Kara Koyunlu

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
For the district in Turkey, see Karakoyunlu.
Qara Qoyunlu
Black Sheep Turcomans


Qara Qoyunlu flag

Qara Qoyunlu of the Turcomans (ancient Azerbaijanis), lighter blue shows their greatest extent in Iraq and Arabian East Coast for a small period of time
Capital Tabriz
Languages Azerbaijani, Arabic, Persian
Religion Shia Islam[1]
Government Monarchy
 •  1375–1378 Bayram Xoca
 •  1467–1468 Hasan 'Ali
Historical era Middle Ages
 •  Established 1375
 •  Disestablished 1468
Today part of  Armenia
 Saudi Arabia
Warning: Value not specified for "common_name"

The Kara Koyunlu or Qara Qoyunlu, also called the Black Sheep Turcomans (Azerbaijani: Qaraqoyunlu türkmanları, Persian: قرا قویونلو‎‎), were a Shi'a[2] Oghuz Turkic tribal federation that ruled over the territory comprising present-day Azerbaijan, Armenia (1406), northwestern Iran, eastern Turkey, and Iraq from about 1375 to 1468.[3][4]

The Qara Qoyunlu Turcomans[edit]

The Qara Qoyunlu Turcomans at one point established their capital in Herat in eastern Iran,[5] and were vassals of the Jalairid Sultanate in Baghdad and Tabriz from about 1375, when the leader of their leading tribe, ruled over Mosul. However, they rebelled against the Jalayirids, and secured their independence from the dynasty with the conquest of Tabriz by Qara Yusuf. In 1400, the armies of Timur defeated the Qara Qoyunlu, and Qara Yusuf fled to Egypt seeking refuge with the Mamluk Sultanate. He gathered an army and by 1406 had taken back Tabriz.

In 1410, the Qara Qoyunlu captured Baghdad. The installation of a subsidiary Black Sheep line there hastened the downfall of the Jalayirids they had once served. Despite internal fighting amongst Qara Yusuf's descendants after his death in 1420, and the increasing threat of the Timurid dynasty, the Qara Qoyunlu maintained a strong grip over the areas they controlled.

Jahān Shāh[edit]

Jahan Shah made peace with the Timurid Shahrukh Mirza; however, this soon fell apart. When Shahrukh Mirza died in 1447, the Black Sheep Turkomans annexed portions of Iraq and the eastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula as well as Timurid-controlled western Iran. Though much territory was gained during his rule, Jahān Shāh's reign was troubled by his rebellious sons and the almost autonomous rulers of Baghdad, whom he expelled in 1464. In 1466, Jahan Shah attempted to take Diyarbakır from the Ağ Qoyunlu ("White Sheep Turkomans"), however, this was a catastrophic failure resulting in Jahān Shāh's death and the collapse of the Black Sheep Turkomans' control in the Middle East. By 1468, at their height under Uzun Hassan (1452–1478), Aq Qoyunlu defeated the Qara Qoyunlu and conquered Iraq, Azerbaijan, and western Iran.[6]

Faravahar background
History of Greater Iran


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Quiring-Zoche, R. "AQ QOYUNLŪ". Encyclopedia Iranica. Retrieved 2009-10-29. 

    The argument that there was a clear-cut contrast between the Sunnism of the Āq Qoyunlū and the Shiʿism of the Qara Qoyunlū and the Ṣafawīya rests mainly on later Safavid sources and must be considered doubtful.

  2. ^ Elgood 1995, p. 114.
  3. ^ Hovanissian 2004, p. 4.
  4. ^ Encyclopædia Britannica. "Kara Koyunlu". Online Edition, 2007
  5. ^ Patrick Clawson. Eternal Iran. Palgrave Macmillan. 2005 ISBN 1-4039-6276-6 p.23
  6. ^ Stearns, Peter N.; Leonard, William (2001). The Encyclopedia of World History. Houghton Muffin Books. p. 122. ISBN 0-395-65237-5. 

Works cited[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Bosworth, Clifford. The New Islamic Dynasties, 1996.
  • (Armenian) Khachikyan, Levon. ԺԵ դարի հայերեն ձեռագրերի հիշատակարաններ, մաս 1 (Fifteenth Century Armenian Colophons, Part 1). Yerevan, 1955.
  • Morby, John. The Oxford Dynasties of the World, 2002.
  • Sanjian, Avedis K. Colophons of Armenian manuscripts, 1301-1480: A Source for Middle Eastern History, Selected, Translated, and Annotated by Avedis K. Sanjian. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1969.