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|Also known as||فتحعلی شاه قاجار|
|Born|| 1772 |
|Died|| 1834 |
|Title||Shahanshah of Iran|
|Predecessor||Mohammad Khan Qajar|
|Successor||Mohammad Shah Qajar|
Early Life and Crowning
He was born in Damghan on 5 September 1772, and was called Fath-Ali, a name which his great-grandfather, a prominent figure bore. He was the son of Hossein Qoli Khan Qajar, brother of Agha Mohammad Khan. He was also known by his second name of Baba Khan, a name he would use until his coronation in 1797.
Fath-Ali was governor of Fars when his uncle was assassinated in 1797. Fath-Ali then ascended the throne and used the name of Fath Ali Shah (with the word "shah" added on his name). He became suspicious of his chancellor Ebrahim Khan Kalantar and ordered his execution. Hajji Ebrahim Khan had been chancellor to Zand and Qajar rulers for some fifteen years.
Much of his reign was marked by the resurgence of Persian arts and painting, as well as a deeply elaborate court culture with extremely rigid etiquette. In particular during his reign, portraiture and large-scale oil painting reached a height previously unknown under any other Islamic dynasty, largely due to his personal patronage.
Fat′h Ali also ordered the creation of much royal regalia, including coronations chairs; the "Takht-e Khurshīd" or Sun Throne; the "Takht-e Nāderi" or Naderi Throne, which was also used by later kings; and the "Tāj-e Kiyāni" or Kiani Crown, a modification of the crown of the same name created by his uncle Agha Mohammad Khan. The latter, like most of his regalia, was studded with a large number of pearls and gems.
In 1797, Fat′h Ali was given a complete set of the Britannica's 3rd edition, which he read completely; after this feat, he extended his royal title to include "Most Formidable Lord and Master of the Encyclopædia Britannica." In 1803, Fath-Ali Shah appointed his cousin Ebrahim Khan as the governor of the Kerman Province, which had been devastated during the reign of Agha Mohammad Khan.
First Russo-Persian War (1804-1813)
During the early reign of Fat′h Ali Shah,
Imperial Russia took control of Georgia, a territory which Iran had ruled intermittently since 1555 with the Peace of Amasya. Georgia, led by Erekle II, had forged an alliance with Persia's rival, Russia, following the Treaty of Georgievsk. To punish his Georgian subjects, his uncle, Agha Mohammad Khan, had invaded and sacked Tblisi, seeking to reestablishing full Persian suzerainty over Georgia, in which he succeeded. Even though the Russian garrisons in the city had to retreat, Persia didn't manage to put back all of its needed garrisons over the country as Agha Mohammad Khan was assassinated soon afterwards in Shusha, following with Russia's act of annexation of those priorly-Iranian ruled parts of Georgia in 1801, after many Georgian embassies and a treaty. Also, not only was Georgia annexed but also was Dagestan invaded, which had also been under Persian rule since the early Safavid era. As it was seen as a direct intrusion into Persian territory, Fat′h Ali Shah, determined to reassert Persian hegemony over the whole region, declared war on Russia after General Pavel Tsitsianov attacked and stormed the city of Ganja, massacring many of its inhabitants and forcing many thousands to flee deeper within the Iranian domains. In 1804, Fath Ali Shah ordered the invasion of Georgia in order to regain it, under pressure from the Shia clergy, who were urging a war against Russia. The war began with notable victories for the Persians, but Russia shipped in advanced weaponry and cannons that disadvantaged the technologically inferior Qajar forces, who did not have the artillery to match. Russia continued with a major campaign against Persia; Persia asked for help from Britain on the grounds of a military agreement with that country (the military agreement was signed after the rise of Napoleon in France). However, Britain refused to help Persia claiming that the military agreement concerned a French attack not Russian.
Persia had to ask for help from France, sending an ambassador to Napoleon and concluding a Franco-Persian alliance with the signature of the Treaty of Finkenstein. However, just when the French were ready to help Persia, Napoleon made peace with Russia. At this time, John Malcolm arrived in Persia and promised support but Britain later changed its mind and asked Persia to retreat. Though many years the war had been stale and located in various parts of Transcaucasia, the peace with Napoleon enabled the Russians to increase their war efforts in the Caucasus against Iran. In early 1813, under General Pyotr Kotlyarevsky, the Russians successfully stormed Lankaran. Russian troops invaded Tabriz in 1813 and Persia was forced to sign the Treaty of Gulistan with Russia.
Treaty of Gulistan
On account of consecutive defeats of Persia and after the fall of Lankaran on 1 January 1813, Fath Ali Shah, was forced to sign the disastrous Treaty of Gulistan. The text of treaty was prepared by a British diplomat; Sir Gore Ouseley; and was signed by Nikolai Fyodorovich Rtischev from the Russian side and Hajji Mirza Abol Hasan Khan from the Iranian side on 24 October 1813 in the village of Gulistan.
By this treaty all of the cities, towns, and villages of Georgia, villages and towns on the coast of the Black Sea, all of the cities, towns and villages of the Khanates in the South Caucasus and North Caucasus, and part of the Talysh Khanate, including Megrelia, Abkhazia,Imeretia, Guria, Baku khanate, Shirvan Khanate, Derbent, Karabakh khanate, Ganja khanate, Shaki Khanate and Quba Khanate became part of Russia. These territories altogether comprise modern-day Georgia, southern Dagestan, and most of the contemporary Azerbaijan Republic. In return, Russia pledged to support Abbas Mirza as heir to the Persian throne after the death of Fat′h Ali Shah.
Second Russo-Persian War (1826-1828)
In 1826, 13 years after the Treaty of Gulistan, the Shah on the advice of British agents and the utter dissatisfaction with the outcome of the previous war, Fath Ali Shah decided to occupy the lost territories. Crown prince Abbas Mirza, head of the armies, invaded the Talysh Khanateand Karabakh khanate with an army of 35,000 on 16 July 1826. The first year of the war was very successful, and the Persians managed to regain most of their lost territories of the 1804-1813 war, including the principal cities of Lenkoran, Quba, and Baku. However the tide turned after the winter. In May 1827, Ivan Paskevich, Governor of Caucasus, invaded Echmiadzin, Nakhichevan, Abbasabadand on 1 October Erivan. Fourteen days later, General Eristov entered Tabriz. In January 1828, when the Russians reached the shores of Lake Urmia, Abbas Mirza urgently signed the Treaty of Turkmenchay on 2 February 1828.
Treaty of Turkmenchay
The Turkmenchay Treaty was signed on 21 February 1828 by Hajji Mirza Abol Hasan Khan and General Ivan Paskevich. By this treaty the Erivan khanate (most of OTL Armenia, and also a small part of Eastern Anatolia), Nakhchivan khanate(most of the OTL Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic of Azerbaijan), the Talysh Khanate (southeastern Azerbaijan), the Ordubad and Mughan became under the rule of Imperial Russia. By this treaty, Iran had lost all of its Caucasian territories comprising all of Transcaucasia and Dagestan to neighboring Imperial Russia. Iran furthermore pledged to pay Russia 10 Million in Gold, and in return Russia pledged to support Abbas Mirza as heir to the Persian throne after the death of Fat′h Ali Shah. The treaty also stipulated the resettlement of Armenians from Persia to the Caucasus, which also included an outright liberation of Armenian captives who were brought and had lived in Iran since 1804 or as far back as 1795.
Failed Invasion of Herat
Between 1805 and 1816, Qajar rulers began invading Herat in neighboring Afghanistan with small detachments. The Persians were attempting to retake control of the city but were forced to abandon it due to Afghan uprisings. In 1818 the Shah sent his son Mohammad Vali Mirza to capture the city but he was defeated at the Battle of Kafir Qala.
Later Life and Death
Fat′h Ali later employed writers and painters to make a book about his wars with Russia, inspired by the Shahnameh of Ferdowsi. This book, considered by many to be the most important Persian book written in the Qajar period, is called the Shahanshahnama.
In 1829, Alexandr Griboyedov, the Russian diplomat and playwright was killed in the encirclement of the Russia embassy in Tehran. To apologize, the Shah sent prince Khosrow Mirza to Tsar Nicholas I to deliver a formal apology, as well as one of the biggest diamonds of his crown jewelry, namely Shah Diamond.
When his beloved son and crown prince Abbas Mirza died on 25 October 1833, Fat′h Ali named his grandson Mohammed Mirza as his crown prince. Fat′h Ali died a year later, on 23 October 1834.
The Family Man
Fath Ali Shah is reported to have had more than 1,000 spouses. He was survived by fifty-seven sons and forty-six daughters, along with 296 grandsons and 292 granddaughters. His first son, Mohammad Ali Mirza Dowlatshah, was seven months older than his brother Abbas Mirza (Fath Ali Shah's Crown Prince), but on account of his mother, Ziba Chehreh Khanoum's non-Qajar origin (she was Georgian) he was unable to be the crown prince.