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Soran (Kurdish: سۆران), (also written "Suran"), was a Kurdish emirate that was established in 1399. It proclaimed independence in 1816.[1] It ruled over the northeastern part of Iraqi Kurdistan until it was removed by Ottoman troops in 1835. Its capital for most of that time was the city of Rawanduz.

Prior to proclaiming independence, it was an autonomous emirate within wilayet of Sharazur. In sources from the Sassanid era as well as the early Islamic period, the villages in the neighbourhood of Mosul east of the Tigris are referred to as Ba Soren (Syriac: Beith Soren) literally land of Soren. This name seems to be related to the Arian clan of Soren, who during reign of Yazdgird of Persia, ruled what is today known as Iraqi Kurdistan.

The name of the founder of Soran Emirate is said to be Kulos; and it was among few emirates which had a female ruler named Khanzad. It is also said that Soran rulers were originally Armenian noble families who fleed Eastern Turkey and converted to Islam in Iraqi -Kurdistan. Moreover, the hairs of Khanzad are called Bagzada who live mainly in a small town called Shaqlawa north of Erbil city, others who live in different parts of Kurdistan and carry the same surname are relatives of the Soran Rulers; such us Bagzada's who live in Duhok, Sulaymaniyah, North Erbil, and Koya.

In the 1530s, when Suleiman the Magnificent captured Baghdad, he executed the Emir of Soran and installed a Yesidi, Hussein Beg as governor of Arbil. However, a cousin of the Emirs managed to retake Arbil while Beg was absent. Beg was summoned back to Istanbul and executed. However, shortly afterwards, the Sorans submitted to Ottoman rule and served as a client faction. [2]

Mir Muhammad replaced his father as the ruler of Soran in 1814. He set about ruthlessly eliminating potential opponents, including his uncles and their sons. He then proceeded to subdue the surrounding tribes, killing any chiefs who would not submit to his rule. He seized the town of Harir, the former capital of Soran, and then, in 1823, Koy Sanjaq, going on to capture Erbil. In his campaigns he massacres a large number of Yazidis. Concerned at what Mir Muhammad might do next, the Governor of Baghdad invested him as a Pasha. In 1834 the Ottomans sent Rachid Muhammad Pasha to restore their authority. He was joined by forces from Mosul and Baghdad. Mir Muhammad accepted an offer of safe conduct to Istanbul, led to believe that he would be reinstated by the Ottomans, but on his return he disappeared and is widely believed to have been murdered by an Imam calle 'Malay Qaty'who hated and rallied many people against Soran rulers for their Armenian - Christian origins. A very famous woman beside Khanzad is Amber, called Ambar-Khatun, by locals who built Shaqlawa's castle and mosque as symbols of the existence of her Soran Ruler fathers called Bagzada. [3]

The Kurdish dialect Southern Kurmanji, which is commonly known in Iraq and Iran as Sorani, was named after this emirate. The present-day region of Soran (at the Rawanduz district) in Iraqi Kurdistan was named after this Emirate.

List of rulers

Soran had 24 rulers among whom are:

  • ? - ? Kulos
  • ? - ? Khanzad
  • 1825 - 1835 Mohammed Pasha Mir Kôr[4]




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