Qajar dynasty

Qajar dynasty

Infobox Former Country
native_name =امپراتوری ایران
conventional_long_name = Persian Empire
common_name = Pahlavi Dynasty
continent = moved from Category:Asia to the Middle East
region = the Middle East
country = Iran
status = Empire
year_start = 1794
year_end = 1925
date_start =
date_end =
event_start = Qajar dynasty begins
event_end = Pahlavi dynasty begins
p1 = Zand Dynasty
flag_p1 = Zand Dynasty Flag.pngp2 =
flag_p2 =
s1 = Pahlavi dynasty
flag_s1 = State Flag of Iran (1925).svg

image_map_caption = Map of Iran under the Qajar dynasty in the 19th century.
national_anthem = "Salamati-ye Shah"
(well-being of the king)
capital = Tehran
common_languages = Persian
government_type = Monarchy
footnotes =

The Qajar dynasty (also known as Ghajar or Kadjar) (audio|Qajar.ogg|Qajar) (PerB|سلسله قاجاریه - or دودمان قاجار) is a common term to describe Iran (then known as Persia) under the ruling Qajar royal familyAbbas Amanat, The Pivot of the Universe: Nasir Al-Din Shah Qajar and the Iranian Monarchy, 1831-1896, I.B.Tauris, pp 2-3] that ruled Iran from 1794 to 1925. In 1794 the Qajar family took full control of Iran as they had eliminated all their rivals, including Lotf 'Ali Khan, the last of the Zand dynasty, and had reasserted Persian sovereignty over the former Iranian territories in Georgia and the Caucasus. In 1796 Āghā Moḥammad Khān was formally crowned as shah (emperor or king). [ [ Qajar Dynasty on Encyclopædia Britannica] ]


The Qajar or ghajar rulers were members of the Quvanlu clan of the Qajars, originally themselves members of the Oghuz branch of the larger Turkmen peoples [ [ Genealogy and History of Qajar (Kadjar) Rulers and Heads of the Imperial Kadjar House] ] .Cyrus Ghani. "Iran and the Rise of the Reza Shah: From Qajar Collapse to Pahlavi Power", I.B. Tauris, 2000, ISBN 1860646298, p. 1] [William Bayne Fisher. "Cambridge History of Iran", Cambridge University Press, 1993, p. 344, ISBN 0521200946] Qajars first settled during the Mongol period in the vicinity of Armenia and were among the seven Qizilbash tribes that supported the Safavids. [ Encyclopedia Iranica. The Qajar Dynasty. Online Edition] ] The Safavids "left Arran (present-day Republic of Azerbaijan) to local Turkish khans",K. M. Röhrborn, Provinzen und Zentralgewalt Persiens im 16. und 17. Jahrhundert, Berlin, 1966, p. 4] and, "in 1554 Ganja was governed by Shahverdi Soltan Ziyadoglu Qajar, whose family came to govern Karabakh in southern Arran". [ Encyclopedia Iranica. Ganja. Online Edition] ]

Qajars filled a number of diplomatic missions and governorships in the 16-17th centuries for the Safavids. The Qajars were resettled by Shah Abbas I throughout Persia. The great number of them also settled in Astarabad (present-day Gorgan, Iran) near the south-eastern corner of the Caspian Sea, and it would be this branch of Qajars that would rise to power. The immediate ancestor of Qajars, Shah Qoli Khan Qajar Qovanlu of the Qovanlus of Ganja, married into the Qovanlu Qajars of Astarabad. His son, Fath Ali Khan Qajar, born circa 1685-1693, was a renowned military commander during the rule of the Safavid shahs Husayn and Tahmasp II. He was killed on the orders of Tahmasp Qoli Khan Afshar (Nader Shah) in 1726. Fath Ali Khan's son Mohammad Hassan Khan Qajar (1722-1758) was killed at the behest of Karim Khan Zand, and was the father of Agha Mohammad Khan and Hossein Qoli Khan (Jahansouz Shah) Qajar (father of "Baba Khan," the future Fath Ali Shah Qajar).

Within 126 years between the demise of the Safavid state and the rise of Nasir al-Din Shah, the Qajars evolved from a shepherd-warrior tribe with strongholds in northern Persia into a Persian dynasty with all the trappings of a Perso-Islamic monarchy.

Rise to Power

"Like virtually every dynasty that ruled Persia since the 11th century, the Qajars came to power with the backing of Turkish tribal forces, while using educated Persians in their bureaucracy".Nikki R. Keddie. "The Iranian Power Structure and Social Change 1800-1969: An Overview", "International Journal of Middle East Studies", Vol. 2, No. 1. (Jan., 1971), p. 4] In 1779, following the death of Mohammad Karim Khan Zand, the Zand dynasty ruler of southern Persia, Agha Mohammad Khan, the leader of the Qajar tribe, set out to reunify Iran. Agha Mohammad Khan was castrated in his childhood by the enemies of his father and was one of the cruelest kings even by the 18th century Iranian standards. In his quest for power, he razed cities, massacred entire populations, and in an act of singular cruelty blinded some 20,000 men in the city of Kerman solely because the local populace had chosen to defend the city against his siege.

The Qajar armies were composed of a small Turkoman bodyguard and Georgian slaves, [Ira Marvin Lapidus. "A History of Islamic Societies", Cambridge UniversityPress, 2002, ISBN 0521779332, p. 469] and by 1794, Agha Mohammad Khan had eliminated all his rivals, including Lotf 'Ali Khan, the last of the Zand dynasty, and had reestablished Iranian control over the territories in the Caucasus. Agha Mohammad established his capital at Tehran, a village near the ruins of the ancient city of Rayy. In 1796 he was formally crowned as shah. Agha Mohammad was assassinated in 1797 in Shusha, the capital of Karabakh khanate, and was succeeded by his nephew, Fath Ali Shah Qajar.

War with Russia

In 1803, under Fath Ali Shah, Qajars set out to fight against Russian Empire, in what was known as Russo-Persian War of 1804-1813, due to concerns about the Russian expansion into Caucasus which was an Iranian domain, although some of the Khanates of the Caucasus were considered independent or semi-independent by the time of Russian expansion in 19th century [cquote|"Even when rulers on the plateau lacked the means to effect suzerainty beyond the Aras, the neighboring Khanates were still regarded as Iranian dependencies." Naturally, it was those Khanates located closes to the province of Azarbaijan which most frequently experienced attempts to re-impose Iranian suzerainty: the Khanates of Erivan, Nakhchivan and Qarabagh across the Aras, and the cis-Aras Khanate of Talish, with its administrative headquarters located at Lankaran and therefore very vulnerable to pressure, either from the direction of Tabriz or Rasht. Beyond the Khanate of Qarabagh, the Khan of Ganja and the Vali of Gurjistan (ruler of the Kartli-Kakheti kingdom of south-east Georgia), although less accessible for purposes of coercion, were also regarded as the Shah's vassals, as were the Khans of Shakki and Shirvan, north of the Kura river. The contacts between Iran and the Khanates of Baku and Qubba, however, were more tenuous and consisted mainly of maritime commercial links with Anzali and Rasht. The effectiveness of these somewhat haphazard assertions of suzeiranty dependend on the ability of a particular Shah to make his will felt, and the determination of the local khans to evade obligations they regarded as onerous." The Cambridge history of Iran By William Bayne Fisher, Published by Cambridge University Press, 1991, pp. 145-146] , this period marked the first major economic and military encroachments on Iranian interests during the colonial era. Qajar army suffered a major military defeat in the war and under the terms of the Treaty of Gulistan in 1813, Iran recognized Russian annexation of Georgia and most of the Caucasus region. The second Russo-Persian War of the late 1820s ended even more disastrously for Qajar Iran with temporary occupation of Tabriz and the signing of Treaty of Turkmenchay in 1828, acknowledging Russian sovereignty over the entire South Caucasus, the area north of the Aras River.

Fath Ali Shah's reign saw increased diplomatic contacts with the West and the beginning of intense European diplomatic rivalries over Iran. His grandson Mohammad Shah, who fell under the Russian influence and made two unsuccessful attempts to capture Herat, succeeded him in 1834. When Mohammad Shah died in 1848 the succession passed to his son Nasser-e-Din, who proved to be the ablest and most successful of the Qajar sovereigns.

Era of Development and Decline

During Nasser-e-Din Shah's reign Western science, technology, and educational methods were introduced into Persia and the country's modernization was begun. Nasser ed-Din Shah tried to exploit the mutual distrust between Great Britain and Russia to preserve Persia's independence, but foreign interference and territorial encroachment increased under his rule. He contracted foreign loans to finance expensive trips to Europe. These trips were part of a strategy to put Persia on the map as an independent, ancient but civilized state Fact|date=May 2008. Although the trips in this field were rather successful, he was not able to prevent Britain and Russia from encroaching into regions of traditional Persian influence. In 1856, during the Anglo-Persian War, Britain prevented Persia from reasserting control over Herat. The city had been part of Persia in Safavid times, but Herat had been under non-Persian rule since the mid-18th century. Britain supported the city's incorporation into Afghanistan and, when the war ended in 1857, it was. In large part, Afghanistan was created by Britain in order to extend eastward the buffer between its Indian territories and Russia's expanding empire. Britain also extended its control to other areas of the Persian Gulf during the 19th century. Meanwhile, by 1881, Russia had completed its conquest of present-day Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, bringing Russia's frontier to Persia's northeastern borders and severing historic Persian ties to the cities of Bukhara and Samarqand. Several trade concessions by the Persian government put economic affairs largely under British control. By the late 19th century, many Persians believed that their rulers were beholden to foreign interests.

Mirza Taghi Khan Amir Kabir, was the young prince Nasser-e-Din's advisor and constable. With the death of Mohammad Shah in 1848, Mirza Taqi was largely responsible for ensuring the crown prince's succession to the throne. When Nasser ed-Din succeeded to the throne, Amir Nezam was awarded the position of prime minister and the title of Amir Kabir, the Great Ruler.

At that time, Persia was nearly bankrupt. During the next two and a half years Amir Kabir initiated important reforms in virtually all sectors of society. Government expenditure was slashed, and a distinction was made between the private and public purses. The instruments of central administration were overhauled, and Amir Kabir assumed responsibility for all areas of the bureaucracy. Foreign interference in Persia's domestic affairs was curtailed, and foreign trade was encouraged. Public works such as the bazaar in Tehran were undertaken. Amir Kabir issued an edict banning ornate and excessively formal writing in government documents; the beginning of a modern Persian prose style dates from this time.

One of the greatest achievements of Amir Kabir was the building of Dar ol Fonoon, the first modern university in Persia and the Middle East. Dar-ol-Fonoon was established for training a new cadre of administrators and acquainting them with Western techniques. Amir Kabir ordered the school to be built on the edge of the city so it could be expanded as needed. He hired French and Russian instructors as well as Persians to teach subjects as different as Language, Medicine, Law, Geography, History, Economics, and Engineering. Unfortunately, Amir Kabir did not live long enough to see his greatest monument completed, but it still stands in Tehran as a sign of a great man's ideas for the future of his country.

These reforms antagonized various notables who had been excluded from the government. They regarded the Amir Kabir as a social upstart and a threat to their interests, and they formed a coalition against him, in which the queen mother was active. She convinced the young shah that Amir Kabir wanted to usurp the throne. In October 1851 the shah dismissed him and exiled him to Kashan, where he was murdered on the shah's orders. Through his marriage to Ezzat od-Doleh, Amir Kabir had been the brother-in-law of the shah.

The Constitutional Revolution

. Mozaffar-e-din Shah was a moderate and kind, but also not a very effective ruler. Royal extravagance and the absence of incoming revenues exacerbated financial problems. The shah quickly spent two large loans from Russia, partly on trips to Europe. Public anger fed on the shah's propensity for granting concessions to Europeans in return for generous payments to him and his officials. People began to demand a curb on royal authority and the establishment of the rule of law as their concern over foreign, and especially Russian, influence grew.

The shah's failure to respond to protests by the religious establishment, the merchants, and other classes led the merchants and clerical leaders in January 1906 to take sanctuary from probable arrest in mosques in Tehran and outside the capital. When the shah reneged on a promise to permit the establishment of a "house of justice", or consultative assembly, 10,000 people, led by the merchants, took sanctuary in June in the compound of the British legation in Tehran. In August the shah, through the issue of a decree promised a constitution. In October an elected assembly convened and drew up a constitution that provided for strict limitations on royal power, an elected parliament, or Majlis, with wide powers to represent the people, and a government with a cabinet subject to confirmation by the Majles. The shah signed the constitution on December 30, 1906, but refusing to forfeit all of his power to the Majles, attached a caveat that made his signature on all laws required for their enactment. He died five days later. The Supplementary Fundamental Laws approved in 1907 provided, within limits, for freedom of press, speech, and association, and for security of life and property. The Constitutional Revolution marked the end of the medieval period in Persia. The hopes for constitutional rule were not realized, however.

Mozaffar-e-din Shah's son Mohammad Ali Shah (reigned 1907-09), who, through his mother, was also the grandson of Prime-Minister Amir Kabir (see before), with the aid of Russia, attempted to rescind the constitution and abolish parliamentary government. After several disputes with the members of the Majlis, in June 1908 he used his Russian-officered Persian Cossacks Brigade to bomb the Majlis building, arrest many of the deputies, and close down the assembly. Resistance to the shah, however, coalesced in Tabriz, Isfahan, Rasht, and elsewhere. In July 1909, constitutional forces marched from Rasht and Isfahan to Tehran, deposed the shah, and re-established the constitution. The ex-shah went into exile in Russia.

Although the constitutional forces had triumphed, they faced serious difficulties. The upheavals of the Constitutional Revolution and civil war had undermined stability and trade. In addition, the ex-shah, with Russian support, attempted to regain his throne, landing troops in July 1910. Most serious of all, the hope that the Constitutional Revolution would inaugurate a new era of independence from the great powers ended when, under the Anglo-Russian Agreement of 1907, Britain and Russia agreed to divide Persia into spheres of influence. The Russians were to enjoy exclusive right to pursue their interests in the northern sphere, the British in the south and east; both powers would be free to compete for economic and political advantage in a neutral sphere in the center. Matters came to a head when Morgan Shuster(also spelled Schuster), a United States administrator hired as treasurer general by the Persian government to reform its finances, sought to collect taxes from powerful officials who were Russian protégés and to send members of the treasury gendarmerie, a tax department police force, into the Russian zone. When in December 1911 the Majlis unanimously refused a Russian ultimatum demanding Shuster's dismissal, Russian troops, already in the country, moved to occupy the capital. To prevent this, on December 20 Bakhtiari chiefs and their troops surrounded the Majles building, forced acceptance of the Russian ultimatum, and shut down the assembly, once again suspending the constitution.

Fall of the dynasty

Soltan Ahmad Shah, was born 21 January 1898 in Tabriz, and succeeded to the throne at age 11. However, the occupation of Persia during World War I (1914-18) by Russian, British, and Ottoman troops was a blow from which Ahmad Shah never effectively recovered. With a coup d'état in February 1921, Reza Khan (ruled as Reza Shah Pahlavi, 1925-41) became the preeminent political personality in Persia; Ahmad Shah left Persia in 1923 for Europe never to return. Under pressure of Reza Khan, he was deposed by the Majlis (national consultative assembly) in October 1925 while in Europe, and that assembly declared the rule of the Qajar dynasty to be terminated. Dr. Mohammad Mossadegh os-Saltaneh (later known as Dr. Mossadegh) was one of the few deputees who dared to protest against this illegal act. Soltan Ahmad Shah died later on 21 February 1930 in Neuilly-sur-Seine, France.

hahs of Persia, 1794-1925

* Agha Mohammad Khan Qajar (1794-1797)
* Fath Ali Shah (1797-1834)
** Adel Ali Shah (November 16, 1834-December 16, 1834); Ruled in Tehran [ [ qajar13 ] ]
** Hossein Ali Shah (December 5, 1834-April 1835); Ruled in Shiraz, Fars [ [ qajar11 ] ]
* Mohammad Shah Qajar (November 8, 1834-1848); Ruled in Tabriz from November 8 to January 31, 1835. Crowned at Tehran as Shah of Persia on January 31, 1835.
* Nasser-al-Din Shah (1848-1896)
* Mozaffar al-Din Shah Qajar (1896-1907)
* Mohammad Ali Shah (1907-1909)
* Soltan Ahmad Shah Qajar (1909-1925)

Qajar Royal Family

The Qajar Imperial Family in exile is currently headed by the eldest descendant of Mohammad Ali Shah, Soltan Ali Mirza Qajar, while the Heir Presumptive to the Qajar throne is Mohammad Hassan Mirza II, the grandson of Mohammad Hassan Mirza, Soltan Ahmad Shah's brother and heir. Mohammad Hassan Mirza died in England in 1943, having proclaimed himself shah in exile in 1930 after the death of his brother in France.

Today, the descendants of the Qajars often identify themselves as such and hold reunions to stay socially acquainted through the "Kadjar Family Association". []

Heads and Heirs Presumptive of the Qajar dynasty since 1925

Heads of the Qajar Imperial Family

The headship of the Imperial Family is inherited by the eldest male descendant of Mohammad Ali Shah.

* Soltan Ahmad Shah Qajar (1925-1930)
* Fereydoun Mirza (1930-1975)
* Soltan Hamid Mirza (1975-1988)
* Soltan Mahmoud Mirza (1988)
* Soltan Ali Mirza Qajar (1988-present)

Heirs Presumptive of the Qajar dynasty

The Heir Presumptive is the Qajar heir to the Persian throne.
* Soltan Ahmad Shah Qajar (1925-1930)
* Mohammad Hassan Mirza (1930-1943)
* Fereydoun Mirza (1943-1975)
* Soltan Hamid Mirza (1975-1988)
* Mohammad Hassan Mirza II (1988-present)

Notable members of Qajar family

* Abdol Hossein Mirza Farmanfarma, "Persian prime minister and major political figure."
* Mass'oud Mirza Zell-e Soltan, "Governor of Isfahan province."
* Abbas Mirza, Fath Ali Shah's crown Prince and military leader
* Firouz Mirza Nosrat-ed-Dowleh Farman Farmaian III, Renowned politician and diplomat

* Iraj Mirza, "Iranian poet."

Popular Culture
* Marjane Satrapi, "Iranian cartoonist."
* Sarah Shahi, "American actress and cheerleader; father is Iranian Qajar."

ee also

* Persia
* History of Persia
* History of Iran
* List of kings of Persia
* Mirza Kouchek Khan
* Abdolhossein Teymourtash
* Qajar art


External links

* [ The Qajar (Kadjar) Pages]
* [ Qajars Dynasty] Turkoman dynasty of the Shahs of Persia
* [ Qajar Family Website]
* [ Royal Ark-Qajar Website] by Christopher Buyers
* [ Royal Ark-Qajar Website] by Christopher Buyers
* [ Some Photos of Qajar Family Members]
* A slide show of the Qajar Era, 1781-1925: [ YouTube]
* Mohammad-Reza Tahmasbpoor, "History of Iranian Photography: Early Photography in Iran", Iranian Artists' site, [ "Kargah"]

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