3:34 pm - Thursday August 16, 4103

Karabakh in the Middle ages

In the  latter  half of  the  11th  century,  the Seljuks established control over Azerbaijan and made Shaddadids their allies. Karabakh was also conquered by the Seljuks.[ref]Al-Husseini, ahbar ad-daulat as-Seljukita, p. 144-146[/ref] During this period in 1062 and 1065, the Alans raided Karabakh twice, plundered its lands and took many people  hostage.[ref]M. Artamonov, History of the Khazars, Leningrad, 1962, p. 22[/ref]

After the weakening of the Arab  caliphate,   the   Sunik and Artsakh-Khachen principalities    were  established in Karabakh. The Khachen principality achieved  a  high  level of development  under  the  rule of Hasan Jalal Mehranid (1215-1261), who is described  by the  narrative and   epigraphic   sources   of   the time as the “prince of the Khachen country”, “the  great  prince  of the countries of Khachen and Artsakh” and “the ruler of Albania”. It was in his rule that  the  Ganjasar (Gandzasar) temple, one of the most prominent monuments  of Christian Albanian
architecture, was built.
According to subsequent researches, Armenians suggested that a significant proportion  of Albanians from Sunik and  Artsakh were    converted    to    Armenians in the  13th   century. The  fact that the  Khachen principality which emerged  in Artsakh in the late 12th century was “part of ancient Albania” was been confirmed by the first president of the Armenian Academy of Sciences, I. Orbeli (1887-1961). In the  early  20th   century, he  studied Albanian epigraphy of Artsakh- Khachen, copied 300 inscriptions of the 12-13th centuries and published the  “Inscriptions  of  Gandzasar”  in Petrograd in 1919[ref]I. Orbeli, Inscriptions of Gandzasar, Petrograd, 1919; ibid, Household forms on Khachen stones of the 12-13th centuries, Selected works, Yerevan, 1963[/ref].
In   the   first  quarter  of  the 12th   century Karabakh  was part of    the    Azerbaijani   Ildenizid state  of  Atabegs.[ref]Mkhitar Gosh, Albanian chronicles, p. 236-272, 250; Z. Bunyadov, the Azerbaijani State of Atabegs, Baku, 1984, p. 15[/ref]  In 1136, Seljuk sultan  Masud appointed Atabeg Shamsaddin Ildeniz as governor   of   Aran.   Gradually, he established  control over the whole  of  Azerbaijan[ref]Z. Bunyadov, the Azerbaijani State of Atabegs, Baku, 1984, p 44; Mkhitar Gosh, Albanian chronicles, Baku, 1984, p. 236.[/ref] There  are known coins minted  in Karabakh, which confirms its importance  in the country’s life.[ref]A. Rajabli, Numismatics of Azerbaijan, Chapter 5[/ref]

13–14th centuries
Mongol incursions in Azerbaijan in the early 13th  century proved disastrous, as cities were destroyed and the  population  exterminated.[ref]Rashid ad-Din, Jami ad-Tavarih, Vol, 3, Baku, 1957, p. 28; Kirakos Gandzaksiy, History, Baku, 1957, p. 167[/ref] After the  first Mongol raid, the Kipchaks invaded  from  the  north. Capitalizing   on     the     situation, the Georgians too carried out plundering raids on Karabakh.[ref]Sources on the history of Azer- baijan, p. 145, 149-150; Ibn ad-Asir, Al-Kamil fi-t-Tarih, Baku, 1959, p. 21, 148; r. Huseynov, Syrian sources of the 12-13th centuries on Azerbaijan, Baku, 1960[ref]
In 1225, Khorezmshah Jalal ad- Din invaded and seized Azerbaijan, including  Karabakh.[ref]An-Nasawi, Life of Sultan Jalal ad-Din Mankburni, p. 163; V. Piriyev, Azerbaijan in the 13-14th centuries, Baku, 2003, p. 118[/ref]  In  1231, the Mongols attacked Azerbaijan again, and starting from 1239 the country and   the   entire   South   Caucasus were  ruled  by  Mongol  khans.  In 1259,   on   orders   from   Khulagu Khan, the Mongol army headed  by Argun occupied  Karabakh.[ref]Rashid ad-Din, Jami ad-Tavarih[/ref] In the aftermath of that, this and other regions  of Azerbaijan  were  turned into a battlefield between the Golden Horde and the Khulagid state.
Despite  all  this,  Karabakh, which became part of Khulagid possessions, experienced the development  of crafts, commerce and culture. In the

14th  century, especially under the rule of Sultan Abu-Said, Khulagid coins were minted here. In fact, many of Karabakh’s historical monuments belong  to this period.[ref]History of Azerbaijani archirecture; E. Pakhomov, mausoleum towers in Barda and their inscriptions[/ref]  In  the late

15th  century, great conqueror Timur entered  Karabakh.[ref]Zeynaddin Qazwini, Zeyl-e Tarihe-goside, Baku, 1990, p. 27-30[/ref] His incursions inflicted serious damage  to Karabakh.
In the early 15th  century, the region became the venue of clashes between    the   Timurids   and   the state  of  Kara  Koyunlu[ref].  In  1408, the Timurid rule in Azerbaijan was ended, while in 1410 Kara Yusif captured  Tabriz and  seized power. The Azerbaijani state  of Kara Koyunlu emerged, covering Karabakh, Southern Azerbaijan and Arab Iraq.Zeynaddin Qazwini, p. 27-30[/ref]

15–17th centuries
There  were  three  major states in  Azerbaijan  in  the  15th    century
–  Shirvan, Kara  Koyunlu  and  Ak Koyunlu. The territories of Kara Koyunlu and Ak Koyunlu covered the south  of Azerbaijan and Karabakh, stretching to the Kura in the north, including Ganja and  Shamkir.[ref]Y. Mahmudov, Relations of Ak Koyunlu and Safavid states with West European countries, Baku,
1991, p. 31[/ref] In the  late  15th    century,  there  were only two  major Azerbaijani  states, Ak Koyunlu and Shirvan.[ref]I. Petrushevskiy, Azerbaijani states in the 15th century, Baku,1949, p. 165; S. Farzaliyev, Azerbaijan in the 15-16th centuries, Baku, 1983, p. 113[/ref]
After  killing Jahanshah  of Kara Koyunlu,  Uzun Hasan Ak  Koyunlu sent his elder son Khalil to Tabriz and seized  the  throne  in Azerbaijan.[ref]S. Farzaliyev, mentioned work, p. 103; S. Onullahi,  History of Tabriz of the 13-18th centuries, Baku, 1982[/ref]

However,  the  death  of the  last Ak Koyunlu ruler Yagub led to domestic strife  which  eventually weakened the state. Emir Yarahmed Karaman, a descendant  of Oghuz tribes who earlier possessed  Karabakh, seized power  in Azerbaijan  in 1496.[ref]I. Petrushevskiy, Description of the history of feudal relations in Azerbaijan and Armenia, Leningrad, 1949, p. 163[/ref]  In fact, coins were minted in his name in Karabakh.[ref]E. Pakhomov, Coin hoards, Edition 1, p. 28[/ref]
In 1501, the Safavid Azerbaijani state was established by Shah Ismayil I.[ref]S. Farzaliyev, mentioned work, p. 113; S. Onullahi,  mentioned work[/ref] Karabakh and the rest of Azerbaijan found themselves under the  rule of  the  Safavids. The Ziyadoglu family, descendants of the  Kajars,  ruled  the  Karabakh.

Beglarbegi, one of the four components  of the Safavid state, for over two  centuries. The  Karabakh Beglarbegi with the center in Ganja covered the area between  the Kura and  Aras rivers,  including  Barda, Bargushat, Akhstabad, Arasabar, Javanshir, and some Georgian territories[ref]A. Rahmani, Azerbaijan in the late 16th and 17th centuries, Baku, 1981, p. 88[/ref]
When Mustafa Pasha conquered Azerbaijan  (1578) under  the  rule of Ottoman sultan Murad III  (1574-1594), Farhad Pasha marched through  Georgia and entered Karabakh where he stationed Ottoman troops. As a result of the Ottoman-Safavid war, a significant proportion of the Turkic population of Karabakh left the  region. In the early 17th  century, an uprising broke out in Karabakh, but in 1606 Shah Abbas I suppressed it and appointed Davud Khan as Beglarbeg of Karabakh, thus putting an end to the rule of Kajars in Karabakh. However, after the death of Shah Abbas I the Kajars   regained  control  over  the Karabakh Beglarbegi.
Therefore, for the entire duration of the period described in the article Karabakh remained an integral part of  Azerbaijan. The vast majority of  its  population   was formed by Albanian and then Azerbaijani tribes.

Related Maps and historical monuments

t Karabakh in the Middle ages

Filed in: Karabakh during the XII-XV cc