Kura Khanate

Kura Khanate (Russian: Кюринское ханство, Lezgian: Куьредин шарвал) or Kürin Khanate[1] was a state entity that existed from 1812 to 1864 in southern Dagestan. The khanate was ruled by a branch of ruling family of Gazikumukh Khanate.

Kura Khanate
Куьредин шарвал (Lezgian)
Location of Kura Khanate
Sunni Islam
• Established
• Disestablished
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Gazikumukh Khanate
Russian Empire
Today part ofRussia


The Kura Khanate was located mainly in the historical and geographical region of Kura. It was located in nowadays Agulsky, Kurakhsky and Suleiman-Stalsky districts of Dagestan, Russia.[2] In the south, the borders of the Kura Khanate extended to Quba Khanate along the direction of the Samur River. In the southwest, the khanate bordered on the top of the Samur ridge with the Akhty-para, Alty-para free societies, as well as the Rutul Federation. In the west and north, the Kura Khanate bordered on Gazikumukh, in the northeast with the Principality of Tabasaran. In the east, the khanate bordered on the Derbent Khanate.


Since 1791, the Lezgi people of Kura plain lived under Gazikumukh Khanate whose ruler Surkhay Khan II annexed the region. Surkhan then appointed his brother Sheikh Mardan as lord of the region. At the end of 1811, during Russo-Persian War of 1804–1813, Surkhay Khan allied to Sheikh Ali Khan, the former ruler of Quba and Derbent and launched an invasion on Quba (which was taken by Russians in 1806). A Russian detachment marched against Sheikh Ali Khan and Nuhbek, the son of Surkhay Khan, in Kurakh. On December 15, 1811, Russian troops stormed Kurakh and Surkhai Khan fled to Gazikumukh. The expulsion of Surkhay Khan was perceived in the Kura as liberation. Aslan bek, son of Sheikh Mardan and the implacable enemy of his uncle Surkhay Khan, was entrusted with administration in Kura under special conditions.

After the departure of the Russian troops from the Kura, Surkhai Khan marched on the town to regain it. However, a Russian detachment led by Major General Nikolai Khotuntsov came to their aid. Surkhai Khan suffered heavy losses and was forced to retreat. In 1812, Tsar government officially acknowledged Kura Khanate to serve as a buffer zone between Russian Empire and Gazikumukh. According to the treaty signed on January 23, 1812, a garrison of the Russian troops from two battalions of infantry and hundreds of Cossacks was to be stationed in Kurakh. The Khan pledged to try by all means to bring neighboring Dagestani peoples into submission to Russia.


Khanate's first ruler was Aslan bek, nephew of Surkhay Khan.[3] He was immediately promoted to major general rank.[4] He also became ruler of Gazikumukh Khanate on July 12, 1820, when his uncle was defeated near the village of Khosrekh. On June 14, Russian troops entered and Aslan bek's rule was reinforced. After the death of Aslan-khan in 1836, the Caucasian administration handed over the reins of government in Gazikumukh to his son Muhammad Mirza khan, however the rule in Kura was given to Harun bek, the nephew of Aslan-khan, the son of his brother Tahir-bek.

The khanate changed sides after uprising of Imam Shamil. In 1842, when the forces of Imam Shamil approached Gazikumukh, Harun bek went over to the side of the imam, surrendering to him the fortress with a garrison and ammunition. Harun bek's brother al-Hajj Yahya was one of Shamil's followers.[5] Harun bek himself was sent back by Shamil to Kurakh, and his son Abbas-bek was taken as hostage. However soon enough the Russian detachment under the command of Colonel Zalivkin arrested Harun bek and sent him to Tbilisi. His brother Yusuf-bek was appointed as the Khan. Harun bek returned to rule in 1847 but his reign lasted only a year. Then, from 1848 until the very end of the existence of the khanate in 1864 the rule reverted to Yusuf bek. The last khan was distinguished by greed, cruelty, disdain for his subjects, which turned the people of the khanate against themselves.[6] Russian authorities then disestablished the khanate, its lands became part of Kyurinsky okrug of Dagestan Oblast.[7]


The population of the khanate consisted mainly of Lezgins and Aghuls. The entire population adhered to Sunni Islam. The population of the khanate was estimated at 5,000 households. According to Platon Zubov there were lesser than 10,000 people and they were considered among the best warriors in Dagestan.[8]


  1. Aslan Khan (1812–1835)
  2. Nutsal Khan (1835–1836)
  3. Muhammad Mirza Khan(1836–1838)
  4. Harun bek (1838–1842; 1847–1848)
  5. Yusuf bek (1842–1847; 1848–1864)


  1. ^ "Kürin K̲h̲ānate". Encyclopaedia of Islam, Second Edition. April 24, 2012.
  2. ^ Казиев, Ш. М.; Карпеев, Игорь Вячеславович (2003). Повседневная жизнь горцев Северного Кавказа в XIX веке (in Russian). Молодая гвардия. p. 65. ISBN 978-5-235-02585-1.
  3. ^ Khashaev, Kh M. (1961). Общественный строй Дагестана в XIX веке (in Russian). Изд-во Академии наук СССР. p. 40.
  4. ^ "Деятельность Аслан-бека Кюринского в контексте политической истории России на Кавказе (конец XVIII начало XIX века)" [The Activity of Aslan Bek Kyurinsky in The Context Of The Russian Political History In The Caucasus (Late 18th–19th Centuries)]. cyberleninka.ru (in Russian). Retrieved June 11, 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  5. ^ Gammer, Moshe (November 5, 2013). Muslim Resistance to the Tsar: Shamil and the Conquest of Chechnia and Daghestan. Routledge. p. 125. ISBN 978-1-135-30898-8.
  6. ^ "ЮСУФ БЕК, ХАН КЮРИНСКИЙ". gazavat.ru. Retrieved June 11, 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  7. ^ Miklukho-Maklai͡a, Institut ėtnografii imeni N. N. (1962). Trudy: Novai͡a serii͡a (in Russian). p. 72.
  8. ^ Zubov, Platon (1834–1835). Kura Oblast. A picture of the Caucasian region belonging to Russia and adjacent lands in historical, statistical, ethnographic, financial and trade relations (in Russian). Vol. 3. Saint Petersburg.