Emirate of Tbilisi
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The Emirs of Tbilisi (Georgian: თბილისის საამირო, Arabic: إمارة تبليسي Imarāt Tiflisi) ruled over the parts of today’s eastern Georgia from their base in the city of Tbilisi, from 736 to 1080 (nominally to 1122). Established by the Arabs during their invasions of Georgian lands, the emirate was an important outpost of the Muslim rule in the Caucasus until recaptured by the Georgians under King David IV in 1122. Since then, the city has been the capital of Georgia to this day.
The Arabs first appeared in Georgia, namely in Kartli (Iberia) in 645. It was not, however, until 735, when they succeeded in establishing their firm control over a large portion of the country. In that year, Marwan II took hold of Tbilisi and much of the neighbouring lands and installed there an Arab emir, who was to be confirmed by the Caliph of Baghdad or, occasionally, by the ostikan of Armīniya.
During the Arab period, Tbilisi (al-Tefelis) grew into a center of trade between the Islamic world and northern Europe. Beyond that, it functioned as a key Arab outpost and a buffer province facing the Byzantine and Khazar dominions. Over time, Tbilisi became largely Muslim, but the Islamic influences were strictly confined to the city itself, while the environs remained largely Christian.
Tbilisi was a large city with a strong double wall pierced by three gates. It lay on both banks of the Kura River, and the two parts were connected by a bridge of boats. The contemporary geographers especially mention its thermal springs, which supplied the baths with constant hot waters. On the river were water-mills. The houses were primarily built, to the surprise of contemporary Arab travelers, of pine wood. In the first half of the ninth century, Tbilisi is said to have been the second largest, after Derbend, a city in the Caucasus, with its at least 50,000 inhabitants and thriving commerce.
As the Caliphate weakened after the destruction of Baghdad in 813, the Abbasid power was much troubled by the secessionist tendencies among peripheral rulers, those of Tbilisi not excluded. At the same time, the emirate became a target of the resurgent Georgian Bagrationi dynasty who were expanding their territory from Tao-Klarjeti across Georgian lands. The Emirate of Tbilisi grew in relative strength under Ishaq ibn Isma'il (833-853), who was powerful enough to quell the energies of the Georgian princes and to contend the Abbasid authority in the region. He withheld his annual payment of tribute to Baghdad, and declared his independence from the Caliph. To suppress the rebellion, Caliph al-Mutawakkil dispatched, in 853, a punitive expedition led by Bugha al-Kabir (also known as Bugha the Turk) who burned Tbilisi to the ground and had Is’hak decapitated, terminating the city’s chances to become the center of an independent Islamic state in the Caucasus. The Abbasids chose not to rebuild the city extensively, and as a result the Muslim prestige and authority in the region began to wane.
Beginning in the 1020s, the Georgian kings pursued contradictive but generally expansionist policy against the emirs of Tbilisi, this latter city coming sporadically under Georgian control. The territories of the emirate shrank to Tbilisi and its immediate environs. However, the Seljuk invasions of the 1070s-1080s thwarted the Georgian advances and deferred the Bagratid plans for nearly a half of a century. The last line of emirs of Tbilisi went back, presumably, to circa 1080, and the city’s government was run thereafter by the merchant oligarchy known to Georgian annals as tbileli berebi, that is, the elders of Tbilisi. Georgian King David IV’s victories over the Seljuk Turks inflicted a final blow to Islamic Tbilisi, and a Georgian army triumphantly entered the city in 1122, ending four hundred years of Muslim rule.
The office of emir (amira, ამირა) — now an appointed Georgian royal official — survived in Tbilisi, as well as other big cities of Georgia, into the 18th century, being substituted by the office of mouravi.
Shuabid Emirs of Tbilisi 
- Isma'il b. Shuab (the first known emir, r. until 813)
- Mohammed b. Atab (813-829)
- Ali b. Shuab (829-833)
- Ishaq b. Isma'il b. Shuab (833-853)
Shaybanid Emirs of Tbilisi 
- Mohammed b. Khalil (853-870)
- Isa b. ash-Sheikh ash-Shayban (870-876)
- Ibrahim (876-878)
- Gabuloc (878-880)
Jaffarid Emirs of Tbilisi 
- Jaffar I b. Ali (880-914)
- Mansur b. Jaffar (914-952)
- Jaffar II b. Mansur (952-981)
- Ali b. Jaffar (981-1032)
- Jaffar III b. Ali (1032–1046)
- Mansur b. Jaffar (1046–1054)
- Abu’l-Haija b. Jaffar (1054–1062) (the last known emir)
- Fadlun of Ganja (1068-1080, appointed by Alp Arslan)
According to Georgian sources between 1062 and 1068 and again between 1080 and 1122 council of elders rule Emirate of Tbilisi.
- Allen, WED (1932), A History of the Georgian People, K. Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co,
- Minorsky, V., Tiflis in Encyclopaedia of Islam
- Suny RG (1994), The Making of the Georgian Nation (2nd Edition), Bloomington and Indianapolis, ISBN 0-253-35579-6