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Early 8th century–1847
Yazidism, Sunni Islam (from 14th century)
• 1821-1847
Bedir Khan Beg (last)
• Established
Early 8th century
• Disestablished
Succeeded by
Ottoman Empire
Today part ofTurkey, Al-Hasakah Governorate, Iraq

Bohtan (also Buhtan, Bokhti) was a medieval Kurdish principality in the Ottoman Empire centered on the town of Jazirah ibn 'Omar (modern Cizre also known as Cizîra Botan (Jazira Botan) in southeastern Anatolia. The official religion of this principality was Yezidism in 14th century, although the rulers eventually converted to Islam, Bohtan still constituted the third major Yezidi enclave after Shekhan and Sinjar until 19th century.[1][2]


In the early 8th century, Bukhtis and Bajnawi Kurds ruled the area surrounding Sinjar and Jazira mountains known under name Zozan by Arab geographers. Yaqoot Hamawi describes their residing area to be from Ikhlat to Salmas which included many strongholds belonging to Bokhtis; he also mentioned town of Jardhakil as their capital. The principality ruled over an area extending from Diyarbakir to Van and from Rawanduz to Sinjar at its peak.[3] The first governors of Bohtan, were from the Azizan family, who originally followed Yezidism[4][5] later converted to Sunni Islam[5] and were related to the Governors of the Principality of Bitlis.[6] Following their role in the Ottoman defeat of the Safavids in the Battle of Çaldiran in 1514,[6] Bohtan was granted the status of a Hükümet, and it became a hereditary Kurdish principality within the Ottoman Empire.[7]

An important governor of the Bohtan was Bedir Khan Bey, who succeeded Mir Seyfeddin.[8] Bedir Khan Bey was Mîr of the principality between 1821 and 1847.[3] He reformed the military forces in establishing an elite force consistent with members of the several tribes within the emirate[9] [10]which brought security into Bohtan.[11] According to European diplomats in the region, he even tested if the regional chief was observant enough.[11] He would try to raid a tribe by night, and if he succeeded he would punish the tribal chief in whose territory the robbery was successful.[11] He then returned what he had robbed the night before.[11] The security standard in Bohtan was such, that it encouraged the population of neighboring provinces to move into the territory under Bedir Khans control.[12] This led to the opposition by the Ottoman Vali of Mosul, who demanded an end to the emigration of the habitants from the Mosul province to Bohtan.[12] Following, Bedir Khan expelled 2000 immigrants who settled into Bohtan during the Governorship of Mehmet Pasha in Mosul,[12] but they returned after four years.[12] The renewed emigration lead the Vali of Mosul Mehmet Şerif Pasha to file a report against Bedir Khan, who in 1847 had to agree to bring an end to the immigration of foreigners in Bohtan.[12] Bedir Khan Bey resigned after an unsuccessful uprising against the Ottoman Empire and following, Bohtan lost its independence.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ SHIELDS, SARAH (August 2001). "NELIDA FUCCARO, The Other Kurds: Yazidis in Colonial Iraq, Library of Modern Middle East Studies, vol. 14 (London: I. B. Tauris, 1999). Pp. 246. $55 cloth". International Journal of Middle East Studies. 33 (3): 463–465. doi:10.1017/s0020743801293064. ISSN 0020-7438. S2CID 161122658.
  2. ^ Allison), Christine Robins (nee. "The Yezidis". {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  3. ^ a b c Jongerden, Joost (2012). Social Relations in Ottoman Diyarbekir, 1870-1915. Brill. p. 60. ISBN 9789004225183.
  4. ^ Jwaideh, Wadie (2006-06-19). The Kurdish National Movement: Its Origins and Development. Syracuse University Press. ISBN 978-0-8156-3093-7.
  5. ^ a b Aktürk, Ahmet Serdar (2018). "Family, Empire, and Nation: Kurdish Bedirkhanis and the Politics of Origins in a Changing Era". Journal of Global South Studies. 35 (2): 393. doi:10.1353/gss.2018.0032. ISSN 2476-1419. S2CID 158487762 – via Project MUSE.
  6. ^ a b Winter, Stefan (2006). "The other Nahdah: The Bedirxans, the Millîs and the tribal roots of Kurdish nationalism in Syria". Oriente Moderno. 25 (86) (3): 461–474. doi:10.1163/22138617-08603003. ISSN 0030-5472. JSTOR 25818086 – via JSTOR.
  7. ^ Henning, Barbara (2018). Narratives of the History of the Ottoman-Kurdish Bedirhani Family in Imperial and Post-Imperial Contexts: Continuities and Changes. University of Bamberg Press. p. 94. ISBN 978-3863095512.
  8. ^ Henning, Barbara (2018),p. 95
  9. ^ van Bruinessen, Martin. Agha, Sheik and State (PDF). p. 179.
  10. ^ Bruinessen, Martin van (1992). Agha, Shaikh and State: The Social and Political Structures of Kurdistan. Bloomsbury Academic. p. 179. ISBN 978-1-85649-018-4.
  11. ^ a b c d Gökçe, Hasan (1997). Kieser, Hans-Lukas (ed.), p. 80
  12. ^ a b c d e Gökçe, Hasan (1997). Kieser, Hans-Lukas (ed.). Kurdistan et l'Europe (in French). Chronos. p. 81. ISBN 978-3-905312-32-4.

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