Daud Khan Undiladze

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Daud-Khan Undiladze

Daud-Khan or Dāvūd b. Allāhverdī (Persian: داوود خان, Georgian: დაუდ-ხანი) was an Safavid Iranian military commander and politician of Georgian origin who served as governor (beglarbeg) of Ganja and Karabakh from 1627 to 1633.


Daud Khan was the son of Allahverdi Khan, a former Georgian ghulam ("military slave") from the Undiladze clan who rose through the highest ranks in the Saffavid administration under Shah Abbas I of Persia. Daud-Khan, unlike his father and older brother, Imam-Quli Khan, had closer ties with the country of his origin; he was married to Helene, the sister of the Georgian king Teimuraz I of Kakheti, and was on friendly terms with the Georgian warlord Giorgi Saakadze. Daud-Khan tried to mediate a conflict between Abbas I and the shah’s recalcitrant Georgian subjects. After Shah Safi succeeded upon the death of Abbas in 1629, the new shah’s mentor and yet another influential Georgian at the Saffavid court, Khosro-Mirza, succeeded in sidelining the rival Undiladze clan, and persuaded Safi into removing Daud-Khan from the majlis in 1630/31. In 1633, alarmed by the political repressions within the Iranian ruling élite, Daud fled to Georgia and joined his brother-in-law Teimuraz who had revolted from the Saffavid hegemony. The rebels started to attack the Persian garrisons in and near Georgia and launched several raids on Ganja of which Daud-Khan had been dispossessed after his defection to Georgia. Teimuraz refused to surrender Daud in exchange of the shah’s parole and allowed him a free passage to the Ottoman possessions. Since then, he disappears from the records. His brother and nephews were annihilated, and Daud’s sons castrated on the shah’s order, thus largely ending the career of this illustrious Iranian Georgian family.

Beyond his military and administrative career, Daud Khan commissioned several building projects and patronized Catholic missioners in Georgia and Ganja.


  • Floor, Willem M. (2008). Titles and Emoluments in Safavid Iran: A Third Manual of Safavid Administration, by Mirza Naqi Nasiri. Washington, DC: Mage Publishers. p. 259. ISBN 978-1933823232. 
  • Valerian N. Gabashvili. The Undiladze Feudal House in the Sixteenth to Seventeenth-Century Iran According to the Georgian Sources. Iranian Studies, Volume 40, Issue 1 March 2007, pp. 37–58.
  • Maeda, H. On the Ethno-Social Background of Four gholem Families from Georgia in Safavid Iran. Studia Iranica, Volume 32, Issue 2 2003, pp. 243–278.
Preceded by
Mohammad-Qoli Khan Qajar (1st term)
Governor of Karabakh-Ganja
Succeeded by
Mohammad-Qoli Khan Qajar (2nd term)