Mohammad Khan Qajar

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Mohammad Khan Qajar
Shir & Khorshid1.svg Shahanshah of Persia
Reign 21 March 1794 – 17 June 1797 [3 years 2 months 27 days]
Predecessor Lotf Ali Khan
Successor Fat′h-Ali Shah Qajar
Full name
Mohammad Khan Qajar
Dynasty Qajar dynasty
Father Mohammad Hasan Khan Qajar
Born 1742
Astarabad, Persia
Died Saturday, 17 June 1797 [aged 55]
Shusha, Karabakh Khanate
Burial Najaf
Religion Shia Islam

Agha Muḥammad Khān Qājār (1742–1797; Persian: آغا محمد خان قاجار‎)‎ was the chief of the Qajar tribe, succeeding his father Mohammad Hassan Khan, who was killed on the orders of Adil Shah. He became the Emperor/Shah of Persia in 1794, crowned formally in 1796,[1] and established the Qajar dynasty. He was succeeded by his nephew, Fat′h Ali Shah Qajar.

His reign is noted for the reemergance of a centrally led and united Iran. Following the death of Nader Shah, many of the Iranian territories in the Caucasus that had been ruled by the various subsequent Iranian dynasties since 1501, comprising nowadays Georgia, Dagestan, Azerbaijan, and Armenia had broken apart into various Caucasian khanates. After 48 years, they were all reconquered by Agha Mohammad Khan. Some of his reconquests were even for that time, exceptionally cruel, such as his resubjugation of Georgia, where he sacked the capital Tblisi and massacred many of its inhabitants, and moving away some 15,000 Georgian captives back to mainland Iran.

Mohammad Khan Qajar is also noted moved for moving the capital to Tehran, where it still stands as of today.

Early life[edit]

Agha Mohammad Khan was born in around 1742.[2] At the age of six, he was castrated on the orders of Adil Shah, the enemy of his father, to prevent him from becoming a political rival, but this loss did not hinder his career.[2] Despite being a eunuch, he became the chief of his tribe in 1758. In 1762 he was captured by a rival tribe and sent to Shiraz as a prisoner to Karim Khan's court. Agha Muhammad spent the next 16 years as a hostage, until he escaped in 1779. That same year, the death of Shah Karim Khan Zand plunged the country into a series of civil wars and disputes over the succession, with many members of the Zand dynasty acceding to the Sun Throne in the space of only ten years. Agha Muhammad took the opportunity to launch a rebellion which, in 1794, succeeded in capturing Lotf Ali Khan, the last Zand ruler. Two years later he proclaimed himself Shahanshah (King of Kings) on the Mughan plain, just like Nader Shah had done some sixty years earlier.[3]

Home of Agha Muhammad Shah, Shahanshah of Persia in Sari.


Agha Muhammad restored Persia to a unity it had not had since Karim Khan. He was, however, a man of extreme violence who killed almost all who could threaten his hold on power. In 1795 he attacked Georgia, which had been under intermittent Iranian suzerainty since 1555, but had been independent after the disintegrating of the Iranian Afsharid Dynasty. In the same year he also captured Khorasan. Shah Rukh, ruler of Khorasan and grandson of Nadir Shah, was tortured to death because Agha Muhammad thought that he knew of Nadir's legendary treasures.

In 1778, Agha Muhammad moved his capital from Sari in his home province of Mazandaran to Tehran. He was the first Persian ruler to make Tehran — the successor to the great city of Rayy — his capital, although both the Safavids and the Zands had expanded the town and built palaces there. He was crowned in 1796 and founded the Qajar dynasty.[2][4]

Although the Russians briefly took and occupied Derbent and Baku during the Persian Expedition of 1796, he successfully expanded Persian influence into the Caucasus, reasserting Iranian sovereignty over its former dependencies in the region. He was, however, a notoriously cruel ruler, who reduced Tbilisi to ashes and massacred its Christian population, as he had done with his Muslim subjects. He based his strength on tribal manpower of Genghis Khan, Teimur and Nader Shah.[2]


Agha Muhammad was assassinated in 1797 in the city of Shusha, the capital of Karabakh khanate, less than 3 years in power. According to Hasan-e Fasa'i's' Farsnama-ye Naseri, during Agha Muhammad's stay in Shusha, one night "a quarrel arose between a Georgian servant named Sadeq and the valet Khodadad-e Esfahani. They raised their voices to such a pitch that the shah became angry and ordered both to be executed. Sadeq Khan-e Shaghaghi, a prominent emir, interceded on their behalf, but was not listened to. The shah, however, ordered their execution to be postponed until Saturday, as this happened to be the evening of Friday (the Islamic holy day), and ordered them back to their duties in the royal pavilion, unfettered and unchained, awaiting their execution the next day. From experience, however, they knew that the King would keep to what he had ordered, and, having no hope, they turned to boldness. When the shah was sleeping, they were joined by the valet Abbas-e Mazandarani, who was in the plot with them, and the three invaded the royal pavilion and with dagger and knife murdered the shah."

His nephew, crowned as Fath Ali Shah, succeeded him.[2]


Mohammad Khan Qajar
Born: 1742 Died: 17 June 1797
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Lotf Ali Khan
Shah of Persia
Succeeded by
Fat′h Ali Shah Qajar