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Fath-Ali Shah Qajar

Fath-Ali Shah Qajar
Shahanshah of Persia
Shah of Iran
Reign 17 June 1797 – 23 October 1834
Predecessor Mohammad Khan Qajar
Successor Mohammad Shah Qajar
Born (1772-09-05)5 September 1772
Damghan, Iran
Died 23 October 1834(1834-10-23) (aged 62)
Isfahan, Iran
Burial Qom
Full name
Fath Ali Shah
Dynasty Qajar dynasty
Father Hussein Qoli Khan Qajar
Religion Shia Islam

Fath-Ali Shah Qajar (Dagestan, Azerbaijan, and Armenia to Imperial Russia following the Russo-Persian War (1804-1813), Russo-Persian War (1826-1828) and the respectively resulting Treaty of Gulistan and Treaty of Turkmenchay.[1] Historian Joseph M. Upton says that he "is famous among Persians for three things: his exceptionally long beard, his wasp-like waist, and his progeny."[2]


  • Early life 1
  • Russo-Persian wars 2
    • Russo-Persian War (1804–1813) 2.1
      • Treaty of Gulistan 2.1.1
    • Interlude on a different front 2.2
    • Russo-Persian War (1826–1828) 2.3
      • Treaty of Turkmenchay 2.3.1
  • Later life 3
  • Marriage and children 4
  • See also 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7

Early life

Fath-Ali Shah Qajar

He was born in Damghan on 5 September 1772, and was called Fath-Ali, a name which his great grandfather, a prominent figure bore.[3] He was the son of Hossein Qoli Khan Qajar, brother of Agha Mohammad Khan. He was also known by his second name of Baba Khan, a name he would use until his coronation in 1797.

Fath-Ali was governor of Fars when his uncle was assassinated in 1797. Fath-Ali then ascended the throne, and used the name of Fath Ali Shah (with the word "shah" added on his name). He became suspicious of his chancellor Ebrahim Khan Kalantar and ordered his execution. Hajji Ebrahim Khan had been chancellor to Zand and Qajar rulers for some fifteen years.

Much of his reign was marked by the resurgence of Persian arts and painting, as well as a deeply elaborate court culture with extremely rigid etiquette. In particular during his reign, portraiture and large-scale oil painting reached a height previously unknown under any other Islamic dynasty, largely due to his personal patronage.

Fat′h Ali also ordered the creation of much royal regalia, including coronations chairs; the "Takht-e Khurshīd" or Sun Throne; the "Takht-e Nāderi" or Naderi Throne, which was also used by later kings; and the "Tāj-e Kiyāni" or Kiani Crown, a modification of the crown of the same name created by his uncle Agha Mohammad Khan. The latter, like most of his regalia, was studded with a large number of pearls and gems.

In 1797, Fat′h Ali was given a complete set of the Britannica's 3rd edition, which he read completely; after this feat, he extended his royal title to include "Most Formidable Lord and Master of the Encyclopædia Britannica."[4] In 1803, Fath-Ali Shah appointed his cousin Ebrahim Khan as the governor of the Kerman Province, which had been devastated during the reign of Agha Mohammad Khan.

Russo-Persian wars

Russo-Persian War (1804–1813)

The siege of Ganja Fortress in 1804 during the Russo-Persian War (1804-1813) by the Russian forces under leadership of general Pavel Tsitsianov.

During the early reign of Fat′h Ali Shah, Shia clergy, who were urging a war against Russia. The war began with notable victories for the Persians, but Russia shipped in advanced weaponry and cannons that disadvantaged the technologically inferior Qajar forces, who did not have artillery to match. Russia continued with a major campaign against Persia; Persia asked for help from Britain on the grounds of a military agreement with that country (the military agreement was signed after the rise of Napoleon in France). However, Britain refused to help Persia claiming that the military agreement concerned a French attack not Russian.

General Gardane, with colleagues Jaubert and Joanin, at the Persian court of Fat′h Ali Shah in 1808.

Persia had to ask for help from France, sending an ambassador to Napoleon and concluding a Franco-Persian alliance with the signature of the Treaty of Finkenstein. However, just when the French were ready to help Persia, Napoleon made peace with Russia. At this time, John Malcolm arrived in Persia and promised support but Britain later changed its mind and asked Persia to retreat. Russian troops invaded Tabriz in 1813 and Persia was forced to sign the Treaty of Gulistan with Russia.

Treaty of Gulistan

Map showing Irans's northwestern borders in the 19th century, comprising Eastern Dagestan, Armenia, and Azerbaijan, before being forced to cede the territories to Imperial Russia per the two Russo-Persian Wars of the 19th century.

On account of consecutive defeats of Persia and after the fall of Lankaran on 1 January 1813, Fath Ali Shah, was forced to sign the disastrous Treaty of Gulistan. The text of treaty was prepared by a British diplomat; Sir Gore Ouseley; and was signed by Nikolai Fyodorovich Rtischev from the Russian side"[7] and Hajji Mirza Abol Hasan Khan from the Iranian side on 24 October 1813 in the village of Gulistan.[7]

By this treaty all of the cities, towns, and villages of Dagestan, and most of the contemporary Azerbaijan Republic. In return Russia pledged to support Abbas Mirza as heir to the Persian throne after the death of Fat′h Ali Shah.

Interlude on a different front

Between 1805 and 1816, Qajar rulers began invading Herat in neighboring Afghanistan with small detachments. The Persians were attempting to retake control of the city but were forced to abandon it due to Afghan uprisings.[9] In 1818 the Shah sent his son Mohammad Vali Mirza to capture the city but he was defeated at the Battle of Kafir Qala.

Russo-Persian War (1826–1828)

Battle of Elisabethpol, 1828, Franz Roubaud. Part of the collection of the Museum for History, Baku.

In 1826, 13 years after the Treaty of Gulistan, the Shah on the advice of British agents and the utter dissatisfaction with the outcome of the previous war, Fath Ali Shah decided to occupy the lost territories. Crown prince Abbas Mirza, head of the armies, invaded the Talysh Khanate and Karabakh khanate with an army of 35,000 on 16 July 1826. The first year of the war was very successful, and the Persians managed to regain most of their lost territories of the 1804-1813 war, including the principal cities of Lenkoran, Quba, and Baku.[10] However the tide turned after the winter. In May 1827, Ivan Paskevich, Governor of Caucasus, invaded Echmiadzin, Nakhichevan, Abbasabad and on 1 October Erivan. Fourteen days later, General Eristov entered Tabriz. In January 1828, when the Russians reached the shores of Lake Urmia, Abbas Mirza urgently signed the Treaty of Turkmenchay on 2 February 1828.

Treaty of Turkmenchay

The Turkmenchay Treaty was signed on 21 February 1828 by Hajji Mirza Abol Hasan Khan and General Ivan Paskevich. By this treaty the Erivan khanate (most of present-day Armenia, and also a small part of Eastern Anatolia), Nakhchivan khanate (most of the present-day Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic of Azerbaijan), the Talysh Khanate (southeastern Azerbaijan), and the Ordubad and Mughan became under the rule of Imperial Russia.[11] By this treaty, Iran had lost all of its Caucasian territories comprising all of Transcaucasia and Dagestan to neighboring Imperial Russia. Iran furthermore pledged to pay Russia 10 Million in Gold, and in return Russia pledged to support Abbas Mirza as heir to the Persian throne after the death of Fat′h Ali Shah. The treaty also stipulated the resettlement of Armenians from Persia to the Caucasus, which also included an outright liberation of Armenian captives who were brought and had lived in Iran since 1804 or as far back as 1795.

Later life

Fath Ali Shah Qajar firman in Shikasta Nastaʿlīq script, January 1831.

Fat′h Ali later employed writers and painters to make a book about his wars with Russia, inspired by the Shahnameh of Ferdowsi. This book, considered by many to be the most important Persian book written in the Qajar period, is called the Shahanshahnama.

In 1829, Alexandr Griboyedov, the Russian diplomat and playwright was killed in the encirclement of the Russia embassy in Tehran. To apologize, the Shah sent Tsar Nicholas I one of the biggest diamonds of his crown jewelry, Shah Diamond.

When his beloved son and crown prince Abbas Mirza died on 25 October 1833, Fat′h Ali named his grandson Mohammed Mirza as his crown prince. Fat′h Ali died a year later, on 23 October 1834.[3]

He is instantly recognizable in all 25 known portraits – mainly due to his immense, deeply black beard, which reached well beneath his narrow waist. One of these portraits is being exhibited in the collection of the University of Oxford.[12] Another one that of which artist was Mihr Ali is at the Brooklyn Museum.[13]

Besides eulogistic chronicles, the only real sources that allow us to judge his personality are those of British, French and Russian diplomats. These vary greatly: earlier in his reign they tend to portray him as vigorous, manly and highly intelligent. Later they begin to point out his extreme indolence and avarice.[2] The image of decadence was epitomised by the story that he had a special harem slide of marble constructed. Every day he would lie on his back naked "as, one by one, naked harem beauties swooped down a slide, especially made for the sport, into the arms of their lord and master before being playfully dunked in a pool."[14][15]

Marriage and children

Muhammad Hasan (Persian, active 1808-1840). Prince Yahya, ca. 1830s.Prince Yahya, born in 1817, was the forty-third son of the Qajar ruler Fath Ali Shah (r. 1798–1834). Brooklyn Museum

Fath Ali Shah is reported to have had more than 1,000 spouses.[16] He was survived by fifty-seven sons and forty-six daughters, along with 296 grandsons and 292 granddaughters.[2] His first son,

Fath-Ali Shah Qajar
Born: 5 September 1772 Died: 23 October 1834
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Agha Mohammad Khan Qajar
Shah of Persia
Succeeded by
Mohammad Shah Qajar
  • Genealogy of Fath Ali (
  • Fath 'Ali Shah seated on the Peacock Throne, miniature from Shāhanshāhnāmeh of sābā British Library
  • Divān-i-Khāqān, Fat′h Ali Shah's own Poems, presented by the Shah to the Prince Regent in 1812, now in Royal Library at Windsor Castle, royal collection
  • Louvre
  • Crown
  • Photos of qajar kings
  • Portrait of Fat′h Ali Shah by Mihr Ali, Qajar Pages
  • Complete list of Fath Ali Shah's Descendants, Manoutchehr M. Eskandari-Qajar (Kadjar), Qajar Pages
  • Fath Ali Shah's Standing Portrait by Mihr Ali, 1809–1810, Hermitage Museum, Hermitage Museum
  • Seated Portrait of Fath Ali Shah, by Mihr Ali, 1813–1814, presented by the Shah in 1817 to Aleksey Petrovich Yermolov, Hermitage Museum, Hermitage Museum

External links

  1. ^ "Russia at War: From the Mongol Conquest to Afghanistan, Chechnya, and Beyond ...". Retrieved 10 March 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c Joseph M. Upton, The History of Modern Iran: An Interpretation. Contributors: - Author. Publisher: Harvard University Press. Place of publication: Cambridge, 1960, p.4
  3. ^ a b "Index Fa-Fi". Rulers. Retrieved 26 July 2013. 
  4. ^ William Benton (1968). Banquet at Guildhall in the City of London, Tuesday, 15 October 1968, Celebrating the 200th Anniversary of the Encyclopaedia Britannica and the 25th Anniversary of the Hon. William Benton as Its Chairman and Publisher. Encyclopaedia Britannica. Retrieved 27 July 2013. 
  5. ^ "Relations between Tehran and Moscow, 1797-2014". Retrieved 10 March 2015. 
  6. ^ ] Evented in the Qajars Monarchy"sic"The Qajar Dynasty in Iran: The Most Important Occurence [ (PDF). 
  7. ^ a b Treaty of Gulistan
  8. ^ John F. Baddeley, "The Russian Conquest of the Caucasus", Longman, Green and Co., London: 1908, p. 90
  9. ^ Dumper, Michael; Bruce E. Stanley (2007). Cities of the Middle East and North Africa: A Historical Encyclopedia. ABC-CLIO. p. 170.  
  10. ^ William Edward David Allen and Paul Muratoff. "Caucasian Battlefields: A History of the Wars on the Turco-Caucasian Border 1828-1921. (Cambridge University Press, 2010). 20.
  11. ^ Treaty of Turkmenchay
  12. ^ "Your Paintings". BBC. Retrieved 26 July 2013. 
  13. ^ "Portrait of Fath 'Ali Shah Qajar". Brooklyn Museum. Retrieved 26 July 2013. 
  14. ^ John H. Waller, Beyond the Khyber Pass: the road to British disaster in the First Afghan War, Random House, 1990, p. 59.
  15. ^ The Literary World. 1882. p. 85. Retrieved 1 December 2012.  Wording also available here under "The Shah's Palaces"
  16. ^ "Qajar King Paraded Top-Cadre Wives Every Morning: Iraniain Historian Says". Payvand. 13 August 2004. Retrieved 26 July 2013. 
  17. ^ "Qajars (Kadjar)". Retrieved 23 April 2015. 
  18. ^ L.A. Ferydoun Barjesteh van Waalwijk van Doorn and Bahman Bayani, 'The Fath Ali Shah Project', in: Qajar Studies IV (2004), Journal of the International Qajar Studies Association, Rotterdam, Santa Barbara and Tehran 2004


See also

  • Mohammad Ali Mirza (1788–1821)
  • Mohammad Qoli Mirza 'Molk Ara' (1788–1874)
  • Mohammad Vali Mirza (1789–1869)
  • Abbas Mirza 'Nayeb os-Saltaneh' (1789–1833)
  • Hossein Ali Mirza 'Farman Farma' (1789–1835)
  • Hassan Ali Mirza 'Etemad os-Saltaneh' 'Shoja os-Saltaneh' (1789-1854)
  • Mohammad Taqi Mirza 'Hessam os-Saltaneh' (1791-1853)
  • Ali Naqi Mirza 'Rokn od-Doleh' (1793)
  • Sheikh Ali Mirza 'Sheikh ol-Molouk' (1796)
  • Ali Shah Mirza
  • Abdollah Mirza
  • Imam Verdi Mirza 'Keshikchi Bashi' (1796-1869)
  • Mohammad Reza Mirza 'Afsar' (1797)
  • Mahmud Mirza (1799-1835)
  • Heydar Qoli Mirza (1799)
  • Homayoun Mirza (1801-1856/1857)
  • Allah Verdi Mirza 'Navab' (1801-1843)
  • Esma'il Mirza (1802-1853)
  • Ahmad Ali Mirza (1804)
  • Ali Reza Mirza
  • Keyghobad Mirza (1806)
  • Haj Bahram Mirza (1806)
  • Shapour Mirza (1807)
  • Malek Iraj Mirza (1807)
  • Manouchehr Mirza 'Baha ol-Molk'
  • Keykavous Mirza (1807)
  • Malek Ghassem Mirza (1807-1859)
  • Shah Qoli Mirza (1808)
  • Mohammad Mehdi Mirza 'Zargam ol-Molk' (1808)
  • Jahanshah Mirza (1809)
  • Keykhosrow Mirza 'Sepahsalar' (1809)
  • Kiomarth Mirza "Il-Khani" (1809-1872/1873)
  • Soleiman Mirza 'Shoa od-Doleh' (1810)
  • Fathollah Mirza 'Shoa os-Saltaneh' (1811-1869/1870)
  • Malek Mansour Mirza (1811)
  • Bahman Mirza 'Baha od-Doleh'
  • Soltan Ebrahim Mirza (1813)
  • Soltan Mostafa Mirza (1813)
  • Soltan Mohammad Mirza 'Seyf od-Doleh'
  • Seyfollah Mirza (Jahanbani) (1814)
  • Yahya Mirza (1817)
  • Mohammad Amin Mirza (1819-1886)
  • Zakaria Mirza (1819) s.p.
  • Farrokhseyr Mirza 'Nayer od-Doleh' (1819)
  • Soltan Hamzeh Mirza (1819)
  • Tahmoures Mirza (1820) s.p.
  • Aliqoli Mirza Etezado-ol-Saltaneh'Etezad os-Saltaneh' (1822)
  • Soltan Ahmad Mirza 'Azod od-Doleh' (1824-1901)
  • Eskandar Mirza 'Saheb Khaghan'
  • Parviz Mirza 'Nayer od-Doleh'
  • Jalaleddin Mirza 'Ehtesham ol-Molk' (1826)
  • Amanollah Mirza 'Agha Lili'
  • Soltan Hossein Mirza
  • Hossein Qoli Mirza 'Jahansouz Mirza " 'Amir Toman' (1830-1900/1901)
  • Haj Abbas Qoli Mirza
  • Nouroldar Mirza
  • Kamran Mirza
  • Orangzeb Mirza (1830/1831-1867/1868)
  • Mohammad Hadi Mirza (1832)


). Crown prince he was unable to claim the title "Valiahd." ([17]

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