Qajars (tribe)

The Qajars (Azerbaijani: Qacarlar, Persian: ایل قاجار), also spelled Kadjars, Kajars, Kadzhars, Cadzhars, Cadjars, Ghajars, etc.) are a clan of the Bayat tribe of the Oghuz Turks who lived variously, with other tribes, in the area that is now Armenia, Azerbaijan and northwestern Iran.

Mohammad Khan Qajar, founder and the first king of the Qajar dynasty of Iran
Ahmad Shah Qajar, final shah (King) of the Qajar dynasty

With the end of the Safavid era, they had split into several factions.[1] These included the Ziyādoghlu (Ziādlu), associated with the area of Ganja and Yerevan, as well as the Qoyunlu (Qāvānlu), and Davālu (Devehlu) the latter two associated with the northern areas of contemporary Iran.[1]


The Qajars were one of the original Turkoman Qizilbash tribes that emerged and spread in Asia Minor around tenth and eleventh centuries.[2] They later supplied power to the Safavids since this dynasty's earliest days.[2] Numerous members of the Qajar tribe held prominent ranks in the Safavid state. In 1794, a Qajar chieftain, Agha Mohammed, a member of the Qoyunlu branch of the Qajars, founded the Qajar dynasty which replaced the Zand dynasty in Iran. He launched his campaign from his power base south of the Caspian Sea, capturing its capital Isfahan in 1785.[3] A year later, Tehran accepted Mohammed's authority.[3]

According to Olson et al., which was published in 1994 and specifically deals with the ethnography of the Russian Empire and Soviet Union, the Qajars were historically a Turkic tribe that lived in Armenia. They resettled in the region of Azerbaijan during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. They are considered to be a subgroup of the Azerbaijanis.[4] Olston et al. adds that in the 1980s the Qajar population exceeded 15,000 people, most of whom lived in Iran.[4]

A branch, attested only as ‘Kadzhar’ (i.e. ‘Qajar’ via Cyrillic transcription), lived in Russian Armenia in the 19th century and likely earlier. In 1873 they numbered 5,000.

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  1. ^ a b Atkin 1980, p. 9.
  2. ^ a b Fukasawa, Katsumi; Kaplan, Benjamin J.; Beaurepaire, Pierre-Yves (2017). Religious Interactions in Europe and the Mediterranean World: Coexistence and Dialogue from the 12th to the 20th Centuries. Oxon: Taylor & Francis. p. 280. ISBN 9781138743205.
  3. ^ a b Black, Jeremy (2012). War in the Eighteenth-Century World. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. p. 141. ISBN 978-0-230-37002-9.
  4. ^ a b Olson, James Stuart; Pappas, Lee Brigance, and Pappas, Nicholas Charles. (1994) An Ethnohistorical dictionary of the Russian and Soviet empires page 333


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