ʿABBĀSĀBĀD, fortress built in 1810 by ʿAbbās Mīrzā on the northern bank of the Araxes river. Erected at a place formerly called Yazdābād about six miles to the southwest of Naḵjavān city, the fortress commanded the passage of the Araxes and was of special strategic importance for the defense of the Naḵjavān khanate. It was initially constructed on a European model, from plans furnished by Captain Lamie, a French engineer attached to the mission of General Gardane, and was later improved by Captain William Monteith of the Madras Engineers (Porter, II, p. 616; Public Records Office, Kew, U.K., F. O. 60/14, Plan of the fortress of Abbasabad by W. Monteith). A visitor in 1814, however, remarked that the heaviest stones were placed at the top so that every year portions of the wall collapsed; and an Armenian church in the center of the complex had been converted into a gunpowder magazine (Morier, Second Journey, p. 311). Structures were added to the outer reaches of the fortress, compromising its defenses, and earthquakes further damaged the fortifications (Atkin, p. 127).
During the second Russian-Persian war ʿAbbāsābād was betrayed into the hands of the Russians. In 1827 ʿAbbās Mīrzā entrusted the fortress to Eḥsān Khan Kangarlu, of a local family of dubious loyalty to the Qajars. Moḥammad Amīn Khan Develu Qājār, a brother-in-law of ʿAbbās Mīrzā, and the Bakhtiāri chief ʿAbbās Khan were sent to his support. After the Russians suffered heavy losses in an attempt to take the fortress by escalade on July 14, they mounted a siege. Eḥsān Khan secretly contacted the Russian commander-in-chief, General Paskevich, and opened the gates to him on 27 Ḏu’l-ḥejja 1242/22 July 1827 (Jµahāngir Mīrzā, pp. 72-73, 81-82; Sepehr, XIX pt. 1, pp. 374-75). With the fall of ʿAbbāsābād, Naḵjavān became a Russian province; Eḥsān Khan was rewarded with the governorship.
Bibliography (for cited works not given in detail, see “Short References”):
Muriel Atkin, Russia and Iran, 1780-1828, Minneapolis, Minn., 1980.
John F. Baddeley, The Russian Conquest of the Caucasus, London, 1908, repr. New York, 1969, pp. 165-66.
George A. Bournoutian, Eastern Armenia in the Last Decades of Persian rule 1807-1828, Malibu, 1902, pp. 15, 20.
Eʿtemād-al-Salṭana, Montaẓem-e nāṣeri, ed. Reżwāni, III, p. 1575. Hedāyat, Rawżat al-ṣafā IX, pp. 663-65.
Jµahāngir Mīrzā, Tārīḵ-e naw, ed. ʿAbbās Eqbāl, Tehran 1327 Š./1948.
William Monteith, Kars and Erzurum, with the Campaigns of Prince Paskievitch in 1828 and 1829, London, 1856, pp. 81, 134-35.
Robert Ker Porter, Travels in Georgia, Persia, Armenia, ancient Babylonia etc. during the years 1817, 1818, 1819 and 1820, 2 vols., London 1822.
Moḥammad-Ṭaqi Sepehr (Lesān-al-Molk), Nāseḵ al-tawāriḵ: Tāriḵ-e Qājāriya, ed. M.-Bāqer Behbudi, 19 vols., Tehran, 1351-53 Š./1972-74.
Originally Published: December 15, 1982
Last Updated: July 13, 2011
This article is available in print.
Vol. I, Fasc. 1, pp. 85-86
Kamran Ekbal, “ʿABBĀSĀBĀD,” Encyclopædia Iranica, I/1, pp. 85-86; an updated version is available online at http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/abbasabad-fortress(accessed on 12 January 2014).