Sunday, August 14, 2005

KANGARLU (KENGERLÜ, KUNGURLU): a Turkic tribe of Azerbaijan and the Qom-Veramin

KANGARLU (KENGERLÜ, KUNGURLU), a Turkic tribe of Azerbaijan and the Qom-Veramin region of central Persia. Kangar was the name of a branch of the Pecheneg oymak (see Ra‚sonyi, p. 131). But there does not seem to have been any link between that group and the Kangarlu tribe of Persia (Togan, p. 100). The Kangarlu of Persia first came to prominence as a clan of the powerful Ustajlu tribe of the Qezelbash tribal confederacy (see Reid, pp. 114-21, 196-97).

During Safavid times, the Kangarlu produced several important leaders. Ahmad Sultan Kangarlu was governor of shahrivar and Veramin in 1526-27 (Barque‚-Grammont, p. 98). Sadr al-Dinkhan, who was governor of Astarabad in the 1530s and 1540s, helped repulse two Uzbek invasions (Eskandar Monshi, pp. 105-107, 138). Another Kangarlu leader who fought against the Uzbeks was Mostafa Beg Kangarlu, who was governor of Tun and Tabas in the early 1590s. For two years, he and a small force of Ustajlu warriors bravely resisted an Uzbek onslaught, until, in 1593-94, he was finally captured and executed (Eskandar Monshi, pp. 455-56, 488-90).

Yet another important Kangarlu leader during Safavid times was Maqsud Sultan Kangarlu, who is on Eskandar Monshi's list of the great amirs of the reign of Shah Abbas I (p. 1085). Shortly after the Persian capture of Erivan, in June 1604, he was appointed governor of Nakhchevan, north of the Aras river. But when, later that year, Ottoman forces threatened the area, Shah Abbas ordered Maqsud Sultan to evacuate the entire population of the Nakhchevan region (including the Armenians of Jolfa, who, in the following year, were transplanted to Isfahan) to Qaraja Dag (Arasbaran) and Dezmar (Eskandar Monshi, pp. 656, 668).

Many Kangarlu settled north of the Aras river, probably in around 1500, when the Ustajlu moved into Azerbaijan. In 1809, J. M. Jouannin, described these Kangarlu as "a small tribe established in Persian Armenia, on the shores of the Aras, and numbering up to four or five thousand individuals" (p. 459). In 1921, M. H. Valili Baharlu wrote that there were Kangarlu around Gökchay, Javanshir and Shusha (pp. 61ff.). Many of these are undoubtedly the descendants of Kangarlu who were forced to move south of the Aras river by Shah Abbas I in 1604, and were then allowed to return to their original grazing grounds by Shah Abbas II (r. 1642-1666) in an attempt to repopulate the frontier regions of his realm.

Today, there is a clan of the Haji Alilu tribe of Qaraja Dag by the name of Kangarlu. In 1960, it comprised some 25 households (Iranian Army Files). There is also a village by the name of Kangarlu 24 kms to the north of Meshginshahr, in the same general area (Razmara, p. 429). These are probably the descendants of Kangarlu who were moved to Qaraja Dag in 1604 and remained there. Some Kangarlu also settled in western Azerbaijan. One group, which was mentioned by Abd-al-Razzaq (p. 253) and Valili Baharlu (p. 61), dwelled between Selmas and Khoy, where there is still a village by the name of Kangarlu (Razmara, p. 429). Another group apparently dwelled to the east of Bostanabad, one third of the way between Tabriz and Miana, for there is also a village by the name of Kangarlu there (Razmara, p. 429). It is uncertain when these two groups moved to western Azerbaijan.

Finally, there is a group of Kangarlu in the Qom-Veramin region in central Persia. According to Jouannin, it comprised some 1,000 individuals in 1809 (p. 460). According to M. L. Sheil, together with a group of Arabs of Damavand and a group of Qara CHorlu, it comprised 1,000 "tents and houses" in 1849 (p. 397). But, according to S. I. Bruk, it comprised as many as 30,000 individuals in 1960 (p. 32), a figure which seems somewhat excessive. It is possible that these Kangarlu have been in that region since Ahmad Sultan was its governor in the 1520's.

Abd-al-Razzaq, in H. J. Brydges, tr., Dynasty of the Kajars, London, 1833.
J. Bacque‚-Grammont, "Une liste d'e‚mirs ostag¡lus re‚volte‚s en 1526,
" Studia Iranica 5, 1976, pp. 91-114.
S. I. Bruk, Naselenie Perednei Azii, Moscow, 1960.
Eskandar Monshi, Tarikh-e AÚlam-ara-ye Abbasi, Tehran, 1956.
J. M. Jouannin, list of tribes, in A. Dupre‚, Voyage en Perse, fait dans les anne‚es 1807, 1808 et 1809, Paris, 1819,
II. L. Ra‚sonyi, Tarihte Türklük, Ankara, 1971. H. A. Razmara, Farhang-e jografia-ye Iran IV, Tehran, 1951.
J. J. Reid, Tribalism and Society in Islamic Iran, 1500-1629, Malibu, 1983.
M. L. Sheil, Glimpses of Life and Manners in Persia, London, 1856.
Z. V. Togan, "Azerbaycan," Ëslâm Ansiklopedisi, fsc. 12, 1950, pp. 91-118.
M. H. Valili Baharlu, Azerbaycan, Cog¡rafî, Tabîî, Etnografî ve Ëktisâdî Mülâhazât, Baku, 1921.

February 11, 2004


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