Home / Azerbaijan / The Azerbaijan Khanates

The Azerbaijan Khanates

The Azerbaijan statehood was restored in the half of the 18th century. There was established the line of state entities-feudal khanates in the struggle against Iranian authority in the territory of Azerbaijan. It is important to mention that the first khanates had shaped in the first half of the 18th century; for instance, Quba khan Husseinali khan was confirmed to this post in 1726, by Russian tsaritsa. But of course, this khanate had not been an independent political entity at that time yet and that’s why, the formation of first independent khanates in the territory of Azerbaijan concerned to the 40s of the 18th century.

Major reasons of the shape of such small feudal states were related with the weak economic ties among separate regions, the national character in economic life and centripetal trends among high feudal nobility of the country.

Besides of khanates, there existed Sultanates and five melikates: Kazakh, Shamsaddil, Gabala, Aresh and Ilisu Sultanates and Khachen, Varand, Dizak, Gulistan and Calaberd malikates in the territory of Azerbaijan. Gabala, Aresh and Ilisu Sultanates were under the dependence of Sheki khanate and all five melikates – under the subordination of Karabakh khanate.


There were founded Tabriz, Urmia, Khoy, Garadagh, Serab, Maragha, Maku and Ardebil khanates in the lands of Southern Azerbaijan in the 40s of the 18th century. In this period, after the death of Nadir Shah, Aliqulu khan (Adil Shah) proclaimed himself Shah in Iran, but he could not strengthen his authority. Major fought for throne in the centre of the state, as well as for South Azerbaijan was conducted between three representatives of feudal aristocracy – cousin of Nadir

Shah, Fatali – khan Afshar, Kerim khan Zend and Muhammed Hasan khan Qajar. South Azerbaijan played a key role in this struggle.

Tabriz khanate bordered with Khoy, Nakhichevan, Karabakh, Sarab and Maragha khanates. After the death of Nadir Shah, the one of the grandee of Tabriz, Amiraslan khan did not recognize the authority of Adil Shah and proclaimed himself the ruler of Tabriz. But soon Adil Shah was dethroned and his brother Ibrahim Mirza took the post in Tabriz by entering to the city with great army. At that time there occurred uprisings in Meshed, Isfahan and Ibrahim Shah obliged to leave Tabriz. During this campaign Ibrahim Shah was killed in the battle of Meshed. There began revolt against the governor of the state- Muhammed khan Afshar and he was also killed. Fatali khan Afshar, who utilized from these circumstances took the city and moved his capital to Tabriz. He gave the governance of the city to the famous representative of Dumbuli tribe-Najafgulu khan (1747-1780). Najafgulu khan governed Tabriz as Urmian naib since 1763. In this year Fatali khan Afshar was killed by Kerim khan Zend and Tabriz khanate became independent. Due to strengthen his power Najafgulu khan built fortress walls around Tabriz. By administrative viewpoint the khanate divided into Tabriz, Southern and Marand mahals. Khan possessed 10 thousandth army.

As we see, Tabriz was the centre of unification of South- Azerbaijan lands as before. But in this time it could not implement this duty till the end.

Urmiya khanate was situated in the boundary of Ottoman Empire together with Khoy and Maragha khanates. The capital of the khanate was the city of Urmia. The founder of the Urmia khanate – Fatali khan Afshar was able to incline one of the generals of Nadir Shah, Azad khan to his side after the capture of Tabriz. Related with shaped circumstances Shahbaz khan Khoylu – the representative of Dumbuli tribe had to enter to an alliance with Fatali khan. After that, Fatali khan Afshar subordinated Karabakh, Sarab and Maragha khanates.

From the beginning of 50s of the 18th century Fatali khan Afshar began the fought against Kerim khan Zend and Muhammed Hazan- khan Qajar. In 1751, Fatali khan sent his ally, Azad khan to Iravan- khanate. Mir Mehti khan Iravanly requested aid from Kartlian tsar Irakly II. Joint forces of both rulers overwhelmed Azad khan’s troops. Then Fatali khan strengthened the detachment of Azad khan and sent him to Georgia, where Azad khan gained victory over Irakly II.

These achievements much more activated the struggle of Fatali khan Afshar for the central power.

Kerim-khan Zend, who united Southern lands of Iran under his reign, attacked to Azerbaijan in the end of 1752. In this year Fatali khan Afshar overwhelmed him. Kerim khan receded to the South and entered to the region of Fars. The troops of Kerim khan’s brother- Iskandar khan and Fatali khan Afshar encountered in the place of Qamsha. Fatali khan won the battle and his enemy was executed.

In 1753-1754s, Fatali khan extended his power to central and western Iran.

Soon the fought of Qajars for reign, which possessed essential forces, much more intensified. In 1757, Muhammed Hasan-khan captured Tabriz and then Urmia. Fatali khan passed to the dependence of Muhammed-Hasan-khan.

After the murder of Muhammed Hasan-khan in 1759, Fatali khan strengthened his reign in Tabriz and attacked to Karabakh. Panahali khan obliged to begin negotiations and recognize the subordination of Fatali khan. He sent his son Ibrahimkhalil as captive to Urmia.

Subordination of Karabakh khanate encouraged Fatali khan to subordinate Sheki and Aresh too. But, there occurred new order in Iran at that time. After the death of Muhammedhasan khan Kerim-khan Zend became the major power and attacked to Southern Azerbaijan in 1760. He encircled Tabriz, but after 4 monthes besiege Kerim khan couldn’t took the city and receded back.

In 1761 Kerim khan began new attack, but lost the battle near the village of Garachemen. This success calmed Fatali khan. Utilizing from this Kerim khan attacked and encircled the fortress of Urmia. The defence of the castle was led by Fatali khan himself. After 9 monthes besiege Urmiya was captured and Fatali khan was captivated. Related with the begun uprising in Isfahan Kerim-khan Zend had to direct there. The governance of Urmia khanate was instructed to Rustam bey Afshar. Kerim khan ordered to sent Fatali khan and his family to Shiraz. Simultaneously, he invited Panahali khan, Shahbaz khan Khoylu, Kazim khan Karadaghli and other khans, who aided him against Urmiya khan to Shiraz with the excute of the victory over Fatali khan, but kept them as captives here. This event entered to the history under the name of “Shiraz feast”. The captivated khans could maintain relations with their properties and that is why, “Shiraz feast” did not give expected results. Khanates preserved their independence. By the order of Kerim khanZend Fatali khan was executed in the same place, where Iskender bey was killed. After these events Urmia lost its former essence.

The first ruler of Khoy khanate was Shahbaz khan. He conducted light policy and preserved friendly relationship with Fatali khan Afshar. But in the beginning of 60s, he betrayed Fatali khan and became the participant of the besiege of Urmia. Shahbaz khan was invited to Shiraz feast and became the captive of Kerim khan.

After Shahbaz khan the ruler of Khoy khanate became Ahmed khan Dunbuli (1763-1786). He subordinated Tabriz khanate. Najafgulu khan Tabrizli gave him military aid. Ahmed khan subordinated Iravan, Nakhichevan and Karadakh khanates as well. He entered to the alliance with Karabakh khanate and planned to capture Urmia khanate.

In the autumn of 1783, Ahmed khan destroyed the troops of Imanqulu khan Afshar and his ally Ali khan Shaqaqi from Sarab in the battle near Tabriz. That event much more strengthened the influence of Khoy khanate.

After the death of Kerim khan in 1779, Shiraz “guests” began to return. Shahbaz khan’s sons, who also came back began to rise against their relative.

In 1786, Ahmed khan was killed. But the brothers couldn’t come to the throne and the reign was taken by Husseingulu khan.

So, day-by-day Khoy khanate began to loose its position. Iravan and Nakhichevan khanates restored their independence, soon Karadagh and Tabriz were also lost.

The founder of the Karadagh khanate became the head of Karadagh tribe, Kazim khan (1748-1752). This tribe helped Safavids in their struggle for the throne and that is why, acquired the right of inherited governance over Karadagh region.

At the result of the weakness of central authority in the first half of the 18th century Kazim khan gained an independance. During Nadir Shah’s reign Kazim khan was made blind because of his non- subordination. After Nadir Shah’s death Karadagh khanate was again independent and Kazim khan restored his authority. The centre of the khanate was the city of Ahar.

In the middle of the 18th century Kazim khan joint to anti-Sheki coalation, which Karabagh, Ganja and Nakhichevan khans participated in.

In 1782 the Karadagh khanate was conquered by joint forces of Khoy and Karabagh khanates. After this event the khanate lost its real independence and in 1791, Karadagh was captured by Agha Muhammed Shah Qajar.

Sarabkhanate was founded by Ali khan (1747-1786), the head of Shaqaqi tribe. Sarab khanate was one of the weakest one. At the beginning of 50s, this khanate was conquered by Fatali khan Afshar and then Muhammedhasan khan Qajar. After the death of Kerim khan Zend Sarab khanate again became independent.

Maragha khanate was founded by Aliqulu khan Muqaddim (1747-1750). This khanate was subordinated to Fatali khan Afshar in the mid of the 18th century. After the death of Fatali khan the khanate became independent and it lasted till the coming to the throne Agha Muhammed khan Qajar.

The founder of Makukhanate was Ahmed Sultan (1747-1778) – the head of Bayat tribe and the general of Nadir Shah. The capital of the khanate was the city of Maku, which joint 30 villages around itself. In 19th century, Maku khanate, which was inside of Iran state preserved its internal independence for a long time. In this period Maku khanate was much more powerful. This khanate was liquidated only in 1924.

Ardebil khanate was founded by the head of Shahseven tribe, Bebir khan. During the reign of Bebir khan’s son, Nazarali khan (1747- 1783) the relationship with Kerim khan Zend and Qajar spoiled. With the advice of Kerim khan, Gilan governor-Hidayet khan attacked to Ardebil, captivated Nazarali khan and brought him to Anzeli. But after the death of Kerim khan, Ardebilians attacked to Anzeli and liberated Nazarali khan from the prison.

In 1784, Fatali khan Qubali conquered Ardebil. This event was encountered with the disagreement of Russia and Fatali khan left Ardebil by the order of tsaritsa Ekatirine II.

Nasir khan (1783-1808), who came to the throne after Nazarali khan obeyed to Qajars.

So, after Kerim khan Zend’s death there began strife wars in Iran at the end of 70s of the 18th century, which caused to the achievement of independence of South-Azerbaijan khanates. This situation lasted till the beginning of 90s, when Agha Muhammed Shah Qajar came to the throne in Iran. After that the khanates of Southern Azerbaijan was subordinated to his authority.


There were founded Karabagh, Sheki, Quba, Shamakha, Iravan, Nakhichevan, Talish, Ganja, Baku and Javad khanates in Northern Azerbaijan in the 18th century. There was conducted permanent fought among the khans, who objectively contributed to the process of unification of Azerbaijan lands. The attemtps of the unification of North-Azerbaijan lands were implemented by Sheki khan – Haji Chelebi, Karabagh khan-Panahali and Quba khan-Fatali khan. But there wasn’t achived to unite Azerbaijan lands, excepting North-Eastern ones.

Shekikhanate was established by Haji Chelebi even during Nadir Shah’s reign. In 1747, Haji Chelebi annexed Aresh and Gabala Sultanates to Sheki khanate. Soon, he began the struggle for subordination Ganja and Karabagh khanates. The strengthening of Sheki khanate disturbed Karabagh, Iravan and Nakhichevan khans. The tsar of Kartli-Teymuraz and the tsar of Cakhetia – Irakly II had to confront with Haji Chelebi in Car in the year of 1751. The khan of Sheki gained victory. After these events, Irakly II attained to make negotiations with Panahali khan and mentioned that he was ready to create alliance against Haji Chelebi. After this, Irakly suggested khans to meet in Ganja. So, Georgian tsar, who was eager to conquer Karabakh and Ganja approached to the city of Ganja with great army in 1752 and captivated Azerbaijan khans. This event happened not far from Ganja, in the place of Kizilkaya and that is why, it entered to the history under the name of “betrayal in Kizilkaya”.

Haji Chelebi, who learnt about this event, pursued the enemy and defeated Irakly II in the battle, taken place not far from the grave of sheikh Nizami Gandjavi. Captivated khans were liberated. Pursuing Irakly, Haji Chelebi liberated Borchali too. This event was the most essential lesson of national unity in our history.

There occurred one more confrontation between Irakly and Haji Chelebi for Car and Sheki khan gained the victory again. In 1755, Haji Chelebi attempted to capture Shirvan. But this campaign to Aghsu was unsuccessful, because the khans of Shamakha and Quba signed an alliance and overwhelmed Haji Chelebi. Neverthless, Sheki khanate was the most magnificant khanate among North-Azerbaijan khanates during Haji Chelebi’s authority. In 1755, Haji Chelebi died and Sheki khanate lost its former magnificence.

After Haji Chelebi, his son Aghakishi bey came to the throne. Nevertheless he was killed by his daughter-in-law’s father Muhammed khan Kazikumukhlu.

During Muhammedhasan khan’s reign, the relationship between Sheki and Quba khanates spoiled. In 1785, Fatali khan Qubali overwhelmed Muham-medhasan khan and Sheki khanate passed to the subordination of Quba. In 1788, Muhammedhasan khan made an alliance with Georgian tsar-Irakly II against Fatali khan. There happened battle near Shamakha, which Sheki was defeated in. After a while Fatali khan died, Muhammedhasan khan utilized from this and restored the independence of khanate. In 1795, the authority in the khanate passed to Selim khan.

The founder of Karabakh khanate Panahali khan was from Javanshir tribe by origin. In 1748, he proclaimed the establishment of Karabakh khanate in the western lands of former Karabakh beylerbeylik. The first step of Panahali khan was returning of Karabakh tribes, which were resettled in Khorasan by Nadir Shah.

Major part of population in Karabakh was Turks, the tribes of Javanshir, otuziki, kabirli were the original population (elats) of Karabakh.

In the period of establishment of khanate there was not any cities, which could play the role of socio-economic centre of the new state.

Due to military and politically strengthen the khanate Panahali khan obliged to construct new fortresses. In this direction the first was the construction of Bayat fortress in the mahal of Kabirli.

The construction of Bayat castle and the strengthening of Karabakh khanate disturbed Sheki and Shamakha khans, also Karabakh meliks. Meliks had participated in the wars of Nadir Shah against Turks and that is why Nadir Shah gave them some priveleges. They possessed military detachments too. Simultaneously, Nadir Shah took them out of the authority of the beylerbey of Ganja. This was the period of prosperity of melikates. And it was not casual that the strengthening of Panahali khan increased their resistance.

Meliks informed Haji Chelebi that “Panahali came to the throne here, constructed fortress and strengthened. If we are late, then we will not be able to stand in front of him”.

Sheki khan-Haji Chelebi encircled Bayat tower together with his allies and army. The besiege lasted a month, but Haji Chelebi could not break the defence of the tower. Defeated Haji Chelebi crossed to the other side of Kur with great losts and said: “Panah khan looked like silver without coining. We came, minted him and returned back”.

Bayat battle showed that the tower was not strong enough and the choice of its place was unsuccessful. That is why Panahali khan began the construction of the tower in Shahbulaq not far from Aghdam. In 1751, the Shahbulaq tower was ready. But this tower was also situated in unsuitable place by geographic view-point and Panahali khan began to construct new tower in impregnable place. The construction, which began in 1750, not far from the village of Shushakend (on the high rock mountain) ended in 1756-1757s. This tower turned to one of the political, economic and cultural centres of Azerbaijan in a short time. The tower was firstly called Panahabad and then Shusha.

But there are thoughts that Shusha was one of the ancient cities of Azerbaijan as Tabriz and its initial name was neither Panahabad nor Shusha, but Novruz. Panahali khan only restored and strengthened the city. A.Bakikhanov also confirmed that thought.

As it was mentioned before, the major duty of Panahali khan was to put end to the separate activity of meliks.

Due to achieve that aim khan utilized from various measures, because the territorial-administrative unity of the khanate could be intervened.

In order to subordinate Karabakh meliks, Panahali khan burned hostility among them. Varanda melik-Shahnezer passed to the side of Panahali khan. That melik killed his uncle for the throne. The meliks of Gulistan, Chilabord and Dizak made an alliance against him related with this event. Melik Shahnezer married his daughter with Ibrahimkhalil agha-Panahali khan’s son, recognized his authority and became the vassal of Karabakh khan.

There took place confrontation between the Khachin melik- Ulubab and Panahali khan in Balligaya. The melik of Khachin was defeated and accepted the dependence of Karabakh khan. After this event other meliks also recognized the authority of Panahali khan and became his vassals.

It is important to mention that besides of the melik of Khachin, all other meliks were strange. Their history is not more ancient than 17th century. Dizak melik came to Karabakh from Lori-Varanda melik-from Goycha, the melik of Chilabord-from Magaviz and the melik of Gulistan from Shirvan.

So, Panahali khan stopped the resistance of melikates and subordinated them. The central power of the khanate strenghtened and utilizing from this Panahali khan attemted to capture Ganja, Iravan, Nakhichevan and Ardebil khanates. In a short time he attained to subordinate them by the vehicle of various methods: by force, diplomatic way, shaping relative relationship and etc.

At that time, the brother of Chilabord melik-Khatam and the governor of Gulistan (Talish) – Usub made an alliance against Panahali khan. But the allies were defeated in the battle near Aghdere. All of these events proved that meliks did not refuse from their plans. Because of the attack of Muhammedhasan khan Qajar to Azerbaijan, Panahali khan temporarily stoped the fought against meliks.

In 1757, Muhammedhasan khan’s troops interfered to Karabakh and settled in the camp not far from Shusha. They stayed here about one month, but could not take the tower.

Kerim khan Zend, who utilized from the absence of Muhammedhasan khan attacked to Astrabad, Gilan and Mazandaran. Muhammedhasan khan, who learnt about it immediately receded from Shusha and returned to Iran.

In 1759, Fatali khan Afshar sent his envoys to Karabakh khan with the order to subordinate him. After that he got the negative answer, Fatali khan directed to Karabakh with great troops and encircled Shusha. After 6 monthes’ besiege Panahali khan obeyed to Fatali khan and gave his son, Ibrahimkhalil agha as captive to him. Soon Kerim khan Zend began the fought against Fatali khan Afshar and attained to incline Panahali khan to his side. In his letter to Panahali khan Kerim khan Zend wrote: “I….. ask you to come with your troops in order to aid me without loosing time, because in the depth of my heart I want to revenge for the blood of my brother and to liberate your son”.

Panahali khan appointed his little son-Mehrali bey to his post and went to Urmiya together with Zend. In 1763, after the victory over Urmia khanate Kerim khan did not permit Panahali khan to return to Karabakh. Panahali khan became the pariticipant of “Shiraz feast” and stayed in Shiraz till the end of his life. His son Ibrahimkhalil agha liberated from the prison and came back to Karabakh. In 1763, Ibrahimkhalil defeated his brother-Mehrali bey and began to rule Karabakh khanate. Mehrali khan escaped to Quba and participated in the campaigns of Fatali khan to Karabakh. In 1785, Mehrali khan was killed.

The Karabakh khanate much more strengthened in the period of Ibrahim khalil khan’s reign. He married to the sister of the head of Car-Balaken camaats. This relativeness caused to the military-political unity of these two feudals.

Ibrahimkhalil khan possessed an influence over Karadagh, Ardebil, Nakhichevan and Ganja khanates. He married with the sister of Selim khan-the khan of Sheki.

In the 80s of the 18th century, the struggle between Karabakh khan and melikates became strained. Although the meliks of Khachin and Varanda were allies of Ibrahim khan, the meliks of Dizak, Chilabord and Gulistan refused to obey him. In 1783, Russia began to intervene to this conflict. She wanted to create here the Christian state by the vehicle of melikates. But Ibrahimkhalil khan gathered the meliks in Shusha, proved their sin and arrested them. Two of them were kept in the prison of Shusha, but others were sent to Ardebil as political prisinors.

Soon meliks were able to liberate from Shusha prison. They came to Tiflis and continued the fought against Karabakh khanate together with Irakly II and general Burnashev. In 1787, their united forces approached to Ganja. But the beginning of Russian-Turkey wars (1787- 1791) caused to the end of this campaign. So, Ibrahimkhalil khan could preserve territorial integrity of Karabakh khanate.

Quba khanate had existed since the beginning of the 18th century. It is true, at that time this khanate possessed small area and it was not entirely independent. In the head of this entity stood Husseingulu khan, who was appointed this post in 1726. His residence was situated in Khudat and since 1735, the centre was moved to Quba.

After the death of Nadir Shah, Husseingulu khan used from the weakening of the empire and became completely independent. He annexed Salyan, which was under the dependence of Quba khanate in the beginning of the 18th century. Due to weaken Quba khanate Nadir Shah took Salyan from him and gave it to his naib. At the end of his life, Husseingulu khan utilized from his inherited rights and in 1756, returned Salyan to Quba khanate.

After the death of Husseingulu khan, his son Fatali (1758-1789) became new khan. He strengthened the khanate much more. Fatali khan was clever, wise and far-seeing ruler of Azerbaijan. He limited the power of mahals’ governors, made an order in the collection of taxes and provided the increasement of profits of the Treasury.

Fatali khan aimed to unite whole Azerbaijan. He increased the number of troops, provided them with artillery and turned Quba into impregnable castle. For strengthening his borders, Fatali khan settled  military representatives of Shahseven tribe from Mughan to the frontiers of Quba. And in order to increase the number of civil population Fatali khan settled here the population from southern regions of Azerbaijan. The immigrants were especially settled in Shabran.

Fatali khan did his best to extend the territory of his state by the vehicle of conquest of neighbourhood lands. Utilizing from the circumstances in Derbent he made campaign in 1759. Derbend people, who disagreed with the cruel policy of Muhammed Hussein khan were eager to accept the authority of Quba khanate. Utilizing from this, Fatali khan neutralized the khan of Kazikumukh, signed an agreement with Shamkhal Murtuzali, Garaqaytaq’s usmi-Amir Hamza and the governor of Tabasaran.

In 1759, Derbend was subordinated to Fatali khan. The khan of Derbend receded to Narinkala. With the excute of negotiations, Fatali khan invited the khan of Derbend to his camp and made him blind. He sent the khan firstly to Quba, then to Baku.

In order to strengthen the alliance with Amir Hamza Fatali khan married to his sister, Tuti Bike.

After the seizure of Derbend khanate Fatali khan aimed to subordinate Baku khanate. For the same aim he utilized from marriage diplomacy. He married his sister, Khadica Bike to the ruler of Baku- Melik Muhammed. So, in 1767, Baku and Absheron fell under the influence of Quba khanate. But, the relations between the usmi of Garaqaytaq-Amir Hamza, who dreamed to marry with Khadica Bike and Fatali khan became strained.

Baku khanate, which was very weak from military view-point needed a powerful protector against devastating campaigns of neighbourhood feudals. Quba khanate actively intervened to economic life of the khanate and took the obligation of the defence the khanate from foreign enemies to his hands. There was settled the garrison of Quba in the village of Saray not far from Baku. Clever Khadica Bike actively interfered to the duties of Baku governor and directed the policy of the khanate behalf on his brother.

So, all pre-Caspian lands from Derbend till the Kur, including Baku and Salyan entered to the content of Quba khanate.

After this, Fatali khan signed an alliance with Sheki khan – Husseinali khan and made campaign to Shamakha. The population of Shamakha could not organize resisitance. After the victory of Quba and Sheki khans divided this khanate between themselves. Soon, by the aid of Sheki khan there was organized compact alliance against Fatali khan and it was disclosed in August of 1768. On September 11 of the same year, Fatali khan defeated Hussein khan and the part of lands of Shamakha, which concerned to Sheki khan was annexed to the properties of Fatali khan. So, Shamakha khanate entirely passed to the authority of Fatali khan.

In 1768, Javad khanate, which was located in Mughan recognized the authority of Fatali khan.

So, all north-eastern lands of Azerbaijan were united around Quba khanate in the 60s of the 18th century.

The strength of Quba khanate disturbed Sheki khan very much. By his vehicle there was organized uprising in Shamakha, led by Muhammed Seid khan. The rebels planned to return the authority in Shamakha to the dynasty of Serkers and hand out new Shamakha to Sheki khanate.

Fatali khan made a decision to attack to Hussein khan Shekili. A little bit before, he arrested Muhammed Seid khan. Sheki khan surrendered and refused from his pretends to Shamakha. Fatali khan became the winner of this confrontation. Fatali khan did not want to flow blood and did his best to subordinate Daghestan feudals and Azerbaijan khans by peaceful means. He did not plan to liquidate the khanates, but only to succeed the recognition of his power by khans.

When he got negative answer, Fatali khan began to prepare to the war.

In the summer of 1774, there took place battle between the united forces of several Azerbaijan khans, Daghestanian feudals and the troops of Quba khan in the field of Gavdushan not far from Khudat. The troops of the coalition was led by Shamakha khan – Aghasi khan and the usmi of Karakaytag-Amir Hamza. Fatali khan lost this battle and receded to Salyan. Khan lost all his lands, excepting Baku, Derbend and Salyan.

Amir Hamza informed his sister Tuti Bike about the “death” of Fatali khan and demanded to surrender the Derbend castle. Tuti Bike did not believe her brother and led the defence of the fortress herself.

Fatali khan was hardly able to arrive in Derbend and asked for aid from Russia. In March of 1775, Russian troops, commanded by general de-Medem approached to Derbend. Amir Hamza and other feudals obliged to recede the walls of the city. By the aid of Russia, Fatali khan succeeded to give back Quba and the whole Shirvan. Russia helped Fatali khan, since he wanted to see powerful ally in Caucasus in his face.

After that Fatali khan restored his position, he re-newed the policy of unification of Azerbaijan lands. Due to subordinate Karabagh khanate Fatali khan chose the diplomatic way in 1779, sent Baku khan- Muhammed to Karabakh with the suggestion of signing the agreement.

Ibrahimkhalil khan evaluated this suggestion as the vehicle of the subordination his khanate to Quba khan and that is why, arrested Melik Muhammed. That action much more aggravated the relations between Karabakh and Quba khanates. In 1780-1781s, Fatali khan made several unsuccessful campaigns to Karabakh. He could not subordinate this khanate.

In 1784, Fatali khan began campaign to the Southern lands of Azerbaijan. In the august of the same year, he entered to Ardebil and then to Meshkin. But he could not strengthen there. At that time, the enemies of khan-Azerbaijan and Daghestan feudals threatened him.

Simultaneously, his campaign to Ardebil disturbed Ekaterine II very much, since she was scared of the strengthening of Quba khanate, which would be great obstacle in front of the expansive policy of Tsarism in Caucasus. At the result of the order of Russia, Fatali khan had to come back. Khan did not want to spoil relations with Russia.

There shaped suitable conditions for subordination of Sheki khanate by Fatali khan in the 80s. The khanate was weakened at the result of internal strife. At that time, Hussein khan’s son– Muhammedhasan khan conducted hostile policy against Fatali khan. In 1785, there happened battle between them and Muhammedhasan khan was defeated. He asked for peace, which was accepted by Fatali khan.

In 1788, Quba khanate concluded an alliance with Georgian tsar- Irakly II with the aim of mutual struggle against Iran and Ottoman Turkey. In the same year, the allies entered to Ganja. At that time, Muhammedhasan khan attacked to the troops of Fatali khan. Muhammedhasan khan was again defeated in the battle near Shamakha.

Sheki khanate fell under the dependence of Quba khanate. In the end of the same year, Ganja khanate also obeyed to Fatali khan. After that event, Fatali khan began to prepare to a new campaign to South Azerbaijan. But sudden death in 1789, prevented him to realize this campaign.

Fatali khan’s policy about the creation of strong state was supported by small and middle feudals, merchants, craftsmen and peasants. Big feudals and khans, who wanted to preserve their own independence resisted to this policy. Related with this problem Fatali khan could not unite all Azerbaijan lands around Quba khanate. Ahmed khan (1789-1791) and Sheikhali khan (1791-1810), who came to the throne after Fatali khan could not preserve the state, established by their father. The khanates, which were subordinated to Quba became independent.

Shamakhakhanate was one of the states, which was established after Nadir Shah’s death and possessed essential place among other Azerbaijan khanates. Differing from the last ones, there existed diarchy in Shamakha.

One part of the khanate was under the power of Haji Muhammedali khan. It was called New Shamakha.

Another part of the khanate was under the reign of Muhammed Seid khan-the representative of Khanchoban tribe. The centre of this part was Old Shamakha.

Internal strife prevented the unification of the khanates and was negatively reflected in the economy of this state.

In 1763, Muhammed Seid khan took New Shamakha with the aid of elats and captivated Muhammedali khan. He united New and Old Shamakha. Old Shamakha became the capital of the state. The military- political power of the khanate grew up. But this khanate permanently encountered with the attacks of neighbours and all of these weakened Shamakha.

In 1767, Shamakha khanate was divided between Quba and Sheki khanates. In 1768, Fatali khan Qubali captured the part which belonged to Sheki khan.

After the death of Fatali khan Muhammedhasan khan Shekili restored his independence and attempted to extend the sphere of his influence. In 1790, he withdrew Ahmed khan from Shirvan and restored the independence of Shamakha khans.

Iravan khanate shaped in the mid of the 18th century in the western lands of Azerbaijan. The population of this khanate was mostly Turks. The khanate was founded by Mir Mehti khan.

Iravan khanate was located around the lake of Goycha and consisted of 15 mahals: Zangibasar, Qirkhbulaq, Qermibasar, Vedibasar, Sharur, Suran, Derek, Saatli, Tala, Seyidli, Sardarabad, Gerni, Darachichek, Abaran and Goycha.

During the regin of Husseinali khan (1764-1783), who came to the throne after Mir Mehti khan, Iravan was invaded by Georgians for many times. Armenian population, which constituted one forth of the settlers aided to Georgians during these campaigns. In 1779, Irakly II organized new campaign to Iravan. But as he encountered with strong resistance, the Georgian tsar came back.

There began uprising in Iravan in 1783, which Husseinali khan was killed in. His son Qulamali khan came to the throne after him (1783-1785).

At the result of conspiracy, which was organized by Irakly II, in 1785, Qulamali khan was killed. The reign passed to his brother, Ahmedali khan. At the result of this strife the khanate weakened and obliged to obey to Khoy khanate for a while.

In 1785-1786s, Iravan khanate confronted with the attacks of Avarian Umma khan. At that time, the khanate weakened very much. In 1795, Agha Muhammed khan Qajar, who captivated Muhammed khan, appointed Aligulu khan to his post. After the death of Iranian Shah in 1797, the population withdrew Aligulu khan. New Iranian Shah-Fatali Shah liberated Muhammed khan and again appointed him to the post in Iravan. Muhammed khan attempted to conduct independent policy.

Nakhichevankhanate was established by Heydargulu khan, the head of Kengerli tribe. With the aid of local feudals he withdrew the naib of Shah-Aghahasan from Nakhichevan. The khanate essentially strengthened in the years of his reign. Neverthless, the khanate, which was weak from military viewpoint passed to the dependence of Karabakh-Panahali khan and became the ally of Karabakh khan in the struggle against Haji Chelebi.

There lasted strain fought for the throne after the death of Heydarqulu khan till 1787, in Nakhichevan. The winner of this fought was Kerbali khan (1787). He stopped the invasion of Ibrahimkhalil khan to Nakhichevan. In 1792, Kerbali khan prevented new attack of Karabakh khan by the aid of Khoy and Iravan khans.

In 1797, Agha Muhammed Shah Qajar made blind Kerbali khan and dethroned him. But as soon as Agha Muhammed Shah Qajar died, Kerbali khan could restore his reign.

Lenkoran(Talish)khanate had shaped in the years of decline of Safavids khanate. Musa Kizilaghacly declared about the establishment of the khanate with the centre of Astara. But during Nadir Shah’s reign Musa khan had to give the authority of the khanate to the representative of Safavids dynasty-Seid Abbas Ardebilli. Seid Abbas moved the capital of the khanate to Lenkoran.

In the years of his reign, Talish khanate was under the dependence of Nadir Shah. Seid Abbas directed his son-Camaladdin (Gara khan) to serve Nadir Shah.

After the death of Seid Abbas, Gara khan (1747-1786) became the ruler of the throne. He made several measures, which were directed to the strengthening of economic and political circumstances of Talish khanate. Gara khan created regular army and conducted the struggle against centrifugal measures of local feudals.

Natural enrichments, the improvement of craft, suitable conditions in the shore of Caspian Sea shaped essential conditions for the development of the trade and economy.

Gara khan demonstrated pro-Russian mood in foreign policy. It desturbed the khan of Gilan-Hidayet khan. In 1768, he began campaign to Talish khanate. Although Gara khan resisted to Gilan khan, he obliged to recede to the castle of Shindan. Soon he surrendered, paid big amount of trophy and liberated.

In 1785, Talish khanate fell to the dependence of Quba khanate. After the death of Gara khan his son Mir Mustafa khan (1786-1814) came to the throne.

The Talish khanate strengthened essentially in the reign of Mir Mustafa khan.

The founder of Ganja khanate was the representative of Qajar tribe-Shahverdi khan Ziyadoghlu (1747-1760). This khanate became the object of aggressions of neighbourhood feudals from the moment of its establishment. After the death of Shahverdi khan, his son Muhammedhasan khan (1760-1780) came to the throne. He became victim of attempt upon life organized by his brother Muhammed khan in 1780. In the same year, Georgian tsar Irakly II and Karabakh khan Ibrahimkhalil khan conquered Ganja, made blind Muhammed khan and sent him to Shusha castle. After this, Ganja khanate was governed by the appointed men of winners-the representative of Karabakh khanate – Qulu bey and the representative of Kartly-Cakhetia-Keykhosro Andronnikashvili. The diapoly, shaped in the khanate aggravated the situation of local population. Here occurred uprising which led by Haji bey in 1783. The rebels withdrew the representatives of Karabakh and Kartly-Cakhetia and put the end to diapoly in Ganja. In 1784, Irakly II again attacked to Ganja.

At this time Russian troops, commanded by general Burnashev aided him. But the khanate could preserve its independence with the aid of Daghestan feudals.

In 1785, the authority of Ganja was taken by Muhammed khan’s brother-Rahim bey (1785-1786). Ibrahimkhalil khan and Irakly II, who disagreed with this situation invaded Ganja, dethroned Rahim bey and appointed Javad khan-the representative of Ziyadoghlu tribe (1786- 1804) to the post of the khanate with one condition: Javad khan had to pay per-year in the amount of 11500 manat, but he refused to pay it in 1795. In the same year, he aided to the troops of Agha Muhammed Shah Qajar, who encircled Tiflis at that time.

Bakukhanate was shaped in 1747, after the death of Nadir Shah. The first khan of Baku was Mirza Muhammed (1747-1768). He withdrew the representative of Nadir Shah-Selim and proclaimed himself an independent ruler. If in the reign of Mirza Muhammed khan Baku khanate was independent, during his son’s-Melik Muhammed khan’s reign (1768-1784) it became dependent. Fatali khan, who utilized from “marriage diplomacy” and married his sister-Khadica Bike to Melik Muhammed, made his influence over the khanate. Melik Muhammed became the vassal of Fatali khan. After the death of Fatali khan, during Mirza Muhammed II’s reign Baku khanate restored its independence. The struggle, begun between Mirza Muhammed II and his cousin-Husseingulu khan (1792-1806) ended with the victory of last one.


The statehood of Azerbaijan was restorated with the formation of khanates. This was proved with the independent foreign policy, which was conducted by khans. But khanates were weak from military-political viewpoint. Local strife weakened them much. That is why, khanates shaped relations with Iran, Turkey, Russia and Kartli-Cakhetia, did their best to preserve their own independence by maneuvering among them.

In the 60s of the 18th century, Kerim khan Zend, who attempted to create centralized state under his own authority in Iran, subordinated the khanates of Southern Azerbaijan. Several khanates, such as Quba and Karabakh khanates in Northern Azerbaijan were able to preserve their independence and avoid from the aggression of Kerim khan Zend. There occurred exchange of embassies between Kerim khan and Fatali khan in 1775-1776s. Neverthless Kerim khan never refused from his plans about the conquest of Northern khanates, as well as Quba khanate. But the strengthening of these khanates and pressure of Russia did not allow Kerim khan to attain to his aim.

The relation between Azerbaijan khanates and Ottoman Empire were much more essential. There was formed Russian-Georgian block in the region at that time. Ottoman Turkey, which always was the object of the attacks by Russia, attempted to create coalition against this block by the vehicle of Muslim countries and with this aim he sent his envoys to Azerbaijan.

In 1770 and in 1771, there was sent special embassy to Quba khanate, Russia observed these actions of Ottoman-Turks with great danger. This was obvious, since that time Russia conducted war with Turkey and such approach of relations   among Turkish-Muslim countries disturbed the Northern empire. Sunnite clergy of Shamakha khanate played an important role in these relations. Russia did his best to violate these relations with all vehicles.

After Russian-Turkish war of 1768-1774s, the relations between Azerbaijan khanates and Ottoman Turkey improved. Most khanates were eager to pass to the patronamy of Turkey in the case of Russian aggression. But, Quba khan-Fatali khan appealed to the aid of Russia after the defeat in Gavdushan battle. In 1775, the Russian army, commanded by general de-Medem came to aid Fatali khan and he could overwhelm his enemies. By this action, Russia pursued its goals: it wanted to punish Amir Hamza Garaqaytaqly-the enemy of Fatali khan in Gavdushan battle.

In 1775, Fatali khan sent embassy, led by Mirza bey Farhadbeyli to the palace of Ekaterine II. In his letter to emperor, Fatali khan requested the patronamy of Russia and giving the khanate the same status, as to Crimea khanate and Eastern Georgia. According to the conditions of Kuchuk-Qaynarca treaty, Crimea was proclaimed independent. Fatali khan wanted to apply the status of “independent” Crimea to Azerbaijan too. In other words, the khan wanted to preserve his sovergnity under the protection of Russia and in the substitution of this, he sent the keys of Derbent to Ekaterine II. But Russia rejected the suggestion of Fatali khan with an excute that Quba khanate was located in the structure of Iran and Russia, maintained friendship relations with this neighbourhood states. But further events proved that Russia attempted to obscured her plans about the conquest of Azerbaijan with this measure. The suggestion of Fatali khan was not convenient for Russia and that is why, she refused the recognition of independence of Quba khanate. In the summer of 1775, Russian troops were called back from Azerbaijan. So, the embassy, which was sent to Russian palace could not implement its duty.

On June 24, 1783, there was concluded agreement in Georgiyevsk about the entering of Kartli-Cakhetia to the protectorate of Russia.

According to the conditions of the agreement, Irakly II recognized superior authority of Russian Empire from his name and from the name of his successors, the heir of the throne should be confirmed in Petersburg. Russian side brought several certain obligations also the guarantee of the integrity of the territory and the defence of Kartli- Cakhetia realm; guaranted the integrity of Kartli-Cakhetia, rights of Irakly’s and his successors’ to the throne; Georgian tsar preserved internal self-control of the state, but in foreign policy he had to take into account the thoughts of Russian officer, whose residence was located in Tiflis. Russia promised to protect Georgia from foreign enemies, the rights of Georgian feudals equaled to the rights of Russian aristocracy.

Due to bring military forces from Russia, there began the construction of the strategically essential military-Georgian way and on its basic there was set the Vladicaucasus castle.

In November of 1783, Russian troops entered to Tiflis and soon the commander of the Russain troops in the Caucasus-general R.S.Patyomkin sent universals about the concluding of tractate to Azerbaijan khans. Along with universals, there were sent “circulated letters”, in which the commander offerred to Azerbaijan khans to create their further relations with Georgia, since it was under the protectorate of Russia.

Generally, the relations of Georgia and Azerbaijan khanates were not stable. As it was mentioned above, in the 50s of the 18th century, the relations between Sheki khanate and Irakly II were strained. Georgia wanted to conquer not only Sheki, but also other Azerbaijan khanates, which Kizilkaya betrayal proved about. Eastern Georgia continued its agressive policy about Azerbaijan khanates in 60s too. This policy disagreed Quba khanate. Ekaterine II, who did her best not to permit the strengthening of any state in the Caucasus, ordered the Collegie of foreign affairs to make an order in the relation between Eastern Geogia and Quba khanate in 1770. Neverthless, Irakly II also participated along with Sheki, Shamakha and Daghestan governors in the campaign along with Quba khanate.

The relations between Karabakh and Georgian states were friendly at the beginning of 80s of the 18th century. In 1780, they conquered Ganja khanate together. But after Georgiyevsk tractate in 1783, Irakly II attempted to withdraw Ibrahimkhalil khan from Ganja. Ibrahimkhalil khan attained to withdraw Georgian representative from  Ganja. After this event leading powers of Russia together with Irakly II, began to rise meliks against the khan. In 1787, Russian and Georgian troops prepared to attack to Karabakh. But the beginning of Russian- Turkey war spoiled these plans. Since the end of 80s, Irakly II and Ibrahimkhalil khan again became friends.

The khan of Karabakh was not consecutive in the relations with Russia. In 1782, Ibrahimkhalil khan sent an embassy to Russia and expressed his attitude to this state. The one of pro-Russian political leaders in Azerbaijan was the vezir of Karabakh – Molla Penah Vaqif. The approachment of Karabakh khanate with Russia and Georgia was related with growing danger from the side of Iran.

The demand of Agha Muhammed Shah Qajar about the subordination brought Irakly II and Fatali khan together. In 1787, there was concluded political alliance between North-Eastern Azerbaijan and Eastern Georgia.

In the same year, there was sent embassy of Quba khanate, led by Mirza Sadiq Mammedaliyev to Petersburg. In his letter to Ekaterine II, Fatali khan again expressed his devotion.

So, Azerbaijan khans did their best to conduct independent foreign policy in difficult circumstances. Major goal of the khans was the maintainance of the intergrity and independence of their states. But, these states were small and weak in separate. Due to prevent the attacks of their enemies they should be united. Unfourtanately, the unification of Azerbaijan lands was not successful in the second half of the 18th century. The provision, given by history was missed. Several khans believed to the promise of Russia in the search of powerful support.


Differing from Norhtern Azerbaijan, the struggle for the throne in Iran ended with the establishment of centralized state. Agha Muhammed Shah Qajar came to the throne here in 1781 and moved the capital to Tehran in 1785. Although Shah Qajar was Turk by origin and although he had wide relations with Turkish tribes, the political centre of his state was Iranian lands and he struggled for the creation of Iranian state.

There existed Karadagh, Meshkin, Ardebil, Tabriz, Maragha, Khoy and Urmia khanates in Southern Azerbaijan in the 80s of the 18th century. At the beginning of the 90s of the 18th century Agha  Muhammed khan began the conquest of Southern Azerbaijan and subordinated all Southern khanates of Azerbaijan. After that Agha Muhammed khan considered that the conquest of Southern khanates was over, he turned his view to the North.

The confirmation of the power of Agha Muhammed khan in Iran disturbed tsar Russia and she considered that new ruler of Iran would be an obstacle in front of the plans of conquest of Azerbaijan lands. Administrative circle of Russia attentively observed the events in Iran, since these events deeply influenced to the interest of Russia. Russian- Turkish war of 1787-1791, made Russia conduct careful policy toward Iran, but concluding suitable peace treaty for Russia, which called Yassi treaty (1791) opened her way. Political line of the empire in the Caucasus acquired more exact points. General Qudovich, who commanded Russian troops in the Caucasus got rescript in 1792 and in 1793, from Ekaterine II, where the tsaritsa ordered to provide the accception of Russian patronomy by khanates, which were located in suitable position for the Russia volunterily or obligatory. Russian palace, which knew about the expansive plans of Agha Muhammed khan wanted to promote him and to enter its troops to Northern Azerbaijan. Russia had not already hidden his expansive plans about pre-Caspian regions and Northern Azerbaijan and in 1793, there was openly announced by Russia that Russian fliet, located in the Caspian sea got an order to begin military action if the circumstances demanded this.

Iran khan, who began the campaign decided to subordinate firstly influencive khans of Norhtern Azerbaijan. In the first half of 1795, Agha Muhammed khan sent his cavalry-men to Azerbaijan rulers, as well as Quba, Baku, Shamakha and Sheki khans for three times and demanded subordination and giving tribute, otherwise threatened them with destruction and death. North-Azerbaijan’s governors, who obtained the independence with blood, did not want to loose it, although their power was weakened at the result of strife. That is why they searched way out of this situation. Iravan, Lenkoran and Karabakh rulers gave negative answer to the envoys of Agha Muhammed khan and began to the preparation of defence. But there were several khans, who wanted to shape support and defence by Agha Muhammed khan’s vehicle. For example, the ruler of Ganja-Javad khan decided to accept the protectorate of Qajar because of the danger of Ibrahimkhalil khan from Karabakh and Georgian tsar-Irakly II, who came together by concluding alliance agreement. Another reason was that Javad khan was also Qajar by origin. In the case of success of Agha Muhammed khan, Javad khan hoped to obtain the lands of Karabakh and the part of Eastern Georgia by his aid, as well as avoid from the pressure of two powerful neighbourhood rulers.

Sheikhali khan Qubali, who was promised the title of naib of whole Shirvan by Qajar and Husseingulu khan from Baku, whose pro- Iranian orientation was explained by frightening to loose his independence and properties, received Agha Muhammed khan’s envoys with great respect and gave them valuable presents.

Sheki and Shamakha khans did not want to accept the demands of Agha Muhammed khan as Baku khan at first, but later Sheki khan changed his position. Shamakha, Karabakh and Talish khans decisively refused to obey him, even Karabakh and Iravan khans appealed to the Sultan of Ottoman empire for aid. In his letter to the palace of Sultan Selim III, Ibrahimkhalil khan warned him that “there appeared Agha Muhammed khan from Kizilbashes, captured Irag lands, which were included to Iranian properties and the cities of Persia. His current wish was to enter Azerbaijan, crossing the river of Araz, intervene first of all, to my properties, then the lands of Iravan khan-Muhammed khan and to Georgia, so it realizes his aim. From this moment, advice belongs to our Highness Master. Our request was to help us, defend us and not to deprive us from your mercy”. Khan sent this letter with Abdulla Chelebi, whom he ordered to give the Sultan wide information about the current circumstances.

As the situation in the Ottoman Empire was hard the Sultan could not present the waited aid to khans. Simultaneously, Agha Muhammed khan conducted diplomatic activity-he decided to make close relationship with Ottomans and sent to their palace his envoys. Sultan proclaimed that in the case of conquest of Georgia by Agha Muhammed khan, he would recognize it as the property of Iranian Shah; and Ibrahimkhalil khan was informed that there existed peace between these two states and if Agha Muhammed khan did not violate this peace, Ottoman state would not violate it either.

Agha Muhammed khan, who understood the political essence of Karabakh khanate did not stop the attempts of subordination of Ibrahimkhalil khan by diplomatic way: he sent to the khan dress, decorated with jewelry, sabre and horse with gold saddle and called him to obey, but Ibrahimkhalil khan refused to implement his demands.

So, Qajar, who got a negative answer from Ibrahimkhalil khan, directed several thousand soldiers to the side of Karabakh and Iravan. United forces of Karabakh khanate and Georgia near Askeran destroyed this detachment. Talish khanate also confronted with attack, but these campaign possessed intelligence character.

In the summer of 1795, more than 80 thousanth army of Qajar collected in the captured Ardebil. The army was divided into three parts: the first army had to direct to Daghestan passing through Mughan and Shirvan; the second army, commanded by Agha Muhammed khan’s brother-Aliqulu khan should conquer Iravan khanate and the third army ought to enter Karabakh, capture it and then attack to Georgia. The third army was led by Agha Muhammed khan himself, which proved that the third direction possessed much more strategic essence. Due to prevent the moving of Qajar, Karabakh khan ordered to destruct the Khudaferin bridge. By the order of Qajar this bridge was restorated, his troops crossed Araz, entered to the lands of Karabakh and directed to Shusha castle. The second army, which was able to conquer Iravan and the first army, which was directing to Daghestan joined him here. So, all forces of Agha Muhammed khan were directed to the conquest of Karabakh. The goal was to conquer Karabakh quickly and to move to Georgia.

Ibrahimkhalil khan, who learnt about the approach of Qajar’s troops, strictly prepared to the defence and settled in Shusha castle. At the end of 1795, Shusha was completely surrounded. The defenders of the castle resisted to the enemy bravely. But the population of Shusha did not limit only with defence, they often made attacks to the army of Qajar, brought the equipment and damanged to the troops of the enemy by dividing into several detachments. Mirza Camal Javanshir wrote: “Pedestrian and cavalry troops of Karabakh attacked to the Kizilbash troops with small detachments in forests, on the ways and passages every day took their horses, asses and camels, plundered the caravans, which brought grain and equipment to the camp”. According to some documents, there were about 15 thousand national detachment in Shusha castle at that time, in the defence of the castle women took part bravely along with their husbands and brothers. The enemy could not break the resistance of the defenders of castle.

The defence of Shusha castle lasted 33 days. Historian Mirza Adigozelbey wrote these words, which was expressed by Agha Muhammed khan in his work, called “Karabakhname”: “It is better to return from the half of the way, than to loose completely. Our surviving will be, if we turn our horses from these unfortune lands in time, otherwise, all our troops and animals will die soon in this deep, bloody sea and none of them could survive and come back safe and sound”.

During the besiege of Shusha the number of Agha Muhammed khan’s troop essentially decreased, most part of the artillery spoiled, military mood fall and escape from army increased. Taking into account all of these issues, as well as great resistance of Karabakh population, Qajar receded from Shusha and directed to Georgia in the August of 1795. On this way Javad khan Ganjali and Muhammedhasan khan Shekili jointed to him with their military troops.

In these strained circumstances Russia rejected to give military aid to Irakly II (although they concluded Georgiyevsk tractate and it was one of its conditions), who asked from Qudovich 3 thousand men from military troops of Russia in order to depend from Agha Muhammed khan Qajar in May of 1795. In September 12 of 1795, the city of Tiflis was completely captured and destroyed by Iranian troops, more than 20 thousand people died.

After 8 days’ staying in Tiflis, Agha Muhammed khan, who learnt about the uprising in Khorasan against him, led by Nadir Shah’s grandson-Shahrukh Mirza and who frightened from the danger of Russian attack to his troops had to recede to Ganja, then at the end of autumn he directed to Mughan for wintering here. Agha Muhammed khan did not spent his time and wanted to continue the subordination of Norhtern khanates, taking into account that from the besiege of Shusha castle he receded without fame. Confrontation among khans shaped suitable condition for him.

From Mughan Qajar sent troops, commanded by Suleiman khan for the conquest of Shusha. There began the conquest of Shamakha khanate, in which Muhammedhasan khan from Sheki played an important role and Agha Muhammed khan sent his troops to Shamakha along with Iranian army. Mustafa khan Shirvanli directed to Fitdagh and stayed here till the Feburary of 1796. United troops of Agha Muhammed khan and Muhammedhasan khan entered to New Shamakha and destroyed it.

During the besiege of Mustafa khan, Muhammedhasan khan got an information that his brother Selim proclaimed himself the khan in Sheki-utilizing from the absence of Muhammedhasan khan, Selim-bey captured Sheki by the aid of Carians and avarians. Muhammedhasan khan received extra troops from Agha Muhammed khan and hurried up to his khanate. After Muhammedhasan khan’s return, Selim-bey had hidden in the castle of “Gelersen-gorersen”, but after that he received support of Car and Avar peoples Selim-bey began the fought near villages. Goynyuk defeated Muhammedhasan khan. After this event  Muhammedhasan khan appealed to Agha Muhammed khan again, but the last one was very angry to him, because in this battle there were killed many representatives of Iranian contingent. Simultaneouly, Agha Muhammed khan appointed his general-Develi Mustafa khan the governor of Shirvan during the absence of Sheki khan. By the order of his senior, Iranian governor made blind Sheki khan and sent him to Tabriz. So, the conquest of Sheki and Shirvan was not realized and only Ganja and Quba khanates recognized Agha Muhammed khan’s authority.

Russia, who was engaged with Poland issue directed its forces to the campaign only after the successful division of Poland. According to the order of Ekaterine II, General Qudovich sent Commander Sirokhnev to Georgia with two pedestrian detachments at the end of November of 1795, in order to prevent future attacks of Iranian troops.

At the beginning of 1796, the united forces of Georgians and Russians encircled Ganja. Due to save the city from great destruction, Javad khan had to pay big amount of tribute. At the end of 1795, 3 pedestrian detachments, the detachments of Kazakhs, 500 kalmiks directed from Kizlyar to Derbent under the command of Savelyov. Only after this, the order of Ekaterine II about the preparation to the campaign to Northern Azerbaijan, which should begun in the spring of 1796, reached to general I. Qudovich. The head-commander of troops was appointed general Valery Zubov. Ekaterine II gave great essence to V.Zubov’s campaign. With this goal, she made “Manifest”, as her ancestor-Petr I. This document looked like to the “Manifest” of 1722 with its context.

It is important to mention that the sent of troops stage-by-stage was an tactics by the side of Russia and persued an aim to create view about her aid to Daghestan and Azerbaijan owners in their resistance against Agha Muhammed khan. That is why it was not casual that general Qudovich ordered general-majore Savelyev to collect all Daghestanian owners with their troops in order to organize defence for future expeditions and for the conquest of Derbent.

In October of 1795 general Qudovich sent letter to Quba khan- Sheikhali and ordered him to enter to the common tie with Daghestan owners, who asked an aid from Russia and were ready to rise soon. It was interesting that Sheykhali khan rejected from the aid of Russian troops. Sheikhali khan, who wanted to preserve the independence of his actions, avoided from the repproachment with Russians. Even in Feburary of 1796, when general Savelyev entered to the lands of Usmi of Karakaytag with his troops, Sheikhali khan went from Quba to Derbent, settled here and did not want to meet with majore Akhverdov, who came here to tell about the conditions of comman defence with Daghestan owners. In this situation, Baku khan Husseingulu passed to the side of Sheikhali khan and sent his military aid to Derbent. Obviously, the activity of Sheikhali khan made angry and disagreed Russian commanding. As we know, the campaign of Zubov pursued future plans of Russian tsarism about the realization not only political, but also trade-economic duties. It was interesting that there was offered to appeal to religious factor in the instruction to V.Zubov-to utilize from the interests of Christian population of the region, especially from the meliks of Karabakh. We should also mention that the “Manifest” of Ekaterine II was printed in Armenian language and it was proved by archive documents. This issue, which possessed special place in the cabinet of Ekaterine II was one of the causes, which Azerbaijan khans, especially, Ibrahimkhalil khan could not entrust Russia. This problem contributed to the creation of coalition by several khans and demonstration of resistance to Russian troops in the period of V.  Zubov’s campaign.

In April of 1796, 30 thousandth Russian troops, commanded by general V.Zubov approached to Derbent. Military-marine forces, located in the Caspian Sea and Russian troops, located in Georgia were given to his instruction too. Zubov suggested Sheikhali khan to surrender, but the last one refused and the population of Derbent showed “great resistance” to Russian troops. But military technique and priority in the number of soldiers helped to Russia and due to prevent the murder of citizens, Sheikhali khan obliged to open the gates of Derbent, which were shooted by the weapons of the enemy. The keys of gates were given to Zubov by 120 years old men and this man gave these keys to Petr I 74 years ago. After the conquest of Derbent, general Zubov began to clarify the reasons of the great resistance of Derbent people against Russian troops. He learnt that Sheikhali khan, who obliged to open the gates of Derbent waited for an aid from Agha Muhammed khan and for many times appealed to the ruler of Iran, who stayed in Mughan at that time and who “possessed more than 30 thousand cavalry and pedestrian troops here”.

Shekhali khan was brought in front of V.Zubov together with his suite. Zubov promised to forgive him from the name of Ekaterine II.

Fatali khan’s daughter, PeriJahan khanum was appointed the governor of Derbent and the naib of the city became Nadir khan, whose ancestor participated in the governance of Derbent during Petr I’s reign.

Russian troops, which stayed in Derbent for two weeks, directed to Baku. On June 6, Quba was captured and the way to Baku, Shamakha and Salyan opened. The governor of Baku, Husseingulu khan saw that the resistance was meanless and on June 13, he gave the keys of the city to Zubov. Russian troops directed from Baku to Shamakha, where Mustafa khan did not want to obey and escaped to the mountains.

Sheikhali khan utilized from this situation, escaped and continued the struggle.

When Russian troops directed to the side of Shamakha khanate, the envoy of Sheki khanate came to Russian camp and warned Zubov that Selim khan was ready to “swear allegiance to Russia”. At the end of June, the khan signed barrister letter. After a while Mustafa khan from Shamakha also had to sign barrister list. Soon, the embassy from Karabakh khanate led by Vaqif came to the camp of Zubov and proclaimed its devotion to the highness Ekaterine II. Ekaterine II sent him walking-stick, decorated with jewelry. The khans of Ganja, Iravan, Nakhichevan and Khoy, who understood that the resistance was meanless also recognized the authority of Russian empire.

In October of 1796, Zubov moved the residence of Russian troops to New Shamakha. Zubov, who strengthened in the North of Azerbaijan, began to implement some political-economic measures. He wanted to substitute Mustafa khan from Shamakha and dethroned Sheikhali khan with devoted Russian men. On November 2, Qasim khan was appointed the Shamakha khan and Fatali khan’s son from the daughter of Ilisu Sultan-Hasan bey was appointed the Quba khan. Taking into account the small age of Hasan khan, the reign in the khanate was given to local yuzbashi.

By the coming of winter Russian troops moved to Mughan.

Zubov prepared project about the strengthening of the positions of Russian troops and providing economic conquer of the area. According to this project there should be built new city near Javad , which would be called by the name of Ekaterine II and there was planned to settle 2 thousand Russian soldiers, who were married to Georgian and Armenian girls here. There was given great essence to the enlargement of Baku port, which should shape suitable conditions for the trade with all countries of Middle East; Due to realize this project Russian government would sent money and masters. All above-mentioned measures would be realized since 1797. But sudden death of Ekaterine II on November 6 of 1796 prevented the realization of such plans of Russian tsarina till the quarter century.

Pavel I, who came to Russian throne and who planned to direct his major forces against France, gave an order to withdraw Russian troops from South Caucasus. This withdrawal began from the December and lasted till the spring of 1797. General V.Zubov retired and his post was given to general Qudovich.

The withdrawal of Russian troops from Azerbaijan gave freedom to the actions of Agha Muhammed khan Qajar, who proclaimed himself the Shah of Iran in 1796. After the neutralization of Khorasan uprising and moving of Russian troops to Azerbaijan Qajar implemented several steps: in one side Gilan and Mazandaran were strengthened, in the other side there was attempted to fulfill military actions in the territory of Karabakh khanate. Due to conquer Shusha, there was sent military detachment in August of 1796, but this detachment was destroyed by Ibrahimkhalil khan. Qajar traced the resistance of Azerbaijan khans against Zubov and along with this, he prepared for the campaign to the Northern Azerbaijan.

After that Russian troops left the borders of Azerbbaijan, Qajar began to realize his plans and entered to Northern Azerbaijan with big troops. The circumstances in the Azerbaijan khanates were hard in thta period, which were the result of the first campaign of Qajar, as well as the expansive policy of Russian troops, commanded by Zubov. The population was plundered, they abondened their homes and economic fall was felt everywhere.

Agha Muhammed Shah began the realization of his expansive policy by the destruction of resisting khanates. First of all he defeated Nakhichevan and then Khoy khans. Great army, commanded by agha Muhammed khan directed to Talish khanate. Mir-Mustafa khan, who learnt about this, prepared settlement in the island of Sari and brought 200 families here, other part of population escaped to various areas of Lenkoran and other lands. During the new invasion there was planned the immigration of the population from Shamakha, Sheki and other areas to Iran. The population of Nakhichevan was also migrated and the khan was killed.

When Agha Muhammed Shah reached to Ardebil he stayed here in order to receive the envoys of khanates; he also sent one of his commanders-Suleiman khan to Lenkoran, who captured the empty city.

As in the first campaign, major forces, led personally by Agha Muhammed Shah prepared to intervene to Azerbaijan through  Karabakh khanate. The choice of this road by Agha Muhammed Shah was not casual. In 1795, he could not conquer the Shusha castle and that is why, he wanted to revenge Ibrahimkhalil khan for this.

When Agha Muhammed Shah was in Ardebil, he was informed that Ibrahimkhalil khan wanted to organize defence not only in Shusha castle, but also in its around. The Khudaferin bridge was destroyed by khan’s order. That is why, Shah did not stay in Ardebil and with 12000 cavalry detachment directed to the side of Karabakh. Iranian troops hardly could cross the Araz river. At the result of severe weather condition for 3 years and because of the first invasion of Agha Muhammed Shah in 1795, there lasted starvation in Karabakh. Ibrahimkhalil khan hardly organized defence of Shusha castle in this difficult circumstance. When Iranian troops approached to Shusha in 1797, Agha Muhammed Shah ordered to his artillery to shoot to the same point of castle, till there would be shaped breach. Ibrahimkhalil khan designed wise plan for the destruction of Shah’s artillery. Despite of permanent shoots of the enemy, only small numbered, but mobile and quick cavalry of Shusha garrison, led personally by Ibrahimkhalil khan went out of the castle and directed against the artillery of the enemy. There took place bloody battle. Although Karabakh soldiers encountered with the great numbered troop of the enemy and despite of big losts they could neutralize the artillery (topkhana) of Iran by the vehicle of brave actions. As the way to castle was broken by the pedestrian detachment of the enemy and the gates of the castle were closed, Ibrahimkhalil khan had to pass through the besiege with his small numbered troop and directed to Daghestan, to his relative-Avarian Umma khan. Agha Muhammed khan sent a detachment by his trace, which reached to him in the passage across the Kur, but the detachment could not capture Ibrahimkhalil khan.

Agha Muhammed Shah, who learnt about it sent letter to the defenders of Shusha. There was written that Ibrahimkhalil khan escaped, put the castle without defence, the resistance was meanless and that is why, he offered them to surrender. At this time there shaped two groups in Shusha-one of them was pro-Iranian group, which called Ibrahimkhalil khan coward, offered to surrender and to hand out the castle to the enemy; another group, which considered that Ibrahimkhalil khan wanted to gather troops in Daghestan in order to liberate Shusha, demanded to continue the resistance. So finally, there was decided to sent an old man-Haji Babek to the camp of Agha Muhammed Shah with the suggestion that Shusha people would open the gates of the castle, if Shah forgave them because of their resistance. Shah received Haji Babek and sent a message to the people of Shusha from him, in which he promised them that Shah would not touch them, if the population surrendered voluntarily, but “if I confront with resistance, – wrote Agha Muhammed Shah – then after the conquer of the castle all men would be shooted, the women would be given to sarbazes and the city would be destroyed as Kirman and Tiflis”. Shah even sweared in Koran that he would not recede from his promise. After two days of coming back of their embassy led by Haji Babek, the population of Shusha believed to Shah’s promise and opened the gates of the castle.

But when Agha Muhammed Shah entered to the city, he remembered his lack during the previous 33 days of besiege of castle and ordered to his soldiers to begin devastation of the city. Iranian soldiers made the citizens tell them, where they had hidden the precious items. Agha Muhammed khan mocked at civil population, found them guilty in the resistance in 1795 and in the sympathy and devotion to Ibrahimkhalil khan. Most part of the population of the city was killed and their homes were destroyed.

Agha Muhammed Shah, who settled in Shusha, demanded from the khans of Northern Azerbaijan either to come to his camp or to send tribute. But khans did not respond to the first message of the Shah. Baku khan-Husseingulu khan did not go to Shusha even after two “invitations”. Then Agha Muhammed Shah sent his commander with troops, who “took him by force and brought to his sovereign”. The troops of Agha Muhammed Shah settled in the environs of the city. Shah began to punishments-thousand people were executed or were sent to prisons. Javad khan from Ganja came to the camp of the Shah, but Husseingulu khan was brought there by Iranian soldiers. Agha Muhammed Shah threatened them with death, since they did not resist to Russian troops. Neverthless, Shah could not reign in Shusha for a long time, where he stayed at home of Muhammedhasan agha- Ibrahimkhalil khan’s son and Agha Muhammed Shah appointed his nephew Muhammed bey the governor of Karabakh. Agha Muhammed Shah could not conquer Azerbaijan at this time – at the result of conspirancy, organized by Karabakh beys and Muhammed bey the Shah was killed on July 4. Javad khan Ganjali and Husseingulu khan Bakili returned to their properties.

Iranian troops,   which did not have leader were escaped.

Muhammed bey executed the vezir of khanate-Vaqif and his son. After a while Ibrahimkhalil khan Karabakhli returned to his khanate from Car.

Muhammed bey escaped to the palace of Sheki khan-Muhammedhasan khan, who was the friend of his father-Mehrali khan. After this event relations between Sheki and Shamakha khans with Karabakh khan became strained.

Ibrahimkhalil khan did not want to aggravate relations with Iran. He sent the remaining of Agha Muhammed Shah to new leader of the state-Fatali Shah with great respect. The Shah was glad with this attitude. Mirza Camal wrotes: “Fatali Shah, who considered the step of Ibrahimkhalil khan as mercy action, liberated the envoy with presents, sent Ibrahimkhalil khan dress and sable, gave the governance of Karabakh with all profits to Ibrahim khan and expressed his wish about becaming relative with him”. Ibrahim khan agreed with this suggestion, married his daughter Aghabeyim agha with Shah, calmed strain relations between two states. The meliks of Karabakh, who betrayed Ibrahim khan during the quarter term of century, appealed to emperor Pavel I, asked him to accept them to the protection of the Rusian empire and permit them to settle in North Caucasus (to which they attained). There was mentioned rescript of the emperor, which confirmed that Pavel I did not stop traditional policy of the protection over Christian (only grigorian) population of Azerbaijan, especially Armenian people: Rescript of the emperor Pavel about the adobtion of Armenian meliks to Russian protection October 7 of 1797. Qatchina.

Mr.general, graf Qudovich. According to the content, which was received from your side by Armenian meliks Djimshit-the owner of Varanda and Fridon-the owner of Gulistan, we order to adopt them along with Armenian nation, in an amount of seven thousand families to our protection and migrate them from Persia to Russia (underlined by us-I.M), to implement all measures, in order to realize this agreement, to give them aid for the security of their properties and for their settlement in the Caucasian line and to provide suitable and quiet lands for them.

Simultaneously, you may sent these two meliks to our capital if there will be need to give us any document from your side.

Signed by his highness: Pavel.

Expansive campaign of Iranian troops to South Caucasus, as well as Azerbaijan, contributed to that Azerbaijan khans, who confronted with cruelty of Iranian invasion and who did not want completely to be destroyed began to search any way out of this circumstance. As it was mentioned above, their position on this difficult situation were convinient to Russian interests, but the appear of Russian troops, which openly demonstrated their pro-christian position, made Azerbaijan khans to resist against Russia in order to preserve their independence.

This fact put into the doubt the thoughts, which were mentioned in Russian sources and Soviet historical literature: these sources expressed that there was intensified Russian orientation in Azerbaijan, especially in Shirvan at the end of the 18th century.

About Ismayil bey Zardabli

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