defeat in the Russo-Persian War of 1826-28, the khanate was dissolved and absorbed by the Russian Empire.

Russian Empire Former country, 1721–1917

The Russian Empire, also known as Imperial Russia or simply Russia, was an empire that existed 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.


According to Mirza Ahmad Mirza oglu Khudaverdi, the founder of the Talysh Khanate, Seyyid Abbas, [7] his ancestors were members of the Safavid dynasty, who had moved into the Talish region during the 1720s during a turbulent period in Iranian history. When Seyyid Abbas died in 1747 he was succeeded by his son Jamaladdin, often remembered as Gara Khan (the 'Black King'), because of his dark skin. Because of his good service to Nader Shah, Nader officially awarded him the hereditary title of khan. [5] Gara Khan was pro-Russian in his foreign policy which upset the rulers of neighboring khanates notably Hidayat Khan of Gilan. In 1768 Hidayat Khan attacked the Talysh khanate. Seeking aid against the superior enemy, Gara Khan sent his brother Karbalayi Sultan to Fath Ali Khan, ruler of the Quba Khanate resulting in an alliance between Quba and Lenkaran. By 1785 the territory of the Talysh khanate had formally become a dependency of that much stronger Quba Khanate together with certain other Azerbaijani khanates. However, in 1789 following Fath Ali Khan's death, the Talysh Khanate regained its independence under Mir Mustafa, the son of Gara Khan who had himself died in 1786.

Safavid dynasty Twelver Shiʻi dynasty of Iran

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.

Nader Shah ruled as Shah of Iran

Nader Shah Afshar was one of the most powerful Iranian rulers in the history of the nation, ruling as Shah of Iran (Persia) from 1736 to 1747 when he was assassinated during a rebellion. Because of his military genius as evidenced in his numerous campaigns throughout Middle East, Caucasus, Central and South Asia, such as the battles of Herat, Mihmandust, Murche-Khort, Kirkuk, Yeghevard, Khyber Pass, Karnal and Kars, some historians have described him as the Napoleon of Persia, Sword of Persia, or the Second Alexander. Nader Shah was an Iranian who belonged to the Turkmen Afshar tribe of Khorasan in northeastern Iran, which had supplied military power to the Safavid dynasty since the time of Shah Ismail I.

Quba Khanate

The Quba Khanate was a quasi-independent Safavid khanate, under Iranian suzerainty on the territory of the modern-day Republic of Azerbaijan from 1726–1806. The Quba Khanate was founded in the mid-1680s by Hoseyn Khan. He was the sole survivor of the massacre around 1665, when the Majales branch of the ruling Usmi family of the Qaytaq killed the Yeki-kend branch. Hoseyn Khan was a small boy who was smuggled to Iran by a few family retainers. He stayed at Shah Soleyman's court and returned to his homeland in the mid-1680s and settled in Quba where he built Ft. Khudadad.

In 1794-5 the Persian Shah Agha Muhammad Khan Qajar called on the various khanates of the South Caucasus to form an alliance against the Russian Empire and mounted a military expedition against those who refused to join him. The Talysh khanate refused to do and was attacked in 1795. Mir Mustafa Khan's disparate army was not strong enough to resist and he sent his representatives to General Gudovich asking for Russian protection. However, the Russians took a long time to respond, only finally arriving in 1802 when the Talysh Khanate became a protectorate of the Russian Empire.

The khanate was to remain a pawn between the Persian and Russian empires over the subsequent two decades. In 1809 as a part of the Russo-Persian War (1804-1813), Iranian troops took the city of Lenkaran and expelled the Russian-leaning khan. In 1812, with Napoleon was attacking Moscow, the Russians were also battling again in the Caucasus. After a brief siege led by Pyotr Kotlyarevsky on January 1, 1813, 2,000 Russian troops managed to decisively take the citadel of Lenkaran from the Persian army. There were heavy losses on both sides, but this strategic capture of Lankaran led inexorably to the September 12, 1813 Treaty of Gulistan. This forced defeated Persia to cede many of the formerly independent khanates to Russia. In 1814 Mir Mustafa khan died and his son Mir Hassan Khan succeeded him but only in name.

Pyotr Kotlyarevsky Russian general

Pyotr Stepanovich Kotlyarevsky was a Russian military hero of the early 19th century.

Storming of Lankaran

The Storming of Lankaran took place on 1 January 1813 as part of the Russo-Persian War (1804-1813). It was noted for its bitterness and cruelty.

Lankaran Place in Azerbaijan

Lankaran is a city in Azerbaijan, on the coast of the Caspian Sea, near the southern border with Iran. It has a population of 51,300 (2014). It is next to but independent of Lankaran rayon. The city forms a distinct first-order division of Azerbaijan.

With Russia busy in European wars, Persia attempted to reassert its hegemony in the area and to revert the Treaty of Gulistan and thus invaded the south Caucasus, starting the 1826-28 Russo-Persian war. In the campaign of 1826, Persia managed to regain all lost territories, but after the numerous defeats in the campaign of 1827, the war ended up with the even more humiliating Treaty of Turkmenchay which permanently ceded the Talysh Khanate to Russia.

Yermolov took over the khanates of eastern Transcaucasia one by one and deposed their khans: Shaki in 1819, Shirvan in 1820, and Qara-Bagh in 1822. Only Mir Hassan Khan of Talesh was allowed autonomy, Ermolov understanding him and his family to be implacably hostile to Iran. In fact Mir Hassan threw the Russians out in the year that hostilities reopened, and a strong Iranian force came to help him. He retained control of the khanate, in the name of the Shah, until he was forced to abandon it in 1828 by the Treaty of Turkmenchay. [1]

The Talysh Khans proved a stimulating subject for famed Azeri poet-playwright Mirza Fatali Akhundov (Mirza Fatali Akhundzade), nicknamed the Muslim Molière . A 1938 production of his Sərgüzəşti Vəziri-Xani Lənkəran ('The Adventures of the Lankaran Khan's Vizier'), starred the future president Heydar Aliyev, then just a teenager. [8]


No.NameLifespanTook officeLeft OfficeRef.
1Mir Jamaladdin (Gara Khan)1708 – June/July 17871747June/July 1787 [9]
2 Mir Mustafa Khan 1747 – 7 August 1814June/July 17877 August 1814 [9]
3 Mir Hassan Khan 1784 – 12 July 1832August 1814June 1828 [9]

See also

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  1. 1 2 3 Tapper, Richard (1997). Frontier nomads of Iran: a political and social history of the Shahsevan. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 161. ISBN   0-521-58336-5.
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  3. Swietochowski, Tadeusz (2004). Russian Azerbaijan, 1905-1920: The Shaping of a National Identity in a Muslim Community. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 12. ISBN   978-0521522458. (...) and Persian continued to be the official language of the judiciary and the local administration [even after the abolishment of the khanates].
  4. Petrushevsky, Ilya Pavlovich (1949). Essays on the history of feudal relations in Armenia and Azerbaijan in XVI - the beginning of XIX centuries. LSU them. Zhdanov. p. 7. (...) The language of official acts not only in Iran proper and its fully dependant Khanates, but also in those Caucasian khanates that were semi-independent until the time of their accession to the Russian Empire, and even for some time after, was New Persian. It played the role of the literary language of class feudal lords as well.|access-date= requires |url= (help)
  5. 1 2 ru:Талышское ханство
  6. Dubrovin, Nikolai F. (1871). The history of war and Russian domination in Caucasus. Volume 1: Study on the Caucasus and the peoples inhabiting it. Book 2: Transcaucasia (in Russian). Saint Petersburg. p. 328.
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  8. "7.4 Azerbaijan's President, Heydar Aliyev Interview in Azerbaijan International". www.azer.com.
  9. 1 2 3 "Azerbaijan". www.worldstatesmen.org.