Nasseroddin Shah, Naseroldin Shah,Naser al-Din Shah Qajar
ناصرالدین شاه ، سلطان صاحبقران، شاه شهید
Naseroddin Shah (July, 17, 1831 - Apr, 30, 1896), was the 4th
Qajar king that reigned for almost 50 years, the longest period among all Qajar kings.
AKA Nasser al-Din
Shah Qajar was the King of
Iran from September 17, 1848 to May 1, 1896 when he was assassinated. He was the son of
Mohammad Shah Qajar and the third longest reigning monarch king in
Iranian history after
Shapour 2nd of the
Sassanid Dynasty and
Tahmasp 1st of the
Safavid Dynasty. He had sovereign power for close to 50 years and was also the first
Persian monarch to ever write and publish his diaries.
He was in
Tabriz when he heard of his father's death in 1848, and he ascended to the
Peacock Throne with the help of
Though Naseroddin had early reformist tendencies, he was dictatorial in his style of government. Unprovoked, he persecuted small numbers of
Bahais, thinking they were heretics. Under his sanction, as many as two thousand Bahais (often armed) including a few women and children, were brutally murdered. This persecution increased when a Bahai, seeking revenge for the death of the
Bab, attempted to assassinate him in 1852. This treatment continued under his
Prime Minister Amirkabir, who even ordered the execution of The Bab - regarded as a Manifestation of God to Bahais, and to historians as the founder of the Bahai religion.
Unable to regain territory lost to
Russia in the early 19th century, Naseroddin sought compensation by seizing
Afghanistan, in 1856. Great
Britain regarded the move as a threat to
India and declared war on Iran, forcing the return of Herat as well as Iranian recognition of the kingdom of Afghanistan.
He was the first modern Iranian monarch to visit Europe in 1873 and then again in 1878 (when he saw a Royal Navy Fleet Review), and finally in 1889 and was reportedly amazed with the technology he saw there. During his visit to the
United Kingdom in 1873, Naseroddin Shah was appointed by Queen Victoria a Knight of the Order of the
Garter, the highest English order of chivalry. He was the first Iranian monarch to be so honored. Of course this was a publicity to cover his failures. During his visit, Naseroddin met with British
Jewish leaders, including Sir Moses Montefiore. At that time, the
Persian king suggested that the Jews buy land and establish a state for the Jewish people. His travel diary of his 1873 trip has been published in several languages as Persian,
In 1890 he met British Gerald
Talbot and signed a contract with him giving him the ownership of Iranian Tobacco Industry, but he later was forced to cancel the contract after
Mirza Hassan Shirazi issued a
Fatwa that made farming, trading and consuming tobacco as Haram (forbidden). It even affected the Shah's personal life as his wives did not allow him to smoke.
This was not the end of his attempts to give advantages to Europe; he later gave the ownership of Iranian Customs incomes to Paul
Amirkabir, the grand
Vezir of Naseroddin Shah was effective in introducing several different western influences to Iran. He curbed the secular power of the clergy, introduced telegraph and postal services, built roads, opened the first school offering education along Western lines, and launched Iran's first newspaper.
Naseroddin Shah liked photography and was photographed hundreds of times. He established a photography studio in
In the later years of his rule, however, he steadfastly refused to deal with the growing pressures for reforms. He also granted a series of concessionary rights to foreigners in return for large payments that went into his own pockets. In 1872 popular pressure forced him to withdraw one concession involving permission to construct such complexes as railways and irrigation works throughout Iran. In 1890 he made an even greater error in granting a 50-year concession on the purchase, sale, and processing of all tobacco in the country, which led to a national boycott of tobacco and the withdrawal of the concession. This last incident is considered by many authorities to be the origin of modern Iranian nationalism.
Naseroddin Shah was assassinated by
Mirza Reza Kermani, a follower of Jamaloddin Asadabadi al-Afghani, when he was visiting and praying in the shrine of
Shah Abdolazim. It is said that the revolver used to assassinate him was old and rusty, and had he worn a thicker overcoat, or been shot from a longer range, he would have survived the attempt on his life. Shortly before his death he is reported to have said "I will rule you differently if I survive!" Naseroddin Shah's assassin was prosecuted by the Defense Minister Nazmodoleh. His final prime minister was Ali Asghar
Khan, who after the shah's assassination aided in securing the transfer of the throne to
He was buried in the Shah
Abdolazim Cemetery, in
Rhagae, where he was assassinated. His one-piece marble tombstone, bearing his full effigy, is now kept at the Golestan Palace Museum in
Tehran and is renowned as a masterpiece of Qajar-era sculpture.
Naseroddin Shah was not a talented painter, but experts such as
Kamalolmolk aided him in pen and ink drawing. Several of these pen and ink drawings survive.
Naseroddin was also a poet. 200 couplets from him were recorded in the preface of
Majma-ol-Fosaha, a work by
Reza Gholi Khan Hedayat about poets of the Qajar period. He was interested in history and geography and had many books on these topics in his library. He also knew some French and English.
Hekayat Pir Va Javan ("The Tale of the Old and the Young") was attributed to him by many; it was one of the first Persian stories written in modern European style.
For concessions he distributed out of Iranians pockets, he received honors:
Knight of the Order of the White Eagle of Russia-1838
Grand Cross of the Legion d'Honneur of
Grand Cross of the Order of St Stephen of
Grand Cross of the Order of Saints Maurice and Lazarus of
Knight of the Order of the Most Holy Annunciation of Italy-1862
Grand Cross of the Order of the
Knight of the Order of St. Andrew of Russia-1873
Knight of the Order of St. Alexander Nevsky of Russia-1873
Knight of the Order of Saint Stanislaus, 1st Class of Russia-1873
Knight of the Order of St. Anna, 1st Class of Russia-1873
Knight of the Order of the Garter (KG)-1873
Knight of the Order of the Black Eagle of
Grand Cross of the Order of the Red Eagle of Prussia-1873
Grand Cordon of the Order of Leopold of
Exalted Order of Honour of
As a result of spending most of his time with women of
Harem, his sons:
Prince Soltan Mahmoud Mirza (1847–1849)
Crown Prince of Persia, 1849
Prince Soltan Moinoddin Mirza (1849 – 6 November 1856) Crown Prince of Persia, 1849–56
Prince Soltan Masood Mirza Zellossoltan (5 January 1850–2 July 1918)
Prince Mohammad Qasem Mirza (1850 – 29 June 1858) Crown Prince of Persia, 1856-8
Prince Soltan Hossein Mirza Jalaloddoleh (1852–1868)
Prince Mozaffaroddin Shah (25 March 1853–7 January 1907)
Nayebossaltaneh (22 July 1856 – 1927)
Prince Nosrat al-Din Mirza
Salarossaltaneh (2 May 1882 – 1954)
Prince Mohammad Reza Mirza Roknossaltaneh (30 January 1884 – 8 July 1951)
Prince Hussein Ali Mirza Yaminoddoleh (1890–1952)
Prince Ahmad Mirza Azdessaltaneh (1891–1939)
Princess Fakhrolmoluk (1847 - 9 April 1878)
Princess Esmatoddoleh (1855 – 3 September 1905)
Ziaossaltaneh (1856 - 11 April 1898)
Princess Foroughoddoleh (1862–1916)
Princess Eftekharossaltaneh (1880–1941)
Princess Farahossltaneh (1882 - 17 April 1899)
Princess Tajossaltaneh (1883 – 25 January 1936)
Princess Ezzossaltaneh (1888–1982)
Naseroddin Shah's assassination paved the way for transferring Iran to a modern society.