Ganja Khanate

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Ganja Khanate

Capital Ganja
Languages Azerbaijani (primary), Persian, Armenian
Religion Islam
Government Khanate
 -  Established 1747
 -  Disestablished 1805
Coin of Ganja khanate, that reads "Minted in Ganja (Zarb Ganja), Ya Karim"
Ganja khanate gold jewelery (Azerbaijan State Museum of History)

The Ganja khanate (Azerbaijani: Gəncə xanlığı) was a semi-independent Azerbaijani principality[1][2][3][4][5][6][7][8][9][10][11][12][13][14] that existed in the territory of Azerbaijan in 1747-1805. The principality was ruled by the dynasty of Ziyadoglu (Ziyadkhanov) of Qajar extraction as governors under Safavids[15] and Nadir Shah. Shahverdi Solṭan Ziyad-oglu Qajar became the khan of Ganja in 1554.[15]

Political history[edit]

In the latter part of the 18th century, the Ganja khanate was one of the most economically prosperous polities in the Caucasus, benefiting from the strategic location of its capital on the regional crossroads. For this reason, two politically stronger neighbors, the Kingdom of Georgia and the Karabakh khanate, encroached on the independence of Ganja. From 1780 to 1783, the Ganja khanate was a condominium of Heraclius II of Georgia (represented by Prince Kaikhosro Andronikashvili) and Ibrahim-Khalil khan Javanshir of Karabakh (represented by the vizier, Hadrat Quli Beg). In 1783, Ganja rose up against its Georgian and Karabakh overlords. Georgians tried to reconquer Ganja at the end of 1784, but the campaign ended unsuccessfully. So did the Georgian invasions in 1785 and 1786. Under Javad Khan's rule from 1785 to 1804, the Ganja khanate grew in economic and political importance. The khans had their own mint in Ganja. In 1795, Javad Khan of Ganja joined the Iranian expedition against Georgia.[16]

Russian conquest[edit]

During the first Russo-Persian War (1804-1813) Ganja was considered by Russians, who had earlier supported Georgian claim to the sovereignty over the khanate, as a town of foremost importance. General Pavel Tsitsianov several times approached Javad khan asking him to submit to Russian rule, but each time was refused. On November 20, 1803, the Russian army moved from Tiflis and in December, Tsitsianov started the siege preparations. After heavy artillery bombardment, on January 3, 1804 at 5 o'clock in the morning, Tsitsianov gave the order to attack the fortress. After fierce fighting the Russians were able to capture the fortress. Javad khan was killed, together with his sons. According to a major study of the military events in the Caucasus by John F. Baddeley:

Ganja was renamed Elisabethpol in honour of Alexander's wife Elisabeth. In 1805 the imperial government officially abolished the khanate and the military district of Elisabethpol was created. Descendants of Ziyad Oglu Qajar dynasty bore the name of Ziyadkhanov in the Russian empire.

List of Khans[edit]

Monarch Period of Rule Relationship with Predecessor(s)
Shahverdi Khan 1747 - 1761 Member of the Ziyadoghlu branch of the Qajar dynasty. Asserted power.
Muhammad Hasan Khan 1761 - 1781 Son of Shahverdi Khan. Installed to power with Georgian help.
Ibrahim Khalil Khan 1781 - 1784 Khan of Karabakh. Took over Ganja Khanate.
Hajji Beg 1784 - 1786 Relative of Shahverdi Khan and Muhammad Hasan Khan. Rebelled against the Georgians and took back Ganja Khanate.
Rahim Khan 1786 Son of Shahverdi Khan and brother of Muhammad Hasan Khan. Asserted power after his death.
Javad Khan 1786 - 3 January 1804 Son of Shahverdi Khan and brother of Muhammad Hasan Khan and Rahim Khan. Enthroned after his brother Rahim was dethroned.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Commonwealth and Independence in Post-Soviet Eurasia - Page 88 by Bruno (EDT) Coppieters, Dmitriĭ Trenin, A. (Alekseĭ) Zverev - Political Science - 1998 - 224 pages
  2. ^ Oil and Gas in the Caucasus & Caspian: A History - Page 69 by Charles van der Leeuw - Political Science - 2000 - 190 pages
  3. ^ Identity Politics in Central Asia and the Muslim World: Nationalism, Ethnicity and Labour in the... - Page 43 by Willem van Schendel, Erik Jan Zürcher - 2001 - 235 pages
  4. ^ The Making of the Georgian Nation - Page 180 by Ronald Grigor Suny - 1991 - 440 pages
  5. ^ The Caspian: politics, energy and security - Page 14 by Shirin Akiner - 2004
  6. ^ Black Garden: Armenia and Azerbaijan Through Peace and War - Page 80 by Thomas De Waal - 2003 - 337 pages
  7. ^ Societal Culture and Management. - Page 3 by Theodore D. Weinshall - 1993 - 587 pages
  8. ^ Like Hidden Fire: The Plot to Bring Down the British Empire - Page 264 by Peter Hopkirk - 1997 - 448 pages On Secret Service East of Constantinople.: The Plot to Bring Down the British Empire. - Page 272 by Peter Hopkirk - 2001 - 431 pages
  9. ^ Russia and Her Colonies - Page 240 by Walter Kolarz - 1952 - 334 pages
  10. ^ In and Out of Focus: Images from Central Africa, 1885-1960 - Page 1 by Christraud M. Geary - Photography - 2003 - 128 pages
  11. ^ History on the Move: Views, Interviews and Essays on Armenian Issues - Page 176 by Edmond Y. Azadian - 2000 - 296 pages
  12. ^ The Russian Review - Page 388 by Hoover Institution on War, Revolution, and Peace, Karpovich, Michael, 1888-1959, Chamberlin, William Henry, 1897-1963 - 1941
  13. ^ Tadeusz Swietochowski. Russian Azerbaijan, 1905-1920: The Shaping of National Identity in a Muslim Community. Cambridge, UK, Cambridge University Press, 2004. ISBN 0-521-52245-5
  14. ^ "History of Azerbaijan" Encyclopædia Britannica Online
  15. ^ a b "Encyclopædia Iranica. Ganja". Retrieved 2013-02-02. 
  16. ^ Akopyan, Alexander V (Autumn 2008). "Ganja Coins of Georgian Types, AH 1200–1205" (PDF). Journal of the Oriental Numismatic Society 197 (Supplement: Caucasian Numismatics, Papers on the Coinage of Kartl-Kakheti (Eastern Georgia), 1744-1801): 47–52. 
  17. ^ John F. Baddeley, The Russian Conquest of the Caucasus, London: Longmans, Green and Co., 1908, p. 67, citing "Tsitsianoff's report to the Emperor: Akti, ix (supplement), p. 920".