Topchubashi

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Topchubashi (also spelled Topchubashov / Topchubashev)(in Azeri meaning Man in charge of cannons) is one of the noble families of Azerbaijan, roots of which comes from 15th-century Ganja and derives its name from its founder’s being in charge of the cannons in the Ganja garrison. In the midst of the 18th century one of the Topchubashis, Agha bey moved to Erevan, thus splitting the family into two major branches – Ganja branch and Erevan branch.

At the second half of the 18th century, Alimardan bey Topchubashi was the prominent member of the Ganja branch of this family, first being in charge of Ganja Khanate’s relations and correspondence with Russia, then moving to Tiflis in 1795 and becoming Georgia’s official responsible for relations with Iran. But despite all efforts of diplomacy, even Russian protectorate over Georgia couldn’t save kingdom and its capital Tiflis from Iranian king Agha Mohammad Shah Gajar’s assault. On September 11, 1795 the Iranian army entered Tiflis. Plunder of the city went on eight days and regardless of their faith all city dwellers were taken captives. It was in that days that Alimardan bey’s daughter was lost and son Jafar (future Mirza Jafar Topchubashev, Russian Orientalist of Azerbaijani origin, employee of Russian Foreign Ministry and professor of Petersburg University) hardly escaped captivity and hid in Alabno monastery.

Later Jafar Topchubashev continued his education in Tiflis, and joined the retinue of Georgian prince Teimuraz Bagrationi and accompanied him to St.Petersburg. There, Mirza Jafar and Teimuraz translated the Psalter into Russian and also compiled Italian-Persian-Turkic dictionary. In 1812 Mirza Jafar enrolled into Russian Foreign Ministry, in 1819 he started to teach Persian in General Pedagogical Institute and in 1823 became professor of Petersburg university.

Another famous Topchubashi was Alimardan Topchubashev, Ambassador of Azerbaijan Democratic Republic to Ottoman Empire, Georgia and Armenia, then Minister of Foreign affairs (6 October-7 December 1918), Speaker of Azerbaijani Parliament in absentia (December 7, 1918 – 27 April 1920) and at the same time Head of the Azerbaijani Delegation to Paris Peace Conference (1919).

Other prominent Topchubashis are Mustafa Topchubashev, famous surgeon and his son Ibrahim Topchubashev doctor, and also composer.

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