|Mohammad Khan Qajar|
Qajar Dynasty (1794-1925)
After Karim Khan's death, Agha Mohammad Qajar, who was brought up at the Zand court, gathered a large force of his Qajar tribesmen and embarked upon a war of conquest. He defeated the last Zand ruler and in the same year took Mashhad, which was at the time the residence of the last Afsharid king. In this way, he made himself master of the country and founder of the Qajar dynasty. Under his successors - Fathali Shah, Mohammad Shah, and Naser al-Din Shah - a degree of order and stability returned to the country. However, from the early 19th century, the Qajars began to face pressure from two great world powers, Russia and Britain. Britain's interest in Iran arose from the need to protect trade routes to India, while Russia's came from a desire to expand into Iranian territory from the north. In two disastrous wars with Russia, which ended with the Treaty of Golestan and the Treaty of Turkmanchay, Iran lost all its territories in the Caucasus north of the Aras River. Then, in the second half of the 19th century, Russia forced the Qajars to give up all claims to territories in Central Asia. Meanwhile, Britain twice landed troops in Iran to prevent the Qajars from reasserting a claim to Herat, which had been lost after the fall of the Safavids. Under the Treaty of Paris, Iran surrendered to Britain all claims to the territories in present-day Afghanistan. The two great powers also controlled Iran's trade and its internal affairs.
Naser al-Din Shah was the most capable of Qajar kings. He had a long reign, characterized by peace, progress, and prosperity. Many of his reforms were carried out on the initiative of his efficient prime minister, Amir Kabir, Naser al-Din Shah was assassinated in 1896 by a religious fanatic. His son, Mozaffar al-Din Shah, amiable but afflicted by poor health, is famous for granting to his subjects the first Constitution in the Middle East. Upon Mozaffar al-Din's death, his son, Mohammad Ali Shah, ascended the throne of Persia. Displeased with the curtailment of his powers by the Majles (Parliament), he took the extreme step of bombing it out of existence. As a result, the important commercial city of Tabriz repudiated its allegiance to the shah and, under the leadership of Sattar Khan, initiated the Constitutional Revolution. TI1e Parliament was restored, and Mohammad Ali was dethroned. In 1909, his son Ahmad, a boy of 11, was crowned. Meanwhile, Reza Khan staged a coup d'etat and took control of all the foundation of the Islamic Republic of Iran.