CHAPTER 5 KARABAGH IN XIV-XY CENTURIES

“Karabakh” is a compound proper noun. It comprises two word stems; the first is a Turkish term, ghara-black and the second is a Persian term, bagh-garden. The linguists and historians came across the word for the first time in Georgian manuscripts of thirteenth-fourteenth centuries1. The fourteenth century Iranian historiographer Hamdollah Mostafah-Khazvini mentioned the name in his book “A Geographical Part of Nehzatolbub2. This author referred to the Karabakh Lowlands as Baghe Sefid – white garden, and to the Highlands as Baghe siah – black garden. It was typical of Turkish conquerers to change the geographical names of the occupied countries and lands. The uniqueness of Turkish strategy is expressed in their ability of giving a typical Turkic name to foreign lands, plains, rivers, springs and mountains. Each nation preserves in the proper names its culture and ethnicity, and deprived of it, will be easily absorbed by dominant powers. In this sense Armenia, Iran, the Middle East and all the other countries, where the Turks set their feet, suffered much losses. Nearly all the geographical names in Asia Minor (Byzantium, Cilicia, Armenia) are Turkicized. The same policy was conducted by the Turkic tribes who penetrated Transcaucasia in late seventeenth and in the eighteenth centuries.

The academician S. Yeremian considers that the term “Karabakh” derived from the word “baghkaran”.

The second half of the fourteenth century gave birth to a new malignant power, whose cruelty had been so far unsurpassed. This was the power of Timur-Leng (Tamerlane) from Samarghand, an Uzbek-Tatar by origin.

After the death of the local Sultan, Timur-Leng replaced him on the throne in 1366. From Samarghand the Asian invaders headed for Iran. Timur-Leng (lame Timur) tried to capture Khorassan. His army was defeated by the Khorassan ruler Shahmassur. Timur used deceit and with a sudden attack took Isfahan and Shiraz putting the whole population to death. Then he moved towards Atropateni (Media Minor).

At that time Tabriz was ruled by the Tatar Khan Tokhtamish, who had reconquered it from Emir Ahmed.

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