By: Mir M.Hosseini
The turmoil that followed the death of Karim Khan Zand swept through Iran and every tribal leader proclaimed king. Among these, a Qajar ruler eunuch Agha Mohammad Khan who was raised at the Zand court had a grudge against the establishment due to the fact that he had been castrated by Karim Khan's order.
The Qajar were a Turkish tribe leaving near the Aras River. Because of their great contribution to the Safavid Dynasty, they were given more power. Half of the Qajar tribe settled in Gorgan and the rest were sent to Astarabad. Agha Mohammad Khan learned riding a horse, shooting and reading Quran from his mother Jeryan and became the patrol leader of his father Mohammad Hasan Khan at the age of 13.
His father lost his life in a battle with Karim Khan. Then his sons became slaves and Agha Mohammad Khan became a bandit. He was caught after he attacked a Zand caravan and took away the tax from Astarabad. For some reason, Karim Khan did not kill him and spared his life, and all signs indicate that he later gained a special status.
After Karim Khan’s death on March, 1, 1779, Agha Mohammad Khan escaped from his captivity in Shiraz. He went to Gorgan and announced his claim to the throne. He soon put together a huge army of mercenaries and defeated some of his minor rivals including his brothers. He proclaimed himself king of Iran in Sari and put on a crown made of precious jewels during his coronation ceremony on March, 21, 1782, on the Norooz.
Agha Mohammad Khan then captured Azerbaijan and Shiraz while the Zand family was fighting each other. Finally, Lotfali Khan ascended the Zand throne in Shiraz but he was too young to unite the tribal leaders. He spent the next 15 years fighting Agha Mohammad Khan. He was finally defeated and killed; marking the end of the Zand Dynasty.
Almost all historians describe Agha Mohammad Khan as a brutal leader which may have been the requirement of a great leader during his time.