ĀQ EVLĪ, a small Turkic tribe of Fārs. According to legend, the ancestors of the present-day Āq Evlīs were forced to migrate from Azerbaijan to Khorasan in Safavid times. One of the leaders of the tribe, Moḥammad-Ḥosayn Beg, served Nāder Shah Afšār (r. 1148-60/1736-47) with distinction in India and was allegedly instrumental in enabling him to cross the Indus river. As a reward, he was allowed to live in a white tent, an honor reserved only for the ruler and his principal commanders. This accounts for the name Āq Evlī, which the tribe then assumed. When later Nāder Shah launched a punitive expedition against the Baḵtīārīs and the Boir Aḥmadīs [q.v.], he brought along some Āq Evlī fighting men. Alter the campaign, these settled down in Fārs, but, being too poor to purchase flocks, they did not resume their nomadic existence. Instead, they chose to reside in Shiraz where, in time, they became merchants and shopkeepers (cf. P. Oberling, The Turkic Peoples of Southern Iran, New York, 1964, pp. 66-69). In the late 1800s, Fasāʾī estimated their (Āḡ Ūḡlī) number at seventy or eighty households. He also claimed that they have produced many famous lawyers and theologians (II, p. 109). In 1336 Š./1957, most of them still resided in the Maḥalla-ye Āq Evlī in Shiraz and spoke a Ghuz Turkic dialect. Their tīras (clans) were: Pūlādlū, Jonūdlū, Ḡorāllār, Zangena and Bayāt (cf. Oberling, op. cit., p. 68). Āqā Moḥammad Khan Qāǰār (r. 1193-1212/1779-97) brought five of the leaders of the Āq Evlīs of Shiraz and their families to Tehran, apparently as hostages. Under later Qajar rulers, these Āq Evlīs became very prosperous and produced several prominent personalities (cf. Oberling, ibid., p. 66).
Bibliography: Given in the text.
Originally Published: December 15, 1986
Last Updated: August 5, 2011
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Vol. II, Fasc. 2, p. 163