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History

Bakhtiari history, stretching back to the fourteenth century, and the 200-year leadership role of Duraki khans within it tantalize the social historian of Iran. There is great temptation to assume that the extraordinary continuity in the name Bakhtiari can also be found in Bakhtiari political, economic, and social organization. (Khans and Shahs, A documentary analysis of the Bakhtiari in Iran by Gene R. Garthwaite)

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This is from the book by W.Morgan Shuster and in it he talks about the Bakhtiari's as part of the forces who fought for the restoration of the constitution.

The Strangling of Persia; W.Morgan Shuster
At this juncture the Russian Legation again intervened by sending a threatening communication to Sipahdar, demanding, in effect, the cessation of his march on Teheran.
On June 16 the Bakhtiari forces, composed of about 800 men, actually started for Teheran, and shortly thereafter they were in communication with the Nationalists at Kasvin. Both the British and Russian Legations exhausted every effort to deter the Bakhtiari leaders from their purpose, but without success. On June 23 the advance guard of this force had reached Qum, eighty miles to the south of Teheran.
In Spite of repeated threats from the Legations the Sarda-i-Asad announced that he had certain demands to make on the Shah, and the advance continued. Still endeavoring to frighten the Nationalist forces, the Russian Government began to assemble an expeditionary army at Baku to be sent into Northern Persia.
At this time the Shah's troops were reported to be some 5000 at Saltanatabad and 1350 soldiers of the Cossack Brigade, of whom 800 under Colonel Liakhoff were at Teheran, 350 to the north of the capital, and 200 to the south, awaiting the approach of the Bakhtiaris. On July 3, the force at Karaj fell back to Shahabad, only 16 miles from Teheran, and on the next day a skirmish between this body and the advancing Nationalists took place. The Persian Cossacks, under Captain Zapolski, with Russian non-commissioned officers and three guns, lost on Persian officer, three men killed and two wounded. The Nationalists lost twelve.
Meanwhile, Russia was dispatching her troops from Baku and by July 8 some 2000 of them were on Persian soil. On July 11 they had reached Kasvin. The Legation had also warned the Nationalists that any further advance by them towards the capital would be followed by foreign intervention.
Further endeavors to frighten or persuade the Nationalist leaders were made, but without effect.
On July 10 an engagement took place between troops of the Cossak Brigade and the Bakhtiaris at Badamak, fifteen miles to west of Teheran, but the result was indecisive. Skirmishing continued for the next two days, and on July 13 the two Nationalist forces, to the utter surprise of the Cossack Brigade and Royalist troops, slipped through their lines and quietly entered Teheran at 6:30 in the morning. The skill of the maneuver was undoubtedly due to Ephraim Khan, the Armenian leader who has been mentioned heretofore.
There was street fighting in Teheran during the entire day. The people received the Nationalist forces with the greatest enthusiasm, and July 13 was regarded as the day of their salvation. On the next day the Cossack Brigade, under Colonel Liakhoff, was still besieged in its barracks and square in the center of the city, and the Russian Colonel wrote to the Sipah-dar, as head of the Nationalist forces, proposing terms for the surrender of the Brigade. The Nationalist troops behaved themselves throughout with the utmost discretion and gallantry. On July 15 they were in full possession of the capital, although the Cossack Brigade still held the central square.
On July 16 at 8:30 A.M. the Shah, with a large body of his soldiers and attendants, took refuge in the Russian Legation in Zargundeh, some miles outside the city, and thus abdicated his throne. He had previously obtained the consent of the Legation to his doing this. Both Russian and British flags were hoisted over the Russian Minister's home as soon as it was occupied by the Shah. In the meantime Colonel Liakhoff had practically surrendered to the Nationalist leaders, and had formally accepted server under the new Government, agreeing to act under the direct orders of the Minister of War.
Late this same evening an extraordinary meeting took place at the Baharistan grounds, and the Shah was formally deposed. His son, Sultan Ahmed Mirza, aged twelve, was proclaimed his successor, and Azudu'l-Milk, the venerable head of the Qajar family, was declared Regent.
Thus, on July 16, 1909, the apparently lost cause of constitutionalism in Persia had been suddenly revived, and by a display of courage, patriotism and skill by the soldiers of the people, their hopes for a representative government had been restored, almost over-night.

In tracing the origins and history of the Lori-speaking Bakhtiari and the peoples of the central Zagros region we come upon the difficulties of an inadequate literary evidence to serve as a sequence and record of millennia of history in this elevated region.
Thus we are obliged to gather information from a number of sources in order to to get evidence on who the Bakhtiari are, how they live and if possible from where they come. In this search archaeology, linguistics, mythology and a host of other cultural sciences are better needed to study the history of the Bakhtiari or in fact any living ancient peoples.
The Bakhtiari do not figure in ancient records and there is only a passing mention of them in medieval accounts. From the eighteenth century there is increasing notice of them, in particular nineteenth-century European travelers and emissaries report on the Bakhtiari, somewhat filling the gaps left by the lack of scientific evidence with their own peculiar romanticism.
"Bakhtiari" itself means bearer,or friend, of luck or good fortune, it is posited that the name "Bakhtiari" became associated with these pastoral nomads from some time in the Safavid period (1501-1722). Further it is possible that some leader was known as 'friend of good fortune' and his followers were identified with him and his name.

The roots of the Bakhtiari may be partly revealed through a number of legends:
The Bakhtiari arrived from Syria. This legend is given some substance by the 14th century source Tarikh Guzidah(Select History.
Another states: "The tribes of Louristan trace their origin to the most remote antiquity; but say that their ancestors intermarried with several Turkish hoards which they had invited from Syria to settle amongst them.

A more mythical piece of folk-history is the legend that the Bakhtiari are descendents of the men who were allowed to escape the fate of having their brains fed to the serpents growing from the shoulders of Zahak-e Mar-Dush, whose legend may be read in Firdausi's "Shah-Nameh" (Book of Kings).

Iron Age Materials from Gandomkar Tomb Group

A cache of objects, including a series of vessels and metal objects were stored in the Shahr-e Kord Gendarmerie station in 1978. These objects were reportedly recently found in a grave in Gandomkar. I was allowed to photograph and draw the objects. Unfortunately, I was unable to gain access to a stamp seal; with a gazelle or goat's head handle, which I was able to view only briefly. This cache manifests very close similarities to so-called Loristan grave materials, which are common in the Pish-e Kuh, but are rarely found in the Bakhtiari area section of Loristan (published in Zagarell 1982). Suggested date Iron Age III.


This small vessel (ca. 9.5cm) was one of the objects reportedly discovered in a grave cache in the vicinity of Gandomkar. This vessel is gray in paste and surface color.


A red-ochre slipped and black-painted vessel from the Gandomkar cache.


Small finds from the Gandomkar cache. The objects include a section of a bronze bowl and a bracelet or foot ring. Other objects not pictured included silver and bronze vessels, silver beads, iron swords and arrow heads.

Late Chalcolithic Materials/The Site of Sharak:


All heights and distances in meters


Sharak as seen from northeast

This small, multi-period site in the center of the Shahr-e Kord plain contained large amounts of lower Mesopotamian pottery (bevel-rim bowls, crude trays and lugged vessels) as well as vessels typical of the Central Plateau (Sialk III 6-7b related). Both groups appear to be intrusions within the Bakhtiari region and may represent serial attempts at outposts on a major route connecting the Central Plateau and Khuzestan. Note that this suggests that the Sialk-related attempt precedes the Mesopotamian intrusion.

Late Sialk III-like materials