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Hossein Khan Sardar

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Artwork of Hossein Khan by Azerbaijani artist Mirza Kadym Irevani

Hossein Qoli Khan Sardar Qajar (1740–1830), was the last Iranian governor of the Erivan khanate. Around 1826–1828 he and Abbas Mirza, the Crown Prince, attempted to win back the Transcaucasian and Dagestanian possessions lost to Russia during the war of 1804-1813 which had ended with the Gulistan Treaty. However, using superior tactics and weapons developed since their defeat of Napoleon, the Tsar’s generals inflicted even greater losses on Iran.

In addition to ceding further territories, the 1828 Treaty of Turkmenchay forced Iran to pay crippling reparations. The treaty also banned Hosein Khan and his younger brother, Hasan Khan, from ever venturing north of the Aras River, the new border.

Hosein Khan was a member of the Qajar dynasty, the son of Moḥammad Khan Qājār, as Bournoutian states, a member of the Qovānlu clan of the Qajars, who in the eighteenth century had governed Iravān (Erevan, q.v.).[1] Furthermore, he was a confidant of Fath Ali Shah, who had cemented their relationship by marrying the Sardar’s sister and giving one of his daughters, Shirin Jan Khanom, in marriage to Hosein Khan's son, Mohammad Qoli Khan.

Foreign travelers call him one of the most powerful and wealthy chiefs in Persia with as much authority as ʿAbbās Mirzā . Ḥosaynqoli Khan did not have any members of his family as hostages in Tehran, had the right to mint coins, and had the rare opportunity of keeping a large part of the revenue for defense purposes. He encouraged trade and created a stable administration. Even Armenian and Russian sources, who have little good to say about the Persian khans in Transcaucasia, praise Ḥosaynqoli for being kind, honest, noble, conscientious, and just.[1]

The Shah had been indebted to the Sardar ever since, on the death of Agha Mohammad Khan, the founder of the Qajar dynasty, Hosein Khan led an advance column of troops to Tehran to secure the capital and the throne for Fath Ali. Later, the Shah dispatched him to quell a rebellion in Khorasan province. In return for his loyalty, the Sardar was rewarded with the Khanate of Erevan, which he ruled until the last Russo-Persian War (1826-1828).

Hosein Khan was also granted estates encompassing some 62 villages near the city of Qazvin. Later generations of Sardars bequeathed their inheritance to religious endowments, or vaqf. The ab anbar sardar, a cavernous underground water reservoir in Qazvin was named after Hosein Khan. Local legend has it that, at 3,000 cubic meters and 28.5 meters from base to ceiling, it took seven months to fill and its supply of water lasted for seven years. Fed by three qanats (subterranean water canals), it is the largest in Iran.

Unlike other Transcaucasian khans, Ḥosaynqoli did not make a deal with the Russians and managed to thwart their efforts for two decades. Russia’s anger was demonstrated in article XII of the Treaty and Turkamančāy (1828), which specifically deprived him and his brother of the right to sell or exchange their property in Erevan, a right granted to all others.[1]

See also


  1. ^ a b c BOURNOUTIAN, GEORGE A. "ḤOSAYNQOLI KHAN SARDĀR-E IRAVĀNI". Encyclopædia Iranica. Retrieved 2011-10-09. 

Further reading

  • George Bournoutian The Khanate of Erevan Under Qajar Rule, 1795-1828, Mazda Publishers, 1992.