The Principality of Jraberd was an Armenian state, independent until 1751, and then autonomous as part of the Persian, and later the Russian empires. It existed in the territory of modern Karvachar (Kelbajar district) from 1590 to 1850.
The Principality of Jraberd was created in 1590, after the collapse of the Armenian feudal principality – Khachen, which existed from 1075-1590. Khachen was an independent Armenian state from 1076-1201 and 1380-1590, encompassing all of Artsakh, and from 1201-1380 it was part of the Armenian Kingdom of Zakaryan. The Kingdom of Zakaryan, in turn, was created after the collapse of the Armenian Ani Kingdom (880-1075).
Founding of Jraberd
The Principality of Jraberd was founded by Melik Israel in 1590.
The ruler of the principality – Melik Yesai – wrote a letter to the Russian Tsar Peter the First in 1721, asking for assistance for Armenia.
His son – Yesai the Third – defeated the Ottoman army, for which the Shah of Iran, Nadir, awarded him the title of “sultan” and gave him the name “Allahguli”. Allahguli Sultan was the Armenian ruler of the Principality of Jraberd.
In 1750, Melik Adam fought against the coalition of Turkic troops of Panah Khan and his ally – the traitor of the Armenian Melikdom, Varanda Shah Nazar the Second.
However, this battle was lost, and Melik Adam was forced to leave the Principality of Jraberd and move to Ganjak (modern Ganja), and the Armenian Jraberd Melikdom lost its independence and became part of the Karabakh Khanate.
The son of the runaway Melik Adam – Melik Mejlum – spent his entire life gathering allies to liberate the Armenian Jraberd Melikdom from the yoke of the Karabakh Khan, but he died in 1796 during the siege of Ganjak.
After losing its independence, the Principality of Jraberd maintained its autonomy within the Karabakh Khanate and was governed by the Armenian princely family of Melik – Allaverdyan, who fled to the Nukhin district in 1810 with the arrival of the Russians.
After this, the power passed into the hands of the Melik – Atabekyan family, who recognized Russian rule and maintained autonomy within the Russian Empire until 1850.
In 1850, the Russian authorities disbanded the Melik’s power in Jraberd, and the principality ceased to exist.
Population of Jraberd
Until 1751, the Jraberd Melikdom had an exclusively Armenian population.
From 1751 to 1810, Kurds were settled here alongside Armenians. During this period, a large part of the Armenians fled from Jraberd to the North Caucasus, another part to Yerevan, and some were driven into Persian captivity.
In 1918, in the territory of the Kelbajar district, there was already 50% Kurdish and 40% Armenian population.
In 1937, in the territory of Karvachar (Kelbajar district), there were already 70% Kurds and 20% Armenians.
In 1937, all Kurds and Armenians were deported to Central Asia, and Azerbaijanis were settled in their homes.
Thus, the Armenian Karvachar (Kelbajar district) became 98% Azerbaijani.
In 1992, the Azerbaijanis resettled here by Soviet power fled to Azerbaijan, and Armenian refugees from Shaumyan returned to the district.
Modern Azerbaijani propaganda lies, claiming that the Armenians of Karvachar are migrants from the Republic of Armenia and the diaspora. This is absolute nonsense. All these people were refugees from the neighboring Shaumyan district captured by the Azerbaijanis.
On November 25, 2020, due to the pressure of Putin, the weakness of Pashinyan, and the lies of Aliyev, 15,000 Armenians from Karvachar and Kashatag once again became refugees.
Rulers of the Principality of Jraberd
- Melik Israel the First – 1590-1635
- Melik Israel the Second – 1635-1650
- Melik Yesai the First – 1650-1686
- Melik Yesai the Second – 1686-1728
- Melik Yesai the Third (Sultan Allahguli) – 1728-1749
- Melik Adam – 1750-1783
- Melik Mejlum – 1783-1796
- Melik Rostom – 1796-1798
- Melik Adam the Second – 1798-1814
- Melik Ovanes – 1814-1855
Translated by Vigen Avetisyan