Emirates were Kurdish principalities, which possessed many of the characteristics of a state. They existed as early as the 1300s, with the last ones being abolished only in the middle of the 19th century. At various times their rulers bore such titles as mirs (emirs), meliks (kings), or begs. Famous examples of Kurdish emirates included Ardalan, Baban, Bitlis, Botan, Hakkari, and Hasan-keyf, among many others. The Sharafnama, written by Sharaf Khan Bitlisi, the former mir of the emirate of Bitlis, is an erudite history of the ruling families of these emirates up to the end of the 1500s.
   In an era that existed before the rise of the nation-states, the existence of the Kurdish emirates puts the lie to the claim that there never were in effect any independent Kurdish states. With the demise of the last emirates in the 19th century, religious sheikhs increasingly began to exercise some of the political power of the former mirs.

Historical Dictionary of the Kurds. .

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