Kurds - History and Cultural Relations



The appearance of Kurdish kin-tribal confederations in Transcaucasia dates from the tenth century, and in the eleventh century the famous Kurdish dynasty of the Seddadis ruled over an enormous territory from the city of Elisavetpol (modern Kirovabad in Azerbaijan) to the city of Ani (in modern Turkey). Toward the end of the nineteenth century the Kurdish population in Transcaucasia was concentrated in the Aleksandropol, Novobayazet, Surmalin, Sharuro-Daralagez, and Erevan districts of Erevan Province (Armenia); the Aresh, Jebrail, Javanshir, and Zangezur districts of Elisavetpol Province (Azerbaijan); and the Akhalkalaki, Akhaltsikhe, and Borchalin districts of Tiflis Province (Georgia). Individual clans appeared in Transcaucasia after the Russo-Persian wars of 1804-1813 and 1826-1828. These were either the inhabitants of those villages that, in accordance with the conditions of the Gyulistan and Turkmanchay agreements, came under Russian authority, or they were nomadic Kurds in Transcaucasian territory. At the beginning of the nineteenth century several Kurdish tribes presented the Russian authorities in Caucasia with a request to allow them to settle in Russia and accept Russian citizenship.

At the end of the nineteenth and the beginning of the twentieth centuries, as a result of the genocide of the Yezidi Kurds and the Armenians in the Ottoman Empire, as well as the Kurds' search for better pasturage for their cattle, the Yezidi Kurds fled with the Armenians to Armenia and the Muslim Kurds migrated to Azerbaijan, where the majority population professed Islam. Thus the Kurdish population in Transcaucasia split along confessional lines. Subsequently, in the 1920s, many Kurds left Azerbaijan for Armenia (where some villages of Muslim Kurds were created in the Basargechar, Dilizhan, and other regions); at the same time some went from Armenia into Georgia. In Georgia the Yezidi Kurds are mostly an urban population, living in Tbilisi, where they came in search of work. The Muslim Kurdish population settled primarily in Azerbaijan, in the Kelbajar, Lachin, Kubatlin, and Zangelan regions. In the 1920s these regions, with their center in the city of Lachin, became the Kurdistan District of Soviet Azerbaijan. At the beginning of the 1930s the Kurdistan District was transformed into the Kurdish National Autonomous Region, but in connection with the new administrative division of Azerbaijan the region was abolished. In 1937 there was a forced deportation of the Kurdish population from Azerbaijan and Armenia and, in 1944, from Georgia.


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