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Northwestern Iran borders before and after the treaty.

Signing ceremony

"Treaty of Turkmanchay" memorial medal. Museum of History of Azerbaijan in Baku

The Treaty of Turkmenchay (Russian: Туркманчайский договор, Persian: عهدنامه ترکمنچای‎) was a treaty negotiated in Turkmenchay by which the Qajar Empire recognized Russian suzerainty over the Erivan khanate, the Nakhchivan khanate, and the remainder of the Talysh khanate, establishing the Aras River as the common boundary between the empires, after its defeat in 1828 at the end of the Russo-Persian War, 1826-1828.

The treaty was signed on February 21, 1828 by Abbas Mirza, the crown prince, and Allah-Yar Khan Asaf al-Daula, chancellor of Fath Ali Shah, on behalf of Persia, and General Ivan Paskievich representing Imperial Russia. As was the case for the Treaty of Gulistan, Persia was forced to sign the treaty by Russia, as it had no alternative after the crown prince's defeat. The Russian general had threatened Fath Ali Shah that he would conquer Tehran in five days unless the treaty was signed.[1]

The treaty

Treaty of Turkmenchay Cannon in Military museum of Tehran

By this treaty:

  1. By Article 4 of the treaty, Qajar Empire renounced all claims over the Erivan khanate (most of present-day central Armenia), the Nakhchivan khanate (most of the present-day Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic of Azerbaijan), the Talysh khanate, the Ordubad and Mughan regions (now also part of Azerbaijan), in addition to all lands annexed by Russia in the Gulistan Treaty.
  2. By Article 6 of the treaty, Qajar Empire promised to pay Russia 10 korur in gold or 20 million silver rubles (in 1828 currency).
  3. By Article 8 of the treaty, Persian ships lost full rights to navigate all of the Caspian Sea and her coasts, henceforth given to Russia.
  4. Qajar Empire recognized capitulation rights for Russians in Qajar Empire.
  5. By Article 10, Russia gained the right to send consulate envoys anywhere in Iran.
  6. By Article 13, prisoners of war were exchanged.
  7. By Article 10, The Qajar Empire is forced to sign economic treaties with Russia as Russia specified.
  8. By Article 7 of the treaty, Russia promised to support Abbas Mirza as the heir to the throne of the Qajar Empire after Fath Ali Shah died. (This proved impossible when Abbas Mirza predeceased Fath Ali Shah.)
  9. Qajar Empire officially apologized for breaking its promises made in the Gulistan Treaty.
  10. By Article 15, Fath Ali Shah promised not to charge or persecute any inhabitant or official in the region of Iranian Azerbaijan for any deed carried out during the war or during the temporary control of the region by Russian troops. In addition, all inhabitants of the aforementioned district were given the right to move from Persian districts to Russian districts if they wished to do so within one year.

The treaty also stipulated the resettlement of Armenians from Persia to the Caucasus, which also included an outright liberation of Armenian captives who were brought and had lived in Persia since 1804 or as far back as 1795.[2][3] In addition, the resettlement permitted to compensate the loss of 20,000 Armenians who moved to Georgia between 1795 to 1827.[4]


According to Prof. Svante Cornell:

In 1812 Russia ended a war with Turkey and went on the offensive against Iran. This led to the treaty of Gulistan in 1813, which gave Russia control over large territories that hitherto had been at least nominally Iranian, and moreover a say in Iranian succession politics. The whole of Daghestan and Georgia, including Mingrelia and Abkhazia were formally ceded to Russia, as well as eight Azeri Khanates (Karabakh, Ganja, Sheki, Kuba, Shirvan, Talysh, Baku, and Derbent). However as we have seen the Persians soon challenged Russia’s rule in the area, resulting in a military disaster. Iran lost control over the whole of Azerbaijan, and with the Turkemenchai settlement of 1828 Russia threatened to establish its control over Azerbaijan unless Iran paid a war indemnity. The British helped the Iranians with the matter, but the fact remained that Russian troops had marched as far as south of Tabriz. Although certain areas (including Tabriz) were returned to Iran, Russia was in fact at the peak of its territorial expansion.[5]

According to the Cambridge History of Iran:

Even when rulers on the plateau lacked the means to effect suzerainty beyond the Aras, the neighboring Khanates were still regarded as Iranian dependencies. Naturally, it was those Khanates located closest to the province of Āzarbāījān which most frequently experienced attempts to re-impose Iranian suzerainty: the Khanates of Erivan, Nakhchivān and Qarābāgh across the Aras, and the cis-Aras Khanate of Ṭālish, with its administrative headquarters located at Lankarān and therefore very vulnerable to pressure, either from the direction of Tabrīz or Rasht. Beyond the Khanate of Qarābāgh, the Khān of Ganja and the Vāli of Gurjistān (ruler of the Kartli-Kakheti kingdom of south-east Georgia), although less accessible for purposes of coercion, were also regarded as the Shah's vassals, as were the Khāns of Shakki and Shīrvān, north of the Kura river. The contacts between Iran and the Khanates of Bākū and Qubba, however, were more tenuous and consisted mainly of maritime commercial links with Anzalī and Rasht.

The effectiveness of these somewhat haphazard assertions of suzerainty depended on the ability of a particular Shah to make his will felt, and the determination of the local khans to evade obligations they regarded as onerous.[6]

Massacre at the Russian Embassy

In the aftermath of the war and signing of the treaty, anti-Russian sentiment in Persia was rampant. On February 11, 1829, an angry mob stormed the Russian embassy in Tehran and slaughtered almost everyone inside. Among those killed in the massacre was a newly appointed ambassador to Persia Aleksander Griboyedov, the celebrated Russian playwright and personal friend of Alexander Pushkin. Griboyedov had previously played an active role in negotiating the terms of the treaty.[7]


  1. Zirisnky, M. “Reza Shah’s abrogation of capitulation, 1927-1928” in The Making of Modern Iran: State and Society Under Riza Shah 1921-1941. Stephanie Cronin (ed.) London: Routledge, 2003, p. 81: “The context of this regime capitulations, of course, is that by the end of the reign of Fath Ali Shah (1798-1834), Iran could no longer defend its independence against the west. .. For Iran this was a time of weakness, humiliation and soul-searching as Iranians sought to assert their dignity against overwhelming pressure from the expansionist west."
  2. Griboedov not only extended protection to those Caucasian captives who sought to go home but actively promoted the return of even those who did not volunteer. Large numbers of Georgian and Armenian captives had lived in Iran since 1804 or as far back as 1795. ... The Cambridge History of Iran by William Bayne Fisher, Peter Avery, Ilya Gershevitch, Gavin Hambly, Charles Melville, Cambridge University Press, 1991 p. 339.
  3. (Russian) A. S. Griboyedov. "Записка о переселеніи армянъ изъ Персіи въ наши области", Фундаментальная Электронная Библиотека
  4. Bournoutian, George. "The Politics of Demography: Misuse of Sources on the Armenian Population of Mountainous Karabakh." Journal of the Society for Armenian Studies, (1996, 1997 [1999]), p. 103.
  5. Svante Cornell. Small nations and great powers: A Study of Ethnopolitical Conflict in the Caucasus. Richmond: Curzon Press, 2001, p. 37.
  6. Gavin R.G. Hambly, in The Cambridge History of Iran, ed. William Bayne Fisher (Cambridge University Press, 1991), pp. 145-146
  7. See Hopkirk, Peter. The Great Game: The Struggle for Empire in Central Asia. New York: Kodansha Globe, 1997, ISBN 1-56836-022-3


  • H. Pir Nia, Abbas Eghbal Ashtiani, B. Agheli. History of Persia. Tehran, 2002. p. 673-686. ISBN 964-6895-16-6

See also

External links

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