Azerbaijan and Aran (Caucasian Albania)

SKU: ISBN 9781908755186 Category:



“Today few are aware that this part of the Turkish-speaking Caucasus in the past had a name other than Azerbaijan. Naming this region of the Caucasus ‘Azerbaijan’ led to the view that Azerbaijan is a country divided into two: one part in the north and the other half south of the Araxes River. First in the Caucasus and then later too in Iran, writers and poets began to elegise, yearn, and lament the ‘division’ of the country into two – and soon expressions of ‘Northern Azerbaijan’ (i.e. the Turkic-speaking region of the Caucasus) and ‘Southern Azerbaijan’ (the real, historical Azerbaijan) began to appear. A number of Soviet historians and writers began using these false and misleading names in their books and articles to such an extent that our younger generation is now completely misinformed and unaware of the real facts and events.”

Iran’s late Qajar period saw the major loss of territories in the northeast to Russia during the 19th century, including the region to the north of the Arax River historically known as Aran (Caucasian Albania) and later as Shirvan. In the upheavals that led to the establishment of the Soviet Union in the early 20th century, revolutionaries in Shirvan set up the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic in 1918, which later became the Republic of Azerbaijan. This adoption has continued to be a provocative one for the historical bearer of the name, the province of Azerbaijan in Iran.

The prominent Iranian historian Enayatollah Reza (1920–2010) extensively researched the historical geography of Iran and the Caucasus. Here he provides a clear picture of the boundaries ancient and modern of the two territories of Azerbaijan to the south and Aran to the north of the Arax River. In the process he documents the advent of the Turks on the world stage and their migration into Azerbaijan, the Caucasus and Anatolia.

A chapter in the book discusses the cultural character of these lands at the time of the arrival of the Turks, followed by a response to the Pan-Turkist historians in Turkey and Azerbaijan who claim that the Turkish ethnic element was present in these territories before any others. Other topics in the book include a discussion of the arrival and incorporation of the Turkish language in the Iranian province of Azerbaijan and the Aryan roots of the people there upon whom Turkish was imposed.

– 176 pages / hardback / illustrated with 14 colour maps / 234mm x 156mm

Published by Bennett & Bloom, 2014


Note on the translation
Editor’s acknowledgements
Motives behind the writing of this study
Introduction to the first edition
Two clarifications to the new edition
1. The names of Azerbaijan and Aran (Caucasian Albania) in ancient times
2. Changes over history in the names for Caucasian Albania
3. Geographical boundaries of Caucasian Albania and Azerbaijan
4. Views of Pan-Turkists concerning the Turks
5. Ethnicity and language of the people of Caucasian Albania
6. Ethnicity and language of the people of Azerbaijan
7. Migration of the Turks and spread of the Turkish language in Azerbaijan
8. How Aran came to be named Azerbaijan
Enayatollah Reza (1920-2010)
About the translator/editor
Enayatollah Reza: A bibliography

List of maps:
1. Qarachedaghi: ‘Map of Iran’, 1869.
1a. Detail from Map 1.
2. Köhler: ‘The Historical Scene a few Centuries after the Birth
of Christ’, 1719.
2a. Detail from Map 2.
3. Hewsen: ‘The Kingdom of Caucasian Albania or Caspian
Albania (Aluank)’.
4. K. Spruner: ‘Map of Asia during the Fifth Century’, 1848.
5. Ptolemy: ‘Colchis, Iberia, Albania and Greater Armenia’.
6. Ibn Hawqal: ‘Map of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Aran’, tenth ­century.
7. al-Istakhri: ‘Map of Armenia, Aran and Azerbaijan’, tenth century.
8. al-Muqaddasi: ‘Map of Armenia, Aran and Azerbaijan’, ca. 985 CE.
9. al-Idrisi: ‘Map of the South Caucasus’, 1154 CE.
10. Senex: ‘A New Map of the Caspian Sea and Countries Adjacent’, 1742.
10a. Detail from Map 10.
11. The Ottoman vilayets in Asia, from the map of Kurdistan, 1893.