|The Javanshir clan|
Khurshidbanu Natavan - daughter of the last khan of Karabakh, Mehdigulu khan Javanshir - with her son Mehdigulu Khan Vafa (left) and daughter Khanbike.
|Region of origin||Karabakh Khanate, Azerbaijan|
Creation of Karabakh khanate
Panahali khan – forefather of the dynasty and founder of Karabakh khanate, is a representative of an ancestral aristocracy of a Turkic tribe called Javanshir. After Nadir shah’s accession to power in Iran, he was called for a service by him, but after several years, in 1738, he was forced to escape from Khorasan to the North, Sheki and Shirvan, with a group of supporters. Here he created a detachment and was robbing and plundering during ten years.
Murder of Nadir shah in the result of conspiracy led to collapse of the state established by him. Taking advantage of the central power’s weakening, Panahali khan, with his detachment consisting of 200 riders, arrived Karabakh, which was ruled by Azerbaijan’s serdar at that time (with a residence in Tabriz) and declared himself an independent khan. At that time, Otuziki, Javanshir and Kebirli tribes, which were forcibly evicted to Khorasan, returned to Karabakh. Elder son of Panahali khan - 15 years old Ibrahimkhalil khan also escaped from Khorasan to Karabakh, to his father.
Strengthening of Panah khan didn’t suit his neighbors’ taste. Haji Chalabi Khan of Sheki drove a newly appeared khan out of Karabakh in that very year, but next year Panahali khan returned back with a strong detachment and destroyed Haji in a stubborn struggle. After this, all Muslim tribes of Karabakh recognized Panahali khan’s power. Kurdish and Turkish tribes Otuziki, Javanshir and Kebirli dwelling in low-lying regions, became a kernel of Karabakh khanate. The khanate occupied a significant territory and included low-lying and also mountainous parts of Karabakh. Initially, a residence of khan was Bayat Castle, constructed in 1748. Later the ruler moved to Shahbulag Castle. In 1751, unapproachable Panahabad fortress, built by Panah khan, became the capital of the khanate.
After Kerim khan overrode the whole Iran, he called Panahali khan to Shiraz and made him his counselor and his son charged Mehrali bey with ruling Karabakh. In 1759, Panahali khan died in Shiraz. Mehrali bey finished strengthening of Shusha and built new fortresses called Asgaran and Agh-oghlan. Soon he was treacherously murdered by Aghasi khan of Shirvan, after which Ibrahimkhalil khan-elder son of Panahali khan – asserted himself in Karabakh. His reign began from overriding of fallen meliks, which was lasted till 1787. In that very year, Ibrahimkhalil khan attempted to conquer Shamakhi, but was defeated by Fatali khan of Quba.
In 1795, Ibrahimkhalil khan, who didn’t want to obey Agha Muhammad shah Qajar who conquered whole Iran until then, sent his ambassadors to Russian empress Catherine II to ask for the Russian citizenship. Knowing about these discussions, Agha Mahammad Shah Qajar gathered a great army with overall strength of 85 thousand people, went over the Aras River and approached Shusha, in 1795. Ibrahimkhalil khan, who had only 15 thousand soldiers under his guidance, defended desperately. Siege of the fortress lasted for 33 days, but due to selfless actions of defenders of the fortress, who were ruled by Ibrahimkhalil khan and his vizier, eminent poet Molla Panah Vagif - Agha Muhammad Shah couldn’t conquer the fortress and he was forced to call a siege off. He ordered to devastate outskirts of the country. After their departure Karabakh burst into starvation.
In 1797, Agha Muhammad shah invaded Karabakh again. Until then, situation of Karabakh khanate was extremely difficult: starvation and plague were rife and rampant in the country and many of the citizens of Karabakh were forced to move to other khanates looking for bread. Withstanding of the second siege was impossible and Ibrahimkhalil khan left the city and escaped to Dagestan with his family. But after conquering Shusha, Agha Muhammad Shah Qajar was murdered by his servants and losing its leader the Persian army left Karabakh. Ibrahimkhalil khan came back to Shusha and ruled there for several years as a fully independent ruler. He tried to support good relations with Fathali Shah - a new ruler of Iran, nephew of Agha Muhammad Shah Qajar. But this peace was not durable.
As a part of Russia
Not severing relations with the khan, shah attempted to bring its garrison to Shusha. Then, Ibrahimkhalil khan renewed discussions with Russia in May of 1805 and moved to the Russian citizenship. Proper treaty was signed on the coast of the Kurakchay River. Khan was obliged to pay an annual tribute of 8000 chervons and allowed the Russian garrison to enter Shusha. He hoped that hereby he will be able to save his government from capture of neighbor states, but he precipitated its end. In spring of 1806, when the Persian army consisting of 20 thousand soldiers arrived Shusha, lieutenant-colonel Lisanevich, commander of the Russian garrison, ordered 80 years old Ibrahimkhalil khan for suspicion and betrayal and annihilated all his family (his wife and a lot of little children were also murdered). Russian Government announced Mehdigulu khan – son of Ibrahimkhalil khan - a new khan, but he didn’t forgive the committed crime to Russians and was a secret ally of Iran during all years of his reign.
Meanwhile, in 1813, before the end of the Russo-Persian war of 1804-1813, a peaceful Russo-Iran treaty - called the treaty of Gulistan - was signed in Karabakh fortress Gulustan, by which the conversion of Karabakh khanate to Russia was recognized.
In November of 1822, when pro-Persian activity of Mehdigulu khan was disclosed, he escaped to Persia and so hastily that, he even forgot the state seal in Shusha. In 1822, Karabakh khanate was abolished and reformed into a province of the Russian Empire.
Persia didn’t put up with losing the South Caucasus. Urging on by Great Britain, it began a new war against Russia soon. But the Persians couldn’t conquer Shusha, which was desperately defensed by the Russian garrison of lieutenant-colonel Reutt, but eventually there were driven away by Russians.
- Panahali khan (1693 – 1758/63)
- Mehrali bey (1759/63)
- Ibrahimkhalil khan (1759/63-1806)
- Mehdigulu khan Javanshir (1806-1822)
Prominent members of the dynasty were Jafargulu agha Javanshir, Mammadhasan Agha Javanshir, Khurshidbanu Natavan, Mehdigulu Khan Vafa, Gamar-beyim Sheyda, Bahram khan Nakhchivanski, Akbar khan Nakhchivanski and others.
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