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Azerbaijan under the reign of Nadir Shah Afshar

The restoration of Iranian reign in Azerbaijan during Nadir Shah’s (1736-1747) authority was not simple. Nadir Shah had to suppress uprisings in Azerbaijan and Daghestan for many times. In 1738, there occurred an outbreak of the union of “liberal communities” of Car, which was established in North-Western Azerbaijan in 16th-17th centuries. Iranian troops were destroyed in the battle with Carians near the village of Gakh, in autumn of 1738; by the way, general Ibrahim khan, Nadir Shah’s brother died in this battle.

It is important to mention the uprisings of 1738 and especially the revolt of 1743, among the national movements against Persian subordination in Azerbaijan. The excute for the uprising of 1743, was that Nadir Shah freed all subordinated population from the payment of taxes and obligations for 3 years after the campaign to India in 1738, where were acquired great trophy. But a little bit later, he abolished this privilege and there began to be collected taxes of 3 years since 1743. Besides that the amount of taxes were suddenly increased. The collection of taxes was accompanied by wild measures, such as cutting ears, nose, making blind and so on. At the result of this mass terror there began revolts in several regions of the country in 1743. There occurred uprising in Shirvan in the autumn of 1743. According to Muhammed Kazim in that uprising local nobility played an important role, but “civil population and rabble” also took part here. The rebels took the city of Shabran and then Aghsu-the new capital of Shirvan which was founded by Nadir Shah. A part of troops that consisted of mughanli-settlers of Mughan step also jointed to the rebels.

At the result of the inequality of forces, the rebels were defeated in the battle of BagiShah and the city of Aghsu was taken and destroyed. The uprising in Shirvan was suppressed by the governor of Nadir Shah- Muhammedali khan cruelly; it is enough to mention that most of rebels were made blind and 14 batmans taken eyes were weight in scales and were sent to Nadir Shah as trophy (one Tabriz batman equaled to 3 kilogramme).

In the same years, i.e. in 1743, there occurred revolt in South Azerbaijan – in the tribe of Dumbuli, in the environs of Khoy and Salmas. This revolt was related with increasing the amount of taxes from three thousand tumans into 100 thousand ones (such sudden growth of taxes was simultaneously related with the fall of the course of tuman for 10-12 times differing from the end of the 17th century). The revolt expanded to the most part of Southern Azerbaijan and was hardly suppressed.

In 1744, there was suppressed dangerous revolt for Iranian authority by Shah’s troops with the aid of Georgia tsars-Teymuraz from Kartli and his son Irakly from Cakhetia. This revolt was led by pretender Safi Mirza the son of Shah Hussein (but it was false), who collected detachments from Azerbaijanis and other subordinated nations to Nadir Shah in Kars.

Soon, Nadir Shah again came to Azerbaijan, destroyed and devastated Azerbaijan and Daghestan. During in this new campaign of 1744, Nadir Shah unsuccessfully besieged the fortress of “Gelersen ve gorersen”, where the rebels of the environs of Sheki, led by Haji Chelebi Efendi-successor of an ancient local khan dynasty had hidden.

The year of 1744, was the period of great destructions in Azerbaijan. Wars, destructions and oppressions by the side of Persian and Turkish troops, mass confiscations of properties and executions, feudal strife and uprisings destroyed the country. The number of robbers increased so that, they stole the people not only on ways, but also attacked to villages and cities, robbed the people in order to sell them as slaves in Iran or Turkey.

In the struggle against robbery policy and oppressions of Iranian coquerers, there was observed the migration of whole families of Azerbaijan to the boundary of the country and this re-settlement policy increased after the suppression of Shirvan revolt in 1743. Big anti- Iranian uprisings occurred in Ardebil and Tabriz in the 18th century as well. All of these evidences played an essential role in the liquidation of Iranian authority in Azerbaijan at the end of 40s of the 18th century.

Transite and internal trade suddenly decreased, cities devastated. Shamakha, in which lived 50 thousand settlers in the half of the 18th century, was abandoned at that time. But rural population and peasantry suffered most of all. Military plundering of Ottoman and Iranian troops, the fighting feudals and robbery bands, permanent hunger caused to the collapse of agriculture. In 1747, Nadir Shah died at the result of palace coup. There began new line of struggle and strife for the throne between feudal groups inside of Iran, as well as in the countries of South Caucasus. This fought lasted long period and much more aggravated circumstances of people mass.

About Ismayil bey Zardabli

Author of t extbook for the higher educational institutions "THE HISTORY OF AZERBAIJAN, from ancient times to the present day"