Academic journal article The Middle East Journal

Pre-20th Century History -- A History of Qarabagh: An Annotated Translation of Mirza Jamal Javanshir Qarabaghi's Tarikh-E Qarabagh by George A. Bournoutian

Academic journal article The Middle East Journal

Pre-20th Century History -- A History of Qarabagh: An Annotated Translation of Mirza Jamal Javanshir Qarabaghi's Tarikh-E Qarabagh by George A. Bournoutian

Article excerpt

A History of Qarabagh: An Annotated Translation of Mirza Jamal Javanshir Qarabaghi's Tarikh-e Qarabagh, by George A. Bournoutian. Costa Mesa, CA: Mazda Publishers, 1994. xvi + 138 pages. Bibl. to p. 144. Gloss. to p. 147. Index to p. 157. Facsimile of Persian Text, 62 pp. $24.95.

Mirza Jamal's history of Qarabagh from 1740 to 1806 is one of the essential sources for any study of Transcaucasia and, perhaps, even Iran. Qarabagh can roughly be defined as that area which extends from the confluence of the Kur and Arax rivers to Georgia in the north and present-day Armenia in the west. Qarabagh can be divided into three parts: the lowlands, the piedmont or high valleys, and the mountainous area known today by the Russian name, Nagorno-Karabakh. The lowlands and the high valleys lie in present; day Azerbaijan, while mountainous Qarabagh is presently in contention between Armenians and Azeri Turks. The term "Azerbaijan," however, is reserved by Mirza Jamal for the northwest province of Iran.

Mirza Jamal's history begins at the time of the collapse of the Safavid Iranian empire, which allowed the petty rulers of Transcaucasia to assert their independence and to compete with one another for territory, and it ends with the emergence of the Qajar dynasty in Iran and the final Russian conquest of the Caucasus. Jamal chronicles in some detail the rule of Panah Khan and his son Ebrahim Khan, who successively governed Qarabagh. He also covers, in passing, the campaigns of Nader Shah Afshar in Transcaucasia, the struggle for the Iranian throne. the contention between King Erekle II of Georgia and Hajji Chelibi of Shakki, the temporary unification of Iran under Karim Khan Zand, the final Qajar victory, and the unsuccessful attempts of Aga Mohammad Khan. Fath 'Ali Shah, and 'Abbas Mirza to halt the inevitable Russian conquest.

Mirza Jamal's history presents us with a vivid, remarkably objective, and informative picture of an era of almost constant warfare marked by intrigue, conspiracy, and treachery. It was a time of endlessly shifting alliances driven by family and clan loyalties, but, above all. personal self-interest--a time long before the appearance of present-day nationalism and its ethnic allegiances.

Bournoutian is well-prepared, by training and experience, in knowledge of languages to translate and annotate the work of Qarabaghi (ca. 1774-1853). Bournoutian's field of specialization is northern Iran and Transcaucasia; and he has done primary research in the archives of the republics of Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan. He is also learned in the history of Russia, Iran, and the Middle East. In his scholarly research, Bournoutian uses Arabic, Turkish (modern and Ottoman), Azeri-Turkish, Iranian, Armenian, Russian, French, German, and English.

Bournoutian's successful translation is based on a facsimile edition (1877-78) of the 1847 version, which is reproduced in this volume following the index. The original is written in the nasta'liq script, occasionally combined with the shekaste script. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.