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Here, the Oghuz tribes divided into various smaller groups, some of whom – mostly Sunni – moved to Anatolia (i.e., the later Ottomans) and became settled, while others remained in the Caucasus region and later – due to the influence of the Safaviyya – eventually converted to the Shia branch of Islam.The latter were to keep the name "Turkmen" or "Turcoman" for a long time: from the 13th century onwards they gradually Turkified the Iranian-speaking populations of Azerbaijan (historic Azerbaijan, also known as Iranian Azerbaijan) and Shirvan (Azerbaijan Republic), thus creating a new identity based on Shia and the use of Oghuz Turkic.They historically called themselves or were referred to by others as Muslims, Turks, Turkmens, – that is to say that religious identification prevailed over ethnic identification.[The purely linguistic] grouping [does not] coincide with the somatological grouping: thus the Aderbeijani of the Caucasus and Persia, who speak a Turkic language, have the same physical type as the Hadjemi-Persians, who speak an Iranian tongue.Today, this Turkic-speaking population is known as Azerbaijani.
However, despite pockets of continued resistance, the majority of the inhabitants of Azerbaijan converted to Islam.
The Arabs made Caucasian Albania a vassal state after the Christian resistance, led by Prince Javanshir, surrendered in 667.
Conversion to Islam was slow as local resistance persisted for centuries and resentment grew as small groups of Arabs began migrating to cities such as Tabriz and Maraghah.
Following the decline of the Seleucids in Persia in 247 BC, an Armenian Kingdom exercised control over parts of Caucasian Albania.
Caucasian Albania's ruler, King Urnayr, went to Armenia and then officially adopted Christianity as the state religion in the fourth century AD, and Albania remained a Christian state until the 8th century. Muslim Arabs defeated the Sassanids and Byzantines as they marched into the Caucasus region.
Turkic dominion was interrupted by the Mongols in 1227, but it returned with the Timurids and then Sunni Qara Qoyunlū (Black Sheep Turkmen) and Aq Qoyunlū (White Sheep Turkmen), who dominated Azerbaijan, large parts of Iran, eastern Anatolia, and other minor parts of West Asia, until the Shi'a Safavids took power in 1501.