World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Circassians in Iran


Circassians in Iran

Circassians in Iran
Total population
Precise population unknown due to heavy assimilation and lack of censuses based on ethnicity.[1][2][3] Second largest Caucasus-derived group in the nation.[2]
Regions with significant populations
Tehran, Gilan Province, Mazandaran Province, Rasht, East Azerbaijan Province, Fars Province,[4] Isfahan, Aspas
Mainly Persian, as well as Circassian in small amounts

The Shia Muslims of the Twelver faith.

In Persian, the word Cherkes (چرکس) is sometimes also applied generally to Caucasian peoples living beyond Derbent in Dagestan,[4] which was the northernmost principal city of Iran prior to its ceding to Russia in the first half of the 19th century following the Treaty of Gulistan.


  • History 1
    • Safavids 1.1
    • Qajars 1.2
  • Modern day 2
  • Notables 3
  • See also 4
  • References 5
  • Further reading 6
  • External links 7


Circassians in Iran have a long history. To a certain good extent, they shared the same role as their other Circassian brethren who lived in neighbouring Ottoman Turkey; many were importees, deportees, slaves, but also made up many of the notable noble families in the empire, while many others were kingmakers, military commanders, soldiers, craftsmen, peasants, while they also composed many of the kings' wives and women in the harem. Under the various kings of the Safavid and Qajar dynasty, hundreds of thousands of Circassians would eventually happen to live in Iran.


The first Circassian presence in Iran is noted since the early era of the Safavids, during which Shaykh Junayd raided various regions of Circassia and carried of prisoners back.[5] From the time of shah Tahmasp I, the Circassians started to play an important role in Iranian society,[5] and the Circassian start to appear as a large ethnic group in the successive empires based in Iran.

In order to make a peoples of the Caucasus. Thus, gathered from Iran's northern territories and beyond, this military slave corps would be created in order to systematically nullify the Qizilbash who's influence had gone out of hand in all sectors and positions in the empire, and to secure the kings their grip over the kingdom. Eventually, the large amounts of Circassians and other Caucasians, only loyal to the shah, would vy through the system with the Qizilbash for political hegemany and supremacy, and be victorious,[4] although sometimes they would vy against each other as well.[8]

Circassians made up a good bulk of these elite armies (the so-called ghilmans), and played therefore a pivotal role. This elite [slave system] army was very similar to the harem, civil administration, military administration, peasantry, crafters, amongst others, while other large numbers were initially settled in various regions in mainland Iran, including Gilan, Mazandaran, and Fars.


  • Covering of Circassians in Iran

External links

  • Savory, Roger, Iran Under the Safavids; Cambridge University Press, 2007 ISBN 0521042518.
  • P. Oberling, “Georgians and Circassians in Iran,” Studia Caucasica (The Hague) 1, 1963
  • J. R. Perry, “Forced Migrations in Iran During the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries,” Iranian Studies 8, 1975, pp. 199–215.
  • N. Falsafī, Zendagānī-e Šāh ʿAbbās-e awwal, 4 vols., Tehran, 1334-46 Š./1955-67
  • Babaie, Sussan, Slaves of the Shah: New Elites of Safavid Iran I.B.Tauris, 15 okt. 2004 ISBN 1860647219

Further reading

  1. ^ a b "International Circassian Association". Retrieved 28 April 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c d Encyclopedia of the Peoples of Africa and the Middle East Facts On File, Incorporated ISBN 143812676X p 141
  3. ^ "IRAN vii. NON-IRANIAN LANGUAGES (6) in Islamic Iran". Retrieved 28 April 2014. 
  4. ^ a b c d e "ČARKAS". Retrieved 26 April 2015. 
  5. ^ a b Eskandar Beg, I, pp. 17-18
  6. ^ a b "Tahmāsp I". Retrieved 12 May 2015. 
  7. ^ "BARDA and BARDA-DĀRI v. Military slavery in Islamic Iran". Retrieved 26 April 2015. 
  8. ^ Sussan Babaie ´´Slaves of the Shah: New Elites of Safavid Iran´´ pp 17 I.B.Tauris, 15 okt. 2004 ISBN 1860647219
  9. ^ "BARDA and BARDA-DĀRI v. Military slavery in Islamic Iran". Retrieved 25 April 2015. 
  10. ^ Thomas Herbert. Travels in Persia: 1627-1629 Routledge, 10 okt. 2005 ISBN 1134285841 p 117
  11. ^ Aptin Khanbaghi. The Fire, the Star and the Cross: Minority Religions in Medieval and Early Modern Iran I.B.Tauris, 22 feb. 2006 ISBN 0857712667 pp 130-131
  12. ^ [2]] Safavid Iran: Rebirth of a Persian Empire, L.B. Tauris. 2006, p. 41.
  13. ^ Rudolph (Rudi) Matthee Encyclopaedia Iranica, Columbia University, New York 2001, p.493
  14. ^ "The Iranian Armed Forces in Politics, Revolution and War: Part One". Retrieved 23 May 2014. 
  15. ^ Oberling, Pierre (7 February 2012). "Georgia viii: Georgian communities in Persia".  
  16. ^ "Circassian". Official Circassian Association. Retrieved 9 June 2014. 
  17. ^   Excerpted from:


See also

Notable Iranians of either partial or full Circassian descent include:


[2] However, the [4] Despite heavy assimilation over the centuries, Circassian settlements have lasted into the 20th century.

Modern day

Following the mass expulsion of the native Circassians of the northwest Caucasus in 1864 mainly towards the Ottoman Empire, some also fled to neighboring Qajar Iran, which bordered the Ottoman Empire as well as Imperial Russia. In Iran, like in Turkey, the government followed an assimilation policy, starting the gradual absorption of the Caucasian refugees into the population. Some of these deportees from after 1864 rose to various high ranks such as in the Persian Cossack Brigade, where every member of the army was either Circassian, or any other type of ethnos from the Caucasus.[14]


Many of the shahs, princes, and princesses descended from noble Circassian lines. Many of the Safavid nobility at the court were Circassian.[11] In fact, the Safavids their heavily mixed ancestry includes several Circassian lines.[12][13] Shah Abbas II and Shah Suleiman I are just some of the examples amongst the highest nobility that were born by Circassian mothers.


This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World eBook Fair are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.