Abbas Qoli Aga Bakikhanov (1794-1847) wrote “Heavenly Rose Garden” (Gulistan-i Iram or Golestan-e Eram) in 1841 in Persian, which later was translated into Russian and partly published. This work is the first attempt to bring together all periods of the Azerbaijan History. Being a story of Shirvan and Daghestan, it consists of five chapters.
In 1844 with the help of Vasily Kuzmin, who alongside with A. Bakikhanov served as a translator at the office of the commander-chief of the Russian forces in Georgia, translated “Gulistan-i Iram” into Russian. Deprived of the opportunity to publish his work in full, since he did not have the money for this, A.K. Bakikhanov began to publish excerpts from his work in periodicals. In 1846, part of the work of A. Bakikhanov, “On the campaigns of Nadir Shah in Dagestan”, with the signature Kudsi, was published in the Russian newspaper Русский инвалид. The same chapter entitled “On Shah-Nadir’s Campaigns in Dagestan. The history of the Eastern Caucasus. By Kudsi Abbas-kuli Bakinsky” was published in the newspaper Кавказ in 1846 and the same year it was reprinted in the Сборник газет Кавказ (Collection of the Caucasus newspaper).
The Russian text of the source was fully published only in Soviet period in 1926 and it was used as a textbook, being a most valuable source for the history of Azerbaijan. “Gulistani-Iram” is published in Azerbaijani for the first time, in 1951 with the Cyrillic letters by the Institute of History and Philosophy of the Academy of Sciences of Azerbaijan SSR. William Floor and Hasan Javadi translated and annotated this work in English in 2009 by Mega Publishers.
Abbas Quli Aga Bakikhanov was burn in 1794 in the village of Amir Hajan of Baku. He also known pen-name Qodsi, was an Azerbaijani writer, journalist, historian, poet, linguist, and philosopher. Bakikhanov was an heir of the ruling dynasty of the Khanate of Baku, being the nephew of the last khan of Baku. Bakikhanov’s father Mirza Mohammad Khan II was the ninth Khan of Baku and as driven from his throne by his brother Mohammad Qoli Khan. In 1820 Abbas Qoli Aqa became an officer in the Imperial Russian army and participated in the Russo-Persian war of 1826-1828. After Bakikhanov retired and lived in Qobbeh, but traveled extensively in Russia and the Caucasus, meeting such important literary figures as Pushkin and Akhundzadeh.
It took him almost a year and half to finish the Golestan-e Eram. This evidence was 1838 when General Golovin had replaced Baron Rosen, and Bakikhanov was recalled to service, and soon thereafter he became a colonel. It was an opportunity for Bakikhanov to try and publish his work. While he living in Tiflis in 1843, Bakikhanov translated this work into Russian with the help of a Polish officer and friend, Zabloteski as “The History of Eastern Caucasia.” This translation was submitted for publication to General Pendgart, who had replaced Golovin, and eventually, with a recommendation from the Minister of Defense, it went to the Secretariat of Tsar Nicolas I in March 1845. Golestan-e Erem was well received and a diamond ring, worth 800 rubles, was given to Bakikhanov as an award. The royal grace did not result in publication. The work was sent for evaluation to two professors at the Imperial Academy of Sciences in St Petersburg, B.A. Dorn and M.F. Brosset, who were experts on the history and affairs of the Caucasus. He had initially asked for 3,000 rubles for the publication of his history, but after a year of consultation, it was proclaimed that “this work could not stand up to European scientists criticism, it is not smart to be published by Russian governmental institutions. But historian can publish it at his own expense.” While he was trying to publish this work in Tiflis, he controlled to get a year’s leave of lack from he still was affiliated, the Office of the Military Commander of the Caucasus.
Abbas Quli Aqa Bakikhanov’s “The Heavenly Rose Garden” covers history of Shirvan and Dagestan from the ancient period until the treaty between the governments of Russia and Iran in the village of Gulistan. The first chapter deals with the ancient Shirvan and Daghestan, in other words, pre-Islamic period. Also it includes descriptions of the borders, lands, reason for their names, the situation, languages and religions of the country of Shirvan and Daghestan, in accordance to the Introduction of Bakikhanov’s work. The second chapter devoted to the events from the Arab occupation (VIII century), the revolt against them, to the Saljuk invasion of Azerbaijan (XI century). The third chapter deals with the Mongol marches (early XIII century), the establishment of the Hulaguids rule (1258-1357), the marches of the Golden Horde (XIII-XIV centuries), the campaign of Amir Timur (the end of XIV early XV century), the Jalairids marches (1359), the establishment of the Qaraqoyunlu (1410-1468) and Aqqoyunlu (1468-1501 (1503)) states, and the situation in the Shirvanshahs (861-1538), longest-lived Muslim dynasty of the world. The fourth chapter starts with the Safavid dynasty and Safavid Empire (1501-1736), ends with the Afsharid Empire (1736-1747) of Nader shah. The last chapter describes historical events after death of Nader shah, establishment of the Azerbaijani khanates (during the middle of XVIII century), then Russian invasion and signing the Gulistan treaty (1813) between Tsarist Russia and the Qajarid Iran.
The scrutiny on this written source shows that Azerbaijan has been subjected to many conquests throughout the history. Azerbaijan’s fertile lands and strategic position are among the main reasons for this. Between these conquests Azerbaijani population established rule of local states. In accordance to Bakikhanov’s Gulistani-Irem we can summarize from pre-Islamic period till the Gulistan treaty. The period of Caliphate and Islamization was followed with the collapse of the Abbasid dynasty, when new five states emerged and replaces each other in Azerbaijan: Shirvanshahs, Sajids, Salarids, Shaddadids and Ravvadids. Then Seljuk Turks occupied Azerbaijan and weakening of the Seljuk Empire created conditions for the strengthening of Shirvanshahs. In parallel, the Atabeks (Eldanizids) established their rule the rest part of Azerbaijan. This relatively independent and stable period was replaced by the Mongol conquest and rule of the Hulaguids and the Jalairids in XIII-XIV centuries. Two Turkic states, the Qaraqoyunlu and the Aqqoyunlu dynasties replaced each other in XV century. The 16th century remarkable with the emergence of the Safavids Empire, which firstly was established in Azerbaijani lands. During existence, the Safavids waged wars with the Ottomans, which weakened both of them and caused wane of the Safavids. After death of Nader Shah, the division of Azerbaijan into khanates aggravated the situation. Attempts to unite some khanates also failed. As a result, the Gajarids of Iran could occupy the southern Azerbaijani khanates. Then, Tsarist Russia launched the war with Iran over the northern khanates of Azerbaijan. Defeating Iran Russia signed the Gulistan treaty. The Aras River becomes the border between Iran and Tsarist Russia.
Abbasgulu Aga Bakikhanov, Gulistai Irem, Russian invasion, Gulistan treaty
- Abbasgulu Bakikhanov. Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abbasgulu_Bakikhanov
- Abdullayev, Mehman. History of Azerbaijan. BSU Press, Baku, 2017
- Bakikhanov, Abbas Quli Aqa. The Heavenly Rose Garden: A History of Shirvan and Daghestan (Translated by Willem Floor, Hasan Javadi. Mage Publishers, 2009
- Аббас-Кули-Ага Бакиханов «Кудси». Гюлистан-Ирам. Баку, 1926