Nakhichevan Khanate

Khanate of Nakhchivan
خانات نخجوان
Under Qajar Iran Suzerainty
The Nakhichevan and Yerevan khanates, c.1800.
Capital Nakhchivan
Languages Persian (official),[1][2][3]
Political structure Khanate
   Established 1747
   Disestablished 1828
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Afsharid dynasty
Armenian Oblast

The Nakhchivan Khanate (Persian: خانات نخجوان Khānāt-e Nakhchevān) was a khanate[4] that was established in Safavid Persia in 1747. The territory of the khanate corresponded to most of the present-day Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic and Vayots Dzor Province of present-day Armenia. It was named after its chief settlement, the town of Nakhchivan.[5]


Initially the territory of Nakhchivan was part of the Erivan Khanate, but later came to be ruled by a separate khan.[6] Shortly after the capture of Yerevan in 1604, Shah Abbas I appointed the first governor of Nakhichevan: Maqsud Sultan, a leader of a Turkic tribe named Kangarlu, who were described by J. M. Jouannin as “a small tribe established in Persian Armenia on the shores of the Aras".[7] Later that year, as Ottoman forces threatened the area during the Ottoman-Safavid War of 1603-1618, Shah Abbas ordered Maqsud Sultan to evacuate the entire population of the Nakhchivan region (including the Armenians of Jolfa, who, in the following year, were transplanted to Isfahan) to Qaraja Dag (Arasbaran) and Dezmar.[7] Persian rule was interrupted by Ottoman occupation between 1635-1636 and 1722-1736. It officially became a full functioning khanate during the Afsharid Dynasty.

The palace of the khans of Nakhchivan

During the Russo-Persian War of 1804-1813, in 1808 Russian forces under general Gudovich briefly occupied Nakhchivan, but as a result of the Treaty of Gulistan it was returned to Persian control.[8]

During the Russo-Persian War of 1826-1828, in 1827 Abbas Mirza appointed Ehsan Khan Kangarlu as commander of Abbasabad, a fortress of strategic importance for the defense of the Nakhchivan khanate.[9] After heavy losses in an attempt to take the fortress by escalade on July 14, the Russians mounted a siege. Ehsan Khan secretly contacted the Russian commander, General Paskevich, and opened the gates of the fortress to him on 22 July 1827. With the Treaty of Turkmenchay, in 1828 the khanate became a Russian possession and Ehsan Khan was rewarded with the governorship,[9] conferred the rank of major-general of the Russian army and the title of campaign ataman of the Kangarlu militia.[10]

The abolition of the khanate

In 1828 the khanates of Erivan and Nakhchivan were dissolved and their territories united to form the Armenian Oblast ("Armianskaia Oblast"). In 1840 that province was dissolved and its territory incorporated into a larger new province, the Georgia-Imeretia Governorate ("Gruziia-Imeretiia"). This new division did not last long – in 1845 a vast new territory called the Caucasian Territory ("Kavkazskii Krai") or Caucasian Viceregency ("Kavkazskoe Namestnichestvo") was created, in which the former Armenian Province formed part of a subdivision named the Tiflis Governorate. In 1849 the Erivan Governorate was established, separate from the Tiflis Governorate. It included the territory of the former Nakhchivan khanate, which became the province's Nakhchivan uyezd.[11]

After the dissolution, the khans of Nakhchivan took the Russified surname Khan Nakhchivanski, and the men of its family traditionally entered the Russian public services, chiefly the army. The family remained very wealthy, were the biggest landowners in the district, and continued to exercise enormous influence over the rest of the Muslim community.[12] Six Khans Nakhchivanski became generals in the Russian tsarist, Soviet and Iranian armies.

Two sons of Ehsan khan - Ismail khan and Kalbali khan - were generals in the Russian army and were awarded orders of Saint-George IV degree for their actions in battle. A son of Kalbali khan, Huseyn Khan Nakhichevanski, was a prominent Russian military commander and adjutant general of the Russian Emperor, and his nephews, Jamshid Khan and Kalbali, were generals in the Soviet and Iranian armies respectively.[13]


The rulers were:[14]


  1. 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 and local administration [even after the abolishment of the khanates].
  2. Pavlovich, Petrushevsky Ilya (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 (Farsi). It played the role of the literary language of class feudal lords as well.
  3. Homa Katouzian, "Iranian history and politics", Published by Routledge, 2003. pg 128: "Indeed, since the formation of the Ghaznavids state in the tenth century until the fall of Qajars at the beginning of the twentieth century, most parts of the Iranian cultural regions were ruled by Turkic-speaking dynasties most of the time. At the same time, the official language was Persian, the court literature was in Persian, and most of the chancellors, ministers, and mandarins were Persian speakers of the highest learning and ability."
  4. William Bayne Fisher, Peter Avery, Ilya Gershevitch, Gavin Hambly, Charles Melville. The Cambridge History of Iran: From Nadir Shah to the Islamic Republic. Cambridge University Press, 1991. ISBN 0521200954, 9780521200950
  5. Hewsen, Robert H. Armenia: a Historical Atlas. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 2001, map 149.
  6. Bournoutian, George A. (1992). The Khanate of Erevan Under Qajar Rule, 1795-1828. p. 32.
  7. 1 2 Oberling, P. "Kangarlu". Encyclopedia Iranica. Retrieved 2009-02-01.
  8. (Russian) Записки о службе генерал-фельдмаршала графа И. В. Гудовича, составленные им самим
  9. 1 2 Ekbal, Kamran. "ʿAbbāsābād". Encyclopedia Iranica. Archived from the original on April 29, 2011. Retrieved 2009-02-01.
  10. (Russian) Иванов Р. Н. Именем Союза Советских… Жизнь и гибель комбрига Нахичеванского. — М.: Герои Отечества, 2007.
  11. Hewsen, Robert H. (2001). Armenia: a Historical Atlas. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press. p. 173. ISBN 0226332284.
  12. Villari, Luigi (1906). Fire and Sword in the Caucasus. London: T. F. Unwin. pp. 266–268. ISBN 0-7007-1624-6.
  13. Иванов Р. Н. (2007). Именем Союза Советских… Жизнь и гибель комбрига Нахичеванского. (in Russian). Moscow: Герои Отечества. OCLC 351718188.
  14. Azerbaijani Soviet Encyclopedia, Baku, 1983, vol. 7, p. 176
  15. George A. Bournoutian (1998). Russia and the Armenians of Transcaucasia, 1797-1889. p. 516. ISBN 1568590687.
  16. Martijn Theodoor Houtsma, et al., eds. (eds.). "Nakhcuwan". Encyclopaedia of Islam. Brill Publishers. OCLC 8096647.

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Coordinates: 39°12′00″N 45°30′00″E / 39.2000°N 45.5000°E / 39.2000; 45.5000

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