Qara Qoyunlu

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Kingdom rankQara Qoyunlu
Qara Qoyunlu.png
Primary culture
Azerbaijani (Iranian)

Capital province
Tabriz (416)

Tribal Federation Government tribal.png

State religion

Technology group
MuslimMuslim technology group
Qara Qoyunlu ideas
Ambox outdated info.png Please help with verifying or updating this infobox. It was last verified for version 1.33.

Traditions.png Traditions:

+20% Cavalry combat ability
+1 Land leader shock

National manpower modifier.png The Black Sheep

+25% National manpower modifier

Core-creation cost.png Governor of Azerbaijan

−10% Core-creation cost
−5% Province war score cost

Tolerance heretic.png In Honor of Ali

+3 Tolerance of heretics

Land leader maneuver.png Dynamic Warfare

+1 Land leader maneuver

Liberty desire in subjects.png Freedom with Responsibility

−10% Liberty desire in subjects

National unrest.png Patron of Iranian Culture

−1 National unrest

National tax modifier.png Irrigation and Public Works

+10% National tax modifier

Idea bonus.png Ambition:

+1 Land leader fire
Shield Qara Qoyunlu.png
The origin of the Qara Qoyunlu, or the Black Sheep, is somewhat unclear, though their own tradition has them as descendants of the great Oghuz Khans of the past. For over a century now the Black Sheep have been trying to carve out an Empire for themselves in Azerbaijan and Iraq. Like many other powers in the area they were crushed by the Central Asian warlord Timur, who swept through from Iran to Anatolia, casting aside all who would oppose him.

Timur is now dead and his son, Shah Rukh, has spent a lifetime trying to keep his father's Flag of Timurids Timurid Empire together. This has allowed the Qara Qoyunlu to rise again, and under Jahân Shâh, one of the greatest rulers of the age, they have retaken not only Tabriz but all lands from the borders of Flag of Georgia Georgia to the swamps of the Shatt-al-Arab in southern Iraq.

To the west, the Flag of Aq Qoyunlu Aq Qoyunlu, or White Sheep, are embroiled in a lengthy civil war between countless claimants. The White Sheep are the traditional rivals of the Qara Qoyunlu and could perhaps prove a worthy enemy in time. For now, however, the Flag of Ottomans Ottoman Empire in Anatolia and Flag of Mamluks Mamluks in Egypt are more dangerous neighbors.

At end of 1444 the Timurid Empire is still a constant threat to the east, but the aging Shah Rukh is reported to have grown sick and impotent. From east to west his sons and grandsons are preparing for a succession war that is all but assured. Indeed, the news of illness have been enough for Muhammad bin Baysonkor in Flag of Ajam Ajam to break his ties to his grandfather.

In his thirst for glory the young prince seems oblivious to the threat posed by Jahan Shah and the Black Sheep...

Qara Qoyunlu, also called the Black Sheep Turkomans, were a Shi'a Turkic tribal federation that ruled over territory comprising present-day Azerbaijan, Armenia, Northwestern Iran, Eastern Turkey and Northeastern Iraq. Historically, they were defeated and mostly annexed by the Aq Qoyunlu in 1468. Its territories later ended up as part of Persia.

The Black Sheep start in an interesting position. They are Shia following the Ismaili school Ismaili school holding Sunni and Coptic provinces, in a religiously diverse area. They begin with Flag of Bitlis Bitlis and Flag of Karabakh Karabakh as vassals. They are directly threatened by the more powerful and unfriendly Flag of Ottomans Ottomans, Flag of Timurids Timurids and Flag of Mamluks Mamluks. Furthermore, Qara Qoyunlu is an excellent candidate to form Flag of Persia Persia.

Decisions[edit | edit source]

Like the other Muslim Tribals, Qara Qoyunlu can reform into the Iqta government. They can also choose to form Flag of Persia Persia or Flag of Mughals Mughals. If the player wants to form Persia, they have to reform first.


Execute decision.pngForm Mughal Empire

$MONARCH$ has begun to lay the foundation of his new empire. Although inferior in numbers, his well-disciplined troops have managed to achieve several decisive victories against the Sultans of India. The battle of $CAPITAL$ became the first great victory in a series of territorial expansions and, with time, the empire of the Mughals could stretch over the larger part of the Indian plateau.

Potential requirements

The country:

If the country is AI-controlled then it:

Playing with normal or historical nations.


Flag of Mughals Mughals does not exist
The country:

Delhi (522) is part of a state.


The country:

If Delhi (522) is part of the HRE, but its owner is not a member then:

  • the province is removed from the HRE.
  • the Holy Roman Emperor:
    • gets the opinion modifier “Removed provinces from the Empire” towards the owner, worth Opinion.png−50 opinion with a yearly decay of 1.
    • loses Imperial authority.png1 imperial authority.

Delhi (522):

  • becomes the new capital of the owner country.
  • gains Base tax.png 1 base tax
  • gains Production.png 1 base production
  • gains Manpower.png 1 base tax

  • AI will always take this decision.
  • AI gives "very high priority" (600) to this decision

Execute decision.pngForm Persian Nation

At the mere age of 15, monarch has taken his father's position as head of the Shiite Turkmen tribe. He has quickly established a base of power in the northwest and proclaimed himself Shah of Iran. Several of the neighboring regions have been conquered and the possibility of a resurrected Iranian nation doesn't seem so absent anymore.

Potential requirements

The country:

If the country is AI-controlled then it:

Playing with normal or historical nations


Flag of Persia Persia does not exist The country:


The country:

  • AI will always take this decision.
  • AI gives "high priority" (400) to this decision

Strategy[edit | edit source]

Strategy The below is one of many player suggested strategies for Qara Qoyunlu. Bear in mind, due to the dynamic nature of the game, it may unfold differently for other players.

When the game starts, Qara Qoyunlu find themselves sandwiched between potentially dangerous enemies: the Ottomans and Mamluks are both nearby to the West, while Ajam and the Timurids are to the East. The Sunni religion of these nations means they are unlikely to ally with your Shia heretics (at least at the start of the game). Assuming none are friendly to begin with, there are two potential strategies to increase the likelihood of survival: conquer some of your smaller neighbours quickly to increase your own power, or form some powerful alliances. The latter is probably the safest of the two options: Shirvan, Mazandaran and Mushasha are all good candidates for allies as they have important trade power provinces and unlike nearly everyone else they don't dislike your Shia religion. However, in the long-term, successfully conquering some of these important provinces quickly may be very beneficial and prevent having to turn on your allies somewhere down the line.

Once these territories and/or initial alliances are secured, the player has some interesting options in the long-term. Depending on the actions of the Mamluks and Ottomans, it may be possible to ally one or the other to make significant gains to the West or Southwest where there are some highly developed provinces (especially Cairo/Egypt) and access to the Mediterranean. Alternatively, there are some smaller nations to the North such as Georgia who should be relatively easy pickings and many opportunities to the East: Ajam starts with lots of Shia provinces which will help with your low religious Unity. Once these options are exhausted Qara Qoyunlu can be a mid sized power potentially approaching Great Power status depending on the success of the players conquests. Once Ajam has been dealt with the Timurids (or the multiple former-vassals of the Timurids which are now independent nations) can be tackled. These territories can be large in size with low development except for a few key areas, so a good strategy here can be to cut countries in half by expanding directly to the most valuable provinces instead of wasting time and resources on unproductive land. If successful here the player has options to form Persia or the Mughals and expand further into India or North towards Russia by which time they will probably be climbing the Great Power table.

Military first[edit | edit source]

The main challenge of playing this nation is surviving the dire situation it starts in and later challenging the Ottomans and the Mamluks. One option to survive the early game is to prioritize certain provinces that will aid you in restoring order to your fractured nation. As the Qara Qoyunlu, you begin the game with a 3/4/5 ruler who is a non-general. Your first step should be to set your national focus to military monarch points and make your ruler a general. The Qara Qoyunlu national ideas begin with a +1 leader shock. This, along with your ruler's high military stat will allow you to start the game with a very good general that ensures you will have no problems defeating enemies in the early game. If you do not roll a 4 shock general from your ruler, consider restarting as it is vital that you start with a good general to defeat any rebellions and attacks.

The national focus to military is to negate the future institutions that will spawn in Europe. As the Qara Qoyunlu, the Mamluks and Ottomans will often rival you, denying you access to institutions from the west unless you have an ally in Georgia or elsewhere. Therefore, it is key to have as high a military tech as you can to stay up to date with your neighbors. A small gap in military tech is the difference from winning a war and losing a game in the early game. Later in the campaign, it may be necessary for you to force spawn institutions after the Renaissance. You will then have to ensure you have provinces that have development cost reducing modifiers. For example, Baghdad (Cloth + Farmlands).

Shirvan, a small Shia nation to the north controls a high trade power province in the Persia node. Conquering them immediately will ensure you gain not only their power base, but also increase your religious unity and trade power. Georgia should be your second target, as they control vital mountain forts that will help to stem any attack from Anatolia. They are a ripe target for vassalization as they also have cores on the neighboring Georgian dukedoms for easy expansion.

Achievements[edit | edit source]

Baa Baa Black Sheep icon
As Qara Qoyunlu become the leading producer of wool.

Country guides

Eastern technology group Eastern.png Jerusalem.png Jerusalem Karabakh.png Karabakh
Muslim technology group Muslim.png Afghanistan.png Afghanistan Ajam.png Ajam Arabia.png Arabia Ardabil.png Ardabil Hisn Kayfa.png Hisn Kayfa Hormuz.png Hormuz Oman.png Oman Mushasha.png Mushasha Timurids.png Timurids Qara Qoyunlu.png Qara Qoyunlu
Indian technology group Indian.png Assam.png Assam Bahmanis.png Bahmanis Bengal.png Bengal Orissa.png Orissa
Chinese technology group Chinese.png Bali.png Bali Brunei.png Brunei Dai Viet.png Dai Viet Japan.png Japan Khmer.png Khmer Korea.png Korea Majapahit.png Majapahit Malaya.png Malaya Pagarruyung.png Pagarruyung Pasai.png Pasai Sunda.png Sunda
Nomadic technology group Nomadic.png Jianzhou.png Jianzhou Uzbek.png Uzbek Mongolia.png Mongolia

Central African technology group Central African.png Kuba.png KubaMutapa.png Mutapa
East African technology group East African.png Ethiopia.png EthiopiaMogadishu.png Mogadishu
Muslim technology group Muslim.png The Mamluks.png MamluksMorocco.png MoroccoTlemcen.png TlemcenTunis.png Tunis
West African technology group West African.png Air.png AirMali.png Mali

Western technology group Western.png United States.png United States
Mesoamerican technology group Mesoamerican.png Maya.png Maya
North American technology group North American.png Caddo.png Caddo Cherokee.png Cherokee Iroquois.png Iroquois

Andean technology group Andean.png Chachapoya.png Chachapoya Cusco.png Cusco Muisca.png Muisca
South American technology group South American.png Mapuche.png Mapuche