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Persia /
Qajar Dynasty

Agha Mohammad Khan Qajar 1794-1797
Fath Ali 1797-1834
Mohammed 1834-1848
Nasser ad-Din 1848-1896
Mozzafar ad-Din 1896-1907
Mohammad Ali 1907-1909
Ahmad 1909-1925

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Entrance of the Golestan Palace, Teheran.

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Hall inside the Golestan Palace.

Ruling dynasty of Persia, 1794-1925, altogether 131 years, with 7 shahs (rulers) all in bloodline of the founder.
The Qajar was one of several Turkmen tribe which had settled in Armenia during the Mongol period. Around 1600, the Qajars were resettled around Persia. It was the Qajars at Astarabad (modern Gorgan) that would make their way to the top of the Persian elite through the 18th century. With the decline of the Zand Dynasty, they were able to found a power base that would allow them to take control of the country in the late 18th century.
The founder, Agha Mohammed Khan, was a gruesome leader, destroying cities and massacred entire populations. Within only 3 years of assuming power, he was assassinated. His successors would prove more able statesmen bringing stability to Persia.
Through the early 19th century, Persian opened much up to foreign countries. From this, emerged increased European diplomatic rivalries over Persia, involving especially Russia and Great Britain. The Qajar rulers, especially, Nasser ad-Din proved for a long time able to play the Western interests against each other in order preserve Persian independence.
Persian independence came at a high cost, through, many lands were lost to Russia in the north. Among important territories lost were Georgia, the Caucasus, the lands of Bukhara and Uzbekistan.
The open policy of this era also involved the introduction of many Western sciences, technology and educational methods.
The last 30 years of rulers were weak and ineffective, representing a stark contrast to Nasser ad-Din. The last 10 years were especially humiliating to the old dynasty, beginning with foreign occupation of Persia during the World War 1, following by a coup d'état less than 3 years later. It was the coup maker that would assume the Peacock Throne just a few years later, Reza Khan (Shah Pahlavi).
It was this dynasty that made Teheran national capital; it happened back in 1788, when it was only a village.

1722: Disintegration of the Safavid Empire, permitting tribal chiefs to become highly influential in Persian affairs, among them the Qajar chief.
1779: The Zand ruler, Karim, dies. Agha Mohammad Khan, the leader of the Qajar tribe, uses the power vacuum to establish his own territories.
1794: Mohammad Khan defeats the last Zand ruler, Lotf Ali, at Kerman. This gives him control over a largely united Persia, including Georgia and the Caucasus.
1796: Mohammad Khan has himself crowned shah.
Early 19th century: During two long wars against Russia, Persia would be disastrously defeated, losing Georgia, Armenia and northern Azerbaijan. These losses would never be regained, drawing the Persian/Iranian map up until our times for this region.
1857: The end of the Anglo-Persian War leaves Herat permanently out of Persian control.
1881: Russian advances into Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan strips Persia off several of its historical lands, like Bukhara and Samarkand.
1906: Mozzafar ad-Din, one of the weakest Qajar shahs, is forced to abandon central parts of his monarchial power, whereby an consultative assembly and a constitution are established.
1909: Trying to regain the power lost a few years earlier, Mohammad Ali seeks aid from Russia, only to kick off a rebellion that had himself removed from power altogether.
1914-1918: With World War 1, Iran is occupied by Russia, Great Britain and the Ottoman Empire.
1921 February 21: Backed by the British, Reza Khan leads his 1,200 troops to overthrow the government, forces Ahmad Shah to appoint Sayyid Zia Uddin Tabataba'i prime minister; Reza Khan becoming war minister.
1923: Ahmad is forced into exile, bringing with him his family.
1925 October 31: Reza Khan makes the parliament depose Ahmad (who was in Europe for medical treatment) from his throne, appointing himself regent. From this emerges the Pahlavi Dynasty.

By Tore Kjeilen