Ardalan or (Erdelan) (1169-1867) was the name of a vassaldom in north-western Persia (Iran) during Qajar period.

Ardalan vassaldom was established in an area encompassing present day Iranian province of Kordestan from medieval period up to mid 19th century. Ardalan is also the name of the ruling family of that vassaldom. Their center was in the city of Sanandaj (or Sanandaj or Senna). Ardalan was mainly composed of the Kurdish tribe of Ardalan of present day north-western Iran, now dispersed in and around the city of Sanandaj. The ruling family of this tribe claimed descent from Medes.


According to Sharaf al-Din Bitlisi, the renowned Kurdish historian, the earliest known leader of the tribe, Bawa Ardalan, was a descendant of "Ahmad b. Marwan", who ruled in Diyarbakır. He settled down among the Gorans in Kurdistan and toward the end of the Mongol period took over the Şare Zur, where he established himself as an absolute ruler.It is not known when the Ardalans established themselves in Sinne, but it was probably in the 14th century.The territories of Zardiawa (Karadagh), Khanaqin, Kirkuk, and Kifri, which were already the homelands of the Goran-Kurds, all belonged to this principality. The capital city of the principality was first in shahrassur, but was moved to Sinne later on.The Ardalan state was completely independent until it was incorporated into Safavid Empire as a semi-autonomous frontier province. During the Safavid period, the Ardalans were deeply involved in the struggles between the Iranian and Ottoman empires and, whenever it suited them, they shifted their allegiance to the Ottoman state.Ardalans reigned from Safavid period to mid nineteenth century. The Qajar monarch Nasser-al-Din Shah(1848-1896) was determined to undermine the power and influence of Ardalans. He first interfered in the affairs of the province in 1851. Then in 1867, he terminated Ardalan's special status as a semi-autonomous frontier province and named his own uncle, Farhad Mirza Mo'tamad-al-Dawla, as the governor of what has become simply the province of Kurdistan, thus putting an end to the Ardalan Dynasty.In 1941, the Ardalans participated in the first Kurdish revolt in Iran during the World War II. However, they were not involved in the establishment of the Republic of Mahabad in 1946, and the territory of that short-lived autonomic state did not include Sinne.

Gorani Culture in Ardalan

Because the official religion of Ardalan principality was Yarsan (Kakayi or Ahl-e Haqq, or 'People of the Spirit'), and because this religion was tied to the Gorani (Hewrami) dialect, which is an Iranian language from Zaza-Gorani branch, this language came to be used for poetry, next to Persian, in Ardalan principality.

Via the Yarsan religious teachings, the Gorani language was spread intensively, especially among the poor segments of the population. ln addition, many of the intellectual Kurds living outside the Gorani dialect territories adopted next to Persian, also Gorani for their poetry. The most famous poets of the Yarsan down through the centuries wrote solely in Gorani language. These include Baba Yadegar(born in Sharazour in the eighth century), Yal-Bagi Jaff (1493-1554), and Khan Almas Khani Kandoolei (1662-1728).Many other famous Kurdish-Muslim poets have, down the centuries, written in Gorani, such as Mala Pareshani Dinawari (still living in 1398/99). He was a Shiite Muslim who was much opposed to the Yarsan beliefs and the Dervishes. Other poets such as Saidi Hawrami (1784-1842), and Mala Abdul-Rahimi Mawlawi Tavgozi (1806-1882) are also worthy of mention.

The blossoming of literature in the Ardalan principality was accompanied by an intense cultivation of music. Music is an essential element of the cultural tradition of the Yarsan religious community. In connection with this, it is interesting that the Kurds in East and South Kurdistan, where to the Gorani culture was spread, call songs 'Gorani'.

List of Rulers of Ardalan State

#Bawa Ardalan (14th century)
#Timur Khan Ardalan (During the reign of Shah Tahmasp I).
#Helo (eagle) Khan Erdelan, 1586 well known for his conquests and independence, sacked Baghdad among others
#Khan Ahmad Khan (During the reign of Shah Abbas I)
#Soleiman Khan (During the reign of Shah Safi 1629-1642) (He rebuilt the Senna(Sinne) Dij or "the Castle of Senna") []
#Sobhanverdi Khan (During the reign of Nader Shah)
#Ahmad Khan (Son of Sobhanverdi Khan) (He was made governor of a region stretching all the way from Hamadan to Mosul)
#Khosrow Khan Bozorg (1754-1788)
#Aman-Allah Khan Bozorg (1799-1825), was the last important Ardalan ruler (wali).

References and External Links

# Ardalan, Sheerin; Les Kurdes Ardalan, entre la Perse et l'Empire ottoman; Paris, Geuthner, 2004
# Sharaf-al-Din Khan Bedlisi, Sharafnama, translated by F.B. Charmoy, St. Petesburg, 1868-75, vol. II, pp.106-107. Also see []
# Eskandar Bek Monshi, Tarikh-e Alam ara Abbasi, translated by Savory
# Nikitine, Basil, Les Kurdes, Paris, 1956.
# Nikitin, Les valis
# W. Eagleton, The Kurdish Republic of 1946, London, 1963
# M. Mardokh Kodestani, Tarikh-e kurd wa Kurdistan (The history of Kurds and Kurdistan), Tehran, 1979
#Encyclopaedia Iranica, under "Ardalan" entry, pp.693-694
# [ Nebez, Jamal, The Kurdish Language from Oral Tradition to Written Language, 2000]
# [ A brief History of the Kurds and Kurdistan]
#Kurdap, Mohammad Khan Ardalan (third from right) [

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