Bahdinan or Badinan (1376–1843) was one of the most powerful and enduring Kurdish principalities. It was founded by Baha-al-Din originally from Şemzînan area in Hakkari in sometime between 13th or 14th century CE. The capital of this emirate was Amadiya for a long time. The rulers of the Bahdinan emirate claim descent from the Abbasid Caliphate, an early dynasty in Islamic history.

It was centered in the town of Amadiya (or Amêdî) in the present-day Dahuk province in Iraqi Kurdistan. The principality also included Akra to the east and Zakho to the west. The principality reached its peak during the reign of Bahram Pasha the Great (re. 1726–1767).

Threatened by the expansionist and centralizing efforts of the Ottoman and Safavid empires, Bahdinan princes were drawn into prolonged confrontations with these two rival powers. The Bahdinan rulers, Esamil Pasha and Mohammad Said Pasha were deposed by the emir of the neighboring Soran principality in 1832. However, their rule was restored after the Ottomans defeated Soran in 1834. Although the Soran influence lasted only for a few years, the Bahdinan principality never fully recovered. Pursuing their centralization policy, the Ottomans overthrew the Bahdinan principality in 1843 (or 1838) and incorporated it in the Sandjak of Mosul.

The most famous ancient library in the region, in the Qubehan school at Amadiya, was destroyed by British troops putting down a revolt in the region in 1919, although some 400 manuscripts were rescued and eventually found their way into the Iraq Museum’s collection.[1]


  1. Faraj, S.S. Libraries and Librarianship in Iraqi Kurdistan. In: Libraries in the Early 21st Century: An International Perspective, edited by R.N. Sharma, vol.2, 297-311. 2012. Berlin: de Gruyter Saur.

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