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The State of Karakoyunlu

Karakoyunlu was one of the ancient oghuz tribes, which played an important role in the formation of Azerbaijan nation. This tribe from oghuz origin conducted semi-nomadic life in Anatolia since the 13th century. The central settlement of Karakoyunlu was Archish, which was located in the north of Van lake and the language of this union was Southern dialect of Azerbaijan language. Major engagement of the tribe was sheep breeding, there was described black sheep on their sign, which shaped the thought that the name was their totem.

Ottoman author of the 15th century, Movlana Shukrullah informed that the tribe of Karakoyunlu was the successor of Deniz khan, one of the sons of Oghuz khan. According to JahanShah, by his origin, Gara Yusuf was the 41st representative of Deniz khan’s generation. The resettlement of Karakoyunlu tribe in this area from central Asia was related to the phase of Seldjukids. But, according to the line of historians, they emigrated to Western Iran and Azerbaijan in more earlier period – in 8th-11th centuries. Resettlement of ancient Turkish tribes in the territory of Azerbaijan was referred to the 7th century by several sources. This ethnic group, which had to migrate to the north from Azerbaijan and Iran, settled in Minor Asia, Irag and Syria at the result of Mongolian conquests. So, this tribal union, which oppressed to Anatolia at the result of Mongolian raids, began to be called “Karakoyunlu” since that period. They settled in Erzincan, Sivas and Southern regions of Georgia.

Tribial union of Karakoyunlu consisted of above-mentioned tribes or oymaks: Karakoyunlu (Garaja qoyunlu), Baharly, Sadly (Sad, Saden Chukhuru), Karamanly, Dyukarly, Alpout (Alpavut), Casirly (Chakirly), Naqadjeri and others. Major political role referred to the oymaks of Baharly and Sadly. It is important to mention that the motherland of oymak of Sadly is Nakhichevan and Surmeli. The remaining of this tribal union lived in the districts of Goycha, Manu, Ganjabasar, among Shahsevens, in the territories between Khoy and Maragha. Villages and other inhabited areas, which was later called “Saatli”, related with the remainings of the oymak of Sadly – Sadin Chukhuru.

At the end of the 15th century, Karakoyunlu established beylik in Eastern Anatolia. The founder of this beylik, Bayram Khoca was one of the influencive emirs in Tabriz palace of Sultan Uveys Calairi. After some time at the result of the fight between the tribes of Karakoyunlu and Calairid this beylik weakened.

Bayram Khoca’s attempts for uniting tribal unions under single reign and fought with the powerful state of Calairids that for time was not succeeded. After the death of Bayram Khoca (1380) his successors began to strengthen in Azerbaijan. His son Gara Muhammed (1390- 1389) (according to the evidences of Hafiz Abru, Gara Muhammed was the nephew of Bayram Khoca) desired to improve the relations with Calairids and liquidate the existing fought; he married his daughter to the ruler of Calairid state, Sultan Ahmed and shaped relative connections with him.

Gara Muhammed, who utilized from the situation united most of the tribes around himself and founded the tribal union with the centre in the city of Van. Gara Muhammed, who aimed to fortificate his power in Azerbaijan and understood the importance of the conquest of Tabriz.

With this goal, he gathered troops and in September of 1382, he attacked to the city. Hard battle that occurred around the city ended with the victory of Gara Muhammed over Sheikh Ali. It is important to mention that Gara Muhammed, who possessed courage, good organizing capability and ability of ending diffucult military operations successfully, was well-known with the nick-name of “Nasreddin” too.

In 1383, one of the enemies of Gara Muhammed was the governor of Syria, Selim plundered the settlers of Mosul, who obeyed to Gara Muhammed and who returned from Hajj. For the fight with Selim, Gara Muhammed entered to the alliance with Syrian Bozadnoghlu Ziya Ul-Mulk. So, these united forces destroyed the city and captured rich trophies. Selim had to escape to the naib of Aleppo, An-Naziriyye.

Due to subordinate his other enemy, the governor of Mardin, Gara Muhammed appealed to extended measure of that time. In 1384, he sent his envoys to the governor of Mardin, Mecdaddin Isa with the suggestion of contracting marriage with his daughter, but Gara Muhammed was refused as he thought. This answer became the reason of Gara Muhammed to move from Mosul to Mardin. The governor of Mardin, who immediately gathered troop did his best to resist to Gara Muhammed, but soon he was defeated and had to retreat. The governor of Mardin was able to escape from the complete defeat by contracting the marriage of his daughter with Gara Muhammed.

In 1385, Gara Muhammed encountered with two powerful enemies too. The first of them was the tribe of Aghqoyunlu, which was the rival and enemy of Karakoyunlu since the first days and the second one was Teymur. Gara Muhammed, who sent his son Misir Khoca – the governor of the district between Mosul and Mardin – to Cairo, asked the permission from Sultan Begrat to pass to the Syria because of the invasion of two enemies. Simultaneously, the governor of Erzincan, who was defeated by Aghqoyunlu appealed for help to Gara Muhammed. The agreement of Gara Muhammed to this suggestion assisted to their alliance against Aghqoyunlu. In 1385, the united forces of Gara Muhammed and the governor of Erzincan defeated Aghqoyunlu, who had to appeal for help to the governor of Sivas – Keysariyya, Qazi Burhanaddin because of stricts losts and found there a refuge.

In the spring of 1387, Teymur began the campaign from Nakhichevan against Karakoyunlu in the direction of Erzurum- Chapakchur. Gara Muhammed, who arrived in the Chapakchur plain before Teymur, captured all suitable, major and important passages there. So, Gara Muhammed bravely fought in this battle, destroyed the troops of Teymur and made him retreat. Teymur, who retreated to Mush, plundered there various oymaks. After conquest of Khilat, Adilcevaz, Aladagh, Teymur conquered Van and returned to Iran.

At the end of 1387, the relations between Gara Muhammed and the Sultan of Egypt, Begrat became strained. As in the fought with more powerful enemy Gara Muhammed needed aid and that is why he entered to the alliance with Mintash and Qazi Burhanaddin. But at this time there appeared Tabriz problem: Celairid emirs, Shanli and Shah Ali captured Tabriz utilizing from the fought between Teymur and Tokhtamush. And in the spring of 1388, Celairid Sultan Ahmed began his new campaign. The suggession about the conquest of Tabriz, which offered to Gara Muhammed, who was in the city of Dovletyar, as well as his own desire made him refuse from the campaign against Begrat.

The soldiers of Karakoyunlu, which broke the resistance of Celairid emirs on May 24, entered to the city. Gara Muhammed pursued Shabli and killed him in Khashtrud, but Shah Ali managed to survive: he put on begger dress and was able to escape from the city. So, the conquest of Tabriz in May-June, 1388, proved that how difficult the farther fought for city. In April of 1389, vali of Alepp, Vyal-Buga an-Nasir rose against Gara Muhammed. Due to prevent and press this uprising, Gara Muhammed united his forces with the governor of Mardin and invited the leaders of tribes to his house. According to the sources, at that time Gara Muhammed and his son, Bayram were killed by other Karakoyunlu emir, Gara Pirhasan. As sources informed, the grandfather of Gara Pirhasan – Hussein bey was the murderer of Bayram Khoca.

The struggle of Pirhasan and Gara Muhammed for throne possessed inherited character. This struggle with Pirhasan should be continued by Gara Muhammed’s son, Misir Khoca. But, namely Qara Yusif (1389- 1420) became the head of tribal union by the agree of Misir Khoca and the leaders of tribes. Due to revenge Pirhasan because of his father Gara Muhammed, Qara Yusif entered to alliance with the governor of Mardin and Gara Yuluq Osman Aghqoyunlu. Qara Yusif captured Pirhasan and sent him to Emir Teymur.

As the occupation of Azerbaijan throne was the major aim of Qara Yusif , he managed to conquer Tabriz in 1391. But, because of the campaign of the emir of Alinca, Altun to Tabriz, he obliged to leave the city.

In 1392, Qara Yusif again fought against Gara Pirhasan, which ended with the victory of the first one. After that Qara Yusif again decided to made campaign to Tabriz and set the camp in Shanbi- Ghazan. Mahmud Khalkhali, who learnt about it, left the city. Qara Yusif entered to the city and stayed there about a month; he left the city only when he learnt about the approach of Teymur. At the end of 1392, the troops of Teymur conquered the centre of tribal union of Karakoyunlu, the city of Van. Karakoyunlu approached to Celairids, in order to organize united struggle against Teymurids. But in the summer of 1394, the army of Teymur defeated united forces of Qara Yusif and Celairids near Baghdad.

Inter-tribal strife and their defeat by Teymur assisted to the weakening of tribal union of Karakoyunlu and in 1395, this union collapsed. Qara Yusif and Sultan Ahmed Celairid firstly entered to the patronomy of the Ottoman Sultan, Beyazid Ildirim. Sultan refused the demand of Teymur about giving Qara Yusif and Sultan Ahmed. Neverthless, Qara Yusif , who did not want to aggravate the situation much more, left the territory of the Ottoman Empire, gathered the leaders of Karakoyunlu tribes and restored the union. He and Sultan Ahmed Celairi directed to the governor of Egypt, Begrat for seeking new supporters in the fought against Teymur. Teymur, who learnt it, immediately demanded to return GaraYusif and Sultan Ahmed back from the ruler.

The ruler of Egypt, who aimed to utilize from the forces of Karakoyunlu and Calairids against Teymur refused from Teymur’s demand and killed his envoy. New ruler of Egypt, Sultan Farac, who replaced his died father in the throne did not want to aggravate the relations with Emir Teymur and agreed to give Qara Yusif and Sultan Ahmed to him. He captivated them and kept under arrest in Damascus.

Here Qara Yusif and Sultan Ahmed made an agreement about their further activity. Especially, they agreed that after liberation Arabic Irag would go to Sultan Ahmed there and Qara Yusif to Azerbaijan. Sultan Ahmed had to rule in Baghdad and Qara Yusif in Tabriz. As Qara Yusif was not referred to Shah clan, Sultan Ahmed sould adopt his son Pirbudagh and so, had to reign from his name.

After the death of Teymur (1405), Sultan Farac liberated the allies. On the way to Azerbaijan Qara Yusif invaded the feudal possessions from the borders of Egypt till the shore of the Euphrates. Qara Yusif , who concluded alliance with Melik Shamsaddin – the govner of Hilat, Mun and Khulusun, married his daughter with him, in order to strengthen this alliance. So, Qara Yusif managed to gather Kurdish semi-nomadic tribes, which settled around Kurdistan, Armenia and in the south of Azerbaijan. In June of 1406, Qara Yusif and Sultan Ahmed captured Baghdad without using forces and directed to Azerbijan. In July of the same year, the allies reached to Tabriz. Qara Yusif , who did not possess enough durable troops at that time, had to satisfy with this. Ibrahim I, who governed the city at that period, advised with his naibs and decided to leave Tabriz. The one of the major reason of such decision was that although, Ibrahim I created powerful army from feudal aristocracy, the emirs of the southern part of Azerbaijan considered that Ibrahim I was temporary stayed in Tabriz throne. They inclined to Ibrahim I only because of fear of bloody confrontation with the Teymurid attacks. Now, these emirs, as well as the qazi of Tabriz, Imadaddin decided to pass to the side of Qara Yusif and Sultan Ahmed.

Sultan Ahmed, who occupied Tabriz, did not implement his promise about the abolition of taxes and their fair collection, which he gave to Tabriz population.

After the death of Teymur, he was replaced by Omar. But MiranShah and his son, Abu-Bakr only externally accepted his authority. Omar, who understood it and was scared to lose the throne, ordered to arrest Abu Bakr, who came to him to Sultaniyye. But Abu Bakr, who bribed the fortress guard attracted them to his own side and liberated.

After liberation, he came to his father, MiranShah and began to gather troops in Khorasan. Abu Bakr, who occupied Sultaniyye during Omar’s absence, directed to Azerbaijan. At the result of it, the part of Azerbaijan became field of bloody confrontations between Abu Bakr and Omar.

The pass of Tabriz from hands to hands in this period pursued by the robbery and murder of population. Qazi Qiyasaddin, Abdul Mokhsun Qazvini, Sheikh Akhi Kassab and Qazi Imadaddin who bravely organized the defence of Tabriz saw that Sultan Ahmed did not implement his promise and that is why, while Abu-Bakr approached to the city, they supported him. Sultan Ahmed again escaped to Baghdad and Abu-Bakr occupied the city without obstacles.

On October 14 of 1406, two rivals confronted for the occupation of Tabriz. In the battle, which happened in the west of Nakhichevan, on the shore of Aras, the troops of Karakoyunlu Qara Yusif made the troops of Teymurid Abu Bakr escaped. Qara Yusif , who returned to Nakhichevan, gave relax to his troops there. During Qara Yusif ’s stay in Nakhichevan, the one of prominent reises of Tabriz, khoca Seyid Muhammed Kechechi visited him. He informed Qara Yusif about the plunder of Tabriz by Abu Bakr and offered him to come to Tabriz and take its possession. After a while emir Bistam Cayir passed to the side of Qara Yusif . For the defence of the city, Qara Yusif sent forces to Tabriz and directed to Sultaniyye. Abu Bakr, who escaped from the fight with Qara Yusif , left the city and came to Rey. For the fight with Karakoyunlu he appealed to his brother Shahrukh, who was the governor of Khorasan, for help and the last sent 20 thousandth troops to him. Qara Yusif , who learnt about it, came to Shanbi-Ghazan, not far from Tabriz. The twenty thousandth troops of Karakoyunlu  encountered with the Teymurid troops, that commanded by MiranShah (the people called him “MaranShah”, i.e “Shah of snakes”) and Abu Bakr. The right flank of Karakoyunlu army was commanded by emir Bistam Cayir (with his brothers, Mansur, Rustam and his son Farac), the left flank was led by Hussein bey Sadly and the centre – by Qara Yusif himself. On April 21 of 1408, the Karakoyunlu completely destroyed the Teymurids in the area of Sardrud, in the south of Tabriz. In this battle MiranShah was killed, but Abu Bakr was able to hide. This victory of Qara Yusif had a great historical essence for Azerbaijan, since there was put an end to the supremacy of Teymurids in Azerbaijan at the result of this battle.

After this victory, Qara Yusif made campaign to the possessions of the governor of Sheki, Seyid Ahmed in the autumn of 1408. This fact testifies that Qara Yusif did not limit his activity and political goal only with Southern Azerbaijan. At the result of subordination of Northern Azerbaijan, he aimed to establish single Azerbaijan state – the state of Karakoyunlu. The evidences to this goal were the realized campaigns to Sheki and Shirvan. The generals of Karakoyunlu confronted with the good prepared forces of Sheki. They did not dare to the attack and retreated the city after plundering some regions of neighbourhood Shirvan.

After the expulsion of Teymurid troops from Azerbaijan, Karakoyunlu strengthened in the Southern Azerbaijan, the achievements of Qara Yusif in political scene was also obvious. All these issues frightened Sultan Ahmed and at the result of which his relations with Qara Yusif entirely spoiled. Even when they were in Egypt prison with Qara Yusif , Sultan Ahmed was scared that their alliance would not continue long and at the final they would be fight against each other.

This confrontation occurred in 1410. So that in the summer of the same year the head of the union of Aghqoyunlu, Gara Yuluq Osman realized campaign to Erzincan in the Easren Anatolia – Qara Yusif attacked to Gara Yuluq Osman and the governor of the fortress of Amid in Northern Mesopotamia with his major forces. ShirvanShah Ibrahim I sent the troops, commanded by his son, Kayumars to the aid of Sultan Ahmed Celairid. That act by Ibrahim I was obvious; in Celairid-Karakoyunlu confrontation he was in the side of Sultan Ahmed, as he was weaker and did not present danger for Ibrahim’s state. Contrary to it Qara Yusif was able to conquer Northern Azerbaijan any time. Except of this supporting Sultan Ahmed, ShirvanShah Ibrahim I could strengthen in the South of Azerbaijan too. Qara Yusif , who  retreated from Anatolia, immediately directed to Tabriz and did not permit to the uniting of Shirvan and Celairid troops. On August 30 of 1410, Qara Yusif destroyed the troops of his former ally and Sultan Ahmed in the area of Shanbi Ghazan, near Tabriz. Sultan Ahmed was captured during his escape and there was brought written abdication from the throne in Azerbaijan and Irag by Sultan Ahmed; Qara Yusif made him sign documents, which showed the transition of the right to the throne to the new dynasty. He reminded Sultan Ahmed about adoption of Pirbudagh, Qara Yusif ’s son and made him give the order about the pass of Azerbaijan and Irag to Pirbudagh. Next day, Sultan Ahmed was executed. So, the reign of Celairids was put an end. After this victory, Qara Yusif sent his son Qiyasaddin Shahmuhammed to Baghdad as the governor.

In 1411, Qara Yusif invited the Azerbaijan aristocracy and emirs of Karakoyunlu to the mejlis in Tabriz and proclaimed his son Pirbudagh (he died in 1418) the Sultan. Qara Yusif , who sat Pirbudagh down the throne with golden crown and golden tie, proclaimed himself the atabey (vekil) of Pirbudagh and worshiped to his son together with the emirs of Karakoyunlu and Azerbaijan aristocracy. After that there was written in given state decrees (fermans) such: “The order of Pirbudagh khan, word of Abu-n-Nasr Yusuf Bahadur”. On the coins, minted in the courts of the state, there was also written the name of Pirbudagh, as the legal sovereign: “As-Sultan ul-azim Pirbudagh khan”. Qara Yusif demonstrated his obligation to the statehood in such way.

Neverthless, all administrative power and state issues were concentrated in the hands of Qara Yusif . Simmultaneously, there were minted coins with his name as: “Shah (or Emir) Yusif Bahadur”. So, there was founded the Azerbaijan state of Karakoyunlu by the vehicle of one of the mignificant people of Azerbaijan, Qara Yusif . There were included such territories as Azerbaijan, from the South of Kura, Armenia (Arminiyya), Eastern regions of Anatolia, Kurdistan, part of Georgia, Western Iran, Arabic Irag to the content of this state and the capital of the state became Tabriz.

In 1410, after the battle in Shanbi-Ghazan, the troops, commanded by Keyumars approached to Tabriz. Keyumars, who did not know about the defeat of Sultan Ahmed by Qara Yusif gave relax to his forces. The men of Qara Yusif , who attacked secretly, captivated Keyumars. Qara Yusif , who kept him for a while, did not execute him, but liberated Keyumars and sent him to Shirvan with the letter to Ibrahim I, which Qara Yusif suggested him to subordinate to the Karakoyunlu in. Such easy captivation and liberation of Keyumars shaped doubt in Ibrahim I and in the court of ShirvanShah his doubts were strengthened by the enemies of Keyumars. Ibrahim I thought that Keyumars secretly concluded an alliance with Qara Yusif , promised him to dethrone his father and aid the Karakoyunlu leader to subordinate Shirvan. So, Ibrahim I made a rare mistake and assosinated his son, Keyumars. After some period, Qara Yusif sent an envoy to Ibrahim I with the demand of subordination. Due to not loose his independence, Ibrahim I entered to the alliance with the governor of Sheki, Seyid Ahmed (in several sources, he was mentioned as Sidi Ahmed or Seydi Ahmed) and the tsar of Chakhetia, Constantin II against Qara Yusif .

Qara Yusif also managed to attract the nobility of Southern Azerbaijan to his side by sharing them inherited soyurgal, money and presents. He presented Bistam Cayir with Ardabil mahal, gave soyurgal to the kurdish emir, Shamsaddin Bitlisi and presented emir Baba Khaverdi with the fortress of Kaverd and 600 villages. Instead of these presents, Qara Yusif   demanded from all emirs and governors to participate in the war with Shirvan, Sheki and Kakhetia.

In December of 1412, on the shore of Kur (several sources mentioned that this battle took place in 1411, in Derbend, on the shore of the Caspian Sea, in the plain of Jalagan) and both troops encountered. Qara Yusif destroyed the troops of allies. Shirvan Shah Ibrahim I, his seven sons, his brother, Bahlul, advicers, Bayazid and emir Khushag, their sons, the tsar of Kakhetia, Constantin II and his aznaurs were captivated. In the mejlis that organized immediately after the battle on the shore of the river of Kura, Constantin II and his 130 aznaurs (according to some sources, 300 aznaurs and even the brothers of Constantin II) were murdered. Ibrahim I was brought to Tabriz.

Qara Yusif demanded 1200 Iranian tuman for Ibrahim I, 200 Iranian tuman for Bahlul and 100 Iranian tuman for Qazi Beyazid. According to some sources Qara Yusif initally wanted to assosinate all captives but at the result of request of Tabriz merchants and his closest men around Qara Yusif changed his decision and agreed to liberate Ibrahim I, with the condition of payment of farm. Supporters of Ibrahim I in Tabriz, trademen and craftsmen led by Akhi Qassab collected and payed the needed amount. This fact proved the popularity of the personality and politics of Ibrahim I in the Southern Azerbaijan.

Qara Yusif , who liberated Ibrahim I, organized ceremony in his honour. After this ceremony, ShirvanShah Ibrahim I, possessed the right to govern Shirvan with the condition of subordination to Qara Yusif , then in April of 1413, he returned to Shirvan. In the response to this action, Qara Yusif recalled back his troop from Shirvan and Ibrahim I, ruled Shirvan as independent governor till the end of his life (in 1417).

After the death of ShirvanShah Ibrahim I, Khalilullah I (1417- 1462) who came to throne in 1417, rejected to recognize the soverougnity of Qara Yusif and made an alliance with the powerful enemy of Karakoyunlu – the governor of Central Asia, which centre was Khorasan, the son of emir Teymur, Sultan Shahrukh (1406-1447). In the spring of 1418 and in 1419 Shahrukh intervened to Azerbaijan twice, but both of them were unsuccessful. In 1419, Qara Yusif take the possession of the cities of Sultaniyye and Gazvin, which had great trade essence. So, the territories from Qazvin to Erzincan and from Baghdad to Shirvan passed to the authority of Qara Yusif . Shahrukh, who frightened from the promotion of Karakoyunlu to the East, directed to Azerbaijan with 20 thousandth troops in the summer of 1420. He sent his envoy to Qara Yusif and demanded from Qara Yusif to obey. But Qara Yusif began to wide military preparation. He added pedestrian troop, which was shaped from the settled population – peasants and craftsmen of Tabriz and its around to the cavalry army. The news about the moving of the troops of Qara Yusif from the capital shaped rumpus and commotion among the soldiers of Shahrukh. But on this way Qara Yusif fell sick and died in the area of Ucan on November 13 (or on November 17) of 1420.

Shahrukh, who utilized from the fight between Karakoyunlu emirs and connected with the death of Qara Yusif , crossed the river of Aras and entered to Karabakh in December of 1420, Khalilullah, who aimed to improve the relations with Shahrukh, came to his camp and married to his granddaughter. Shahrukh conquered Azerbaijan without any resistance. But the state of Karakoyunlu did not collapse. The fight of the successors of Qara Yusif , as well as the struggle of the governor of Ganja and Barda, Emir Garahmed Karaman did not provide Shahrukh to strengthen in Azerbaijan, as he desired. The sons of Qara Yusif , Iskander and Isfendiyar (“Ispend”), who united their forces entered to the   decisive battle with Shahrukh near Derbent, in Alashkerd.

Teymurids defeated the troops of Karakoyunlu, Khalilullah I and the emir of Aghqoyunlu, Gara Yuluq Osman also aided Shahrukh.

Certainly, in this case we could not wait the victory from the 50- thousanth army of Karakoyunlu, how courageous they fight. Despite of the victory, Shahrukh could not stay in Azerbaijan and kept there lots of long time and that is why he left the country soon.

After Shahrukh’s leaving, Iskander (1422-1429; 1431-1435; 1436- 1438;) conquered Tabriz and restored the state of Karakoyunlu.

Iskander, who subordinated the Azerbaijan emirs, from the south of Kur to his brother JahanShah, sent his other brother, Isfendiyar to Baghdad, for the governance of Irag. As Shirvan and Sheki rejected to obey, Iskander made campaign to Shirvan in 1427, but was not able to succed. Although the troops of Iskandar seized Sultaniyya, Zenjan and Qazvin, new invasion of Shahrukh to Azerbaijan made him retreat.

In October of 1428, Shahrukh sent his generals – Ali Konuldash Baysunger Mirza and Emir Loghman Berlas to Azerbaijan with huge troops. In May of 1429, Shahrukh realized his second campaign to Azerbaijan with 100 thousandth army. The battle between Iskander Karakoyunlu and Shahrukh took place firstly, in Sultaniyye and then there began two-day battle in Salmas, on September 17 of 1429.

Iskandar was defeated in these battles and Shahrukh moved to Karabakh for winter. Shahrukh relied on the other son of Qara Yusif , Aby Said and appointed him the governor of Azebaijan. In May of 1430, Shahrukh left Azerbaijan and in September came from Khorasan to Herat. Iskander, who returned to Azerbaijan, captured Abu Said, assonitated him and again came to the throne in 1431. In 1432, Isfendiyar again seized Baghdad, took possession of Arabic Irag and obeyed to Iskandar.

Internecine and feudal strife, happened during Iskandar’s reign decreased the economic and political life of the country. In 1428, Yarali rose against his father, Iskander. In the same year, Iskander defeated Yarali, who with his 200 cavalry escaped firstly to ShirvanShah Khalilullah I, then to Shahrukh, to Herat.In the mid of 1434, Iskander realized campaign to Shirvan.

Escaped Khalilullah I, hid in the fortress of Mahmudabad, from where he sent his envoys to his patronomies – Teymurid Shahrukh and Emir Gara Yuluq Osman Aghqoyunlu for help. Gara Yuluq Osman moved from Diyarbakir with huge troops and besieged Erzurum. In November of 1434, Shahrukh moved from Herat and realized his third campaign to Azerbaijan. Shahrukh, who arrived in Rey in Feburary of 1435, invited here JahanShah, which was in Diyarbekir. Khalilulluh I also came to Rey by marine way. In January of 1435, united forces of Shahrukh and Khalilullah I again defeated the army of Karakoyunlu and Iskander had to escape to Minor Asia. In May of 1436, Shahrukh came from  Karabakh to the location of Ucan near Tabriz and recognized JahanShah as the ruler of the state of Karakoyunlu, but with the arrangement that JahanShah would accept vassal dependence of Shahrukh. In the same year, Shahrukh left Azerbaijan. Iskander, who utilized from this circumsatance, united several Karakoyunlu emirs, as well as Ottoman Turks and generals, which were around himself, were given him by Egypt Mamluk Sultan, came to Azerbaijan and again seized Tabriz. ChahanShah, who was in Ardebil at that time moved to Tabriz with several emirs of Karakoyunlu and Shirvan in the spring of 1438. Iskander and ChahanShah encountered in the location, called “Khaft cheshme”. The pass of the leader of Karaman to the side of ChahanShah before the battle, weakened the army of Iskander and he escaped to the fortress of Alinca after the defeat. In the fortress, the son of Iskander, Shahbudag cut his father’s head and sent it to ChahanShah, who buried him with honour.

After the death of Iskander another son of Qara Yusif – JahanShah (1438-1467) came to the throne. JahanShah did his best to preserve good relations with Shahrukh and ShirvanShah as well as to fight with the head of Aghqoyunlu, Uzun Hasan. But, in the fight with his major enemy, Uzun Hasan, he lost most part of Eastern Anatolia.

In 1410, JahanShah made his first campaign to Georgia and the sheikh of Ardebil, Ibrahim SheykhShah and murids of Safavid order actively participated in Georgian campaign. Another campaign of JahanShah to Georgia, made in 1441 and was prevented by Georgian prince, Vakhtang.

JahanShah realized unsuccessful campaigns to Arabic Irag even in the presence of Iskandar in order to subordinate his other brother- Isfandiyar, who was the governor of Baghdad and supported Iskander in the struggle with JahanShah. Only after his death city and finally Arabic Irag was also included to the Azerbaijan state of Karakoyunlu.

After the death of Shahrukh (1447), JahanShah proclaimed himself independent ruler and accepted the titles of “Sultan” and “khaqan”. There was observed khutba and minted coins from his name. JahanShah, who utilized from the struggle of Teymurid princes, stopped the hostilities with Aghgoyunlu in the West (district of Diyarbakir) and directed to the East – to the Persian Irag, where he did his best to conquer Sultaniyya and Qazvin. The grandson of Shahrukh, Muhammed Mirza understood his defility in the fight with JahanShah, prevented the conflict by the vehicle of Shahrukh’s wife – Govaharshad beyim, who “adobted” JahanShah. At the result of it Muhammed Sultan married to JahanShah’s daughter and JahanShah took the possession of Persian Irag.

JahanShah, who attained his aim, directed his attendance to Iran. In the spring of 1453, JahanShah’s son, Pirbudagh conquered Qum and JahanShah seized firstly Isfahan, then Shiraz. In 1454, the army of Karakoyunlu, commanded by Pirbudagh captured Kirman and Yezd. In 1457, after the death of the governor of Khorasan, Babur Mirza, JahanShah took the possession of the Eastern part of Iran. Then he conquered Mazandaran, Astrabad, Meshed, Nishapur and on June 28 of 1458, he entered to Herat, the capital of Teymurids and ascended the throne of Shakrukh. In the autumn of the same year, Teymurid Abu Said sent envoys to JahanShah and demanded from him to leave the inherited lands of his dynasty.

In this period, the son of JahanShah, Hasanali rose the revolt in Azerbaijan and his other son, Pirbudagh-in Baghdad. That is why, in Jaunary of 1459, JahanShah concluded peace treaty with Abu Said, in the garden of Loqan, in Herat. JahanShah, who provided his security from the side of Teymurids, returned to Azerbaijan. In 1459, he neutralized the revolt of Hasanali and in 1462-the revolt of Pirbudagh. In 1461, Pirbudagh again rose against his father in Baghdad. JahanShah again directed to Baghdad and in 1466, Pirbudagh had to surrender. At that time JahanShah did not forgive him and executed Pirbudagh.

At the end of 1450, Aghqoyunlu Uzun Hasan began to more active policy. He conquered the eastern part of Georgia, which was under the authority of Garagoyunlu. In 1467, JahanShah made military campaign against Uzun Hasan, who sent the army, commanded by his son Khalil Mirza against JahanShah. On October 10 of 1467, in the battle, occurred in the plain of Mush the Karakoyunlu troops were defeated. After this defeat, the Karakoyunlu were not able to restore their power. The attempts of JahanShah’s son, Hasanali were unsuccessful. At the result of conquest of the city of Tabriz by Uzun Hasan the Azerbaijan state of Karakoyunlu dynasty collapsed and it was replaced by the dynasty of Aghqoyunlu.

About Ismayil bey Zardabli

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