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Battle of Echmiadzin
Part of the Russo-Persian War of 1804-1813
DateJune 1804
LocationEchmiadzin, Qajar Iran (present-day Vagharshapat, Armenia)[lower-alpha 1]
Result Iranian victory
Politically indecisive / inconclusive
Belligerents
Russia Russian Empire Flag of Agha Mohammad Khan.svg Qajar Iran
Commanders and leaders
Pavel Tsitsianov Abbas Mirza
Fath-Ali Shah Qajar
Strength
5,000[1] 20,000[1]

The Battle of Echmiadzin took place in June 1804, during the Russo-Persian War of 1804-1813. The Iranians successfully defended the town and forced the Russians to withdraw.

Background[edit | edit source]

In 1801, three years after Agha Mohammad Khan's death, the Russians capitalized on the moment, and annexed Kartli-Kakheti (eastern Georgia), a region which had made part of Iran for centuries.[2][3] In 1802, Pavel Tsitsianov was appointed as the new Russian commander-in-chief in the Caucasus. A die-hard Russian imperialist with zero tolerance and respect for the Iranians and the locals of the Caucasus, in January 1804, he invaded and ruthlessly sacked the Iranian city of Ganja.[1][4] Thereby, they initiated the Russo-Persian War of 1804-1813.[1]

Battle[edit | edit source]

After the capture of Ganja, Tsitsianov proceeded to Erivan.[1] At Echmiadzin, near Erivan, his army clashed with that of crown-prince and commander-in-chief Abbas Mirza and the shah (king) himself; a three-day battle followed.[5][4]

The Russian artillery caused considerable amounts of damage to the Iranian army, which at the time had not yet been modeled on modern lines; however, in their own way, the Iranians proved to be effective.[5] The Russians were surrounded by the Iranians, who prevented them from receiving supplies.[4]

Aftermath[edit | edit source]

Abbas Mirza and his men forced Tsitsianov to withdraw, who was thus unable to take Echmiadzin.[5][4] The Iranian army subsequently proceeded to disband for the incoming winter.[1] Nevertheless, politically, the battle ended with an indecisive or inconclusive result.[4][5] In line with the traditional Iranian concept of warfare, they had allowed the Russians to escape, instead of making full use of the gained advantage.[5] According to reports, Tsitsianov had looted and gravely damaged the Armenian religious buildings at Echmiadzin.[4] A few days after the battle, the Russians returned to Echmiadzin, where they caught an Iranian force by surprise; thereafter they marched on Erivan once again.[5] The Iranians who had survived the surprise attack, managed to regroup, and were able to participate in the ensueing defense of Erivan.[5]

Notes[edit | edit source]

  1. Vagharshapat is still commonly referred to as Echmiadzin / Ejmiatsin / Etchmiadzin.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Tucker 2010, p. 1036. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "FOOTNOTETucker2010" defined multiple times with different content Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "FOOTNOTETucker2010" defined multiple times with different content Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "FOOTNOTETucker2010" defined multiple times with different content Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "FOOTNOTETucker2010" defined multiple times with different content
  2. Suny 1994, p. 59.
  3. Kazemzadeh 1991, p. 330.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 Cronin 2013, p. 55. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "FOOTNOTECronin2013" defined multiple times with different content Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "FOOTNOTECronin2013" defined multiple times with different content Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "FOOTNOTECronin2013" defined multiple times with different content Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "FOOTNOTECronin2013" defined multiple times with different content Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "FOOTNOTECronin2013" defined multiple times with different content
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 Atkin 1980, p. 120. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "FOOTNOTEAtkin1980" defined multiple times with different content Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "FOOTNOTEAtkin1980" defined multiple times with different content Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "FOOTNOTEAtkin1980" defined multiple times with different content Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "FOOTNOTEAtkin1980" defined multiple times with different content

Sources[edit | edit source]

  • Atkin, Muriel (1980). Russia and Iran, 1780-1828. University of Minnesota Press. ISBN 978-0816609246. 
  • Axworthy, Michael (2010). A History of Iran: Empire of the Mind. Basic Books. pp. 1–352. ISBN 978-0465019205. ""Persia kept Yerevan and Nakhchivan, but lost everything else north of the Araxes, including Daghestan, Shirvan and Georgia, and cities that had been part of the Persian Empire for centuries like Darband, Baku, Tbilisi, and Ganja."" 
  • Cronin, Stephanie, ed (2013). Iranian-Russian Encounters: Empires and Revolutions since 1800. Routledge. ISBN 978-0415624336. 
  • Kazemzadeh, Firuz (1991). "Iranian relations with Russia and the Soviet Union, to 1921". The Cambridge History of Iran (Vol. 7). Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0521200950. 
  • Kettenhofen, Erich; Bournoutian, George A.; Hewsen, Robert H. (1998). "EREVAN". Encyclopaedia Iranica, Vol. VIII, Fasc. 5. pp. 542–551. 
  • Suny, Ronald Grigor (1994). The Making of the Georgian Nation. Indiana University Press. ISBN 978-0253209153. 
  • Tucker, Spencer C., ed (2010). "Overview of 1800-1850: Chronology". A Global Chronology of Conflict: From the Ancient World to the Modern Middle East. ABC-CLIO. ISBN 978-1851096725. 

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