Qajar dynasty

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Qajar Empire)
Jump to: navigation, search
"Qajar" and "Qajars" redirect here. For other uses, see Qajar (disambiguation).
Qajar dynasty





Flag Coat of arms
Salâm-e Shâh
(Royal salute)
Map of Iran under the Qajar dynasty in the 19th century.
Capital Tehran
Languages Persian (court literature, administrative, cultural, official),[1][2]
Azerbaijani Turkish (court language & mother tongue)[3]
Government Absolute monarchy (1785–1906)

Constitutional monarchy (1906–1925)

Shah, Mirza
 •  1794–1797 Mohammad Khan Qajar (first)
 •  1909–1925 Ahmad Shah Qajar (last)
Prime Minister
 •  1906 Mirza Nasrullah Khan (first)
 •  1923–1925 Reza Pahlavi (last)
 •  Qajar dynasty begins 1789
 •  Treaty of Gulistan 1813
 •  Treaty of Turkmenchay 1828
 •  Treaty of Paris 1857
 •  Treaty of Akhal 1881
 •  Constitutional Revolution 1906
 •  Pahlavi dynasty begins 1925
Currency qiran[4]
Today part of

The Qajar dynasty (About this sound listen ; Persian: سلسله قاجار‎‎ Selsele-ye Qājār; also romanised as Ghajar, Kadjar, Qachar etc.; Azerbaijani: Qacarlar) was a Persianized[5] royal family of Turkic origin,[6][7][8][9][10] which ruled Persia (Iran) from 1785 to 1925.[11][12] The state ruled by the dynasty was officially known as the Sublime State of Persia (Persian: دولت علیّه ایران‎‎ Dowlat-e Elliye ye Irān). The Qajar family took full control of Iran in 1794, deposing Lotf 'Ali Khan, the last of the Zand dynasty, and re-asserted Iranian sovereignty over large parts of the Caucasus and Central Asia. In 1796, Mohammad Khan Qajar seized Mashhad with ease,[13] putting an end to the Afsharid dynasty, and Mohammad Khan was formally crowned as shah after his punitive campaign against Iran's Georgian subjects.[14] In the North Caucasus and South Caucasus, the Qajar dynasty eventually permanently lost many of Iran's integral areas which had made part of the concept of Iran for three centuries to the Russians in the course of the 19th century, comprising modern-day Georgia, Dagestan, Azerbaijan, and Armenia.[15]


The Qajar rulers were members of the Karagöz or "Black-Eye" sept of the Qajars, who themselves were members of the Karapapak or "Black Hats" lineage of the Oghuz Turks.[6][7][8][9] Qajars first settled during the Mongol period in the vicinity of Armenia and were among the seven Qizilbash tribes that supported the Safavids.[16] The Safavids "left Arran (present-day Republic of Azerbaijan) to local Turkic khans",[17] and, "in 1554 Ganja was governed by Shahverdi Soltan Ziyadoglu Qajar, whose family came to govern Karabakh in southern Arran".[18]

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 Iran. The great number of them also settled in Astarabad (present-day Gorgan, Iran) near the south-eastern corner of the Caspian Sea,[7] and it would be this branch of Qajars that would rise to power. The immediate ancestor of the Qajar dynasty, Shah Qoli Khan of the Quvanlu of Ganja, married into the Quvanlu Qajars of Astarabad. His son, Fath Ali Khan (born c. 1685–1693) was a renowned military commander during the rule of the Safavid shahs Sultan Husayn and Tahmasp II. He was killed on the orders of Shah Nader Shah in 1726. Fath Ali Khan's son Mohammad Hasan Khan Qajar (1722–1758) was the father of Mohammad Khan Qajar and Hossein Qoli Khan (Jahansouz Shah), father of "Baba Khan," the future Fath-Ali Shah Qajar. Mohammad Hasan Khan was killed on the orders of Karim Khan of the Zand dynasty.

Within 126 years between the demise of the Safavid state and the rise of Naser al-Din Shah Qajar, the Qajars had evolved from a shepherd-warrior tribe with strongholds in northern Persia into a Persian dynasty with all the trappings of a Perso-Islamic monarchy.[5]

Mozaffar al-Din Shah and Attendants Seated in a Garden One of 274 vintage photographs (Brooklyn Museum)

Rise to power[edit]

Main article: Mohammad Khan Qajar

"Like virtually every dynasty that ruled Persia since the 11th century, the Qajars came to power with the backing of Turkic tribal forces, while using educated Persians in their bureaucracy".[19] In 1779 following the death of Karim Khan of the Zand dynasty, Mohammad Khan Qajar, the leader of the Qajars, set out to reunify Iran. Mohammad Khan was known as one of the cruelest kings, even by the 18th century Iranian standards.[7] In his quest for power, he razed cities, massacred entire populations, and blinded some 20,000 men in the city of Kerman because the local populace had chosen to defend the city against his siege.[7]

The Qajar armies at that time were mostly composed of Turkomans and Georgian slaves.[20] By 1794, Mohammad Khan had eliminated all his rivals, including Lotf Ali Khan, the last of the Zand dynasty. He reestablished Persian control over the territories in the entire 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. In 1797, Mohammad Khan Qajar was assassinated in Shusha, the capital of Karabakh Khanate, and was succeeded by his nephew, Fath-Ali Shah Qajar.

Reconquest of Georgia and the rest of the Caucasus[edit]

Main article: Battle of Krtsanisi

Following the death of Nader Shah, the kingdoms of Kartli and Kakheti had broken free from Iranian rule, and were reunited in a personal union under the rule by king Heraclius II (Erekle II) in 1762 in the Kingdom of Kartli-Kakheti. Between 1747 and 1795, Erekle was therefore, by the turn of events in Iran following the ongoing turmoil there, able to maintain Georgia's autonomy through the Zand period.[21] In 1783, Heraclius placed his kingdom under the protection of the Russian Empire in the Treaty of Georgievsk. In the last few decades of the 18th century, Georgia had become a more important element in Russo-Iranian relations than some provinces in northern mainland Persia, such as Mazandaran or even Gilan.[22] Unlike Peter I, Catherine, the then ruling monarch of Russia, viewed Georgia as a pivot for her Caucasian policy, as Russia's new aspirations were to use it as a base of operations against both Iran and the Ottoman Empire,[23] both immediate bordering geo-political rivals of Russia. On top of that, having another port on the Georgian coast of the Black Sea would be ideal.[22] A limited Russian contingent of two infantry battalions with four artillery pieces arrived in Tbilisi in 1784,[21] but was withdrawn, despite the frantic protests of the Georgians, in 1787 as a new war against Ottoman Turkey had started on a different front.[21]

The consequences of these events came a few years later, when a new Iranian dynasty under the Qajars, emerged victorious in the protracted power struggle in Persia. Their head, Agha Mohammad Khan, as his first objective,[24] resolved to bring the Caucasus again fully under the Persian orbit. For Agha Mohammah Khan, the resubjugation and reintegration of Georgia into the Iranian Empire was part of the same process that had brought Shiraz, Isfahan, and Tabriz under his rule.[21] He viewed, like the Safavids and Nader Shah before him, the territories no different than the territories in mainland Iran. Georgia was a province of Iran the same way Khorasan was.[21] As the Cambridge History of Iran states, its permanent secession was inconceivable and had to be resisted in the same way as one would resist an attempt at the separation of Fars or Gilan.[21] It was therefore natural for Agha Mohammad Khan to perform whatever necessary means in the Caucasus in order to subdue and reincorporate the recently lost regions following Nader Shah's death and the demise of the Zands, including putting down what in Iranian eyes was seen as treason on the part of the wali of Georgia.[21]

The capture of Tbilisi by Agha Muhammad Khan. A Qajar-era Persian miniature from the British Library.

Finding an interval of peace amid their own quarrels and with northern, western, and central Persia secure, the Persians demanded Heraclius II to renounce the treaty with Russia and to reaccept Persian suzerainty,[24] in return for peace and the security of his kingdom. The Ottomans, Iran's neighboring rival, recognized the latters rights over Kartli and Kakheti for the first time in four centuries.[25] Heraclius appealed then to his theoretical protector, Empress Catherine II of Russia, asking for at least 3,000 Russian troops,[25] but he was ignored, leaving Georgia to fend off the Persian threat alone.[26] Nevertheless, Heraclius II still rejected the Khan’s ultimatum.[27]

Agha Mohammad Khan subsequently crossed the Aras River, and after a turn of events by which he gathered more support from his subordinate khans of Erivan and Ganja, and having re-secured the territories up to including parts of Dagestan in the north and up to the western-most border of modern-day Armenia in the west, he sent Erekle a last ultimatum, which he also declined, but, sent couriers to St.Petersburg. Gudovich, who sat in Georgievsk at the time, instructed Erekle to avoid "expense and fuss",[25] while Erekle, together with Solomon II and some Imeretians headed southwards of Tbilisi to fend off the Iranians.[25]

With half of the troops Agha Mohammad Khan crossed the Aras river with, he now marched directly upon Tbilisi, where it commenced into a huge battle between the Iranian and Georgian armies. Erekle had managed to mobilize some 5,000 troops, including some 2,000 from neighboring Imereti under its King Solomon II. The Georgians, hopelessly outnumbered, were eventually defeated despite stiff resistance. In a few hours, the Iranian king Agha Mohammad Khan was in full control of the Georgian capital. The Persian army marched back laden with spoil and carrying off many thousands of captives.[26][28][29]

By this, after the conquest of Tbilisi and being in effective control of eastern Georgia,[14][30] Agha Mohammad was formally crowned Shah in 1796 in the Mughan plain.[14] As the Cambridge History of Iran notes; "Russia's client, Georgia, had been punished, and Russia's prestige, damaged." Heraclius II returned to Tbilisi to rebuild the city, but the destruction of his capital was a death blow to his hopes and projects. Upon learning of the fall of Tbilisi General Gudovich put the blame on the Georgians themselves.[31] To restore Russian prestige, Catherine II declared war on Persia, upon the proposal of Gudovich,[31] and sent an army under Valerian Zubov to the Qajar possessions on April of that year, but the new Tsar Paul I, who succeeded Catherine in November, shortly recalled it.

Agha Mohammad Shah was later assassinated while preparing a second expedition against Georgia in 1797 in Shusha[31] (nowadays part of the Republic of Azerbaijan) Reassessment of Iranian hegemony over Georgia did not last long; in 1799 the Russians marched into Tbilisi, two years after Agha Mohammad Khan's death.[32] The next two years were a time of muddle and confusion, and the weakened and devastated Georgian kingdom, with its capital half in ruins, was easily absorbed by Russia in 1801.[26][27] As Iran could not permit or allow the cession of Transcaucasia and Dagestan, which had formed part of the concept of Iran for three centuries,[31] it would also become the direct uplead to the wars of even several years later, namely the Russo-Persian War (1804-1813) and Russo-Persian War (1826-1828), which would eventually prove for the irrevocable forced cession of aforementioned regions to Imperial Russia per the Gulistan and Turkmenchay of 1813 and 1828 respectively, as the ancient ties could be severed by a superior force from outside.[31] It was therefore also inevitable that Agha Mohammad Khan's successor, Fath Ali Shah (under whom Iran would lead the two above mentioned wars) would follow the same policy of restoring Iranian central authority north of the Aras and Kura rivers.[31]

Wars with Russia and irrevocable loss of territories[edit]

A. Sharlmann "Battle of Ganja" during the Russo-Persian War (1804-1813).
Map showing Irans's northwestern borders in the 19th century, comprising Eastern Georgia, Dagestan, Armenia, and Azerbaijan, before being forced to cede the territories to Imperial Russia per the two Russo-Persian Wars of the 19th century.

In 1803, under Fath Ali Shah, the Qajars set out to fight against the Russian Empire, in what was known as the Russo-Persian War of 1804–1813, due to concerns about the Russian expansion into the Caucasus, most notably Georgia, which was an Iranian domain, although some of the Khanates of the Caucasus outside of Georgia were considered quasi-independent or semi-independent by the time of Russian expansion in the latests 19th century, and their entrance in Tbilisi.[33] After the Russians annexed the Iranian territories comprising eastern Georgia on 12 September 1801 during the rule of Tsar Alexander I,[34][35] they, under General Pavel Tsitsianov, stormed the Iranian town of Ganja in 1804, officially commencing the 1804-1814 war. This period marked the first major economic and military encroachments on Iranian interests during the colonial era. The Qajar army suffered a major military defeat in the war and under the terms of the Treaty of Gulistan in 1813, Iran was forced to cede most of its Caucasian territories comprising modern day Georgia, Dagestan, and most of Azerbaijan.[15] 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 and Dagestan, as well as therefore the ceding of what is nowadays Armenia and the remaining part of Republic of Azerbaijan;[15] the new border between neighboring Russia and Iran were set at the Aras River. Iran had by these two treaties, in the course of the 19th century, irrevocably lost the territories which had formed part of the concept of Iran for the last three centuries.[31] The area to the North of the river Aras, among which the territory of the contemporary republic of Azerbaijan, eastern Georgia, Dagestan, and Armenia were Iranian territory until they were occupied by Russia in the course of the 19th century.[15][36][37][38][39][40][41]

Migration of Caucasian Muslims[edit]

Persian Cossack Brigade in Tabriz in 1909

Following the official losing of the aforementioned vast territories in the Caucasus, major demographic shifts were bound to take place. Solidly Persian-speaking territories of Iran were lost, with all its inhabitants in it. Following the 1804-1814 War, but also per the 1826-1828 war which ceded the last territories, large migrations, so called Caucasian Muhajirs, set off to migrate to mainland Iran. Some of these groups included the Ayrums, Qarapapaqs, Circassians, Shia Lezgins, and other Transcaucasian Muslims.[42]

Through the Battle of Ganja of 1804 during the Russo-Persian War (1804-1813), many thousands of Ayrums and Qarapapaqs were settled in Tabriz. During the remaining part of the 1804-1813 war, as well as through the 1826-1828 war, the absolute bulk of the Ayrums and Qarapapaqs that were still remaining in newly conquered Russian territories were settled in and migrated to Solduz (in modern-day Iran's West Azerbaijan province).[43]

In 1864 until the early 20th century, another mass expulsion took place of Caucasian Muslims as a result of the Russian victory in the Caucasian War. Others simply voluntarily refused to live under Christian Russian rule, and thus disembarked for Turkey or Iran. These migrations once again, towards Iran, included masses of Caucasian Azerbaijanis, other Transcaucasian Muslims, as well as many North Caucasian Muslims, such as Circassians, Shia Lezgins and Laks.[42][44] Many of these migrants would prove to play a pivotal role in further Iranian history, as they formed most of the ranks of the Persian Cossack Brigade, which was also to be established in the late 19th century.[45] The initial ranks of the brigade would be entirely composed of Circassians and other Caucasian Muhajirs.[45] This brigade would prove decisive in the following decades to come in Qajar history.

Furthermore, the 1828 Treaty of Turkmenchay included the official rights for the Russian Empire to encourage settling of Armenians from Iran in the newly conquered Russian territories.[46][47] This also helped in changing the demographics of the regions considerably.[48] The Treaty of Adrianople, concluded with Turkey in 1829 granted for more mass settling of Armenians in the newly incorporated territories. Slowly but surely, the number of Christians, that formerly made out since the 17th century a relatively small minority in the region (except for Georgia), were starting to compose an ever growing number of the total population, especially in the former Iranian-ruled Armenian and Georgian territories.

Following the resettlement of Persian Armenians in the newly conquered Russian territories after 1828, thus significant demographic shifts were bound to take place. The Armenian-American historian George Bournoutian gives a summary of the ethnic makeup prior to the events of 1828 just for the territory of the Erivan administrative division as an example:[49]

After the incorporation of the Erivan khanate into the Russian Empire, Muslim majority of the area gradually changed, at first the Armenians who were left captive were accouraged to return.[50] As a result of which an estimated 57,000 Armenian refugees from Persia returned to the territory of the Erivan khanates after 1828, while about 35,000 Muslims (Persians, Turkic groups, Kurds, Lezgis, etc.) out total population of over 100,000 left the region.[51]

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.[citation needed]

Development and decline[edit]

Mullahs in the royal presence. The painting style is distinctly Qajar.
A Zoroastrian family in Qajar Iran

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 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 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.

A former Persian Legation in Washington, D.C.

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.

Constitutional Revolution[edit]

Qajar-era currency bill featuring a depiction of Nasser al-Din Shah Qajar.

When Nasser al-Din Shah Qajar was assassinated by Mirza Reza Kermani in 1896, the crown passed to his son Mozaffar-e-din. Mozaffar-e-din Shah was a moderate, but relatively ineffective ruler. Royal extravagances coincided with an inadequate ability to secure state revenue which further exacerbated the financial woes of the Qajar. In response the Shah procured two large loans from Russia (in part to fund personal trips to Europe.) Public anger mounted as the Shah sold off concessions – such as road building monopolies, authority to collect duties on imports, etc. – to European interested in return for generous payments to the Shah and his officials. Popular demand to curb arbitrary royal authority in favor of rule of law increased as concern regarding growing foreign penetration and influence heightened.

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 Majles, 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 hopes for constitutional rule were not realized, however.

Mozaffar-e-din Shah's son Mohammad Ali Shah (reigned 1907–1909), 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 (almost solely composed of Caucasian Muhajirs), 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 to Tehran led by Mohammad Vali Khan Sepahsalar Khalatbari Tonekaboni, deposed the Shah, and re-established the constitution. The ex-shah went into exile in Russia. Mohammad Ali Shah died in San Remo, Italy in April 1925. As fate would have it, every future Shah of Iran would also die in exile.

On 16 July 1909, the Majles voted to place Mohammad Ali Shah's 11-year-old son, Ahmad Shah on the throne. 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 20 December, 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[edit]

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 by Russian, British, and Ottoman troops was a blow from which Ahmad Shah never effectively recovered.

In February 1921, Reza Khan, commander of the Persian Cossack Brigade, staged a coup d'état, becoming the effective ruler of Iran. In 1923, Ahmad Shah went into exile in Europe. Reza Khan induced the Majles to depose Ahmad Shah in October 1925, and to exclude the Qajar dynasty permanently. Reza Khan was subsequently proclaimed Shah as Reza Shah Pahlavi, reigning from 1925 to 1941.

Ahmad Shah died on 21 February 1930 in Neuilly-sur-Seine, France.

Shahs of Persia, 1794–1925[edit]

The Kiani Crown was worn by the Shahs of the Qajar dynasty
Name Portrait Title Born-Died Entered office Left office
1 Mohammad Khan Qajar Mohammad Khan Qajar.jpg Shahanshah 1742–1797 20 March 1794 17 June 1797
2 Fat′h-Ali Shah Qajar Fath Ali Shah(hermitage2).jpg Shahanshah 1772–1834 17 June 1797 23 October 1834
3 Mohammad Shah Qajar Mohammadshah.jpg Shah 1808–1848 23 October 1834 5 September 1848
4 Naser al-Din Shah Qajar Nāser al-Dīn Schah.jpg Shahanshah 1831–1896 5 September 1848 1 May 1896
5 Mozaffar al-Din Shah Qajar Mozaffar-ed-Din Shah Qajar - 1.jpg Shahanshah and Sultan 1853–1907 1 May 1896 3 January 1907
6 Mohammad Ali Shah Qajar Mohammad Ali Shah.jpg Shahanshah 1872–1925 3 January 1907 16 July 1909
7 Ahmad Shah Qajar AhmadShahQajar2.jpg Sultan 1898–1930 16 July 1909 15 December 1925

Qajar Royal Family[edit]

The Qajar Imperial Family in exile is currently headed by the eldest descendant of Mohammad Ali Shah, Soltan Mohammad 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 (Qajar) Family Association,[52] often coinciding with the annual conferences and meetings of the International Qajar Studies Association. The Kadjar (Qajar) Family Association was founded for a third time in 2000. Two earlier family associations were stopped because of political pressure.

Qajar dynasty since 1925[edit]

Heads of the Qajar Imperial Family

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

Heirs Presumptive of the Qajar dynasty

The Heir Presumptive is the Qajar heir to the Persian throne.

Notable members of Qajar family[edit]

  • Prince Gholam Reza Pahlavi (1923), President Iranian Olympic Committee 1954, member of International Olympic Committee 1956, son of Reza Shah and Malekeh Touran Khanoum Amirsoleymani 'Qamar ol-Molk', a Qajar Qovanlou who was a granddaughter of Mehdi Qoli Khan 'Majd od-Doleh', a cousin of Nasser ed-Din Shah.[53]
  • Bagher Pirnia (1919), Deputy Minister of Finance, Governor of Fars 1963 and Governor of Khorassan -1971, a son of Prime Minister Mirza Hassan Khan Pirnia and Fatemeh Khanoum (Amir Alai) 'Shokou Ozma, a Qajar. [54]
Social work
  • Princess Sattareh Farmanfarmaian, Iranian Social work pioneer
  • Prince Sabbar Farmanfarmaian, health minister in Mosaddeq cabinet
  • Abdol-Hossein Sardari (1895-1981), Consul General at the Iranian Embassy in Paris 1940-1945; helped and saved the lives of Jews in danger of deportation by issuing them with Iranian passports. A Qajar Qovanlou and through his mother a grandson of Princess Malekzadeh Khanoum Ezzat od-Doleh, the sister of Nasser ed-Din Shah.
  • Prince Firouz Firouz
  • Nader Ardalan, A Qajar descendant through the female line
  • Princess Fakhr-ol-dowleh
  • Mariam Faroughy-Qajar, entrepreneur and linguist
  • Prince Manouchehr Salour (1914-2010), 'Father of the Cement Industry' of Iran. Founder of a number of cement factories, an iron and steel plant, a car factory, an asbestos factory and two sugar factories. President of Fars and Khozestan LLp cement factories and president of the Pahlavi (renamed in Alavi) Foundation
  • Prince Abbas Salour (1915-2009), member Board of Directors National Petrochemical Company of Iran (1975). Previously he was Deputy Minister and Head of the Land Reform Organisation
  • Dr. Hossein Eslambolchi (1956), chief information officer and chief technology officer at AT&T 2005-2006, president of AT&T Labs and AT&T Global Network Services, chairman, co-founder and CEO of 2020 Venture Partners, holds over 700 worldwide patents. he is a Qajar descendant through his mother. [55]
Women rights
  • Princess Mohtaram Eskandari, intellectual and pioneering figures in Iranian women's movement
  • Dr. Iran Teymourtash (Légion d'honneur) (1914-1991), journalist, editor and publisher of Rastakhiz newspaper, founder of an association for helping destitute women. Daughter of court minister Abdolhossein Teymourtash and through both her maternal grandparents a Qajar. [56]
Popular culture

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Homa Katouzian, "State and Society in Iran: The Eclipse of the Qajars and the Emergence of the Pahlavis", Published by I.B.Tauris, 2006. pg 327: "In post-Islamic times, the mother-tongue of Iran's rulers was often Turkic, but Persian was almost invariably the cultural and administrative language"
  2. ^ Homa Katouzian, "Iranian history and politics", Published by Routledge, 2003. pg 128: "Indeed, since the formation of the Ghaznavids state in the tenth century until the fall of Qajars at the beginning of the twentieth century, most parts of the Iranian cultural regions were ruled by Turkic-speaking dynasties most of the time. At the same time, the official language was Persian, the court literature was in Persian, and most of the chancellors, ministers, and mandarins were Persian speakers of the highest learning and ability"
  3. ^ Ardabil Becomes a Province: Center-Periphery Relations in Iran, H. E. Chehabi, International Journal of Middle East Studies, Vol. 29, No. 2 (May, 1997), 235;"Azeri Turkish was widely spoken at the two courts in addition to Persian, and Mozaffareddin Shah (r.1896-1907) spoke Persian with an Azeri Turkish accent....".
  4. ^ علی‌اصغر شمیم، ایران در دوره سلطنت قاجار، ته‍ران‌: انتشارات علمی، ۱۳۷۱، ص ۲۸۷
  5. ^ a b Abbas Amanat, The Pivot of the Universe: Nasir Al-Din Shah Qajar and the Iranian Monarchy, 1831–1896, I.B.Tauris, pp 2–3
  6. ^ a b "Genealogy and History of Qajar (Kadjar) Rulers and Heads of the Imperial Kadjar House". 
  7. ^ a b c d e Cyrus Ghani. Iran and the Rise of the Reza Shah: From Qajar Collapse to Pahlavi Power, I.B. Tauris, 2000, ISBN 1-86064-629-8, p. 1
  8. ^ a b William Bayne Fisher. Cambridge History of Iran, Cambridge University Press, 1993, p. 344, ISBN 0-521-20094-6
  9. ^ a b Dr Parviz Kambin, A History of the Iranian Plateau: Rise and Fall of an Empire, Universe, 2011, p.36, online edition.
  10. ^ Jamie Stokes, Anthony Gorman, Encyclopedia of the Peoples of Africa and the Middle East, 2010, p.707, Online Edition, The Safavid and Qajar dynasties, rulers in Iran from 1501 to 1722 and from 1795 to 1925 respectively, were Turkic in origin.
  11. ^ Abbas Amanat, The Pivot of the Universe: Nasir Al-Din Shah Qajar and the Iranian Monarchy, 1831–1896, I.B.Tauris, pp 2–3; "In the 126 years between the fall of the Safavid state in 1722 and the accession of Nasir al-Din Shah, the Qajars evolved from a shepherd-warrior tribe with strongholds in northern Iran into a Persian dynasty.."
  12. ^ Choueiri, Youssef M., A companion to the history of the Middle East, (Blackwell Ltd., 2005), 231,516.
  13. ^ H. Scheel; Jaschke, Gerhard; H. Braun; Spuler, Bertold; T Koszinowski; Bagley, Frank (1981). Muslim World. Brill Archive. pp. 65, 370. ISBN 978-90-04-06196-5. Retrieved 28 September 2012. 
  14. ^ a b c Michael Axworthy. Iran: Empire of the Mind: A History from Zoroaster to the Present Day Penguin UK, 6 nov. 2008 ISBN 0141903414
  15. ^ a b c d Timothy C. Dowling Russia at War: From the Mongol Conquest to Afghanistan, Chechnya, and Beyond pp 728-730 ABC-CLIO, 2 dec. 2014 ISBN 1598849484
  16. ^ IRAN ii. IRANIAN HISTORY (2) Islamic period , Ehsan Yarshater, Encyclopædia Iranica, (March 29, 2012).[1]

    The Qajar were a Turkmen tribe who first settled during the Mongol period in the vicinity of Armenia and were among the seven Qezelbāš tribes that supported the Safavids.

  17. ^ K. M. Röhrborn, Provinzen und Zentralgewalt Persiens im 16. und 17. Jahrhundert, Berlin, 1966, p. 4
  18. ^ Encyclopedia Iranica. Ganja. Online Edition
  19. ^ Keddie, Nikki R. (1971). "The Iranian Power Structure and Social Change 1800–1969: An Overview". International Journal of Middle East Studies 2 (1): 3–20 [p. 4]. doi:10.1017/S0020743800000842. 
  20. ^ Lapidus, Ira Marvin (2002). A History of Islamic Societies. Cambridge University Press. p. 469. ISBN 0-521-77933-2. 
  21. ^ a b c d e f g Fisher et al. 1991, p. 328.
  22. ^ a b Fisher et al. 1991, p. 327.
  23. ^ Mikaberidze 2011, p. 327.
  24. ^ a b Mikaberidze 2011, p. 409.
  25. ^ a b c d Donald Rayfield. Edge of Empires: A History of Georgia Reaktion Books, 15 feb. 2013 ISBN 1780230702 p 255
  26. ^ a b c Lang, David Marshall (1962), A Modern History of Georgia, p. 38. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson.
  27. ^ a b Suny, Ronald Grigor (1994), The Making of the Georgian Nation, p. 59. Indiana University Press, ISBN 0-253-20915-3
  28. ^ P.Sykes, A history of Persia, 3rd edition, Barnes and Noble 1969, Vol. 2, p. 293
  29. ^ Malcolm, Sir John (1829), The History of Persia from the Most Early Period to the Present Time, pp. 189-191. London: John Murray.
  30. ^ Fisher, William Bayne (1991). The Cambridge History of Iran 7. Cambridge University Press. pp. 128–129. (...) Agha Muhammad Khan remained nine days in the vicinity of Tiflis. His victory proclaimed the restoration of Iranian military power in the region formerly under Safavid domination. 
  31. ^ a b c d e f g Fisher et al. 1991, p. 329.
  32. ^ Alekseĭ I. Miller. Imperial Rule Central European University Press, 2004 ISBN 9639241989 p 204
  33. ^ Fisher, William Bayne (1991). The Cambridge History of Iran. Cambridge University Press. pp. 145–146. 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 suzerainty depended 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. 
  34. ^ Gvosdev (2000), p. 86
  35. ^ Lang (1957), p. 249
  36. ^ Swietochowski, Tadeusz (1995). Russia and Azerbaijan: A Borderland in Transition. Columbia University Press. pp. 69, 133. ISBN 978-0-231-07068-3. 
  37. ^ L. Batalden, Sandra (1997). The newly independent states of Eurasia: handbook of former Soviet republics. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 98. ISBN 978-0-89774-940-4. 
  38. ^ E. Ebel, Robert, Menon, Rajan (2000). Energy and conflict in Central Asia and the Caucasus. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 181. ISBN 978-0-7425-0063-1. 
  39. ^ Andreeva, Elena (2010). Russia and Iran in the great game: travelogues and orientalism (reprint ed.). Taylor & Francis. p. 6. ISBN 978-0-415-78153-4. 
  40. ^ Çiçek, Kemal, Kuran, Ercüment (2000). The Great Ottoman-Turkish Civilisation. University of Michigan. ISBN 978-975-6782-18-7. 
  41. ^ Ernest Meyer, Karl, Blair Brysac, Shareen (2006). Tournament of Shadows: The Great Game and the Race for Empire in Central Asia. Basic Books. p. 66. ISBN 978-0-465-04576-1. 
  42. ^ a b "Caucasus Survey". Retrieved 23 April 2015. 
  43. ^ Mansoori, Firooz (2008). "17". Studies in History,Language and Culture of Azerbaijan (in Persian). Tehran: Hazar-e Kerman. p. 245. ISBN 978-600-90271-1-8. 
  44. ^ А. Г. Булатова. Лакцы (XIX — нач. XX вв.). Историко-этнографические очерки. — Махачкала, 2000.
  45. ^ a b "The Iranian Armed Forces in Politics, Revolution and War: Part One". Retrieved 23 May 2014. 
  46. ^ "Griboedov not only extended protection to those Caucasian captives who sought to go home but actively promoted the return of even those who did not volunteer. Large numbers of Georgian and Armenian captives had lived in Iran since 1804 or as far back as 1795." Fisher, William Bayne;Avery, Peter; Gershevitch, Ilya; Hambly, Gavin; Melville, Charles. The Cambridge History of Iran Cambridge University Press, 1991. p. 339.
  47. ^ (Russian) A. S. Griboyedov. "Записка о переселеніи армянъ изъ Персіи въ наши области", Фундаментальная Электронная Библиотека
  48. ^ Bournoutian. Armenian People, p. 105
  49. ^ Bournoutian, George A. (1982). Eastern Armenia in the Last Decades of Persian Rule, 1807 - 1828. Malibu: Undena Publications. pp. xxii + 165. 
  50. ^ The Cambridge History of Iran by William Bayne Fisher, Peter Avery, Ilya Gershevitch, Gavin Hambly, Charles Melville, Cambridge University Press, 1991 p. 339
  51. ^ Potier, Tim (2001). Conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh, Abkhazia and South Ossetia: A Legal Appraisal. Martinus Nijhoff Publishers. p. 2. ISBN 90-411-1477-7. 
  52. ^ "Qajar People". Qajars. Retrieved 31 October 2012. 
  53. ^ L.A. Ferydoun Barjesteh van Waalwijk van Doorn (Khosrovani) (ed.), Qajar Studies. Journal of the International Qaja Studies Association, vol. X-XI, Rotterdam, Gronsveld, Santa Barbara and Tehran 2011, pp. 241-244.
  54. ^ L.A. Ferydoun Barjesteh van Waalwijk van Doorn (Khosrovani) (ed.), Qajar Studies. Journal of the International Qaja Studies Association, vol. X-XI, Rotterdam, Gronsveld, Santa Barbara and Tehran 2011, pp. 231-232.
  55. ^ L.A. Ferydoun Barjesteh van Waalwijk van Doorn (Khosrovani) (ed.), Qajar Studies. Journal of the International Qaja Studies Association, vol. X-XI, Rotterdam, Gronsveld, Santa Barbara and Tehran 2011, p. 214.
  56. ^ L.A. Ferydoun Barjesteh van Waalwijk van Doorn (Khosrovani) (ed.), Qajar Studies. Journal of the International Qaja Studies Association, vol. X-XI, Rotterdam, Gronsveld, Santa Barbara and Tehran 2011, p. 220.


  • Fisher, William Bayne; Avery, P.; Hambly, G. R. G; Melville, C. (1991). The Cambridge History of Iran 7. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0521200954. 
  • Mikaberidze, Alexander (2011). Conflict and Conquest in the Islamic World: A Historical Encyclopedia 1. ABC-CLIO. ISBN 1598843362. 
  • Gvosdev, Nikolas K.: Imperial policies and perspectives towards Georgia: 1760–1819, Macmillan, Basingstoke 2000, ISBN 0-312-22990-9
  • Lang, David M.: The last years of the Georgian Monarchy: 1658–1832, Columbia University Press, New York 1957

External links[edit]