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Persia in 1808

The Qajars or Qajars ( Persian قاجاریان, DMG Qāǧārīyān , derived from Qāǧār , ' Kajar '; other spellings Qadjaren , Ghadscharen and Qajar ) were a dynasty in Persia (1779-1925). The turkmenischstämmige family, referring to the Mongol Rulers Hülegü attributed, was after the assassination of the last Zand -Herrschers Lotf Ali Khan in (1794) Persia alone prevailed. The Qajars were among the seven Turkmen tribes known as Kizilbash during the rise of the Safavids became known.

Origin of the dynasty

The Qajar rulers were members of the Bayat Oghuz tribe . They first settled in the area around Armenia during the rule of the Mongols over Persia . The Safavids, leaving the management of the site Arran (present-day Republic of Azerbaijan ) to local Oghuz khans, so that in 1554 the city of Ganja Shah Verdi Soltan Ziyadoglu Qadschar was ruled on behalf of the Safavids.

The Qajars fulfilled the duties of ambassadors and administrators for the Safavids in the 16th and 17th centuries. Shah Abbas I let the Qajars settle all over Persia. Large numbers settled in northern Iran around the city of Astarabad ; this group would later come to power. Shah Qoli Khan Qajar Qavānlū from Gəncə married into the Qavānlū family of Astarabad. His son Fath Ali Khan Qajar (born between 1685 and 1693) was a capable commander during the rule of Sultan Hosein and Tahmasp II. He was murdered in 1726 on the orders of Nadir Shah . His son Mohammad Hasan Khan Kajar was later executed at the behest of Karim Khan .

The way to power

“Like almost every dynasty in Persia since the 11th century, the Qajars came to power with the help of ethnic groups of Turkish origin. The actual government work was left to educated Persians. ”After the assassination of Lotf Ali Khan , the last Persian ruler of the Zand dynasty , in 1794 by Aga Mohammed Khan , the then leader of the Qajars, he began an internal Persian campaign of conquest, at the end of which a state should stand that encompassed the borders of today's Iran. Even by the standards of the 18th century, Aga Mohammed Khan went down as one of the cruelest rulers in the history of Persia.

After 15 years of war, Aga Mohammed Khan had killed almost all of his rivals for the Persian throne, including Lotf Ali Khan , the last ruler of the Zand dynasty. He established his capital in Tehran , which at that time was only a small village near the far older and more famous Rey . In 1796 Aga Mohammed Khan declared himself Shah of Persia. At a time when the French Revolution heralded the end of the absolutist monarchy in Europe , a despotic ruler had taken power in Persia and thus established an absolutist ruling dynasty of Turkish origin, which was only replaced by a Persian dynasty, the Pahlavis , in 1925 became.

Aga Mohammed Khan should not be able to enjoy his royal dignity for long. A year later, in 1797, he was killed by a servant whom he had sentenced to death the day before.

Qajar dynasty

  • Aga Mohammed , * 1742; Reign 1796 to 1797 (murdered)
  • Fath Ali , 1797 to 1834
    His crown prince was Abbás Mirzá ; had his chancellor Hajj Ibrahim Khan Kalantar executed in 1801 . He promoted the arts; in the conflict with Russia he made an alliance with Napoleon, but lost large areas of the Caucasus in the third Russo-Persian War .
  • Mohammed Shah , 1834 to 1848
    Assumed the throne with British help; had his Prime Minister Qaem strangled with a carpet in 1835.
  • Nāser ad-Din Schāh , 1848 to 1896 (shot)
    He was the first Shah to travel abroad to Europe, including to see Kaiser Wilhelm II in Berlin ; had his Prime Minister Amir Kabir murdered in 1852 .
  • Muzaffaraddin Shah , * 1853; Reigned from 1896 to January 1907.
    Was weaker and less capable, but more reform-minded than his predecessor. He signed on his deathbed under pressure from the Constitutional Revolution , the Constitution (December, 1906). This formed the core of the Iranian constitution until the Islamic Revolution (1979). This replaced the absolute monarchy with a
    constitutional one. Foreign trips and the extravagance of his courtiers made it necessary to borrow a lot in the West, which in retrospect can be described as the beginning of dependence on the West.
  • Mohammed Ali Shah , (1872-1925); Reigned 1907 to 1909, son of Muzaffaraddin Shah.
    The coup d'état initiated by the Shah in 1908 led to the dissolution of parliament. He had the leaders of the nationalist movement arrested or executed. The freedom fighters of the Constitutional Revolution forced the Shah to flee to Russia .
  • Ahmad Shah (1897-1930); Reigned 1909 to 1925, son of Mohammed Ali Shah.
    Since he was only 12 years old at the time of his coronation, Adudu'l-mulk was installed as regent; after his death in December 1910, the more moderate Nasir-ul-Mulk took over this office. In 1923, Ahmad-Mirza Shah was the last Qajar to be persuaded by Reza Khan ( Reza Schah Pahlavi ) to abdicate and leave Iran. In 1925 the Qajars were formally deposed and the new Pahlavi dynasty was established .

Lost wars and loss of power

Wars and loss of territory in Persia in the 19th century.

Within a century, Fath Ali Shah and his successors led Persia into power-political insignificance. In two wars with the Russian Empire , the Russian-Persian War from 1804 to 1813 and the Russian-Persian War 1826-1828 , lost Persia in the Treaty of Gulistan in 1813 and the Treaty of Turkmantschai 1828 the Caucasus and Transcaspia (the areas of the Asian side of the Caspian Sea ). By granting Russia the rights of surrender, Persia also lost parts of its sovereignty and became economically and politically dependent. With the peace of Paris in 1857 , the wars of Mohammed Shah and Nāser ad-Din Shah against Afghanistan and Great Britain also led to the loss of the Persian-dominated Afghanistan to Great Britain and, through the granting of rights of surrender to Great Britain, also to an economic and political dependence on Great Britain. Changing alliances with France ( Franco-Persian Alliance ) and Great Britain could not prevent the loss of political power.

The aim of all these wars was to preserve the political influence of Persia by recapturing the territories that had been lost to the Russian Empire or Great Britain. The Qajar Shahs fundamentally overestimated their military capabilities. The Persian army of the 19th century could not be compared to European armies in terms of armament or training. There was no real military training with drill regulations . In addition, there was a completely inadequate supply of clothing or food. The wages were only paid out irregularly. There was a lack of transport for rapid troop movements. There was no clear hierarchy with opportunities for advancement or a regulated command structure.

The complete overestimation of one's own means and the waging of avoidable wars without adequate preparation not only led to massive territorial losses, but also to further wars that brought with them the partial loss of state sovereignty and the economic and political dependence of Persia on Russia and Great Britain.

Persia's economy in the 19th century

Banknote. The plume on the headgear of the Qajar uniform was typical

After the country opened up to western technologies, the failed economic policies of the Qajar rulers created an economic and political dependency on Great Britain and Russia, which is still noticeable today in a general distrust of Great Britain in particular. These included granting concessions to foreign firms, taking out loans from the state banks of Great Britain and Russia to finance the Court's expenses, and pledging taxes and duties to repay the loans.

Starting in 1860, the Qajars issued a concession to England to build a telegraph network. The Siemens brothers carried out the order in 1870 and set up the telegraph network. Persia was in severe famine from 1870 to 1872. In 1872 they granted the English baron Julius de Reuter monopoly rights to build railways, trams, mines, irrigation systems, found a bank and other industrial and agricultural businesses. The Shahs made the first trip to Europe in 1873. With the help of Austrian advisors, the postal system was reorganized in 1873. In 1879 a Russian company was granted the concession for fishing rights in the Caspian Sea. The Persian Cossack Brigade was founded under the leadership of Russian officers. The Shahs made two visits to Europe in 1887 and 1889, where they were among other things at the 1889 World Exhibition in Paris as well as in Munich and Berlin. The concession for the cultivation, sale and export of all Iranian tobacco was sold to the British major Talbot in 1890. A year later there was a wave of protests against it, and the concession was successfully boycotted. This was then withdrawn and the concessionaire paid £ 500,000. The money was funded by a UK State Bank loan, which was Iran's first foreign debt. In 1896, Nāser al-Din Shah was assassinated and Mozaffar al-Din Shah took over the reign. Belgian customs officials under M. Naus set up a centralized tariff collection system in 1897, which collected customs duties not only at the borders, but also from importers in the country.

Two further loans were taken out in Russia in 1900/1901 (£ 2,400,000 and £ 1,500,000), in particular to finance the Shah's trips abroad. In return, Russia received a promise that until 1912 Iran would only take out further loans in Russia. Iran's foreign debt at that time was three times its gross domestic product. The oil concession was sold to the Australian millionaire William Knox D'Arcy . A customs agreement was concluded with Russia in 1902, which provided a preferential tariff for important Russian goods. On June 5, 1906, a constitutional movement led by Ihti'sam as-Saltana was enforced for a constituent assembly. A six-class suffrage was introduced. The Persian Constitution came into force on December 30, 1906. Mozaffar ad-Din Shah died in 1907. Mohammed Ali Shah took over the reign. The first oil wells were found in 1908. The parliament was dissolved by Russia after a coup d'état by the Shah on June 23, 1908. The Anglo-Persian Oil Company (APOC) was founded in 1909. On July 16 of the same year, Mohammed Ali Shah was overthrown and fled into exile in Odessa . William Morgan Shuster (American) was installed as Chancellor of the Exchequer in 1911, and on December 25, 1911, he was deposed under pressure from Russia. The British fleet was converted from coal to oil in 1912, making Persian oil a strategically important asset. After the outbreak of the First World War, the British government acquired the majority of shares in the Anglo-Persian Oil Company (APOC) at Churchill's instigation .

The end of the dynasty

After the First World War, Prime Minister Hassan Vosough and two ministers signed an agreement with Great Britain in 1919 for the exclusive supply of arms, communications and transportation, for economic and military assistance from British advisers and officers, and for a £ 2 million loan. This treaty, which in effect would have made Persia a British protectorate, was never ratified by the Iranian parliament. Vosough resigned in 1920.

On February 21, 1921 there was a coup d'état by Seyyed Zia al Din Tabatabai and Reza Khan , who became Minister of War. From 1922, the reform of the financial system under Arthur Millspaugh , who was in office until 1927, was carried out with American help . For the first time in its recent history, the Persian state had stable finances with which the economic and political development of a modern Iranian nation-state could be tackled. On October 26, 1923, Ahmad Shah Qajar left Persia and died in Paris in 1930. Reza Khan became prime minister. A state monopoly on sugar and tea as well as a tobacco and match tax were introduced in 1925.

On October 31, 1925, Ahmad-Mirza Shah, the last Qajar ruler, was deposed by the Iranian parliament with only four votes against, including that of Mohammad Mossadegh . Reza Khan was by the Parliament on 12 December 1925 to the Shah ( Reza Shah determined) and thus the Pahlavidynastie founded.

Well-known members of the Qajar families


The Qajars carried a large number of titles, most of which were used as part of their names. The following is a list of some of the titles and their meanings:

  • Shah = ruler
  • Malekeh = queen
  • Soltan = ruler
  • Padeschah = king, ruler
  • Shahanshah = King of kings = "Emperor"
  • Mahd-e-'Oliyā = queen mother
  • Malekeh-Jahan = queen of the world, queen mother
  • A'lā Hazrat = His Majesty (related to the ruler)
  • 'Oliyā Hazrat = Her Majesty (referring to the Queen)
  • Khan = (Mongol.) Prince, leader
  • Shahzadeh = prince
  • Bānū = lady
  • Mirza = son of a prince (abbreviation of Amirzadeh)
  • Nayeb-Saltaneh = Crown Prince
  • Valiahd = Crown Prince
  • Atabak = title of prime minister
  • Zello'llāh = (Arabic) shadow of God
  • Nosrat-e Dowleh = winner of the government
  • Farman-Farma = commander of the commanders (farman = decree)
  • -dowleh (name suffix) = by the government (dowlat = government)
  • -saltaneh (name suffix) = from the monarchy (saltanat = monarchy)
  • -soltan (name suffix) = monarch, ruler
  • -molk (name suffix) = kingdom
  • Malek- (name prefix) = from the king
  • Sardaar- (name prefix) = leader of ...
  • Sardaar-e A'zam = commander in chief
  • Sepah-Salar = Commander in Chief of the Army

See also


  • Gudrun Krämer : History of Islam. Beck, Munich 2005, ISBN 3-406-53516-X , pp. 277-281.
  • Edmund Bosworth, Carole Hillenbrand (Ed.): Qajar Iran. Political, Social and Cultural Change, 1800-1925. (Studies presented to Prof. LP Elwell-Sutton). Edinburgh University Press, Edinburgh 1983, ISBN 0-85224-459-2 .
  • Friederike Voigt: Qajarian picture tiles in the Ethnological Museum Berlin. Staatliche Museen zu Berlin et al., Berlin 2002, ISBN 3-88609-463-4 .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Encyclopædia Britannica
  2. ^ Genealogy and History of Qajar (Kadjar) Rulers and Heads of the Imperial Kadjar House ( Memento from June 23, 2007 in the Internet Archive )
  3. a b c Cyrus Ghani: Iran and the Rise of the Reza Shah. From Qajar Collapse to Pahlavi Power. IB Tauris, London et al. 2000, ISBN 1-86064-629-8 , p. 1.
  4. ^ William Bayne Fisher: Cambridge History of Iran. Volume 6: Peter Jackson, Laurence Lockhart (Eds.): The Timurid and Safavid Periods. Reprinted edition. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge et al. 1993, ISBN 0-521-20094-6 , p. 344.
  5. Klaus-Michael Röhrborn: Provinces and central power of Persia in the 16th and 17th centuries (= studies on the language, history and culture of the Islamic Orient. NF Vol. 2, ISSN  0585-6221 ). de Gruyter, Berlin, 1966, p. 4.
  6. ^ Nikki R. Keddie: The Iranian Power Structure and Social Change 1800-1969: An Overview. In: International Journal of Middle East Studies. Vol. 2, No. 1, Jan. 1971, ISSN  0020-7438 , pp. 3-20, here p. 4.
  7.  ( page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.@1@ 2Template: Toter Link /  
  8. JR Perry: Aga Mohammad Khan Qajar. In: Ehsan Yarshater (Ed.): Encyclopaedia Iranica. Vol. 1: Āb - Anāhīd. Routledge & Paul, London et al. 1982, ISBN 0-7100-9099-4 , p. 604.
  9. ^ Rouhollah K. Ramazani: The foreign policy of Iran. A developing nation in world affairs. 1500-1941. University Press Virginia, Charlottesville VA 1966, p. 45.
  10. ^ Rouhollah K. Ramazani: The foreign policy of Iran. A developing nation in world affairs. 1500-1941. University Press Virginia, Charlottesville VA 1966, p. 50.
  11. October 31, 2010 - 85 years ago: The Qajar dynasty in Persia ends: pageantry costs power