Shirvan(redirected from Shirwan)
a historical region in northern Azerbaijan, on the western shore of the Caspian Sea, east of the Kura River. The name “Shirvan” (“Sharvan”) came into use during the Sassanid era (226–651) as a designation for part of ancient Caucasian Albania, later known as Aran. Shirvan was occupied by the Arabs in 654 and eventually became a hereditary possession of Arab governors. From 799 to 1538, Shirvan was ruled by a succession of dynasties of shirvanshahs (shahs of Shirvan), under whom it encompassed all the territory from the Kura River to the city of Derbent; the capital was at Shemakha.
During the Seljuk conquest, Shirvan was a center of the struggle for Azerbaijani independence. In the mid-15th century it was a center of land cultivation and the production of silk and other fabrics; it also played an important role in trade, exporting such goods as oil and cotton. Relations between Shirvan and Moscow were established in 1465 and 1466, and in 1499 an ambassador from Shirvan conducted negotiations toward a treaty “on friendship and concord.” A major cultural center, Shirvan produced such writers as Khaqani and Feleki Shirvani. As the Safavid state became more powerful, Shirvan fell under its sway, becoming a province of the Safavid state in 1538. In 1748 the independent Shirvan Khanate was formed in Shirvan.
REFERENCESMinorskii, V. F. Istoriia Shirvana i Derbenda X-XI vv. Moscow, 1963.
Istoriia Azerbaidzhana, vols. 1–2. Baku, 1958–60.