Shamkhal is the title for the rulers of Kumukh in Dagestan during the 8th-17th centuries. In 1642 the Kazikumukh Shamkhalate broke up into several independent states. Afterwards Shamkhal moved his capital from Kazi-Kumukh to Tarki, where he formed Shamkhalate of Tarki.
According to historians Barthold V. V. and M. A. Polievktov, the title "shamkhal" comes from the name of the ruler Shakhbal appointed by Arabs in Kumukh. According to the history, Darbandnamah, a brother of caliph Hisham ibn Abd al-Malik, named Moslim, commander of the Muslim forces in Dagestan, capturing Kumukh appointed Shakhbal as its governor. In Tarih-Dagistan, the name shamkhal refers to the name of the first appointee of Arabs in Kumukh, in the mountainous Dagestan.
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