Javad Khan

Javad Khan Qajar (Persian: جواد خان قاجار; Azerbaijani: جاواد خان قاجار c. 1748 – 1804) was a member of the Qajar tribe, and the last khan of the Ganja khanate from 1786 to 1804 before it was lost to Russia.[1]

Grave of Javad khan, Ganja, Azerbaijan


Javad Khan was a son of Shahverdi Khan and brother of Rahim Khan. Javad Khan succeeded his brother on Rahim Khan's deposition through Georgian intervention in 1786. Alike the then ruling dynasty of Iran, Javad Khan was a member of the Qajar tribe.[2][3] With the accession to power, Javad Khan faced a threat from Georgia. In September 1787, a combined Georgia and Russian army under the command of Colonel Burnashev marched to Ganja, but the ongoing Russo-Turkish war forced the allies to withdraw. A fragile peace ensued and the Georgia king Erekle II granted Javad Khan control over Shamshadilu, but the khan of Ganja failed to bring the district into submission. In early 1789 Erekle II, now allied with Fath Ali Khan of Quba and Muhammad Hasan Khan of Shaki, attacked Ganja and Javad Khan had to abandon his capital without fighting. After three months, Fath Ali Khan died and Javad was able to resume his reign. His political orientation was pro-Iranian that brought him in conflict with Georgia and Russia. In 1795, Javad Khan of Ganja joined the Iranian expedition against Georgia. Erekle II retaliated by blockading Ganja in 1796, but the khan of Karabakh brokered peace. In September 1796 Ganja was temporarily occupied by the Russian general Valerian Zubov during his Persian Expedition of 1796.[1]

During the first Russo-Persian War (1804-1813), Ganja was considered by Russians as a town of foremost importance. General Pavel Tsitsianov approached Javad khan several times asking him to submit to Russian rule, but each time was refused. In November 1803, the Russian army moved from Tiflis and in December, Tsitsianov started the siege preparations. After heavy artillery bombardment, on January 3, 1804, Tsitsianov gave the order to attack the fortress.[4] During the fierce fighting, Armenians residing in the city open the gates of the castle and, as a result, the Russians were able to capture the fortress. Javad khan was killed,[4] together with his sons at war.

Some members of his family were able to escape to Tabriz, while others remained in Ganja. Javad Khan's descendants in the Russian empire bore the surname Ziatkhanov. Ismail Khan Ziatkhanov was a member of the First State Duma of the Russian empire, and later a prominent activist of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic.

Javad Khan's handwritten letter to TsitsianovEdit

Javad Khan's handwritten letter (or his Secretary) to Tsitsianov :

The letter of "Javad Khan" to "Tsitsianov" (1218.AH) (1182 AP / 1803 A.D)
At this time, the letter that you sent has been received. And you wrote:" In the era of Tamar, the land of Dedeh-faal of Ganja was subordinate to Georgia. No one has ever heard of such words. But know that our ancestors like Abbas Qoli Khan and others were rulers of Georgia and if you do not believe this, then question the old folks of Georgia with regards to the Abbas Qoli Khan and ask them if he was the ruler or not.[As a sign of this proof,] currently his mosque and market place are in Georgia. And the kingly clothes bestowed upon his servants as well as his letters/documents are with the people of Georgia. From the days of the Erekli Khan's father and our father, the borders between Ganja and Georgia were clearly defined. And we do not need to mention these facts, because if we say that our ancestors were the sovereigns of Georgia, no one on your side will believe it and they will not bestow Georgia upon us.

You also wrote, six years ago, I gave away the fort of Ganja to the ruler of Russia. This is true, at that time, your ruler wrote letters to all the provinces of Iran and also to us and we accepted the letter and gave the fort. Whenever the king[of Russia] wrote us a decree with regards to Ganja, then make that decree clear so that we may observe that decree and apply it. And you wrote to us “We were a client of Georgia”, then know it that right now the letter of your king [the king of Russia] is in our hands and in that letter, you can see that our title was Beglarbegi of Ganja and not a client of Georgia and thus your words are in contradiction with your [own] decree. And the other thing that when we get under the rule of the Russian king, the Iranian king were to Khorasan and we could not reach him, and due to that [fact] the king of Russia is also great, we accepted his obedience, but now, thanks to god, the Iranian king is near and his servant general has come to us and also his army, and more of them will come [to help us].

You also wrote that “Georgia belongs to the king [of Russia] and you [i.e. Javad Khan] obtain fees from the merchants”. This is correct, but the first day that you entered Georgia, we wrote to you and sent men and made it clear that the Nasib is our servant and he has become rebellious and he had seized the belongings of the merchants under our command and we thought that you were the servant of the [Russian] king and you would do justice to the Court and take back the belongings of our merchants and hand us Nasib and other Shamss al-dinlu's who have become rebellious to us, but you did nothing. And you can see yourself – and don't relay on the saying of the others – that the goods that we took, was from the Shamkori servants that are from Ganja and not from the Georgians.

And whenever you seek for a battle, know that we are ready for battle and if you boast about your cannon and guns, thanks to the mercy God, our cannon and guns is no less than yours. And if your cannons are one gaz know that our cannons are three/four gazs and victory is [only] due to God. And how do you know if you are braver than the Qizilbash, you have seen yourself fighting but have not seen the fighting of the Qizilbash. And you have written that to us to be ready for battle. From the time that you came to Shamss al-Dinlu and brought our people under your command, we have been preparing and we are ready for the day of battle if you want to fight. And when you wrote:" If you do not accept our words in this letter then misfortune will strike”, we know such thoughts have brought you here. Fate has brought you from Saint Petersburg to that misfortune here. With the will of God, the highest, may your misfortune become apparent.

See alsoEdit

Palace of Ganja Khans


  1. ^ a b Akopyan, Alexander V (Autumn 2008). "Ganja Coins of Georgian Types, AH 1200–1205" (PDF). Journal of the Oriental Numismatic Society. 197 (Supplement: Caucasian Numismatics, Papers on the Coinage of Kartl-Kakheti (Eastern Georgia), 1744–1801): 47–52. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-12-11.
  2. ^ Bournoutian, George A. (1992). The Khanate of Erevan Under Qajar Rule: 1795-1828. Mazda Publishers. p. 8. ISBN 978-0-93921-4-181. Mohammad Hosein Khan of Erevan, Kalb 'Ali Khan of Nakhichevan, and Javad Khan of Ganje, all Qajars (...)
  3. ^ Rezvani, Babak (2014). Conflict and Peace in Central Eurasia: Towards Explanations and Understandings. BRILL. p. 137. ISBN 978-9-00427-6-369. Javad Khan, the main Shi'ite Muslim political figure at the Russo-Iranian front was a member of the Qajar tribe, as were the Iranian ruling dynasty.
  4. ^ a b Swietochowski, Tadeusz (1995). Russia and Azerbaijan: A Borderland in Transition. Columbia University Press. p. 4. ISBN 0-231-07068-3.
Preceded by
Khan of Ganja
Succeeded by
Russian conquest