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Total population
c. 7.5 million
Regions with significant populations
 Afghanistan 2, 864, 056 (9%) (2013)[1]
 Iran 1,134,000 (1993)[2]
 Pakistan 550,000 (2007)[2][3]
 Australia 10,000 (2013)




Persian (predominantly Dari and Hazaragi dialects)
Shia Islam (Twelver and Ismaili), with a Sunni minority[6]

Hazāra (Persian: هزاره) are a Persian-speaking people who mainly live in central Afghanistan. They are overwhelmingly Twelver Shia Muslims and make up the third largest ethnic group in Afghanistan,[7][8][9] forming about 9% (according to other sources up to 19%) of the total population.[1][10][11] More than 650,000 Hazara may be found living in neighbouring Pakistan and an estimated one million in Iran.[2]


  • Etymology 1
  • Origin theories 2
  • History 3
    • First uprising 3.1
    • Second uprising 3.2
      • Third uprising 3.2.1
    • 20th century 3.3
  • Name 4
  • References 5
    • links 5.1


Babur, the founder of the Mughal Empire in the early 16th century, records the name Hazara in Baburnama. He referred to the populace of a region called Hazarajat, located west of the Kabulistan region, north of Ghazna and south-west of Ghor.[12]

The conventional theory is that the word Hazara derives from the Persian word for Thousand (Persian: هزار‎ - hazār). It may be the translation of the Mongol word ming (or minggan), a military unit of 1000 soldiers at the time of Gengis Khan.[13][14][15] With time, the term Hazar could have been substituted for the Mongol word and now stands for the group of people.[16]

Origin theories

A 1430 Persian miniature depicting Ghazan and his brother Öljaitü

The origins of the Hazara have not been fully reconstructed. Significant inner Asian descent – in historical context Turkish and Mongolian - is impossible to rule out because the Hazara's physical attributes,[17] facial bone structures and parts of their culture and language resemble those of Mongolians and Central Asian Turks.[17] Thus, it is widely and popularly[18] believed that Hazara have Mongolian ancestry. Genetic analysis of the Hazara indicate partial Mongolian ancestry.[19]

Most scholars consider the Hazara to be the descendants of Mongol invaders. These Mongols later mixed with the earlier Persian-speaking Indo-Europeans who had long lived in the Hindu Kush of Central Afghanistan who also had previously Turkic background; this is supported by genetic research.[20][21] Hazara history tells of their ancestors entering the region with the forces of Genghis Khan in the thirteenth century. The descendants of Mongol soldiers left to garrison the area became the Hazara nation.[22] The theory accepted by most scholars, however, is that Hazara are a mixed group, consisting of native Iranian and Central Asian elements. For example, Nikudari Mongols settled in what is now Afghanistan and mixed with native populations who spoke Persian. A second wave of mostly Chagatai Mongols came from Central Asia and were followed by other Mongolic groups, associated with the Ilkhanate and the Timurids, all of whom settled in Hazarajat and mixed with the local, mostly Persian-speaking population, forming a distinct group.[23]

The Bamiyan Valley, the site of the Buddhas of Bamiyan

Some Hazara tribes are named after famous Mongol generals; for example, the Tulai Khan Hazara who are named after Tolui, the youngest son of Genghis Khan. Some believe Hazara are descendants of Mongol soldiers and their Shia wives who settled in Bamiyan following the 1221 siege of Bamiyan. Theories of Mongol or partially Mongol descent are plausible, given that the Il-Khanate Mongol rulers, beginning with Oljeitu, embraced Shia Islam. Today, the majority of the Hazara adhere to Shia Islam, whereas Afghanistan's other major ethnic groups are mostly Sunni. However, the Sunni and Ismaili Hazara population, while existent, have not been extensively researched by scholars.

Another popular theory proposes that Hazara are descendants of the Kushans, the ancient dwellers of Afghanistan who are believed to have built the Buddhas of Bamiyan. Its proponents find the location of the Hazara homeland, and the similarity in facial features of Hazara with those on frescoes and Buddha's statues in Bamiyan, suggestive.WorldHeritage However, this belief is contrary not only because the Kushans were Tocharians, but also to historical records which mention that in a particularly bloody battle around Bamiyan, Genghis Khan's grandson, Mutugen, was killed, and he allegedly ordered Bamiyan to be destroyed in retribution.[24]

A popular theory among some of the Hazara people is that they were a group of tribes of Turkic and Mongol origin that had migrated through central Asia by the Turkic and Mongol empires. They go on by saying that they were of different Turkic people that can be found in modern day central Asia such as the Turkmens, Uzbeks, Uygur, Khazaks and some also relate themselves to the Tatars and the Turkish. This could be true as there had been many Turkic dynasty such as the Ghaznivids, Seljuks empire, Mongols, Ilkhanete, Timurid and this makes their claims more interesting as they had mention that they are from many different Turkic tribes meaning that every Turkic and Mongol empire that had came into Khorasan[25] (modern Afghanistan and where the Hazara homeland is at) had also left a group or in this case tribes behind. The idea that they are from the Turkish may seem impossible but the Turkish or specificly the Oghuz branch of Turks that had came in through Khorasan in the 11th century and expanded towards the west, by doing this they also brought along tribes of turks through Khorasan and Persia into Anatolia. Among their beliefs in tracing back their origins the Hazara people claim that the word Hazara was placed by the Persians in the region around them, saying that they were around a thousand different Turkic tribes of dirrent sizes that settled and were influenced by Persian culture and language hence why they are called Hazaras(meaning Thousands in Persain). This could of also happened to the so called Persian of the region which are now called Tajiks[26] in Afghanistan[27] and Tajikistan.[28] The word Tajiks were used to name the Persain by the Turks.


An 1880 photograph by John Burke, during the Second Anglo-Afghan War, which shows Besudi Hazara tribal chiefs somewhere in Afghanistan, possibly in or around Kabul.

The first mention of Hazara are made by Babur in the early 16th century and later by the court historians of Shah Abbas of the Safavid dynasty. It is reported that they embraced Shia Islam between the end of the 16th and the beginning of the 17th century, during the Safavid period.[23][29]

Hazara men along with tribes of other ethnic groups had been recruited and added to the army of Ahmad Shah Durrani in the 18th century.[30] Some claim that in the mid‑18th century Hazara were forced out of Helmand and the Arghandab District of Kandahar Province. During the second reign of Dost Mohammad Khan's in the 19th century, Hazara from Hazarajat began to be taxed for the first time. However, for the most part they still managed to keep their regional autonomy until the subjugation of Abdur Rahman Khan began in the late 19th century.

When the Treaty of Gandomak was signed and the Second Anglo-Afghan War ended in 1880, Abdur Rahman Khan set out a goal to bring Hazarajat and Kafiristan under his control. He launched several campaigns in Hazarajat due to resistance from the Hazara in which his forces committed atrocities. The southern part of Hazarajat was spared as they accepted his rule, while the other parts of Hazarajat rejected Abdur Rahman and instead supported his uncle, Sher Ali Khan. In response to this Abdur Rahman waged a war against tribal leaders who rejected his policies and rule.[23] Abdur Rahman arrested Syed Jafar, chief of the Sheikh Ali Hazara tribe, and jailed him in Mazar-e-Sharif.

First uprising

The first Hazara uprising against Abdur Rahman Khan took place between 1888 and 1890. When Emir Abdur Rahman's cousin, Mohammad Eshaq, revolted against him, tribal leaders of the Sheikh Ali Hazaras joined the revolt. The revolt was short lived and crushed as the Emir extended his control over large parts of Hazarajat. Leaders of the Sheikh Ali Hazaras had allies in two different groups, Shia and Sunni. Abdur Rahman took advantage of the situation, pitting Sunni Hazara against the Shia Hazara, and made pacts among the Hazara.

After all of Sheikh Ali Hazaras' chiefs were sent to Kabul, opposition within the leadership of Sawar Khan and Syed Jafar Khan continued against the government troops, but at last were defeated. Taxes were imposed and Afghan administrators were sent to occupied places, where they subjugated the people with abuses.[23] People were disarmed, villages were looted, local tribal chiefs were imprisoned or executed, and the better lands were confiscated and given to Afghan nomads (Kuchis).[31]

Second uprising

The second uprising occurred in the Spring of 1892. According to Syed Askar Mousavi, the cause of the uprising was an assault on the wife of a Hazara Chieftain by Afghan soldiers. The families of both the man and his wife, deciding that death was one hundred times better than such humiliation, killed the soldiers involved and attacked the local garrison, from whence they recovered their confiscated arms".[23] Several other tribal chiefs who supported Abdur Rahman now turned against him and joined the rebellion which rapidly spread through the entire Hazarajat. In response to the rebellion, the Emir declared a "jihad" against the Shias and raised an army of up to 40, 000 soldiers, 10, 000 mounted troops, and 100,000 armed civilians (most of which were Pashtun nomads).[23] He also brought in British military advisers to assist his army.[31]

The large army defeated the rebellion at its center, in Oruzgan, by 1892 and the local population was displaced with some being massacred.
"thousands of Hazara men, women, and children were sold as slaves in the markets of Kabul and Qandahar, while numerous towers of human heads were made from the defeated rebels as a warning to others who might challenge the rule of the Amir".[23]
—S. A. Mousavi

Third uprising

Part of a series on
Hazara people

The third uprising of Hazara was in response to the harsh repression, the Hazara revolted again by early 1893. This revolt took the government forces by surprise and the Hazara managed to take most of Hazarajat back. However, after months of fighting, they were eventually defeated due to a shortage of food. Small pockets of resistance continued to the end of the year as government troops committed atrocities against civilians and deported entire villages.[31]

Abdur Rahman's subjugation of the Hazara due to fierce rebellion against the Afghan king gave birth to strong hatred between the Pahstun and Hazara for years to come. Massive forced displacements, especially in Oruzgan and Daychopan, continued as lands were confiscated and populations were expelled or fled. Some 35,000 families fled to northern Afghanistan, Mashhad (Iran) and Quetta (Pakistan). It is estimated that more than 60% of the Hazara population were massacred or displaced during Abdur Rahman's campaign against them. Hazara farmers were often forced to give up their property to Pashtuns and as a result many Hazara families had to leave seasonally to the major cities in Afghanistan, Iran, or Pakistan in order to find jobs and a source of income. Quetta in Pakistan is home to the third largest settlements of Hazara outside Afghanistan.

20th century

In 1901, Habibullah Khan, Abdur Rahman's successor, granted amnesty to all people who were exiled by his predecessor. However, the division between the Afghan government and the Hazara people was already made too deep under Abdur Rahman. Hazara continued to face severe social, economic and political discrimination through most of the 20th century. In 1933 King Mohammed Nadir Khan was assassinated by Abdul Khaliq Hazara. The Afghan government captured and executed him later, along with several of his innocent family members.

Mistrust of the central government by the Hazaras and local uprisings continued. In particular, in the 1940s, during Zahir Shah's rule, a revolt took place against new taxes that were exclusively imposed on the Hazara. The Kuchi nomads meanwhile not only were exempted from taxes, but also received allowances from the Afghan government.[23] The angry rebels began capturing and killing government officials. In response, the central government sent a force to subdue the region and later removed the taxes.

Abdul Ali Mazari, leader of the Hezbe Wahdat during and following the Soviet war in Afghanistan. He was killed by the Taliban in 1995.

During the Soviet war in Afghanistan, the Hazarajat region did not see as much heavy fighting as other regions of Afghanistan. However, rival H==Taxonavigation== Species: ...


  • Paraphiloscia



  • ION
  • Nomenclator Zoologicusazara political factions fought. The division was between the Tanzáim-e nasl-e naw-e Hazara, a party based in Quetta, of Hazara nationalists and secular intellectuals, and the pro-Khomeini Islamist parties backed by the new Islamic Republic of Iran.[23] By 1979, the Iran-backed Islamist groups liberated Hazarajat from the central Soviet-backed Afghan government and later took entire control of Hazarajat away from the secularists. By 1984, after severe fighting, the secularist groups lost all their power to the Islamists.

As the Soviets withdrew in 1989, the Islamist groups felt the need to broaden their political appeal and turned their focus to Hazara ethnic nationalism.[23] This led to establishment of the Hezb-e Wahdat, an alliance of all the Hazara resistance groups (except the Harakat-e Islami). In 1992 with the fall of Kabul, the Harakat-e Islami took sides with Burhanuddin Rabbani's government while the Hezb-e Wahdat took sides with the opposition. The Hezb-e Wahdat was eventually forced out of Kabul in 1995 when the Taliban movement captured and killed their leader Abdul Ali Mazari. With the Taliban's capture of Kabul in 1996, all the Hazara groups united with the new Northern Alliance against the common new enemy. However, it was too late and des

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