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The conquest of Northern Azerbaijan by Russia

At the result of struggle among Azerbaijan khanates and intensification pretends of neighbourhood states to Azerbaijan, the internal and international circumstances of Azerbaijan became strained at the beginning of the 19th century. There led feudal strife in Azerbaijan, expansive intensions of powerful neighbourhood states much more increased and they wanted to conquer the country. On one side Iran and Turkey, on the other side-Russia, did their best to obtain South Caucasus, as well as Azerbaijan. Feudal governors of Azerbaijan, who fall to the influence of expansive interests of powerful neighbours, obliged to accept the protection of much more powerful pretender in order to preserve their authority. Although the quarrals among Talish, Quba and Karabakh khans about the appeal to Russia in 1800, had formal character, we should understand them from this view-point.

With the including of East-Georgian realm to Russian Empire at the result of Manifest, composed by emperor Alexandr I in 1801, Borchali, Kazakh and Shamsaddil Sultanates were annexed. Russian empire, which created platsdarm for its future conquests here, began to move to the depth of South Caucasus-in the direction of Northern Azerbaijan. In 1803, tsar troops conquered Car-Balaken camaats. After bloody battles Ganja khanate, ruled by Javad khan was captured in the beginning of 1804. Since 3rd of January – from the Ramadan holiday – Russian soldiers made wildness and destructions in Ganja. After the barbarian conquest of Ganja, the rulers of Sheki, Karabakh and Shirvan obliged to agree with obligatory annex of their khanates to Russia in 1805. In 1806, Russian troops occupated Baku and Quba khanates and in 1809 – Talish kahanate.   So,   approximately whole   Northern Azerbaijan, except of Nakhichevan and Iravan khanates was captured by Tsar Russia in 1809.

Iran and Turkey, who did not want to accept this situation, began to military hoslitities against tsar Russia. But Russia gained victory in the war with Iran, which began in 1804 and in the war with Turkey, which began in 1806. According to the conditions of Gulustan treaty, concluded on October 12, 1813, Iran obliged to agree with the occupation of Northern Azerbaijan lands, except of Iravan and Nakhichevan khanates by Russia. But after a while Iran and Turkey, who did not want to agree with the lost of South Caucasus and who were aided by European rivals of Russia made one more attempt, which was unsuccessful.   So,   Iran obliged to accept the   annexion of Nakhichevan and Iravan khanates by Russia according to Turkmenchay treaty, concluded on February 10 of 1828. There was no other way for Shah administration, since Russian troops took even Tabriz and Iran did not have enough forces for the defence of Tehran. Turkey, which was also defeated in the war, obliged to “agree” with the conquest of South Caucasus by tsar Russia. For justice evaluation of Russian-Iranian agreement about the division of Azerbaijan lands we gave you whole text of Turkmenchay treaty on the basics of archive document: Article I His Majesty the Russian Emperor and his Majesty the King of Iran have agreed to eternal peace, friendship and full agreement between them, their heirs to the throne, their states and citizens.

Article II His Majesty the Russian Emperor and his Majesty the King of Iran accept mutual commitments which were already completed under the Gulustan treaty, concerning the war which took place and finished successfully among the supreme parties. They consider it necessary to alter the Gulustan treaty with the following terms and provisions to provide peace and friendship between Russia and Azerbaijan in the near and far future.

ArticleIII On behalf of his name and his heirs, the King of Iran compromises Erivan and Nakhichevan khanates located on both sides of the Araz to the full subordination of Russia. The King also will undertake within 6 months after the date of the treaty, to supply Russian authorities with all archieves and social documents regarding the ruling of the above mentioned khanates.

ArticleIV The parties determined the borderline as follows: The closest straight line aside from the peak of Ararat located at the edge of Turkish lands – the peaks of those mountains – dawn to the upper part of Ashagi Garasu at the Southern part of Ararat – along the  stream of the river to the joint of the river with Araz near Sharur-along the bed of Araz up to the tower of Abbasgala-3 Russian half-verst (one verst=3,500 feet) width circle in all directions around the fortification of the tower on the right bank of Araz (the named area will be the territory of Russia and its exact square shall be determined within two months from today) – part of the circle joining the eastern bank of Araz-along the bed of the river of the Yeddibulag dock (21 versts along the bed of Araz shall be the territory of Iran) – Mughan low-land-Bolgarchay lands at 21 versts down the joint of the rivers Adinbazar and Sarigamish – up along the left back of Bolgarchay up to the cross of Adinabazar and Sarigamush – up along the right bank of the East Adinabazar – up to the top of the Cikoir highland (all the rivers that are there flowing into the Caspian Sea belong to Russia, waters flowing in the direction of Iran belong to it). Here the borderline between the two states is determined by the peaks of the mountains. The decending of the mountains towards the Caspian Sea belongs to Russia, the remaining descendent mountains belong to Iran. From the peak of Cikoir along the mountains separating the Talish from the Arsh region, the borderline stretches up to the peak of Ganarkuhum. The top of the mountains separating the flow into two, continues along the line of the boundary as the territory between the upper flow of Adinabazar and the peak Cikoir described above. Keeping to the above described rules about the flow of the rivers from the peak of Qamarkuhum and along the mountain chain separating Zuvand and Arsh, the borderline streches to the borders of the Velgic region. Except the part of above mentioned mountain opposite its peak, the region of Zuvand is joined to Russia. Again keeping to the above-described rules about the flow of the rivers, the borderline countinues as follows: from the border of the Velgic region to the north source of the river Astara along the peak of Kloputanin and the chief chain of the mountains at the Velgic region along the bed of the river till it flows into the Caspian Sea.

Article V By the article, his Majesty King of Iran expresses his sincere friendship to his Majesty the Emperor of Russia and on behalf of his heirs and the heirs of Iran thrown, he solemnly recognizes that all the lands, the islands located between the above-mentioned borderlines and between the Caucasus and the Caspian Sea including all migrants and other people living on these territories to be the eternal property of the Russian Empire.

ArticleVI In defence of damages, victims and losses, experienced by Russia during the war between these two states, the majesty of the  king of Iran assumes to indemnify the above-mentioned, with a monetary amount. Both supreme parties of the treaty agreed with the amount of kurur tumen raije or 20 million silver coins. The time, the method of payment and guaranter were determined in a special contract that legitimately attached to this treaty.

ArticleVII As soon as the majesty king of Iran bestowes his son his Majesty Prince Abbas Mirza with the declaration that he is the heir of Iran, to prove his friendship and to help with the confirmation of heritage rule, the Majesty of the Emperor of Russia assumes to recognize the heir of Iran as the person of Abbas Mirza and after his taking the throne, to fully recognize him as the legal ruler of that state.

Article VIII Russian trade ships still preserve the right to freely sail in the Caspian Sea and along its shores as well as to approach them. In the case of a shipwreck Iran shall render assistance to them. The trade ships of Iran also have the right to sail in the Caspian Sea and to approach the shores of Russia and in case of a shipwreck Russia shall render any and all necessary assistance to Iran. As to public vessels, as stated before, they have the right to sail only under Russia’s flag. They preserve the former exceptional right and no other country may have public vessels in the Caspian Sea of Russia.

Article IX With great wishes to retain the re-established peace and friendship, the majesty of the Emperor of Russia and the majesty of the king of Iran, mutually agreed to accept the ambassadors of the supreme palaces (governments), ministers and other authorized individuals sent for the implication of temporal missions or for permanent settlement, respectfully and separately as their rank, the honor of the agreed supreme parties, friendship relating them and local traditions deserve. The necessary measurement shall be determined by a special protocol.

Article X The majesty of the Emperor of Russia considering the re-establishment and extension of trade between the two states to be the result of the chief favorable result of peace. They mutually agreed to implement all of the orders related with the control of trade and the security of the citizens and to present all of the above-mentioned in the form of act having the same power of the treaty signed by the representatives and attached to it. The majesty of the king of Iran gave the right to Russia to appoint consuls and trade agents to anywhere that’s favorable for trade. He also assumed to protect the consuls and agents each in the suite of 10 persons so, that they could use their fame and priorities. The Majesty of the Emperor of Russia in turn gives his  promise to show the same attitude to consuls or agents of the majesty of the king of Iran. If the government of Iran has serious complaints with Russian consuls or agents, the minister (the ambassador) of Russia or his authorized assistant near the palace of the king or their direct official on their own decision may dismiss the initiator or temporarily replace him by another one.

Article XI Mutually, all of the requirements of the citizens and other affairs broken by the war should fairly be restored and settled after the conclusion of the treatment. Mutually, obligations of the citizens to this or the government by the contact should be immediately and completely supplied.

Article XII For the benefit of their citizens the supreme parties mutually agreed: those having unmovable property on both sides of Araz should be given three years for its sale or change. The Majesty of the Emperor of Russia gave the exception to Hussein khan – former chief of Iravan khanate, his brother Hasan khan and Kerim khan- former ruler of Nakhichevan.

Article XIII Military hostages taken during the former and the later wars and the civil hostages that were taken at any time should be mutually released within four months. They should be supplied with food and other needs and Abbasabad – the point of delivery to commissars appointed by both states for receiving and sending of them to the next place of residence. The agreed supreme parties should apply the same attitude toward all military hostages and civil hostages of Russia and Iran, the delivery of which was impossible during the mentioned period of time as the result of great distances or other causes. Each of the state has unlimited right to demand the above – mentioned any time and assumes to deliver them in the case of their revealing or demanding them.

Article XIV None of the agreed supreme parties should require the delivery of deserters of traiors passed to the opposite site before and during the later war. To prevent negative outcomes from ill-intentioned relations between those refugees and their countrymen under its leadership, the government of Iran obliges now and in the future to prohlibit the settlement of the people listed by the Russian government in its territories between the rivers of Araz and Chora, the lake Urmiya and the outfall of the rivers Jakatuand and Gizil Uzen. The Majesty of the Emperor of Russia promises to prevent the settlement of the Iranian refugees in the territories of Karabakh and Nakhichevan khanates, as well as in the part of Iravan khanate on the right bank of  Araz. But it’s evident that this term was also applicable to those with an official rank or of any dignity: khan, bey, religious superiors or mullahs, which may have negative influence over former countrymen or their subordinates with a personal example, advice and sent relations. As to the population of both states, the agreed supreme parties decided that the citizens of both countries that have transferred or will transfer from one territory into another may settle anywhere with the permission of the government.

ArticleXV With the favorable and lasting wish to regain stability for his country and to keep his citizens away from all that may increase harm that was done in the war concluding with peace by this treaty. His Majesty King forgave all of the population and officials of the Azerbaijan province. Despite the rank, none of them to be prosecuted for their behavior during war or the temporal occupation of the mentioned territory and shall not be insulted for religious faith. A years time to be assigned from this day to those officials and citizens that must move from Iran to Russia their families, to carry their movable property without any preventation of the government and the supremacy without any tax on their property or things for sale. As to unmovable property a five-year time frame is assigned for the sale or for its self-disposal. This permission was not applied to those who committed a crime during the above-mentioned one-year period.

ArticleXVI From the point of which the peace treaty was signed the representatives should send everywhere all information about the cessation of the war and all of the necessary decress. That treaty should be compased in the form of two copies, signed by the representatives of both parties, affirmed with their official stamp, exchanged, confirmed and ratified by the majesty of the Emperor of Russia and the majesty of the King of Iran. The signed, ratified texts should be exchanged by the representatives of both parties within four monthes or earlier. The treaty was concluded on the 10th of February in the year of 1828 A.D.

The original signed by Iran Paskovich, A. Obrezkov.

So, the Northern khanates of Azerbaijan were conquered by force, that’s why the thoughts about it voluntaryly seizured of North Azerbaijan to Russia, which were mentioned in historical literature of Soviet period was not true. Because of the resistance of Car-Balaken camaats and the ruler of Ganja khanate – Javad khan, struggle of the governor of Quba khanate-Sheykhali khan and withdrawing of Russian troops from Sheki by Selim khan, as well as other events did not coincide with the conception of “annexation by peaceful means”.

Simultaneously, none of above-mentioned three rulers could imagine that the tsarism would not implement the conditions of treaty, which was signed with them and would dethrone them.

In the latest decades there were extended the ideas of Armenian politicans and falsificators about belonging of Karabakh to Armenia. It was related with the creation of the problem of “self-determination of Armenians of Karabakh” and the escalation of military aggression of them against peaceful Azerbaijan nation during the spoken years. But historical facts did not confirm the claims of Armenians about Karabakh. Such documentary sources as Gulustan and Turkmenchay treaties, concluded between Russia and Iran, as well as the tractate of May 14, 1805, concluded between Karabakh khan, Ibrahim and Russian Empire about the pass of the khanate to the authority of Russia demonstrated that the empire conquered the Azerbaijan lands and Armenians immigrated here from Turkey and Iran. There was not mentioned about Armenians or Armenian properties in Karabakh that passed to Russian subordination in any of these documents. Taking into account the validity and essence of the tractate of 1805, as well as for the confirmation of rights of Azerbaijan nation to their real lands we publicate printed version of the manuscript, which was preserved in Central State Historical Archieve of the Azerbaijan Republic (f. 130, op. 1, d. 14, ll, 245-248) and which was firstly publicated in the “Acts of Caucasus archeogeographic Commision”, Tiflis, 1868, v. 2 (p.705). The project of the tractate: “WITH THE NAME OF MIGNIFICANT ALLAH”. We, i.e.

Ibrahim khan Shushali and Karabakhli and general of whole Russian troops, Caucasus inspection on infantry, inspector Pavel Sisianov by the aid of God and with the authority, given me by H.E.H. my majesty, great G.I.Alexandr Pavlovich began to the act about the including of Ibrahim khan Shushali and Karabakhli to the permanent subordination of Russian Empire and to the protection of G.I.Alexandr Pavlovich, who reigned happily at that moment and to his high successors together with his family, generation and properties. So, we concluded and signed this agreement with below-mentioned articles: First article. I, Ibrahim khan Shushali and Karabakhli, from my name, from the name of my successors and heirs refused from the vassality, any title or any dependence from Persia and other states and declared that I did not recognize any other authority, except of the superior reign of H.E.H. of Russia, great G.I. and his high successors and heirs to the throne of Russian Empire, promised that I would be devoted slave of this throne – in which I should swear on holy Koran.

Second article. H.E.H. simultaneously promised and ensured with his Emperor word from his own name and the name of his successors that Russian Empire will be mercy to Ibrahim khan Shushali and Karabakhli and his priveleges would not be taken ever. The prove to this was that H.E.H. gave Emperor promise to preserve the current properties of Karabakh khan and his successors.

Third article. To the respond of this charity his highness Ibrahim khan Shushali and Karabakhli recognized the superior and united authority of Russian Emperors over himself and his sccessors; there was determined that the mentioned khan, his elder son after him and then his generation according to their age should be ratified by the officer of the Empire, whose residence was in Georgia, then should inaugurated about the devotion to Russian Empire and recognition of superior and united authority of Russian Empire over themselves and their heirs, when they came to the throne in Karabakh. The form of inauguration was mentioned in the tractate and Ibrahim khan Shushali and Karabakhli has already implemented all ceremonies in front of general of infantry, Sisianov.

Fourth article. I, Ibrahim khan Shushali and Karabakhli, in order to prove that my intensions and the intensions of my successors about the subordination to Russian Empire was true, I promise to the head- /governor of Georgia not to shape relations with neighborhood regions and if there will be received letters or envoys from these areas, I promise to send most important ones to head-governor and demand from him permition, but less important ones to inform and advice with the governor in Georgia in my palace.

Fifth article. H.E.H; taking into account his superior authority over the properties of Ibrahim khan Shushli and Karabakhli, promised from his name and from the name of his successors that: 1) To respect to the peoples of those, properties as the obediants of the whole Russian Empire; 2) The priveleges of his highness Ibrahim khan and his successors will be preserved in Shusha khanate; 3) The authority in internal affairs, the court and profits from the properties will be presented to Ibrahim khan; 4) For the defence of his highness, his houses and all properties, there should be kept 500 soldiers with weapons and officers in Shusha fortress and in the case of great defence the head-governor of Georgia should strengthen this detachment and defend these properties of Russian Empire.

Sixth article. I, Ibrahim khan Shushali and Karabakhli obligated in the sign of my devotion: 1) As in first case and in other cases to prepare the demanded food for the above-mentioned troops in the price, which head-governor will determine, since the carry of food from Elizavetpol became very difficult at that moment. 2) To provide above- mentioned troops with demanded wood and to appoint the guard of Shusha castle from the line of these troops. 3) To make suitable the passage from Shusha castle to Elizavetpol and to repair the road. 4) To appoint the workers for the repair of road, led from Shusha castle to Javad and to give them price, which was determined by the Government.

Seventh article. H.E.H. gave to his highness Ibrahim khan Shushli and Karabakhli and to his successors the banner with the arms of Russian Empire, which should be kept by him and his heirs as the sign of khanate and authority.

Eighth article. I, Ibrahim khan Shushali and Karabakhli, who possessed the right of utilize from my ordinary profits by the permition of H.E.H., promise to give the tribute to the Treasury of H.E.H., located in Tiflis 8000 chervons per year in 2 terms, i.e. on the half of February 1, the other half on September 1, to began the payment of the first part, i.e. 4000 chervons as soon as this tractate will be confirmed by H.E.H. Acording to Asian traditions I pawn my elder son Mamed- Hasanagha and my second son Shukur-Ullah for staying in Tiflis in order to show my devotion.

Ninth article. H.E.H. gave 10 r.s. Russian coin per day to his highness’s grandson for living in Tiflis.

Tenth article. This agreement was concluded forever and it will never be changed.

Eleventh article. The confirmation of this agreement by H.E.H.

should be done in 6 months from the signition of it and may be much earlier. The articles were composed and signed with stamps in the camp of Elizavetpol, on the river of Kurak, in summer of 1805, from the birth of Christos (according to Muhammed calendar, in 1220), on May (Safar) 14.


With the including of Northern Azerbaijan to the part of Russian Empire, Azerbaijan nation lost its statehood and major of all, was divided into two parts. This historical unjustice, which was realized by tsarism and Iranian invaders, unfortunately existed in the present day.

One of the most reactioned results of the conquest of Northern Azerbaijan by Russia was mass emigration of Armenians to Irevan, Nakhichevan, Karabakh and other regions of Norhtern and Western Azerbaijan in the first term of the 19th century. Prominent Caucasian Studied man, who was one of the tsar officers in the beginning of the 20th century, N.Shavrov mentioned that “at this moment (in 1911) more than 1 million Armenians from 1 million 300 thousand ones, living in Caucasus did not concern to local population and they were re- settled by us”. The emigration of 10 thousands Armenians from Iran and Turkey in this process caused to hard results for us. So, the tsar Russia set the basics of the current problems of Azerbaijan. Ethnogeographic circumstances in the regions of Iravan, Nakhichevan and Karabakh began to change behalf on Armenians. For example, if before emigrations the number of Armenians (exactly, the remanings of Albanian population) in Karabakh constituted 1,6 thousand families (8,4%) from 20 thousand families, but at the result of emigrations, their weight increased to 34,8% in 1832. In this period the number of Armenians raised from 13% to 49% in Nakhichevan, from 24% to 54% in Iravan because of the same reason. So, the number of Turks in Azerbaijan land of Iravan decreased from 75-76% (in 1823-1827s) to 46% (in 1830) at the result of emigration of Armenians.

Emigration policy of tsar Russia was not only directed to save her Armenian assistants from the tolerant revenge of Iranian and Turkish governments, but also to achieve the establishment of Christian support in conquered Muslim Azerbaijan, as well as to shape the line of Christian population in the frontiers with Iran and Turkey.


Tsarism formed a curfew system of governance in Azerbaijan after liquidation of khanates and Sultanates (last liquidated Sultanate was Ilisu Sultanate (in 1844)). The governance of provinces, which raplaced former khanates was entrusted to commandants, who obeyed to military-environs officers and the last ones to chief commander in Caucasus. Tsar officers, who engaged the post of commandants and did not possess less rights than former khans, were self-willed over the civil population of territories. Major goal of most measures (among them “Rules” and “Statutes” about the relations among various stratums, which periodically realized census of populations, whicn were  implemented by colonial organs of the Government in 20s-30s of the 19th century, was the strengthening of colonial regime by any means and increasement of profits to State Treasury. One of the aims of mass emigration of Armenians, as well as German, Russian and other population to Iravan, Nakhichevan, Karabakh and other lands of Azerbaijan, after the end of wars with Iran and Turkey was the strengthening of political positions of Russia and conquered Muslim country, as well as – the formation of support from Christian population here.

In the 30s of the 19th century, there occurred great national uprisings against national-colonial yoke. There happened big uprisings in Car-Balaken (1830-1832), Talish (1831), Quba (1837), Sheki (1838) and other lands of Azerbaijan. There uprisings, in which major moving forces were the people mass, directed against colonial and class yoke were suppressed by tsar regime.

In 1840, the curfew system of governance was liquidated. There were created Georgian-Imeretia guberniya and Caspian oblast in South Caucasus. In 1846, Caspian oblast was liquidated and in its place there were created Shamakha and Derbent guberniyas and in 1850, there was created Iravan guberniya in the historical lands of Iravan and Nakhichevan. Elizavetpol (Ganja) uyezd was included to the part of Tiflis guberniya. After the earthquake in Shamakha in 1859, the centre of Shamakha guberniya was moved to Baku and it was renamed as Baku guberniya. Baku, Shusha, Nukha, Lenkoran and Quba uyezds included to this guberniya. Quba uyezd was in the content of Derbent guberniya in 1846-1847, but after the liquidation of this guberniya in 1877, this uyezd was included to the part of Baku guberniya. Liquidation of Derbent guberniya and including of Derbent region to Daghestan oblast set the beginning of seizure of one more historical Azerbaijan land- Derbent (Demirqgapi). There was created new-Yelizavetpol guberniya from the Azerbaijan lands, included to the structure of Baku, Tiflis, and partly Iravan guberniyas in 1868.

About Ismayil bey Zardabli

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