Shaki Khanate

The Shaki Khanate (Persian: خانات شکّی, also spelled as Sheki Khanate, Shekin Khanate, Shakki Khanate) was one of the most powerful[4] of the Caucasian Khanates established in Afsharid Iran, on the northern[5] territories of modern Azerbaijan, between 1743 and 1819 with its capital in the town of Shaki.[6]

Khanate of Shaki
خانات شکّی
شکی خانلیغی
Location of Shaki Khanate
Under Iranian suzerainty[1]
Common languagesPersian (official),[2] Azerbaijani, Lezgian[3]
Historical eraZand and Qajar Persian dynasties
• Establishment
• Abolished within Russian Empire
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Safavid Empire
Russian Empire
Nukha uezd
Entrance to the Palace of Shaki khans


The khanate was founded in 1743 as a result of revolt led by Haji Chalabi Khan against Safavid Empire.[7] It was considered one of the strongest feudal states in Caucasus. The capital of the khanate Shaki, the most populated settlement in the state, was destroyed by floods in 1772, subsequently leading to suburbanization of the town and re-population of the countryside.[8] Starting from the end of the 18th century, Shaki khans sought military assistance from the Russian Empire due to growing tensions with Qajars. As Agha Muhammad Khan re-established Iranian suzerainty over all former Safavid and Afsharid dependencies in the Caucasus around the time of his re-conquest of Georgia, so was the territory of the khanate added as well.

In 1805, Mustafa Salim Khan signed a treaty with Alexander I of Russia effectively making Shaki Khanate Russian vassal state which was later only affirmed by the Russo-Persian Treaty of Gulistan in 1813.[8] In 1819, Shaki Khanate was officially abolished and transformed into a Russian province subordinate to the Russian military administration. In 1840, it was renamed to Shaki Uyezd of Caspian Oblast. In 1846, the province was incorporated into Shemakha Governorate, in 1859 into Baku and in 1868 into Elisabethpol Governorate.[7][8] After the establishment of Azerbaijan Democratic Republic in May 1918, Shaki was part of Ganja province and with the establishment of Soviet rule in Azerbaijan, Shaki was incorporated into Azerbaijan SSR on May 5, 1920.[8][9]


The khanate was subdivided into six mahals, i.e. districts (Shaki, Xaçmaz, Padar, Ağdaş, Alpaut and Göynük) headed by khan's naibs.[10] There were two vassals of the khan - Qutqashen Sultanate and Arash Sultanate, both were eventually absorbed and converted to districts. The seat of the head of state was in the capital Shaki, in the Palace of Shaki Khans, which is one of the tourist attractions in present-day Azerbaijan. It was built circa 1761 by the grandson of Haji Chalabi, Huseyn Khan.[11] The palace of the Shaki khans is considered one of the important historical monuments in Azerbaijan.[12]


Agriculture was the basis of Shaki Khanate's economy. The khanate was known for silkworming culture, one that is still practiced today.[7] Located on the left bank of the river Kish, the town of Shaki was originally sited lower down the hill. However, Shaki was moved to its present location after a devastating mud flood in 1772. As the new location was near the village of Nukha, the city became also known as Nukha, until 1960 when it reverted to the name Shaki.


The population mainly consisted of ethnic Azerbaijanis, together with Lezgi, Avar, Armenian, Udi and Jewish minorities.[13]


See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Bournoutian, George A. (2016). The 1820 Russian Survey of the Khanate of Shirvan: A Primary Source on the Demography and Economy of an Iranian Province prior to its Annexation by Russia. Gibb Memorial Trust. p. xvii. ISBN 978-1909724808. Serious historians and geographers agree that after the fall of the Safavids, and especially from the mid-eighteenth century, the territory of the South Caucasus was composed of the khanates of Ganja, Kuba, Shirvan, Baku, Talesh, Sheki, Karabagh, Nakhichivan and Yerevan, all of which were under Iranian suzerainty.
  2. ^ Swietochowski, Tadeusz (2004). Russian Azerbaijan, 1905-1920: The Shaping of a National Identity in a Muslim Community. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 12. ISBN 978-0521522458. (...) and Persian continued to be the official language of the judiciary and the local administration [even after the abolishment of the khanates].
  4. ^ "...khanates of Sheki, Karabagh, and Kuba became the most powerful" Russian Azerbaijan, 1905–1920 - The Shaping of a National Identity in a Muslim Community, p. 17. Cambridge University Press.
  5. ^ "In the northern part of Azerbaijan the khanates of Sheki" Russian Azerbaijan, 1905–1920 - The Shaping of a National Identity in a Muslim Community, p.17 Cambridge University Press.
  6. ^ Swietochowski, Tadeusz (2004). Russian Azerbaijan, 1905-1920: The Shaping of a National Identity in a Muslim Community. United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press. p. 4. ISBN 0-521-52245-5. Retrieved 2011-01-25.
  7. ^ a b c "Большая советская энциклопедия. Шекинское ханство" [Great Soviet Encyclopedia. Shaki Khanate]. Retrieved 2011-01-25.
  8. ^ a b c d "Şəki Şəhərinin Tarixi" [History of Shaki (Executive Power)]. Retrieved 2011-01-25.
  9. ^ McLachlan, Keith Stanley (1994). The Boundaries of Modern Iran. UCL Press. p. 28. ISBN 978-1-85728-125-5.
  10. ^ "Shaki Khanate // Great Russian Encyclopedia". (in Russian). Retrieved 2021-05-22.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  11. ^ "Şəki Xan Sarayı" [Shaki Khan's Palace]. Archived from the original on 2010-09-02. Retrieved 2011-01-25.
  12. ^ The Middle East. Library Information and Research Service. 2001.
  13. ^ "History of the war and domination of the Russians in the Caucasus. Volume I. Book 2. SPb. 1871". Retrieved 2021-05-22.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)