Russia - Imperial Russia: Medal for the Storming of Gandzha 1804, Bronze issue, as awarded to servicemen who had not directly participated in storming of the town of Ganzha but had operated in support of the operations. Fitted with loop for attaching ribbon.
Condition: Good Very Fine.
The medal was established on 16th July 1804 during the reign of Tsar Alexander I, and it commemorated the storming of the town of Gandzha (Ganca) on 3rd January 1804. The medal was first awarded during 1806.
The town is located in Western Azerbaijan on a river also bearing the name of Gandzha, and it straddles the main road between the Caspian and the Black Sea. For centuries it was an important centre of textile manufacturing and a region rich in vineyards. It was also the seat of the Khanate but was under Persian suzerainty. After its capture it was renamed Elizavetpol, in honour of Elizabeth Alexeevna, wife of Tsar Alexander I.
In the beginning of the XVI century fierce fighting erupted between the Ottoman Empire and Persia, whose ruler, Shah Abbas wanted to restore Azerbaijan to his fatherland. He succeeded to recapture Tabriz, the capital of the country, and conquered most of the southern Caucasian region as well. Khanates under the sovereignty of Persia were established and a peace settlement was concluded with Turkey.
During the XVIII century the relentless Russian military pressure towards the south had been principally targeted against the Ottoman Empire, but soon the Trans-Caucasian region with its many Khanates became also the aim of Russian expansion.
War started between Russian and Persia in 1804. and it lasted nine long years before the Russians slowly gained control of northern Azerbaijan. Fath Ali Shah, the Quajar ruler of Persia was forced in 1813 to ask for a peace settlement.
For the Russians it was a long war against a weak enemy, but military priority was elsewhere. During these years the Russian Army was fighting between 1804 and 1814 a desperate war in the west against the French and their allies, in the south between 1806 and 1812 against the Ottoman Empire, and finally in the north between 1808 and 1809 against the Swedes.
Persia was forced to cede northern Azerbaijan and Gandzha to Russian according to the terms of the 1813 Gulistan treaty. The medal was bestowed in silver to non-commissioned officers and men who had taken active part in the storming of the town of Ganzha, whilst the medal in bronze, was bestowed upon servicemen who had not directly participated in storming but had operated in support.