Iran History Nader Shah Dynasty

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Nader Shah Dynasty (1794-1925)

Portrait of Nader Shah
Portrait of Nader Shah

Afsharid and Zand Dynasties (1736-1779)
After a disastrous but brief Afghan occupation, the country was united under the power of Tahmasb Qoli, a chief of the Afshar tribe. He expelled the Afghans in the name of surviving Safavid members, but soon dethroned them and was himself crowned as Nader Shah. He chose Mashhad as his capital. Nader's ultimate goal was to restore the glory and prestige of his country by regaining its former territories and wealth. He drove the Ottomans from Georgia and Armenia and the Russians from the Iranian coast on the Caspian Sea, and restored Iranian sovereignty over Afghanistan. He also took his army on several campaigns into India, bringing back fabulous treasures. Among them were two of the world's largest diamonds, the Mountain of Light (now part of .W the British Crown Jewels) and the Sea of Light (now in the , Jewelry Museum in Tehran). His Indian expedition solved the problem of how to make his empire financially viable. Too powerful and ambitious in the view of some of its neighbors, Nader Shah seemed to have posed a threat to their imperialistic plans. Perhaps a victim to their conspiracy, Nader died from the hands of his own tribesmen, assisted by some Qajar chiefs.
Almost immediately after Nader's murder, the country fell into anarchy. Afshar, Qajar, Afghan, and Zand chieftains struggled for supremacy, until finally Karim Khan Zand defeated his rivals and unified the country (except for Khorasan) under a loose form of central control. Karim Khan's geniality and common sense inaugurated a period of peace and popular contentment. He refused to assume the title of shah and ruled as Vakil al-Roaya ("Deputy of the Subjects"). Shiraz was made the capital city under his rule.

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