Gegham M. Badalyan
Up until the second half of the 19th century, and in separate cases even up until the end of the same century, there existed about two dozen semi-independent Armenian authorities, autonomous provinces or communities on the territory of Western Armenia. The strongest among them were the authorities in Sassun and Zeitun, whose semi-independent status was established on behalf of the Ottoman power through special edicts. The Melikdoms of Shatakh, Moks, Baghlu, the Mirakyan’s of Dersim, and the authorities of Isyan and Savur also enjoyed wide autonomy, while acknowledging the supremacy of their powerful neighboring Muslim country. As a rule, these authorities were governing formations of Armenian or foreign dynasties, who were endowed with the rights of “junior ally.” At the next level were a number of smaller units, whose territory was limited by one or a few settlements – the Melikdoms of the Tarkhanyans, Zirakyans, Liz, and Yonjalu in Van, the Melikdoms of Khnus and Manazkert in Erzerum including also separate communities strewn throughout the territories of Southwestern Armenia, Pontos and Gamirk.