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For the village in Iran, see Bajalan, Iran.

The Bajalan people, also called Bazhalan, Bajarwan and Bajlan, are a Kurdish tribe in Iraqi Kurdistan. However, they also have sub-groups in Turkey, Iran and Armenia. Many of the Bajalan people in Armenia moved to Turkey.


The name Bajalan means home of the falcons,[1] and is the name of the founder of the tribe and family, Abdal Bey Bajalan.[2] The Bajalans arrived in the city of Mosul in 1630 AD, numbering some 4,000 people.[3] The Bajalans were split into two main groups, the urbane Bajalans who held military and administrative posts remained in Mosul, while the more tribal elements were given hereditary land holdings in Zohab[disambiguation needed] by imperial decree of Ottoman Sultan Murad IV[4] near Khanaqin. Zohab was the site of the 17 May 1739 Treaty of Zohab between Sultan Murad IV of Turkey and Shah Safi of Persia.[5] This move by the Sultan displaced the Kalhor tribe. The Bajalans have eight branches. One of the main branches of the Bajalan was identified by George Nathaniel Curzon as the Sagwands.[6] Under Ottoman rule, they were lightly taxed, partly because they furnished a body of 1,200 horsemen to the crown.[7] The Bajalan Pass was noted by foreign travelers for its monasteries, bridges, castles and aqueducts.[8] James Silk Buckingham named Zohab[disambiguation needed] as the seat of the Bajalan Pashas.[9] David McDowall described the Bajalans as formidable fighters[10] and George Bournoutian stated that their sheer looks brought on terror to the enemy in their chain mail.[11] Mehrdad Izady stated that the Bajalan speak a Gorani dialect. However, the Bajalani dialect has been replaced amongst many Bajalans by the use of Sorani Kurdish. The Erzurum Commission of 1843-48, of which Uthman Bajalan Pasha was a member, decided that the Bajalan would remain Ottoman citizens and that they would move their headquarters to Khanaqin from Zohab.[12]

Notable Bajalans[edit]

  • Mustafa Pasha, the son of Uthman Pasha, entered the Ottoman civil service and took up the post of kaymakam (prefect) of Al 'Aziziyah and then Badrah.[13] Mustafa was the head of the Bajalan at turn of the 20th century and was described by civil administration of Mesopotamia as one of the most important political factors in the region. Major E. B. Soane describes him a man with a harsh and determined character; he also notes that Mustafa was a Kurd to the backbone and was of pure descent. It is also documented that Mustafa Pasha Bajlan was always anti-Turk and was at various times been in rebellion. Major E. B. Soane comments that 'Mustafa has a great reputation for dashing bravery in tribal fighting' and that he would be 'an energetic and enthusiastic instrument in any scheme for the autonomy of Kurdistan'.[14] The Ottoman government and Mustafa had been in constant friction with each other and as a result he had spent many years in exile in Constantinople before the Second Constitutional Era. His contact and relationships with British officials alarmed the Turks and Arabs to the extent that he was called to Baghdad and placed under house arrest in 1912.[15] He married Asma Khanum, the daughter of the last Baban prince Ahmed Pasha.
  • Ahmad Pasha Bajalan, a commander of the Ottoman Army who moved against and fought Nadir Shah of Persia in Pataq and Zohab in January 1733. Nadir Shah subsequently expelled a part of Bajalan's tribe to Khurramabad.[16]
  • Rashid Bajalan, founding member of the first Kurdish political party in Iraq, Hiwa. Later, he was appointed a member of the central committee of the KDP on August 16, 1946 in Baghdad.[17]


  1. ^ Extremist Shiites: the Ghulat sects, Matti Moosa
  2. ^ Notes on the tribes of Southern Kurdistan, Major E. B. Soane
  3. ^ Medieval Iran and its neighbours, Volume 1, Vladimir Minorsky
  4. ^ Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, Volume 11
  5. ^ The United Nations, Iran, and Iraq: how peacemaking changed, Cameron R. Hume
  6. ^ Persia and the Persian question, Volume 2, George Nathaniel Curzon of Kedleston (Marquess)
  7. ^ Historical gazetteer of Iran, Volume 3, Ludwig W. Adamec
  8. ^ Island of salvation, Włodzimierz Odojewski
  9. ^ Travels in Assyria, Media, and Persia, Volume 1, James Silk Buckingham
  10. ^ The Kurds, Issue 4, David McDowall
  11. ^ History of the wars: (1721-1736), Abraham Erewantsʻi, George A. Bournoutian
  12. ^ Kurds, Turks, and Arabs: politics, travel, and research in north-eastern Iraq, 1919-1925, Cecil John Edmonds
  13. ^ Notes on the tribes of Southern Kurdistan, Major E. B. Soane
  14. ^ Notes on the tribes of Southern Kurdistan, Major E. B. Soane
  16. ^ Nadir Shah: a critical study based mainly upon contemporary sources, Laurence Lockhart
  17. ^ Mustafa Barzani and the Kurdish liberation movement 1931-1961, Masʻūd Bārzānī, Ahmed Ferhadi.


  • Syncretistic Religious Communities in the Near East, Krisztina Kehl-Bodrogi, Barbara Kellner-Heinkele, Anke Otter-Beaujean.
  • The Kurdish National Movement: Its Origins and Development, Wadie Jwaideh.
  • Encyclopædia Iranica, Volume 3, Ehsan Yar-Shater.
  • The Kurds: a Concise Handbook, Mehrdad R. Izady.
  • Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, Volume 11, University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies.
  • Records of Iraq, 1914–1966, Volume 1, Alan de Lacy Rush, Jane Priestland.

External links[edit]