During the Constitutional Revolution (1905-1911) Southern Azerbaijan played a key political role, as the starting point of the revolution occurred in Tabriz, capital of Southern Azerbaijan. During the First World War the Gajar dynasty remained in power in Tabriz, and the city became one of the most powerful in Iran, holding the seat of the crown prince. In 1920 the Pro-democracy revolution under Sheykh Muhammed Khyabbani also begun in Tabriz and Southern Azerbaijan gained independence for six months. However, this short lived independence was put to an end by battles between the Soviet Union and Iran and resulted in the killing of tens of thousands of Azerbaijani Turks.

In 1925 when the Gajar state collapsed, Southern Azerbaijan was annexed into Iran and there was a massive move of non-Azerbaijanis to the cities of Gazvin and Hamadan where more than a half  of the population are now of Azerbaijani descent.

The Azerbaijan People’s Republic


Office Building of the Government of South Azerbaijan in Tabriz. 1945-1946


After the Second World War, Southern Azerbaijan became an independent state, the Azerbaijan People’s Republic, was established. During this year of independence, the Turkish language in schools and on radio stations became ingrained and Tabriz was established as an urban and cultural center. Independence, however, again only lasted for a short time, after a year the Soviet Union and Iran again fought bloody battles for the state in a process which killed approximately 35,000 people. After the crushing of the independent state, the Iranian government gathered all Turkish publications published during the republic and burned them in public. All people that had worked or supported the formation of the independent state were persecuted, and led to the movement for Southern Azerbaijani rights underground.

The National Anthem of The Azerbaijan People’s Republic