Mehdigulu Khan Javanshir

Mehdigulu Khan Javanshir (Persian: مهدیقلی خان جوانشیر‎, romanizedMehdiqoli Xān Javānšir, Azerbaijani: Mehdiqulu xan Cavanşir; 1763 or 1772–1845) was the last khan of the Karabakh Khanate, functioning as its head from 1806 up to his flight in 1822. His only known issue was Khurshidbanu Natavan - famous Azerbaijani poetess.

Mehdigulu Khan Javanshir
Khan of Karabakh
Reign13 September 1806 - 1822, 1826
PredecessorIbrahim Khalil Khan
Born1763 or 1772
Died14 May 1845
Agdam, Karabakh Khanate
Wars and battlesRusso-Persian War (1804–1813)
Noble familyJavanshir clan
FatherIbrahim Khalil Khan
MotherKhurshid Begum

Early lifeEdit

Mehdigulu Khan was born to Ibrahim Khalil, the second Khan of Karabakh,[1] and Khurshid Begum, daughter of Javad Khan and a granddaughter of Shahverdi Khan of Ganja in 1763. Although according to a report written by Tsitsianov on November 1805 he was 33 at time of writing - hence, possibly born c. 1772.[2] He lost half of his nose during fight against Qajars in his youth.[3]

Letter from Fath-Ali Shah Qajar to Mehdigulu Khan. In the letter, Mehdigulu Khan Javanshir is referred as the Beylerbeyi of the Karabakh province

Career under Ibrahim Khalil KhanEdit

He was sent together with his half-brother Mammad Hasan agha Javanshir in pursuit of his cousin Muhammad bey (son of Mehrali bey) who seized rulership of Karabakh during chaos ensued Agha Muhammad Khan's death in 1797.[4] In July 1805, he was promoted to major-general by the order of Alexander I,[2] after an agreement between his father and the Russians which stipulated that Russia would recognize him as the ruler (khan) of the khanate, and the confirmation that his son, Mehdigulu, would succeed his father.[1] He was sent by his father to join Tsitsianov's march on Baku Khanate same year. However, he was sent back to Karabakh upon death of Mammad Hasan on 19 November 1805 as new heir.

Banner with Russian insignia that was awarded to Mehdigulu Khan on order of Foreign Minister of the Russian Empire Andreas Eberhard von Budberg on 7 January, 1807 in name of emperor Alexander I of Russia.


After the murder of his father (as well as the murder of one of his wives, his daughter, and his youngest son) in 1806,[1] Mehdigulu Khan was appointed as the Khan of Karabakh by General Ivan Gudovich.[1] His reign started on 13 September 1806 officially with khan travelling to Tbilisi on 11 November, swearing allegiance to Alexander I in presence of Ivan Gudovich. Mehdigulu received royal insignia from Gudovich on the orders of Andreas Eberhard von Budberg on 7 January 1807.[2]

On 21 November 1822, fearing Russia's punishment for the overtures he had made to the Iranian government, he escaped to Iran,[1] passing via Erivan, Nakhchivan and Sharur. He was given 6000 tomans of pension and received income from Gargar province. The Khanate was subsequently abolished and transformed into a province of the Russian Empire.

However, later on 8 June 1827, Mehdigulu switched his alliance back to Russia thanks to efforts of Ivane Abkhazi and Mirza Adigozal bey. On 7 July 1827 Khan received an annual grant of 4 thousand chervonets and the right to levy taxes from the families who had followed him from Iran by imperial order. He lived near Shahbulag where he met Spanish general Juan van Halen sometime.[3] He died of illness on 14 May 1845 and interred in royal cemetery of Aghdam.



According to Juan van Halen, he maintained an harem of 23 women. His 4 principal wives were:

  1. Khankhanum agha — daughter of Mehrali bey Javanshir
  2. Saray khanum — daughter of Ahmed Khan of Qarachor tribe
  3. Mahisharaf khanum — daughter of Jafarqoli Khan Donboli, widow of Mammad Hasan agha Javanshir
  4. Badir Jahan Begüm (1802-1861) — daughter of Ughurlu Khan of Ganja Khanate (son of Javad Khan)


  1. ^ a b c d e Bournoutian 1997, pp. 71-73.
  2. ^ a b c d Ismayilov, Eldar. "The Khans of Karabakh: The Elder Line by Generations". The Caucasus & Globalization: 129–130.
  3. ^ a b Van Halen, Juan (1827). Narrative of Don Juan Van Halen ́s imprisonment in the Dungeons of the Inquisition at Madrid, ... H. Colburn. p. 330.
  4. ^ Qarabaghi, Jamal Javanshir; Qarābāghī, Jamāl Javānshīr; Bournoutian, George A. (1994). A History of Qarabagh: An Annotated Translation of Mirza Jamal Javanshir Qarabaghi's Tarikh-e Qarabagh. Mazda Publishers. p. 104. ISBN 978-1-56859-011-0.