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Multicolored map
Baban Principality, ca. 1835
Drawing of bearded man in flowing clothing and hat
Omar Agha (officer for Mahmoud Pasha of Baban), 1820

The family of Baban (1649–1850) ruled a Kurdish principality which encompassed areas of present-day Iraqi Kurdistan and western Iran from the early 17th century until 1850. The Baban principality played an active role in Ottoman-Persian conflict. The founder of the princely Baban family is thought to be Ahmad Faqih or Faqi Ahmad from the district of Pijder.[1] The Babans claimed descent from a Frankish woman, Keghan, who was taken prisoner in a battle by the Ottomans. According to the Sharafnama the clan's first chief was Pir Badak Babe, who is believed to have lived around 1500.[2]

Baban princes retained some autonomy in return for providing security for the Ottoman Empire along the Iranian border. Sulaiman Beg was the first Baban prince to gain control of the province of Shahrizor and its capital, Kirkuk. He invaded the Safavid Iran, defeating forces from the principality of Ardalan in 1694. Ottoman Sultan Mustafa II assigned him the district of Baban, which included the town of Kirkuk.[3]

The city of Sulaimaniyah was also known as the capital of baban founded by Baban prince Mahmud Pasha in 1781.[4] Baban rulers encouraged cultural and literary activities in their domain. During the first half of the 19th century a school of poetry was established under Baban patronage, of which classical Kurdish poet Nali was the central figure.[5]

Baban princes aided Ottoman forces in Iranian wars from 1723–1746. From 1750 to 1847, Baban history was dominated by rivalries with other Kurdish principalities (such as Soran and Bohtan) and its opposition to centralization by the Ottomans and the Qajars.[6] The principality was destroyed during the mid-19th century Ottoman modernization period. The Baban revolt lasted for three years, but was defeated by a coalition of Ottoman forces and Kurdish tribes. Ahmed Pasha Baban, the last Baban ruler, was defeated near Koya in 1847 and the region of Shahrazur was annexed to the Ottoman Empire. The last Baban prince left Sulaimaniya in 1850, after fighting the Turks for the independence of southern Kurdistan.[7]


  • Khana Mohammad Pasha takes the city of Senna, capital of the Ardalan principality, in 1132 ( 1719 AD )[8] and killed the Persian governor Hasan Ali Khan.[9]
  • Suliman Baba traveled to Constantinople in 1678, gaining Ottoman recognition of the family's hereditary rights.[10]
  • Baban princes helped Ottoman forces in the Iranian wars of 1723–1746.[11]
  • Abdulrahman Pasha becomes mirimiran prince of Kurdish princes in 1788.[12]
  • Abdurrahman Pasha marches on Ottoman Pasha of Baghdad Suleyman in June 1810 with 10,000 men.[13]


  1. Faqi Ahmad, 1649–1670
  2. Sulaiman Baba, 1670–1703
  3. Khana Mohammad Pasha, 1721–1731
  4. Nawaub Khalid Pasha, 1732–1742
  5. Nawaub Salim Pasha, 1742–1754
  6. Nawaub Sulaiman Pasha, 1754–1765
  7. Muhammad Pasha, 1765–1775
  8. Abdolla Pasha, 1775–1777
  9. Ahmad Pasha, 1777–1780
  10. Mahmoud Pasha, 1780–1782
  11. Ibrahim Pasha, 1782–1803
  12. Abdurrahman Pasha, 1803–1813
  13. Mahmoud Pasha, 1813–1834
  14. Sulaiman Pasha, 1834–1838
  15. Ahmad Pasha, 1838–1847
  16. Abdollah Pasha, 1847–1850

Notable descendants[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ W. Behn, Baban, Encyclopaedia Iranica
  2. ^ M. Th. Houtsma, A.J. Wensinck, H.A.R. Gibb, W. Heffening and E. Levi-Provencal, First encyclopaedia of Islam (1993), Vol.VII, p.538, BRILL Publishers
  3. ^ Gábor Ágoston, Bruce Alan Masters (2009), Encyclopedia of the Ottoman Empire, p.70, Infobase Publishing, ISBN 9781438110257
  4. ^ W. Behn, Baban, Encyclopaedia Iranica
  5. ^ Farhad Shakely, The Kurdish Qasida in Stefan Sperl, P. M. Kurpershoek, C. Shackle (1996), The Poetry of Ad-Dindān: A Bedouin Bard in Southern Najd, p.337, BRILL
  6. ^ W. Behn, Baban, Encyclopaedia Iranica
  7. ^ Ely Banister Soane (2007), To Mesopotamia and Kurdistan in Disguise, p.371, Cosimo, Inc.
  8. ^ International Association of Academies (1934), The encyclopaedia of Islām: a dictionary of the geography, ethnography and biography of the Muhammadan peoples, p.227, E. J. Brill ltd.
  9. ^ Peter Avery, William Bayne Fisher, Gavin Hambly, Charles Melville (1991), The Cambridge history of Iran: From Nadir Shah to the Islamic Republic, p.138, Cambridge University Press
  10. ^ Claudius James Rich (1836), Narrative of a residence in Koordistan, p.81, J. Duncan
  11. ^ H. J. Kissling, N. Barbour, Bertold Spuler, J. S. Trimingham, F. R. C. Bagley, H. Braun, H. Hartel (1997), The Last Great Muslim Empires, p.82, BRILL
  12. ^ Tom Nieuwenhuis (1982), Politics and society in early modern Iraq: Mamluk Pashas tribal Shayks and local rule between 1802 and ', p.42, Springer
  13. ^ Virginia H. Aksan (2007), Ottoman wars 1700-1870, an empire besieged, p.286, Pearson Education
  14. ^ Ahmad Mukhtar Baban


  • Narrative of a residence in Koordistan, Claudius James Rich, James Duncan, Paternoster Row, 1836.
  • The Sharafnama, Sharaf Khān Bidlīsī, 1597.
  • The Emirate of Baban between the grinding stones of the Persians and Turks, Nawshirwan Mustafa, Zargata, 1998.
  • The caravan of death, Karl Friedrich May, Seabury Press, 1979.
  • First encyclopaedia of Islam: 1913-1936, M. Th Houtsma, BRILL, 1993.
  • Encyclopedia of the Ottoman Empire, Gábor Ágoston, Bruce Alan Masters, Infobase Publishing, 2009.
  • A modern history of the Kurds, David McDowall, I.B.Tauris, 2000.
  • Politics of Alliance and Rivalry on the Ottoman-Iranian Frontier: The Babans (1500-1851). Metin Atmaca, Self-publishing, Freiburg im Breisgau 2013.

External links[edit]