QIZILBASH People: Afshars & Shahsevans & Qashqais


The Afshar tribes of Iran are two distinct Turkic-speaking ethnic groups. The larger group is concentrated in the north of the country, and the smaller in the south. The Turkic dialect spoken by the Afshar of the north is closely related to the Azerbaijan Turkic language, while the dialect spoken by the southern Afshar is more closely related to the Qashqai language.

Having arrived in Iran in two waves under the Seljuks and the Mongols in 11th and 13th centuries, respectively, Afshars are pastoral nomads. They have their summer quarters on the slopes of the Sabalan mountain at 4, 860 meters (Azarbaijan), between Lake Orumieh and Qazvin and Hamadan, and their winter quarters are in the hot plains of Moghan, near the Caspian Coast. Some Afshar tribes are also scattered in areas between Kerman and Bandar-e Abbas in southern Iran. Today, an ever-increasing number of Afshars have settled down and became farmers.

Living in the northeastern Azarbaijan province, Shahsevans (renamed II Sevan after the victory of Islamic Revolution) were organized by Shah Abbas I in the 17th century as a militia from tribes of diverse origin. Mainly Turkish speaking, they were used to put down rebellions of other tribes. They were divided between Iranian Azarbaijan and the Russian or former Soviet Azarbaijan after the occupation of part of our country by the aggressive Russian forces during the Qajar Ka’ab. Tamim and Khamis. A small population of Arab tribes, descendants of early emigrants, lives in eastern Khorassan near Bojnurd and in some places in Fars.

Qashqai /qash qa: ee/ (also spelled Ghashghai, Kashgai, Qashqay and Qashqa’i) are a Turkic people living in Iran. Qashqais mainly live in the provinces of Fars, Khuzestan and southern Isfahan, but especially around the city of Shiraz in Fars.

The Qashqai were originally nomadic pastoralists and some remain so today. The traditional nomadic Qashqai travelled with their flocks each year from the summer highland pastures north of Shiraz roughly 480 km or 300 mi south to the winter pastures on lower (and warmer) lands near the Persian Gulf, to the southwest of Shiraz. The majority, however, have now settled, or are partially settled. The trend towards settlement has been increasing markedly since the 1960s.

QIZILBASH People: Afshars & Shahsevans & Qashqais

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