Nadir shah’s reprisal against Karabakhis

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Karabakh during Nadir shah's period
Nadir Shah Avshar

In the first half of the XVIII c. the political situation in the Safavids State was still tense. In war with Afghans and Ottomans a commander from turkophone clan Afshar won an increasing glory. Under Nadir khan’s leadership the Safavids expelled the Ottoman invaders and defeated Afghans. But soon Nadir decided to be an autocratic ruler of the State and put an end to the Safavids dynasty. In 1736 Nadir called a 100 thousand-strong kurultay (congress) in the Mughan lowland. In this congress, in which participated almost the whole aristocracy of the State, he proclaimed himself a shah (king).

But after coronation he dealt severely with Karabakhis. The issue was, that during the congress in Mughan, almost all Karabakh feudal lords, including the representatives of the Ziyadoglu, Igirmi dord, Otuz iki, Jevanshir and others, protested against Nadir’s candidacy for the king’s throne. They «were aimed at not allowing anyone else [but Safavids] to sit on the throne»9. That’s why, after the coronation process ended, Nadir shah decided to punish the Karabakhis. He ordered to resettle the population of such influential and numerous clans as Jevanshir, Otuz iki and Kebirly to Khorasan in the eastern Iran. Simultaneously, Nadir shah excluded five so-called Armenian melik districts: Varanda, Dizak, Talish (Gulistan), Chelaberd and Khachin from the Karabakh province and subordinated them directly to the central authority.

The resettlement of a large number of Karabakhis to the inner parts of Iran and to the border with Afghanistan disturbed them a lot. Some of them openly protested against this forceful resettlement and were executed. Among them was also Panah Ali bey Jevanshir’s brother Fazlali bey. After Fazlali bey’s execution Panah Ali bey escaped running in 1738 to his native Karabakh.

Persecuted by Nadir shah Panah Ali bey headed the resistance movement in Karabakh, made attacks on administrative centers- Ganje, Nakhichevan, Sheki and others. To gain the sympathy of the local population he distributed the captured cattle, horses etc. among them. Nadir shah couldn’t punish this rebellious Karabakhi. In 1747 he was killed by his own court. Nadir shah’s death has untied Panah Ali bey’s hands. He established the Karabakh khanate and became to be called as Panah Ali khan.

  1. Mirza Adigezal bey «Karabakhnameh», look «Karabakhnameh» (historical works of XIX c. Azeri authors about the history of Karabakh) Baku 1989 p. 30 (in Azeri language);
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