The last of the Qajars

Iran has had its fair share of regime changes and challenges of territory and throne often resulting in short lived dynasties, but every now again a new Persian dynasty would form that would stand the test of time and withstand threatening forces and assassination attempts. The first such empire of course is the Achaemenid Dynasty formed by Cyrus the Great in 500BC, Next we have the Parthian Dynasty who took Persia back from the Greeks in 247BC. Following them were the Sassanid Dynasty that ruled from 224AD until the Arab Invasion in 651AD. The next great Persian Empire started with the Safavid Dynasty that ruled Persia from 1501AD until 1736AD. After the decline of the Sassanids the Afsharid and Zand Dynasties each had a short lived rule over vast territories of Iran, but it would be the Qajars that would again form a long lasting dynasty in Persia in 1789AD. They would also be the last to do so.


The Qajars ceased the throne of Persia in 1785 and the first decades of their rule was bloody and brutal. After the dynasty crushed any resistance and regained control of all areas of Persia as it was at the time of the Safavids (and more), their rule became more settled and peaceful. There are a lot of art legacies from the Qajar times, from portraits to architecture that is exquisite and awe inspiring, yet the economy of Iran started to decline in the late 19th century and the people became restless. They pushed for reforms and wider freedoms across all classes but the shah of the time, Mohammad Ali Shah, would not agree. After he was successfully exiled to Russia his 11 year old son, Ahmad Shah, was placed on the throne.

Due to his young age his uncle acted as his guardian and adviser during his rule as king. Unfortunately for the young king, the world was in turmoil and with a threatening Russian force invading Persia and lack of cohesive decision making, the power of the Qajar kingdom diminished over time. Persia started losing ground and this gave rise to military intervention from the Persian Army to regain the strength of the country. In 1923 Ahmad Shah Qajar traveled to Europe on an "extended holiday" and was successfully overthrown in a bloodless coup by Colonel Reza Khan, later known as Reza Shah Pahlavi, whose line would be the last line of kings of Persia before the revolution in 1979. This marked the end of the last longlasting Persian Dynasty, Qajar, in 1925 after ruling Persia for 136 years.

The boy king died in exile in France in 1930 due to ill health. His wish was always to return to Persia and continue his reign until his last day, but he never recovered from the sadness of being exiled from his beloved Iran. This carpet of his image was woven in Kashan over 100 years ago at the time of the reign of Ahmad Shah Qajar - Ghorbany Carpets Private Collection.