KANGARLU (variants are Kungurlu, Kengerlü), a tribe in Azerbaijan and the Qom-Verāmin region of central Iran. Kangar was the name of a branch of the Pečenegs (Pers. Bjnāk, Bjānāk; cf. Rásonyi, p. 131). Yet there does not seem to have been any link between them and the Kangarlu tribe of Iran (Togan, p. 100) who first came to prominence as a clan of the powerful Ostājlu tribe of the Qezelbāš tribal confederacy (Reid, pp. 114-21, 196-97).

Several important Safavid leaders belonged to the Kangarlu. Aḥmad Solṭān Kangarlu was governor of Šahrivār and Verāmin in 1526-27 (Barqué-Grammont, p. 98). Ṣadr-al-Din Khan, who was governor of Astarābād in the 1530s and 1540s, helped repulse two Uzbek invasions (Eskandar Monši, pp. 105-107, 138). Another Kangarlu leader who fought against the Uzbeks was Moṣṭafā Beg Kangarlu, the governor of Tun and Ṭabas in the early 1590s. For two years, his small force of Ostājlu warriors bravely resisted an Uzbek onslaught, until, in 1593-94, he was finally captured and executed (Eskandar Monši, pp. 455-56, 488-90). Eskandar Beg Torkamān Monši (b. ca. 1560-61; d. ca. 1633) included Maqṣud Sultan Kangarlu (p. 1085) into his list of the great commanders during the reign of Shah ʿAbbās I (r. 1588-1629). Shortly after the Safavid capture of Erevan in June 1604, Maqṣud Sultan was appointed governor of Nakhijevan (Naḵjavān), north of the river Aras (see ARAXES). Later that year, when Ottoman forces threatened the area, Shah ʿAbbās I ordered Maqṣud Sultan to evcuate the entire population of the province, including the Armenians of Julfa, to Qarāja Dāḡ (Arasbārān) and Dezmār (Eskandar Monši, pp. 656, 668). In the following year, the Armenians were deported to Isfahan (see JULFA).

Many Kangarlu settled north of the river Aras, probably in around 1500, when the Ostājlu moved into Azerbaijan.  At the beginning of the 19th century, J. M. Jouannin, described these Kangarlu as “a small tribe established in Persian Armenia, on the shores of the Aras, and numbering up to four or five thousand individuals” (Dupré, II, p. 459). In 1921, M. H. Valili Baharlu (pp. 61ff.) wrote that there were Kangarlu around Gökčāy, Javānšir and Šušā. Many of these are undoubtedly the descendants of Kangarlu who were forced to move south of the Aras river by Shah ʿAbbās I in 1604, and were then allowed to return to their original grazing grounds, when Shah ʿAbbās II (r. 1642-66) attempted to repopulate the frontier regions of his realm.

Today, there is a clan of the Ḥāji ʿAlilu tribe of Qarāja Dāḡ by the name of Kangarlu. In 1960, it comprised some 25 households. A village by the name of Kangarlu is located 24 km to the north of Mešginšahr, in the same area (Razmārā, Farhang IV, p. 429). The inhabitants are probably the descendants of Kangarlu who were moved to Qarāja Dāḡ in 1604 and remained there. Some Kangarlu also settled in western Azerbaijan. One group, which was mentioned by Maftun Donbuli (p. 253) and Valili Baharlu (p. 61), lived between Selmās and Ḵoy, where there is still a village by the name of Kangarlu (Razmārā, Farhang IV, p. 429). Another group apparently lived to the east of Bostānābād, one-third of the way between Tabriz and Miāna, for there is also a village by the name of Kangarlu (ibid). It is uncertain when these two groups moved to western Azerbaijan.

Finally, there is a group of Kangarlu in the Qom-Verāmin region in central Iran. According to Jouannin (Dupré, II, p. 460), it comprised some 1,000 individuals in 1809. In 1849, M. L. Sheil reported about a group of Kangarlu, living with a group of Arabs of Damāvand and a group of Qarā Čorlu in 1,000 “tents and houses” (p. 397). But S. I. Bruk (1960b, p. 32) estimated in the late 1950s that the Kangarlu comprised 30,000 individuals—a figure which seems somewhat excessive. It is possible that these Kangarlu have been in that region since Aḥmad Sultan was its governor in the 1520s.



Jean-Louis Bacqué-Grammont, “Une liste d’émirs ostaǧlus révoltés en 1526,” Stud. Ir. 5, 1976, pp. 91-114.

Solomon I. Bruk et al., Narodny peredneĭ Azii (Peoples of Hither Asia), Moscow, 1960a; map.

Idem, Naselenie peredneĭ Azii: Prilozhenie k karte narodov (Population of Hither Asia: Supplement to the map of the peoples), Moscow, 1960b.

Adrien Dupré, Voyage en Perse, fait dans les années 1807, 1808 et 1809, en traversant la Natolie et la Mésopotamie, depuis Constantinople jusqu’à l’extremié du golfe persique, et de la à Irèwan, 2 vols., Paris, 1819, esp. the list of tribes in vol. II by Joseph Marie Jouannin (1783-1844).

ʿAbd-al-Razzāq Maftun Donbuli, Dynasty of the Kajars: To Which is Prefixed, a Succinct Account of the History of Persia, Previous to that Period, tr. Harford Jones Brydges, London, 1833.

Eskandar Monši, Tāriḵ-e ʿālamrārā-ye ʿabbāsi, ed. I. Afshar, 2 vols., Tehran, 1955-56.

László Rásonyi, Tarihte türklük, Ankara, 1971.

James J. Reid, Tribalism and Society in Islamic Iran, 1500-1629, Malibu, Calif., 1983.

Mary Leonora Sheil, Glimpses of Life and Manners in Persia, London, 1856.

Zeki V. Togan, “Azerbaycan,” in İA II, 1970, pp. 91-118 (in Republican Turkish).

Muhammad Hasan Valili Baharlu, Azerbaijan: Joghrafi, tabii, etnografik va iqtisadî mulahizat, Baku, 1921; in Azeri.


Originally Published: December 15, 2010

Last Updated: April 20, 2012

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Vol. XV, Fasc. 5, p. 495