The majority of Tribal Confederations in Iran come out of the
Turkmen Seljuk migrations. Then with the end of the Turkmen Dynasty
the Safavid broke up the old Oghuz tribal confederations
and reassembled them as Kizilbash confederations. The last Kizilbash
Confederation under the Safavid Dynasty was the Durrani Pashtun.
Trusting the Pashtun was disastrous, resulting in the destruction of
Safavid rule in Persia.
Nadir Shah defeated the Hotaki
Durrani and he did it with the help of the Deraki Bakhtiari.
To reward the Deraki Nadir Shah gave them an elevated status
basically Kizilbash Status.
last major confederation was in 1861 - 62 when the Persian Shah Naser
ed-Din (Khajar) created the Khamseh Tribal Confederation
The Bakhtiari are a tribal
confederation of primarily Luri speaking people in Southwest Iran.
the Bakhtiari genealogies are to believed the Bakhtiari
descend from Adam by Noah (But aren't we all). But if we want to
understand when the Bakhtiari took their major role in Persian history
we only have to go ck to March 24 of 1728. Nadir Shah the
Afshari Khan of Northeast Khorrasan had driven the army of
Hussain Hotaki out of the former Safavid Persia with the
exception of Kandahar. The city was a Durrani Pashtun stronghold and of
course the Hotaki clan was the elite clan of the Western Pashtun
Nadir Shah was in a jam because he was stuck in present day
southern Afghanistan while he had enemies to the west in what is now
Iran. The siege of Kandahar started in April of 1737 and by March
of 1738 knew he had to break the siege. He came up with a
plan for an assault of his 3,000 fiercest troops. These troops were
Bakhtiari and they breached the city walls and were able to turn the
cannon on the citadel where Hussain Hotaki and his court were holed up.
Deraki leader Ali Saleh Khan was given a Farman which is to say that
along with money and power the Shah Nadir Shah recognized them as the
authority in their region. This recognition increased the power and
prestige of the Bakhtiari as a major tribal confederation.
an imprecise term in this case. The Bakhtiari used the Mongol word IL
to indicate the whole Confederation. Ali Saleh Khan was the first
Bakhtiari Khan. So after him there were many khans but there was one IL
Khan at a time. Of course their was also an IL-Begi but I have not
figured out exactly what his role was. After the Il were the Taifeh or
Tribes. For example the Deraki were an Taifeh of the Bakhtiari IL
The land owned by the Shah was called Khorlasey and the land owned by the village was called Urbabi
Woman in Chahar Mahal Bakhtiari Province
Photo: Iran Daily
Deraki tribe increased their overall control of
the Bakhtiari confederation in the late 19th century and held control
through the middle of the 20th century. Unlike the Kashqai where
Khan and the Il-Khan were loved and respected the Bakhtiari
Khans were hated and feared. I see a contributing factor was the role
the British. In 1908 oil was discovered in Masjed Soleyman County
of Khuzestan Province in Khajar Persia. The British grabbed the
oil and this was the start of The Anglo-Persian Oil Company (APOC)
later the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (AIOC). Which we know today as
BP or British Petroleum.
British could control the fragile Khajar monarchy and later to a lesser
extent the Pahlavi Monarchy but APOC was opperating in bandit country.
The easiest answer was to buy off the biggest bandits. At this point the
APOC began cash payments to the Deraki Khan. Up until this point the
Bakhtiari were in a continual series of border skirmishes with the
Qashqai. The leader who could manage the warfare had an advantage in
controlling the tribal confederation. But with a huge influx of British
cash the khans moved to mansions in the capitol where managing the
tribe for the British was far more important then raiding the Qashqai
for sheep or to avenge some slight. Add to this the Tribal subjugation
policy of Reza Shah the founder of the Pahlavid Dynasty. While not as
brutally cruel as his dictatorial son Mohammad Reza Shah he had a
policy of using a standing army to disarm the tribes and force them to
settle. in villages. Prior to the Pahlavid dynasty (1925 - 1979)
the Khajar shahs had a very small standing army and drew on tribal
levys for troops, So up until that time the Bakhtiari where an
important component of the army.
Local people perform traditional music at a feast
in Chaharmahal Bakhtiari province
Photo by Mohsen Shahmazdar
|The Bakhtiari have a distinctive culture. The are
both very Persian and very Bakhtiari at the same time.
The Bakhtiari are a sizable
population in Khuzestan province.
Water channels in Shushtar Khuzestan province
Photo: Iran Daily
River and bridge in Shahr e Kord Chaharmahal
Photo: Iran Daily
A tribes man standing near a stone lion in
Aligoudarz, Lorestan province (Fars Photo)Photo: Iran Daily
Barry O'Connell 2004 - 2014
October 05, 2009.