|CONSTITUTIONAL REVOLUTION (1905-09)||
OF SHI'I ULAMA (1700s-1800s): USULI & AKHBARI SCHOOLS & BABI/BAHA'I
Read more on Qajar dynasty by visiting its official site:
Qajar shahs of Iran (seven of them ruled):
Agha Mohammad Khan 1794 - 1797
Empire of Amir Timur Gorkan
The Qajars were a Turkic tribe originally form Central Asia. The tribe participated in the conquests of Timur-e Lang or Amir Timur Gorkan (Tamerlane) where the first mention of the the tribe is made. Timur was a world conqueror who established a shot lived world empire between 1370s and 1405 (map below).
The Qajar tribe eventually settled in what is today eastern Anatolia and Caucasus (north of river Aras) and with unification of Iran under the Safavi dynasty (1501-1722) converted to Shi'a Islam and became a Qizilbash tribe. the Qizilbash tribes were the adherents of the Safavis who were a dynasty and a Sufi brotherhood at the same time. Hence the Qizilbash were the devoted enforces of early Safavis and the empire's main military force until early 1600s and Iran's main class of land grant holders. In this context, the Qajars held ancestral lands in what is today Iran's Azerbaijan and Caucasus (today the Republic of Azarbaijan which back then, and until early the 1800s, was considered part of any Iran based state).
Shah Abbas I (r.1588-1629) was the Safavi king who replaced the power of the Qizilbash with a standing army equipped with gun-powder weapons. To curtail the power of the Qizilbash, among other measures, he dispersed them.
In 1600s Shah Abbas divided the Qajar tribe in to three branches of the Caucasus, Astarabad (southern Caspian Sea region), and north eastern Khorasan. Only the Astarabad branch remained to modern days and provided the new dynasty by the late 1800s.-------->>
| The Astarabad branch was
divided into Yukharibash
(up) and Ashaqabash (down) according to their position along the
Gorgan river; each tribe was divided into various clans:
Quyunlu of the Ashaqabash tribe provided the males of the ruling dynasty.
In 1779, following the death of Mohammad Karim Khan Zand, ruler of southern Iran, Agha Mohammad Khan (1742-1797), a leader of the Qajar tribe, set out to reunify Iran. Agha Mohammad Khan defeated numerous rivals and brought all of Iran under his rule, establishing the Qajar dynasty.
Read more on Qajar genealogy: http://www.qajarpages.org/qajgenealogy.html
By 1794 he had eliminated all his rivals, including Lotf 'Ali Khan, the last of the Zand dynasty, and had reasserted Iranian sovereignty over the former Iranian territories in Georgia and the Caucasus. Agha Mohammad established his capital at Tehran, a village near the ruins of the ancient city of Ray (now Shahr-e Rey). In 1796 he was formally crowned as Mohammad Shah I but was assassinated in 1797. As a castrated man, he did not have a male heir and chose the son of his late younger brother, Hosein Qoli Khan Jahansuz (1745-1777 ) as successor.
Baba Khan Jahanbani (1771-1834) was crowned as Fath Ali Shah (r.1897-1834). Agha Mohammad Khan (later Mohammad Shah I) the founder of Qajar dynasty and re-unifier of Iran. He was an able, yet brutal, military leader and king. Note, the crown he used was the original Kiani crow kept in Tehran today.
Read more on Fath Ali Shah:
1797-1834 After a brief civil war, Muhammad Shah's nephew (son of Jahansuz Khan) Fath Ali Khan (Khan Baba Jahanbani) became shah; he had 800 wives and concubines, 158 of them gave birth to 57 sons and 46 daughters leading to 296 grandsons and 292 granddaughters.
Iran-Russian border change from 1801 to 1828
Georgia attacked and annexed by Russia under Tzar Alexander I; Capt. john
Malcom's mission to Iran and defence treaty with England.
1804-1813 First Russo-Iranian war.
1807 Franco-Iranian alliance and treaty of Finkenstein. General Gardane's military mission to Iran; Russo-French peace treaty of Tilsit resulting in withdrawal of Gardane mission.
1809 second Anglo-Iranian alliance; Iran's ties to France ended; GB to provide military and financial aid if Iran attacked by a European power.
1813 After defeat at Aslanduz, Abbas Mirza's army was routed by the Russians. The result was Treaty of Golestan and the loss of Khanates of: Georgia; Daghistan (Darband); Ganjeh; Shiravan; Shaki; Baku; Qarabagh.
1813-1825 Military reforms under Crown Prince Abbas Mirza governor of Azarbaijan and his chief minister Qa'em Maqam Farahani.
1826-28 Second Russo Iranian war.
1828 Under the treaty of Tukmanchai the khanates of Iravan (Yerevan); Nakhjavan; Talesh were ceded to Russia plus other concessions.
See more of Abbas Mirza
Read more on Crown Prince Abbas Mirza:
Azarbaijan began to play an important role in Iran's history from this point on; indeed, until the pahlavi period, Azarbaijan was more advanced politically and culturally than the rest of Iran; its capital Tabriz was the seat of the Qajar crown prince (who was also in charge of defending the Caucasus); it was at the cross roads of social and cultural change from Ottoman empire and Russia; as such the Crown Prince Abbas Mirza, and his chief minister the Qa'em Maqm Farahani, were in the right position to see some of the shortcomings of the Qajar state and attempt to find a solution for it; since military defeat was the most evident manifestation of the state's inability to withstand the Russian incursions, it is natural that Abbas Mirza's reforms focused on the military; much influenced by Ottoman reforms under Selim III, these reforms were also called Nezam-e jadid reforms and were limited to Azarbaijan.
SEE A DOCUMENT WITH ABBAS MIRZA'S SIGNATURE
The core of the new army was a standing 6000 man infantry with new European designed uniforms and modern weapons backed by a mobile artillery force plus foreign instructors (first French then English). A canon factory and a musket plant in Tabriz were created to arm the new army; diplomatic missions were sent to London and paris; few (four in all) students were sent to study in Europe; the approval of the ulama of Azarbaijan was secured; for finances, court expenses were cut and protectionist policies devised for trade (this created enemies for reform policies); it was this army which was defeated in the second Russo-Iranian war which sealed the fate of the reforms as they were not followed up after Abbas Mirza's death (1833).
Second Russo-Iranian War (1826-1828):
The treaty of Golestan had left a number of vague points in terms of territorial division of the Caucasus; both sides were dissatisfied with the status que and negotiations did not solve the problem; some ulama cited (with mixed truth and exaggeration) the mistreatment of Moslems under Russian control, and demanded revenge; leading ulama and top government officials pressured the shah for holy war (jihad) against the Russians; Iran opened the new round of hostility in 1826 and was decisively defeated.
The treaty of Turkmanchai gave away the khanates of Iravan (Yerevan), Nakhjavan; Talesh; Iran was made to pay 3 million pound sterling in war reparations, agreed not to maintain a navy in the Caspian sea and gave extra territorial and tariff concessions (capitulations) to the Russians; these were: no more than 5% import tariff on Russian goods, no internal tariffs, the application of Russian laws for Russian subjects (and Iranian subject under Russian protection) in Iran; later other major powers received the same privileges; Russia agreed to guarantee the succession of the Qajars in the line of Abbas Mirza.
MAP OF IRAN'S TERRITORIAL LOSS IN THE 19TH CENUTRY
Iran's wars with Russia [and later GB] were costly; when the burden of these wars on the already improvised treasury became great, tuyul were given out in return for military and financial aid; such grants usually became hereditary and was exempt from tax; this meant more tax for areas under state control which translated into doubling of taxes.
Abbas Mirza's reforms was not continued forcefully after his sudden death in 1833 [Fath Ali Shah died in 1834]; the new shah in 1834 was Mohammad, Abbas Mirza's sickly son (1834-1848); why was not Abbas Mirza's reforms continued? For it have happened, first, there should have been a resolute reforming Qajar leader after Abbas Mirza, this was not the case. Second, there was vested interest which worked hard against centralization and the Qajar state failed to suppress. These were: many tribal (and some urban leaders) opposed to centralization (standing army and strong administration) because it could have limited their autonomy; some ulama were against modern army and viewed it as Western incursion and weakening of their power; some army officers who benefited from corruption were also against any new order and discipline in the army.
To continue the reforms any Qajar ruler had to bring the tribes to their kneel, silence the ulama and create a strong centralized administration [something that Mohammad Ali Pasha and Ottoman reformists did in Egypt and the Ottoman empire and which was finally achieved under Reza Shah Pahlavi 1925-1941]. Hence the Qajar state was ultimately a weak one; after direct foreign threat subsided, it did not even have a strong army and ruled by playing one faction (tribe; group) against the other.
Reforms & Premiership of Amir Kabir (1848-1852):
Iran was virtually bankrupt, its central government was weak, and its provinces
were almost autonomous. 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 privy and public
purses. The instruments of central administration were overhauled, and the Amir
Kabir assumed responsibility for all areas of the bureaucracy. Foreign
interference in Iran'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
One of the greatest achievements of Amir Kabir was the building of Dar al-Fonun, the first modern university in Iran. Dar-al-Fonun 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 can be expanded as needed. He hired French and Russian instructors as well as Iranians 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.
Suppression of the Babi movement in Iran, coincided with the reforms of one of the best known 19th century Qajar administrators, Amir Kabir. An administrator in the court of the crown Prince, he was instrumental in bringing the eighteen year old Naser al-Din Shah (1848-1896) to Tehran to claim his throne in 1848. Amir Kabir was the chief minister and brother-in-law to the new shah and served him for four years; he represents the second drive for reform in 19th century Iran.
from a humble origin [his father was a cook in Qa'im Maqam's household] Amir Kabir grew up in the reformist environment of Tabriz, had been appointed envoy to the Ottoman empire and was exposed to reforms in there; he was dismissed in 1851 and killed by the order of the shah in 1852.
Reforms: he revived the standing army; established fifteen factories to supply the army and to cut foreign imports (his industrialization program was not very successful due to capitulations); established the first official news paper (vaqaye'e-e etefaqiyeh); built the first secular modern school/polytechnic (Dar al-fonun-Abode of learning), it was taught by foreign instructors; reduced court expenditures and raised government revenues by increasing import duties and taxes; created a reaction by those whose interest was harmed: vested interest in the royal court and otherwise, and Queen Mother (Mahd-e Ulia), foreign powers; his own manners and relationship with the young shah helped his alienation and ultimate demise.
Naser al-Din Shah (1848-1896):
1856-57 The Afghan War: the shah attempted to reassert Iran's claim on western Afghanistan by capturing Herat; this attempt and military campaign ran contrary to British policy which disapproved of it and attacked and occupied iran's southern port of Bushehr; as a result the shah backed off and in the Paris Peace conference (1857) renounced claim on Herat.
At the same time, the shah gave a telegraph concession to the GB linking India to Britain; this allowed the linking of Iran's major population centers to Tehran and initially worked in favor of the state, but later on it allowed the opposition to utilize it to inform different parts of the country of the news of revolutionary change.
1872 Concession to Baron Juliys de Reuter; gave Reuter all rights for building railroads in Iran, street cars, most mineral extractions, all unexploited irrigation works, a national bank, and all sorts of industrial and agricultural projects. In return a modest sum plus a royalty was to be paid.
This attempt was supported by Iranian reformists [e.g. Mirza Hosein Khan the Sepasalar and Amin al-Dowleh, both prime ministers to the shah] who thought that the Qajar state was incapable of reform and the best way to promote reform was to encourage capitulations.
1873 On his first tripe abroad, the shah realized that the Russians were
against the Reuter concession and the British government was not that
1879 The Cossack Brigade.
1890 The Tobacco concession (Talbot).
1891 In Dec., the anti-Tobacco movement was joined by the marja' of the time Hajj Mirza Hasan Shirazi when he issued a fatva against the use of Tobacco.
1896: The shah assassinated by Mirza Reza Kermani.
View more photos of Naser al-Din Shah
Read more Naser al-Din Shah:
Muzaffar al-Din Shah.(1896-1907)
View more photos of Mozaffar al-Din Shah
Read more on Sultan Ahmad Shah:
Golestan Palace complex was the main residence of Qajar shahs and contains some of the oldest and most beautiful buildings in Tehran (click to read more)
Read more on this period:
Atkin, Muril Russia and Iran 1780-1828.
Amanat, Abbas Pivot of the Universe: Nasir al-Din Shah Qajar and the Iranian Monarchy 1831-1896.
Bakhash, Shaul Bureaucracy and Religion Under The Qajars
Bournoutian, George A. Eastern Armenia in the Last Decades of Persian Rule.
Elwell-Sutton, L.P. Qajar Iran: Political, Social and Cultural Change 1800-1925.
Issawi, Charles The Economic History of Iran 1800-1914.
Keddie, N.R. An Islamic Response to Imperialism.
--------------- Qajar Iran and the Rise of Reza Khan: 1796-1925.
---------, Sayyid Jamal ad-Din "al-Afghani": A political Bibliography.
Kelly, J.B. Britain and the Persian Gulf 1795-1880.
Lambton, Ann Qajar Persia.
Mcdaniel, Robert The Shuster Mission and the Persian Constitutional Revolution.
Nashat, Guity The Origins of Modern Reforms in Iran 1870-1880.
Shuster Morgan, The Strangulation of Persia.
Yapp, Micheal The Last Years of the Qajar Dynasty.
Yeselson, Abraham United States-Persian Diplomatic Relations 1883-1921.