Bookmark and Share

Open the online Arabic language course

Persia / Qajar Dynasty /
Nasser ad-Din
Persian: sir el-dīn shāh qājār
Other spellings: Nasser ed-Din; Nasser-e-Din

Nasser ad-Din
ZOOM - Open a large version of this image

(1831-1896) Persian shah, 4th ruler of the Qajar Dynasty 1848-1896, altogether 48 years.
Nasser ad-Din was the most successful of his dynasty, remaining in office for near a half century, successfully introducing many reforms to the society. Still, the image of his is not without great flaws, seen with the modern eye.
Having visited Europe on three occasions, he came to develop great respect and fascination by the developments of this continent. This was one of his reasons for introducing many Western sciences, technology and educational methods to the Persian society. He promoted especially the development of a modern postal system, train transport, a banking system and newspaper publishing.
Another important aim with his visits to Europe was to promote Iran as friendly, civilized country, thereby preventing future colonial advancements. He both succeeded in promoting his country, yet failed in killing colonial interests in his country.
He also proved quite capable playing the interests of major Western countries against each other in order preserve Persian independence.
Still, his regime was also oppressive, especially against the religious minorities of Babism and Baha'i. He is also remembred for the unsuccessful attempt of transferring of the ownership of much of the Persian tobacco industry to British interests, which sparked off effective resistance.

1831 July 16: Born in Tabriz as son of Mohammad, who would become Persian shah 3 years later.
1848 September 5: Mohammad dies while Nasser is in Tabriz. It is not immediately clear that he will be allowed to succeed his father, so he uses the aid of the influential Amir Kabir.
September 17: Twelve days after, Nasser is able to ascend the Peacock Throne and have himself crowned shah.
1851 October: Nasser dismisses prime minister Amir Kabir, fearing that he was planning to usurp the throne, something that was possible by his being the brother-in-law of the shah.
1852: Attempt on his life by a Babi follower.
1873: As the first modern ruler of Persia, he visits Europe, passing by the court of British Queen Victoria.
1890: Grants British interests control over the Persian tobacco industry, which was met with fierce resistance in the society. A fatwa is even issued making the production, trading and consuming of tobacco illegal; this being purely a sabotage of his concessions.
1896 May 1: Is assassinated by a follower of Jamal ad-Din al-Afghani at Shahr-e Rey, where he also was buried.

By Tore Kjeilen