JALĀLI, a Kurdish tribe of eastern Anatolia and northwestern Persia. Basile Nikitine (p. 162) believed that the Jalāli were Kurdicized Armenians. An Armenian connection was also suggested by Moritz Wagner (II, p. 232). The Jalāli of Anatolia have settled down in the vicinity of Diyadin, west of Dogu Beyazit (Blau, 1862, p. 609). According to Nikitine, their clans (tiras) are (his spelling): Kotanli, Soranli, Saganli, Hassananli, Ketchananli, Doutkanli, Kapdekanli and Djinankanli (p. 162). The Jalāli of Persia have settled down around Māku in Azerbaijan. According to Ḥosayn-ʿAli Razmārā (Farhang IV), they occupy fifteen villages in the rural district (dehestān) of Sārisubāsār (northeast of Māku), four villages in the district of Qalʿa Daresi (south of Māku), four villages in the district of Aras-kenār (along the Aras river), two villages in the district of Čāybāsār (east of Māku), and two villages in the district of Āvājiq (west of Māku). According to Komisiun-e melli (I, p. 118), their clans are: Ḵalikānlu, Ḥasuḵalaf, ʿAli Maḥvolu, Miṣrkānlu, Eṭāblu, Qezelbāš, Sākān, Balḵkānlu, Jenikānlu, and Qandkānlu (I, p. 118).

The Jalāli on both sides of the Ottoman-Persian border regularly raided caravans along the main road from Erzurum to Tabriz which, as today, passed through Dogu Beyazit and Māku (Blau, 1858, pp. 586-87). When the Russian offensive into eastern Anatolia was launched in 1915, the Jalāli of Diyadin took refuge on Mount Ararat (q.v.), where they sustained a prolonged siege until they were finally rescued by Ottoman forces in 1918 (Arfa, p. 40). After the war, a substantial number of the Jalāli of Diyadin moved to Persia (Eagleton, p. 17). On 30 June 1930, the Jalāli on both sides of the border revolted. They were soon joined by several other Kurdish tribes and occupied Morādiya and Čālderān. This led to a prolonged and widespread Kurdish uprising, which required the combined efforts of Turkish and Persian troops to subdue. Once more, many Jalāli sought refuge on the slopes of Mount Ararat, but this time they were not able to resist for long, owing to the effective use of aircraft by the Turkish Army (Arfa, pp. 39-42). As a result of this rebellion, Reza Shah Pahlavi (r. 1925-41) issued a farmān ordering the entire Jalāli tribe of Māku to move to an area between Tehran, Hamadān and Varāmin in central Persia. After Reza Shah’s abdication in September 1941, the Jalāli returned to their ancestral grazing grounds (Komisiun-e melli, I, p. 185). During World War II, the Jalāli of Māku established cordial relations with Soviet authorities (Douglas, p. 70), and, in 1946, they contributed (together with the Milān tribe) a force of 400 mounted warriors to the insurgent Kurdish leader Qāżi Moḥammad (Eagleton, p. 91). Since then, most of the Jalāli on both sides of the border have become sedentary.

The population of the Jalāli tribe of Māku was estimated at 5,000 families by Otto Blau (1858, p. 586), and 25,000 individuals by William Eagleton (p. 17). The Jalāli are Sunnis of the Shafiʿite denomination (Maškur, p. 185).

There is also a small group of Jalāli Kurds in the Jānaki Garmsir, north of Ahvāz (Qāʾem-maqāmi, pp. 66-69). But it is not known whether or not they are related to the Jalāli of Māku.



Iraj Afšār Sistāni, Ilhā, čadornešinān wa ṭawāyef-e ʿašāyeri-e Irān, 2 vols., Tehran, 1987, pp. 148 ff.

Hassan Arfa, The Kurds: An Historical and Political Study, London, 1966.

Otto Blau, “Die Stämme des nordöstlichen Kurdistan,” ZDMG 12, 1858, pp. 584-98.

Idem, “Nachrichten über kurdische Stämme,” ZDMG 16, 1862, pp. 607-27.

William Orville Douglas, Strange Lands and Friendly People, New York, 1951. William Eagleton, The Kurdish Republic of 1946, London, 1963.

Komisiun-e melli-e Yunesko (UNESCO) dar Iran, Irānšahr, 2 vols., Tehran, 1963-65.

Moḥammad-Jawād Maškur, Naẓar-i ba tāriḵ-e Āḏarbāyjān, Tehran, 1971, pp. 185-88.

Basile Nikitine, Les Kurdes: étude sociologique et historique, Paris, 1956; tr. Moḥammad Qāżi as Kord wa Kordestān: barrasi az naẓar-e jāmeʿa-šenāsi wa tāriḵ, Tehran, 1999.

Jahāngir Qāʾem-maqāmi, “ʿAšāyer-e Ḵuzestān: Jalāli,” Yādgār 3/10, 1947, pp. 26-37.

Friedrich Spiegel, Eranische Altertumskunde, 3 vols., Leipzig, 1871-78; repr. Amsterdam, 1971, I, pp. 755-57.

Moritz Wagner, Reise nach Persien and dem Lande der Kurden, 2 vols., Leipzig, 1852.

(Pierre Oberling)

Originally Published: December 15, 2008

Last Updated: April 10, 2012

This article is available in print.
Vol. XIV, Fasc. 4, pp. 411-412