FATH-ALI SHAH QAJAR (Persian : فتحعلى شاه
قاجار; var. Fathalishah, Fathali Shah, Fath Ali Shah; 5
September 1772 – 23 October 1834) was the second
Shah (Qajar emperor
Iran . He reigned from 17 June 1797 until his death. His reign
saw the irrevocable ceding of Iran's northern territories in the
Caucasus , comprising what is nowadays Georgia ,
Dagestan , Azerbaijan
Armenia , to the
Russian Empire following the Russo-Persian Wars
of 1804–13 and 1826–28 and the resulting treaties of Gulistan and
Turkmenchay . 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."
At the end of his reign, his difficult economic problems and military
and technological liabilities took
Iran to the verge of governmental
disintegration, which was quickened by a consequent struggle for the
throne after his death.
* 1 Early life
* 2 Russo-Persian wars
Russo-Persian War (1804–1813)
Treaty of Gulistan
* 2.2 Interlude on a different front
Russo-Persian War (1826–1828)
Treaty of Turkmenchay
* 3 Later life
* 4 Marriage and children
* 5 See also
* 6 References
* 7 External links
He was born in
Damghan on 5 September 1772, and was called Fath-Ali,
a name which his great-grandfather, a prominent figure bore. 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
Ebrahim Khan Kalantar and ordered his execution. Hajji
Ebrahim Khan had been chancellor to Zand and Qajar rulers for some
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 ." In 1803, Fath-Ali
Shah appointed his
Ebrahim Khan as the governor of the
Kerman Province , which had
been devastated during the reign of Agha Mohammad Khan.
RUSSO-PERSIAN WAR (1804–1813)
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,
Imperial Russia took
control of Georgia , a territory which
Iran had ruled intermittently
since 1555 with the
Peace of Amasya
Peace of Amasya . Georgia, led by
Erekle II , had
forged an alliance with Persia's rival, Russia, following the Treaty
of Georgievsk . To punish his Georgian subjects, his uncle, Agha
Mohammad Khan, had invaded and sacked Tblisi , seeking to
reestablishing full Persian suzerainty over Georgia, in which he
succeeded. Even though the Russian garrisons in the city had to
Persia didn't manage to put back all of its needed garrisons
over the country as
Agha Mohammad Khan was assassinated soon
Shusha , following with Russia's act of annexation of
those priorly-Iranian ruled parts of Georgia in 1801, after many
Georgian embassies and a treaty. Also, not only was Georgia annexed
but also was
Dagestan invaded, which had also been under Persian rule
since the early Safavid era. As it was seen as a direct intrusion into
Persian territory, Fat′h Ali Shah, determined to reassert Persian
hegemony over the whole region, declared war on Russia after General
Pavel Tsitsianov attacked and stormed the city of Ganja , massacring
many of its inhabitants and forcing many thousands to flee deeper
within the Iranian domains. In 1804, Fath Ali
Shah ordered the
invasion of Georgia in order to regain it, under pressure from the
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 the 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
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
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
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. Though many years the
war had been stale and located in various parts of
Transcaucasia , the
Napoleon enabled the Russians to increase their war efforts
Caucasus against Iran. In early 1813, under General Pyotr
Kotlyarevsky , the Russians successfully stormed Lankaran . Russian
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 Georgia ,
Armenia , and
before being forced to cede the territories to
Imperial Russia per the
Russo-Persian Wars of the 19th century. Main article: Treaty of
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
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" and Hajji Mirza Abol
Hasan Khan from the Iranian side on 24 October 1813 in the village of
By this treaty all of the cities, towns, and villages of Georgia ,
villages and towns on the coast of the
Black Sea , all of the cities,
towns and villages of the
Khanates in the South
Caucasus and North
Caucasus , and part of the
Talysh Khanate , including
Baku khanate ,
Shirvan Khanate , Derbent
Karabakh khanate ,
Ganja khanate ,
Shaki Khanate and
became part of Russia. These territories altogether comprise
modern-day Georgia, southern
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
Afghanistan with small detachments. The Persians were
attempting to retake control of the city but were forced to abandon it
due to Afghan uprisings. In 1818 the
Shah sent his son Mohammad Vali
Mirza to capture the city but he was defeated at the Battle of Kafir
RUSSO-PERSIAN WAR (1826–1828)
Russo-Persian War (1826–1828) Battle of
Elisabethpol , 1828,
Franz Roubaud . Part of the collection of the
Museum for History,
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
Abbas Mirza , head of the armies, invaded
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
Quba , and
Baku . 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
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
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
Imperial Russia . By this treaty,
Iran had lost all of its
Caucasian territories comprising all of
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
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.
Shah Qajar firman in
Shikasta Nastaʿlīq script,
Fat′h Ali later employed writers and painters to make a book about
his wars with Russia, inspired by the
Ferdowsi . This
book, considered by many to be the most important Persian book written
in the Qajar period, is called the Shahanshahnama.
Alexandr Griboyedov , the Russian diplomat and playwright
was killed in the encirclement of the Russia embassy in
Tehran . To
Shah sent prince
Khosrow Mirza to
Tsar Nicholas I to
deliver a formal apology, as well as one of the biggest diamonds of
his crown jewelry, namely
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.
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 . Another one that of which
artist was Mihr Ali is at the
Brooklyn Museum .
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. 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, specially
made for the sport, into the arms of their lord and master before
being playfully dunked in a pool."
MARRIAGE AND CHILDREN
Muhammad Hasan (Persian, active 1808–1840). Prince Yahya, ca.
the 1830s.Prince Yahya, born in 1817, was the forty-third son of the
Qajar ruler Fath Ali
Shah (r. 1798–1834).
Shah is reported to have had more than 1,000 spouses. He
was survived by fifty-seven sons and forty-six daughters, along with
296 grandsons and 292 granddaughters.
A book published in England in 1874 provided different numbers:
"It is believed that Fetteh Ali had the largest number of children
ever born to a man. Like a pious Mohammedan, he had only four wives,
but his harem generally contained from 800 to 1000 ladies. By these he
had 130 sons and 150 daughters, and it is believed that at the time of
his death his descendants numbered five thousand souls. The three
grandsons who merit notice were the sons of Hussein Ali, the governor
of Fars, who aspired to the throne. The princes, Riza Kuli Mirza,
Nejeff Kuli Mirza, and Timour Mirza, were at Shiraz when their father
attempted to seize the throne. They were able to make their escape
from the city."
While this is a large number of children, the claim that Fath-Ali
holds the record is not true. (Moulay Ismail ibn Sharif, who lived a
hundred years earlier in Morocco, is said to hold the record for the
most number of children born to a man.)
Fath-Ali's first son, Mohammad Ali Mirza
Dowlatshah , was seven
months older than his brother
Abbas Mirza (Fath Ali Shah's Crown
Prince), but on account of his mother, Ziba Chehreh Khanoum's
non-Qajar origin (she was Georgian ) he was unable to claim the title
Crown prince ).
* 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'
Mohammad Taqi Mirza 'Hessam os-Saltaneh' (1791-1853)
* Ali Naqi Mirza 'Rokn od-Doleh' (1793)
* Sheikh Ali Mirza 'Sheikh ol-Molouk' (1796)
* 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'
* Haj Abbas Qoli Mirza
* Nouroldar Mirza
* Kamran Mirza
* Orangzeb Mirza (1830/1831-1867/1868)
* Mohammad Hadi Mirza (1832)
Tangeh Savashi near
Tehran , where Fath Ali
Shah had a relief
carved into the side of a mountain pass.
* Imperial Crown Jewels of
* Poetry from the inmates of the harem of Fat′h Ali
* ^ Dowling, Timothy C. (2014). Russia at War: From the Mongol
Conquest to Afghanistan, Chechnya, and Beyond . ABC-CLIO. ISBN
978-1-59884-948-6 . , page 728
* ^ 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
* ^ http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/fath-ali-shah-qajar-2
* ^ A B "Index Fa-Fi". Rulers. Retrieved 26 July 2013.
* ^ William Benton (1968). Banquet at Guildhall in the City of
London, Tuesday, 15 October 1968, Celebrating the 200th Anniversary of
Encyclopædia Britannica and the 25th Anniversary of the Hon.
William Benton as Its Chairman and Publisher. Encyclopædia
Britannica. Retrieved 27 July 2013.
* ^ "Relations between
Tehran and Moscow, 1797-2014". Retrieved 10
* ^ "The Qajar
Dynasty in Iran: The Most Important Occurence
Evented in the Qajars Monarchy" (PDF).
* ^ A B Treaty of Gulistan
* ^ John F. Baddeley, "The Russian Conquest of the Caucasus",
Longman , Green and Co., London: 1908, p. 90
* ^ Dumper, Michael; Bruce E. Stanley (2007). Cities of the Middle
East and North Africa: A Historical Encyclopedia. ABC-CLIO. p. 170.
ISBN 1-5760-7919-8 . Retrieved 2010-08-22.
* ^ 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.
* ^ Treaty of Turkmenchay
* ^ "Your Paintings". BBC. Retrieved 26 July 2013.
* ^ "Portrait of Fath \'Ali
Shah Qajar". Brooklyn Museum. Retrieved
26 July 2013.
* ^ John H. Waller, Beyond the Khyber Pass: the road to British
disaster in the First Afghan War, Random House, 1990, p. 59.
* ^ The Literary World. 1882. p. 85. Retrieved 1 December 2012.
Wording also available here under "The Shah's Palaces"
* ^ "Qajar King Paraded Top-Cadre Wives Every Morning: Iranian
Historian Says". Payvand. 13 August 2004. Retrieved 26 July 2013.
* ^ Piggot, John (1874). Persia: Ancient & Modern. London: Henry S.
King & Co. p. 89.
* ^ "Qajars (Kadjar)". Retrieved 23 April 2015.
* ^ Buyers, Christopher. "The Qajar Dynasty". Royalark. Retrieved 4
* ^ 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
* Portrait of Fat′h Ali
Shah by Mihr Ali, Qajar Pages