A Briton at the House of Baban Prince


Bakir Shwani
Writer & translator

In (1808) Claudius James Rich has established as a manager of East Endian Company in Baghdad. In the spring of the same year, his health got worse for that reason he decided to leave Baghdad due to the hot and dry weather and would spend his time for a while in a cool place. Thus, he chose Kurdistan in a company with his family and different nationality as his partner like Persian, Jewish, Turk, Indian and Christian. Rich was very delighted when he saw the beautiful atmosphere of Kurdistan, after a long journey they reached to Sulaimani and tented outside the city. Mahmoud Pasha who was Baban Prince at that time welcomed Rich and his fellows then he invited them to Sulaimani, later Mahmoud Pasha, his consultants and his brother Osman Beck welcomed them at the entrance of Sulaimani.

When they started negotiation Pasha told Rich this palace was built by his father Abdulrahman Pasha and he would like to renovate but they cannot because of the Turks and Persians because the destiny of their emirate is not clear yet and Pasha affirmed that we are waiting for their attacks any times in order to invade our emirate.

Rich stabilized for a while at a house near to Mahmoud Pasha’s house and asked about Kurdish history, language and ethnography, and their daily lives. During that discussion, Rich had known the position and importance of tribes and the head of the tribes as well, as he narrated the Kurdish tribe heads serviced their people and the people respected their heads at the same time, they were ready for any cooperation and coordination, for instance, once a Kurdish Prince whose name was Khalid had told me when the ottomans ousted him on the power the members of the tribes gave him all their gold and silvers in order to provide him a better life.

Rich was a close friend of Abdulrahman Pasha, he expressed to the attendances Abdulrahman Pasha planned to finalize the emirate’s relation with the Turks and the surrounding emirates. But the ottomans refused that notion while the Turks asked him to become a prince of Baghdad but he refused to take that responsibility. According to Rich’s speech, Abdulrahman Pasha said a sip of refresh water of my mountains is more valuable than all the fortunes of Iraq. One of the attendances responded to Rich those who sold themselves to the Turks no one listen to them in Kurdistan and they have no such a position in our community.

Claudius Rich was born in (1787) and has died in (1821) in Shiraz. He wrote his diaries during his journey to Kurdistan. He stayed in Kurdistan and Iraq around (13) years, as an archeologist worked more particularly in Mousel. His books became a reason lots of western scholars would visit Kurdistan like Richard Wilbraham and Horatio Southgate and Sulaimani especially in order to conduct researches about those places Rich Mentioned in His Book, as a result, they published their researches.

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