Men know that you are mine by birth:
My nest,  my refuge,  and my hearth,
My mother,  native land,  dear earth!
Sever soul and body??  Death but can.
O Azerbaijan,  my Azerbaijan!
Samed Vurgun

  Window to Gazakh

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Etymology of "Gazakh"

There are different opinions on the origin of the word "Gazakh" (Qazakh, Kazakh) and its meaning. This word as a name of the tribe can be met in a vast area from China to the Black Sea, and it is mentioned in Chinese, Arabic, Persian, Russian, Greek and other written sources. According to the rules of these languages, the word "Gazakh" evolved as the "ase", "casa", "khassa", "haysak", "cusak", "gasuk", "gasak", "hasyk", "kazak", "kazakh", etc. and applied to the Turkic tribes.

It is believed that the place name "Gazakh" comes from the Turkic tribes who migrated to Azerbaijan from the steppes of the northern Kazakhstan in X-XII century. However, the Gazakh town of Aran (Azerbaijan) is mentioned in Arab written sources already in the IX century in connection with events which happen in the VII century: the historian al-Kufi described it as Kusak, and Ibn-Khordabex mentioned Kasal. Al-Balazuri reported that Kasal was built by Arab governor Marvan ibn Muhammad (732-744) in VIII century and it served as a military camp. As described by Al-Balazuri its location coincides with the current town of Gazakh. The different spellings of  Kasal and Kasak are due to the similarity of the Arab handwritten letters "k" and "l". Another interesting source on the topic is an essay "On the Administration of the Empire" written by the Byzantine emperor Constantine VII (905-959). In the 42th chapter, when describing the territories between the Caspian and Black seas, he mentioned the country Kazakhiya,  which located below the Caucasus mountains. This description allows us to localize the Kazakh in the South Caucasus. These facts confirm that the Gazakh (Kazakh) tribes were lived here since at least VII century. Subsequently the name of Gazakh appeared in the Seljuk and Ottoman chronicles.

As for the meaning of the "Gazakh" (Qazakh, Kazakh), there are various different versions around. The most realistic versions are:

1. Kazakh was included into a XIII century Turkic-Arabic dictionary, where its meaning was given as "independent", ‘raider’, "seceded" or "freeman". This version is considered to be the most common among ethnographers.

2. The word  "Kazakh" comes from the ancient tribes inhabiting the area around the Caspian Sea. The names of such tribes as Saks, Caspians, Khazars, evolved over time and created the word "Kazakh" (Gazakh). The words "Kazakh", "Caspian", "Caucasus", "Khazar" come from the same root "kas", "kaz", "haz". It is also possible that the "Kazakh" is derived from merging the names of the ancient tribes of the Caspians and Saks. The change occurred on the scheme Kaspi-Sak, kas-sac, then the Kazakh.