Afsharid dynasty

The Afsharid dynasty (Persian: افشاریان‎) were members of an Iranian dynasty that originated from the Turkic Afshar tribe in Iran's north-eastern province of Khorasan, ruling Persia in the mid-eighteenth century. The dynasty was founded in 1736 by the brilliant military[5] commander Nader Shah, who deposed the last member of the Safavid dynasty and proclaimed himself Shah of Iran.

During Nader's reign, Iran reached its greatest extent since the Sassanid Empire. At its height it controlled modern-day Iran, Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan Republic, parts of the North Caucasus (Dagestan), Afghanistan, Bahrain, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Pakistan, and parts of Iraq, Turkey and Oman. After his death, most of his empire was divided between the Zands, Durranis, Georgians, and the Caucasian khanates, while Afsharid rule was confined to a small local state in Khorasan. Finally, the Afsharid dynasty was overthrown by Mohammad Khan Qajar in 1796, who would establish a new native Iranian empire and restore Iranian suzerainty over several of the aforementioned regions.

The dynasty was named after the Turcoman Afshar tribe from Khorasan in north-east Iran, to which Nader belonged.[6] The Afshars had originally migrated from Turkestan to Azerbaijan (Iranian Azerbaijan) in the 13th century. In the early 17th century, Shah Abbas the Great moved many Afshars from Azerbaijan to Khorasan to defend the north-eastern borders of his state against the Uzbeks, after which the Afshars became native to those regions. Nader belonged to the Qereqlu branch of the Afshars.[7]

Afsharid dynasty

افشاریان (in Persian)
Emblem of Persia
The Afsharid Persian Empire at its greatest extent in 1741-1743 under Nader Shah
The Afsharid Persian Empire at its greatest extent in 1741-1743 under Nader Shah
Common languages
  • Persian (official language; court language; civil & fiscal administration) [1][2]
  • Turkic (military administration)[3]
GovernmentAbsolute monarchy
• 1736–1747
Nader Shah
• 1747–1748
Adil Shah
• 1748
Ebrahim Afshar
• 1748–1796
Shahrokh Afshar
• Established
22 January 1736
• Disestablished
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Safavid dynasty
Hotaki dynasty
Durrani Empire
Kingdom of Kartli-Kakheti
Zand dynasty
Qajar dynasty

Foundation of the dynasty

Nader Shah was born (as Nadr Qoli) into a humble semi-nomadic family from the Afshar tribe of Khorasan,[8] where he became a local warlord.[9] His path to power began when the Ghilzai Mir Mahmud Hotaki overthrew the weakened and disintegrated Safavid shah Sultan Husayn in 1722. At the same time, Ottoman and Russian forces seized Iranian land. Russia took swaths of Iran's Caucasian territories in the North Caucasus and Transcaucasia, as well as mainland northern Iran, by the Russo-Persian War, while the neighbouring Ottomans invaded from the west. By the 1724 Treaty of Constantinople, they agreed to divide the conquered areas between themselves.[10]

On the other side of the theatre, Nader joined forces with Sultan Husayn's son Tahmasp II and led the resistance against the Ghilzai Afghans, driving their leader Ashraf Khan easily out of the capital in 1729 and establishing Tahmasp on the throne. Nader fought to regain the lands lost to the Ottomans and Russians and to restore Iranian hegemony in Iran. While he was away in the east fighting the Ghilzais, Tahmasp allowed the Ottomans to retake territory in the west. Nader, displeased, had Tahmasp deposed in favour of his baby son Abbas III in 1732. Four years later, after he had recaptured most of the lost Persian lands, Nader felt confident enough to have himself proclaimed shah in his own right at a ceremony on the Moghan Plain.[11]

Nader subsequently made the Russians cede the taken territories taken in 1722–23 through the Treaty of Resht of 1732 and the Treaty of Ganja of 1735.[12] Back in control of the integral northern territories, and with a new Russo-Iranian alliance against the common Ottoman enemy,[13] he continued the Ottoman–Persian War. The Ottoman armies were expelled from western Iran and the rest of the Caucasus, and the resultant 1736 Treaty of Constantinople forced the Ottomans to confirm Iranian suzerainty over the Caucasus and recognised Nader as the new Iranian shah (king).[14]

Conquests of Nader Shah and the succession problem

  • Copied content from Nader Shah article; see that article's history for attribution

Fall of the Hotaki dynasty

Tahmasp and the Qajar leader Fath Ali Khan (the ancestor of Agha Mohammad Khan Qajar) contacted Nader and asked him to join their cause and drive the Ghilzai Afghans out of Khorasan. He agreed and thus became a figure of national importance. When Nader discovered that Fath Ali Khan was corresponding with Malek Mahmud and revealed this to the shah, Tahmasp executed him and made Nader the chief of his army instead. Nader subsequently took on the title Tahmasp Qoli (Servant of Tahmasp). In late 1726, Nader recaptured Mashhad.[15]

Nader chose not to march directly on Isfahan. First, in May 1729, he defeated the Abdali Afghans near Herat. Many of the Abdali Afghans subsequently joined his army. The new shah of the Ghilzai Afghans, Ashraf, decided to move against Nader but in September 1729, Nader defeated him at the Battle of Damghan and again decisively in November at Murchakhort, banishing the Afghans from Persian soil forever. Ashraf fled and Nader finally entered Isfahan, handing it over to Tahmasp in December and plundering the city to pay his army. Tahmasp made Nader governor over many eastern provinces, including his native Khorasan, and married him to his sister. Nader pursued and defeated Ashraf, who was murdered by his own followers.[16] In 1738, Nader Shah besieged and destroyed the last Hotaki seat of power, at Kandahar. He built a new city nearby, which he named "Naderabad".[17]

First Ottoman campaign and the regain of the Caucasus

  • Copied content from Nader Shah article; see that article's history for attribution

In the spring of 1735, Nader attacked Persia's archrival, the Ottomans, and regained most of the territory lost during the recent chaos. At the same time, the Abdali Afghans rebelled and besieged Mashhad, forcing Nader to suspend his campaign and save his brother, Ebrahim. It took Nader fourteen months to crush this uprising.

نادر شاه
Painting of Nader Shah

Relations between Nader and the Shah had declined as the latter grew alarmed by his general's military successes. While Nader was absent in the east, Tahmasp tried to assert himself by launching a campaign to recapture Yerevan. He ended up losing all of Nader's recent gains to the Ottomans, and signed a treaty ceding Georgia and Armenia in exchange for Tabriz. Nader, furious, saw that the moment had come to depose Tahmasp. He denounced the treaty, seeking popular support for a war against the Ottomans. In Isfahan, Nader got Tahmasp drunk then showed him to the courtiers asking if a man in such a state was fit to rule. In 1732 he forced Tahmasp to abdicate in favour of the Shah's baby son, Abbas III, to whom Nader became regent.

Baghavard 2 001sdf
The Battle of Yeghevārd was one of Nader's most tactically impressive triumphs in his military career

Nader decided, as he continued the 1730–35 war, that he could win back the territory in Armenia and Georgia by seizing Ottoman Baghdad and then offering it in exchange for the lost provinces, but his plan went badly amiss when his army was routed by the Ottoman general Topal Osman Pasha near the city in 1733. Nader decided he needed to regain the initiative as soon as possible to save his position because revolts were already breaking out in Persia. He faced Topal again with a larger force and defeated and killed him. He then besieged Baghdad, as well as Ganja in the northern provinces, earning a Russian alliance against the Ottomans. Nader scored a decisive victory over a superior Ottoman force at Yeghevard (modern-day Armenia) and by the summer of 1735, Persian Armenia and Georgia were under his rule again. In March 1735, he signed a treaty with the Russians in Ganja by which the latter agreed to withdraw all of their troops from Persian territory,[18][19] those which had not been ceded back by the 1732 Treaty of Resht yet, mainly regarding Derbent, Baku, Tarki, and the surrounding lands, resulting in the reestablishment of Iranian rule over all of the Caucasus and northern mainland Iran again.

Nader becomes king

Nader suggested to his closest intimates, after a hunting party on the Moghan plains (presently split between Azerbaijan Republic and Iran), that he should be proclaimed the new king (shah) in place of the young Abbas III.[20] The small group of close intimates, Nader's friends, included Tahmasp Khan Jalayer and Hasan-Ali Beg Bestami.[20] Following Nader's suggestion, the group did not "demur", and Hasan-Ali remained silent.[20] When Nader asked him why he remained silent, Hasan-Ali replied that the best course of action for Nader would be to assemble all the leading men of the state, in order to receive their agreement in "a signed and sealed document of consent".[20] Nader approved of the proposal, and the writers of the chancellery, which included the court historian Mirza Mehdi Khan Astarabadi, were instructed with sending out orders to the military, religious and nobility of the nation to summon at the plains.[20] The summonses for the people to attend had gone out in November 1735, and they began arriving in January 1736.[21] In the same month of January 1736, Nader held a qoroltai (a grand meeting in the tradition of Genghis Khan and Timur) on the Moghan plains. The Moghan plain was specifically chosen for its size and "abundance of fodder".[22] Everyone agreed to the proposal of Nader becoming the new king, many—if not most—enthusiastically, the rest fearing Nader's anger if they showed support for the deposed Safavids. Nader was crowned Shah of Iran on March 8, 1736, a date his astrologers had chosen as being especially propitious,[23] in attendance of an "exceptionally large assembly" composed of the military, religious and nobility of the nation, as well as the Ottoman ambassador Ali Pasha.[24]

Invasion of the Mughal Empire

  • Copied content from Nader Shah article; see that article's history for attribution
Kheibar pass 001
The flank march of Nader's army at Battle of Khyber pass has been called a "military masterpiece" by the Russian general & historian Kursinski
Karnal battle based on Axworthy's interpretation
At the Battle of Karnal, Nader crushed an enormous Mughal army six times greater than his own

In 1738, Nader Shah conquered Kandahar, the last outpost of the Hotaki dynasty. His thoughts now turned to the Mughal Empire based in Delhi. This once powerful Muslim state to the east was falling apart as the nobles became increasingly disobedient and the Hindu Marathas of the Maratha Empire made inroads on its territory from the south-west. Its ruler Muhammad Shah was powerless to reverse this disintegration. Nader asked for the Afghan rebels to be handed over, but the Mughal emperor refused.

Nader used the pretext of his Afghan enemies taking refuge in India to cross the border and invade the militarily weak but still extremely wealthy far eastern empire.[25] In a brilliant campaign against the governor of Peshawar, he took a small contingent of his forces on a daunting flank march through nearly impassable mountain passes, and took the enemy forces positioned at the mouth of the Khyber Pass completely by surprise, decisively beating them despite being outnumbered two-to-one. This led to the capture of Ghazni, Kabul, Peshawar, Sindh and Lahore.

As Nader moved into the Mughal territories, he was accompanied by his loyal Georgian subject and future king of eastern Georgia, Erekle II, who led a Georgian contingent as a military commander as part of Nader's force.[26] Following the defeat of Mughal forces priorly, he then advanced deeper into India, crossing the river Indus before the end of year. The news of the Persian army's swift and decisive successes against the northern vassal states of the Mughal empire caused much consternation in Delhi, prompting the Mughal ruler, Muhammad Shah, to summon an overwhelming force of some 300,000 men and march this massive host north towards the Persian army.

A Nawab of Awadh, Lucknow, India. 19th century
Afsharid forces negotiate with a Mughal Nawab.

Nader Shah crushed the Mughal army in less than three hours at the large Battle of Karnal on 13 February 1739. After this decisive victory, Nader captured Mohammad Shah and entered with him into Delhi.[27] When a rumour broke out that Nader had been assassinated, some of the Indians attacked and killed Persian troops. Nader, furious, reacted by ordering his soldiers to plunder and sack the city. During the course of one day (March 22) 20,000 to 30,000 Indians were killed by the Persian troops, forcing Mohammad Shah to beg Nader for mercy.[28]

In response, Nader Shah agreed to withdraw, but Mohammad Shah paid the consequence in handing over the keys of his royal treasury, and losing even the Peacock Throne to the Persian emperor. The Peacock Throne thereafter served as a symbol of Persian imperial might. It is estimated that Nadir took away with him treasures worth as much as seven hundred million rupees. Among a trove of other fabulous jewels, Nader also gained the Koh-e-Noor and Darya-ye Noor diamonds (Koh-e-Noor means "Mountain of Light" in Persian, Darya-ye Noor means "Sea of Light").

The Persian troops left Delhi at the beginning of May 1739, but before they left, he ceded back to Muhammad Shah all territories to the east of the Indus that he had overrun.[29] Nader's soldiers also took with them thousands of elephants, horses and camels, loaded with the booty they had collected. The plunder seized from India was so valuable that Nader stopped taxation in Iran for a period of three years following his return.[30] Nader attacked the empire to, perhaps, give his country some breathing space after previous turmoils. His successful campaign and replenishment of funds meant that he could continue his wars against Iran's archrival and neighbour, the Ottoman Empire.[31]

North Caucasus, Central Asia, Arabia, and the second Ottoman war

Silver coin of Nader Shah, minted in Dagestan, dated 1741/2 (left = obverse; right = reverse)

Coin of Nader Shah, minted in Daghestan (Dagestan). Obverse
Coin of Nader Shah, minted in Daghestan (Dagestan). Reverse

The Indian campaign was the zenith of Nader's career. After his return from India, Nader fell out with his eldest son Reza Qoli Mirza, who had ruled Persia during his father's absence. Reza had behaved highhandedly and somewhat cruelly but he had kept the peace in Persia. Having heard a rumour that Nader was dead, he had prepared to seize the throne by having the Safavid royal captives, Tahmasp and his nine-year-old son Abbas III, executed. On hearing the news, Reza's wife, who was Tahmasp's sister, committed suicide. Nader was not pleased with the young man's behaviour and humiliated him by removing him from the post of viceroy, but he took him on his expedition to conquer territory in Transoxiana. Nader became increasingly despotic as his health declined markedly. In 1740 he conquered Khanate of Khiva. After the Persians had forced the Uzbek khanate of Bukhara to submit, Nader wanted Reza to marry the khan's elder daughter because she was a descendant of his role model Genghis Khan, but Reza flatly refused and Nader married the girl himself. Nader also conquered Khwarezm on this expedition into Central Asia.[32]

Bnsadjhb 001
The Battle of Kars (1745) was the last major field battle Nader fought in his spectacular military career

Nader now decided to punish Daghestan for the death of his brother Ebrahim Qoli on a campaign a few years earlier. In 1741, while Nader was passing through the forest of Mazandaran on his way to fight the Daghestanis, an assassin took a shot at him but Nader was only lightly wounded. He began to suspect his son was behind the attempt and confined him to Tehran. Nader's increasing ill health made his temper ever worse. Perhaps it was his illness that made Nader lose the initiative in his war against the Lezgin tribes of Daghestan. Frustratingly for him, they resorted to guerrilla warfare and the Persians could make little headway against them.[33] Though Nader managed to take most of Dagestan during his campaign, the effective guerrilla warfare as deployed by the Lezgins, but also the Avars and Laks made the Iranian re-conquest of this particular North Caucasian region this time a short lived one; several years later, Nader was forced to withdraw. During the same period, Nader accused his son of being behind the assassination attempt in Mazandaran. Reza angrily protested his innocence, but Nader had him blinded as punishment, although he immediately regretted it. Soon afterwards, Nader started executing the nobles who had witnessed his son's blinding. In his last years, Nader became increasingly paranoid, ordering the assassination of large numbers of suspected enemies.

With the wealth he gained, Nader started to build a Persian navy. With lumber from Mazandaran, he built ships in Bushehr. He also purchased thirty ships in India.[17] He recaptured the island of Bahrain from the Arabs. In 1743, he conquered Oman and its main capital Muscat. In 1743, Nader started another war against the Ottoman Empire. Despite having a huge army at his disposal, in this campaign Nader showed little of his former military brilliance. It ended in 1746 with the signing of a peace treaty, in which the Ottomans agreed to let Nader occupy Najaf.[34]

Afsharid military

See Military of the Afsharid dynasty of Persia.

Religious policy

The Safavids had introduced Shi'a Islam as the state religion of Iran. Nader was probably brought up as a Shi'a [35] but later espoused the Sunni[36] faith as he gained power and began to push into the Ottoman Empire. He believed that Safavid Shi'ism had intensified the conflict with the Sunni Ottoman Empire. His army was a mix of Shi'a and Sunni (with a notable minority of Christians) and included his own Qizilbash as well as Uzbeks, Afghans, Christian Georgians and Armenians,[37][38] and others. He wanted Persia to adopt a form of religion that would be more acceptable to Sunnis and suggested that Persia adopt a form of Shi'ism he called "Ja'fari", in honour of the sixth Shi'a imam Ja'far al-Sadiq. He banned certain Shi'a practices which were particularly offensive to Sunnis, such as the cursing of the first three caliphs. Personally, Nader is said to have been indifferent towards religion and the French Jesuit who served as his personal physician reported that it was difficult to know which religion he followed and that many who knew him best said that he had none.[39] Nader hoped that "Ja'farism" would be accepted as a fifth school (mazhab) of Sunni Islam and that the Ottomans would allow its adherents to go on the hajj, or pilgrimage, to Mecca, which was within their territory. In the subsequent peace negotiations, the Ottomans refused to acknowledge Ja'farism as a fifth mazhab but they did allow Persian pilgrims to go on the hajj. Nader was interested in gaining rights for Persians to go on the hajj in part because of revenues from the pilgrimage trade.[17] Nader's other primary aim in his religious reforms was to weaken the Safavids further since Shi'a Islam had always been a major element in support for the dynasty. He had the chief mullah of Persia strangled after he was heard expressing support for the Safavids. Among his reforms was the introduction of what came to be known as the kolah-e Naderi. This was a hat with four peaks which symbolised the first four caliphs.

Civil war and downfall of the Afsharids

Afsharid dynasty final stages
The Afsharid dynasty near its end, as its authority is reduced to the province of Khorasan[40]

After Nader's death in 1747, his nephew Ali Qoli (who may have been involved in the assassination plot) seized the throne and proclaimed himself Adil Shah ("The Just King"). He ordered the execution of all Nader's sons and grandsons, with the exception of the 13-year-old Shahrokh, the son of Reza Qoli.[41] Meanwhile, Nadir's former treasurer, Ahmad Shah Abdali, had declared his independence by founding the Durrani Empire. In the process, the eastern territories were lost and in the following decades became part of Afghanistan, the successor-state to the Durrani Empire. The northern territories, Iran's most integral regions, had a different fate. Erekle II and Teimuraz II, who, in 1744, had been made the kings of Kakheti and Kartli respectively by Nader himself for their loyal service,[42] capitalized on the eruption of instability and declared de facto independence. Erekle II assumed control over Kartli after Teimuraz II's death, thus unifying the two as the Kingdom of Kartli-Kakheti, becoming the first Georgian ruler in three centuries to preside over a politically unified eastern Georgia,[43] and due to the frantic turn of events in mainland Iran he would be able to remain de facto autonomous through the Zand period.[44] Under the successive Qajar dynasty, Iran managed to restore Iranian suzerainty over the Georgian regions, until they would be irrevocably lost in the course of the 19th century, to neighbouring Imperial Russia.[45] Many of the rest of the territories in the Caucasus, comprising modern-day Azerbaijan, Armenia, and Dagestan broke away into various khanates. Until the advent of the Zands and Qajars, its rulers had various forms of autonomy, but stayed vassals and subjects to the Iranian king.[46] Under the early Qajars, these territories in Transcaucasia and Dagestan would all be fully reincorporated into Iran, but eventually permanently lost as well (alongside Georgia), in the course of the 19th century to Imperial Russia through the two Russo-Persian Wars of the 19th century.[45]

Adil made the mistake of sending his brother Ebrahim to secure the capital Isfahan. Ebrahim decided to set himself up as a rival, defeated Adil in battle, blinded him and took the throne. Adil had reigned for less than a year. Meanwhile, a group of army officers freed Shahrokh from prison in Mashhad and proclaimed him shah in October 1748. Ebrahim was defeated and died in captivity in 1750 and Adil was also put to death at the request of Nader Shah's widow. Shahrokh was briefly deposed in favour of another puppet ruler Soleyman II but, although blinded, Shahrokh was restored to the throne by his supporters. He reigned in Mashhad and from the 1750s his territory was mostly confined to Khorasan. In 1796 Mohammad Khan Qajar, the founder of the Qajar dynasty, seized Mashhad and tortured Shahrokh to force him to reveal the whereabouts of Nader Shah's treasures. Shahrokh died of his injuries soon after and with him the Afsharid dynasty came to an end.[39][47] Shahrokh's descendants continue into the 21st century under the Afshar Naderi surname.

List of Afsharid monarchs

Family tree

Imam Qoli
(d. 1704)
Ebrahim Khan
(d. 1738)
Nader Shah
(r. 1736–1747)1
Adil Shah
(r. 1747–1748)2
Ebrahim Afshar
(r. 1748)3
Reza Qoli Mirza
(b. 1719 – d.1747)
Shahrokh Afshar
(r. 1748–1796)4
Nader Mirza
(d. 1803)

See also


  1. ^ Katouzian, Homa (2003). Iranian History and Politics. Routledge. p. 128. ISBN 0-415-29754-0. Indeed, since the formation of the Ghaznavids state in the tenth century until the fall of Qajars at the beginning of the twentieth century, most parts of the Iranian cultural regions were ruled by Turkic-speaking dynasties most of the time. At the same time, the official language was Persian, the court literature was in Persian, and most of the chancellors, ministers, and mandarins were Persian speakers of the highest learning and ability.
  2. ^ "HISTORIOGRAPHY vii. AFSHARID AND ZAND PERIODS – Encyclopaedia Iranica". Afsharid and Zand court histories largely followed Safavid models in their structure and language, but departed from long-established historiographical conventions in small but meaningful ways.
  3. ^ Axworthy, Michael (2006). The Sword of Persia. I.B. Tauris. pp. 157, 279. ISBN 1-84511-982-7.
  4. ^ Aliasghar Shamim, Iran during the Qajar Reign, Tehran: Scientific Publications, 1992, p. 287
  5. ^ Sword of Persia: Nader Shah, from Tribal Warrior to Conquering Tyrant : "NADER SHAH, ruler of Persia from 1736 to 1747, embodied ruthless ambition, energy, military billiance, cynicism and cruelty"
  6. ^ Michael Axworthy's biography of Nader, The Sword of Persia (I.B. Tauris, 2006), pp. 17–19: "His father was of lowly but respectable status, a herdsman of the Afshar tribe ... The Qereqlu Afshars to whom Nader's father belonged were a semi-nomadic Turcoman tribe settled in Khorasan in north-eastern Iran ... The tribes of Khorasan were for the most part ethnically distinct from the Persian-speaking population, speaking Turkic or Kurdish languages. Nader's mother tongue was a dialect of the language group spoken by the Turkic tribes of Iran and Central Asia, and he would have quickly learned Persian, the language of high culture and the cities as he grew older. But the Turkic language was always his preferred everyday speech, unless he was dealing with someone who knew only Persian."
  7. ^ Cambridge History of Iran Volume 7, pp. 2–4
  8. ^ Encyclopedia Iranica : "Born in November 1688 into a humble pastoral family, then at its winter camp in Darra Gaz in the mountains north of Mashad, Nāder belonged to a group of the Qirqlu branch of the Afšār Turkmen."
  9. ^ Encyclopedia Iranica
  10. ^ Martin, Samuel Elmo (1997). Uralic And Altaic Series. Routledge. p. 47. ISBN 0-7007-0380-2.
  11. ^ Michael Axworthy Iran: Empire of the Mind (Penguin, 2008) pp.153–156
  12. ^ "Russia at War: From the Mongol Conquest to Afghanistan, Chechnya, and Beyond ..." Retrieved 25 December 2014.
  13. ^ Tucker, Ernest (2006). "Nāder Shah". Encyclopædia Iranica Online. Retrieved 5 January 2014.
  14. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-03-06. Retrieved 2015-06-20.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  15. ^ Axworthy pp. 57–74
  16. ^ Axworthy pp. 75–116
  17. ^ a b c Encyclopædia Iranica
  18. ^ Elton L. Daniel, "The History of Iran" (Greenwood Press 2000) p. 94
  19. ^ Lawrence Lockhart Nadir Shah (London, 1938)
  20. ^ a b c d e Fisher et al. 1991, pp. 34.
  21. ^ Fisher et al. 1991, pp. 36.
  22. ^ Fisher et al. 1991, pp. 35.
  23. ^ This section: Axworthy pp.137-174
  24. ^ Fisher et al. 1991, pp. 34-36.
  25. ^ Raghunath Rai. "History". p. 19 FK Publications ISBN 8187139692
  26. ^ David Marshall Lang. Russia and the Armenians of Transcaucasia, 1797-1889: a documentary record Columbia University Press, 1957 (digitalised March 2009, originally from the University of Michigan) p 142
  27. ^ "An Outline of the History of Persia During the Last Two Centuries (A.D. 1722-1922)". Edward G. Browne. London: Packard Humanities Institute. p. 33. Retrieved 2010-09-24.
  28. ^ Axworthy p. 8
  29. ^ Axworthy, Michael (2010). Sword of Persia: Nader Shah, from Tribal Warrior to Conquering Tyrant. I.B. Tauris. pp. 212, 216. ISBN 978-0857733474.
  30. ^ This section: Axworthy pp.1–16, 175–210
  31. ^ The Sword of Persia: Nader Shah, from Tribal Warrior to Conquering Tyrant. Retrieved 8 March 2015.
  32. ^ svat soucek, a history of inner asia page 195: in 1740 Nadir Shah, the new ruler of Iran, crossed the Amu Darya and, accepting the submission of Muhammad Hakim Bi which was then formalized by the acquiescence of Abulfayz Khan himself, proceeded to attack Khiva. When rebellions broke out in 1743 upon the death of Muhammad Hakim, the shah dispatched the ataliq's son Muhammad Rahim Bi, who had accompanied him to Iran, to quell them. Mohammad hakim bi was ruler of the khanate of bukhara at that time. Page link: "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-06-10. Retrieved 2015-07-16.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  33. ^ Spencer C. Tucker. "A Global Chronology of Conflict: From the Ancient World to the Modern Middle East: From the Ancient World to the Modern Middle East" p 739
  34. ^ This section: Axworthy pp. 175–274
  35. ^ Axworthy p.34
  36. ^ Mattair, Thomas R. (2008). Global security watch--Iran: a reference handbook. ABC-CLIO. p. 3. ISBN 9780275994839. Retrieved 2010-09-24.
  37. ^ "The Army of Nader Shah" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 17 December 2014.
  38. ^ Steven R. Ward. Immortal, Updated Edition: A Military History of Iran and Its Armed Forces Georgetown University Press, 8 jan. 2014 p 52
  39. ^ a b Axworthy p.168
  40. ^ Perry, Jonothan R. Karim Khan Zand. N.p.: Oneworld, 2006. Ebook, retrieved July 6, 2016. ISBN 1851684352
  41. ^ Cambridge History p.59
  42. ^ Ronald Grigor Suny. "The Making of the Georgian Nation" Indiana University Press, 1994. ISBN 978-0253209153 p 55
  43. ^ Yar-Shater, Ehsan. Encyclopaedia Iranica, Vol. 8, parts 4-6 Routledge & Kegan Paul (original from the University of Michigan) p 541
  44. ^ Fisher et al. 1991, p. 328.
  45. ^ a b Timothy C. Dowling Russia at War: From the Mongol Conquest to Afghanistan, Chechnya, and Beyond p 728-729 ABC-CLIO, 2 dec. 2014 ISBN 1598849484
  46. ^ Encyclopedia of Soviet law By Ferdinand Joseph Maria Feldbrugge, Gerard Pieter van den Berg, William B. Simons, Page 457
  47. ^ Cambridge History pp.60–62


External links

Adel Shah

Adel Shah Afshar (also spelled Adil), born ʿAlī-qolī Khan (Modern Persian: عادل شاه افشار) (died 1749) was the Afsharid Shah of Iran from 1747 to 1748, a nephew and successor of Nader Shah, the founder of the Afsharid dynasty.

Armenian Mesopotamia

Armenian Mesopotamia was a region in Northern Mesopotamia that was inhabited partly by Armenians, Tigranes the Great seized Northern Mesopotamia, and from 401 BC, to 387 AD was part of Kingdom of Armenia. Later it became part of Sassanid Empire, Arab Caliphate, Buyids, County of Edessa, Timurids, Kara Koyunlu, Ak Koyunlu, and the Safavids. Then, following the 1639 Treaty of Zuhab, it became part of the Ottoman Empire (although briefly taken by Nader Shah of the Iranian Afsharid dynasty) and Turkey. Armenian population remained until 1915's Armenian Genocide.

Battle of Herat (1729)

After the succession of setbacks the Abdalis of Herat had faced in the campaign Allahyar Khan decided to sully out for a last engagement to decide the issue. Unfortunately yet again the charge of the Afghan horsemen was broken up by the disciplined fire of the Persian line musketeers and flank attacks by the supporting Persian cavalry. Allahyar Khan was left no choice but to withdraw his battered army behind the walls of Herat in the hopes of withstanding the coming siege. An intense bombardment of the city ensued with heavy cannon and mortars battering the city's defences. After consulting with his advisers Allahyar Khan was convinced of the futility of further resistance. Peace terms were offered and the Abdalis agreed to sear fealty to Tahmasp II as the rightful ruler of Persia and Herat. Thus the Abdalis were brought under Persian suzerainty.

Battle of Kafer Qal'eh

The Battle of Kafer Qal'eh was a series of clashes which decided the outcome to the Herat Campaign. In its culminating stage the battle bears some resemblances to the battle of Sangan although it was both preceded and succeeded by numerous other minor skirmishes and engagements.

Battle of Kars (1745)

The Battle of Kars (August 19, 1745) was the last major engagement of the Ottoman-Persian War. The battle resulted in the complete and utter destruction of the Ottoman army. It was also the last of the great military triumphs of Nader Shah. The battle was in fact fought over a period of ten days in which the first day saw the Ottomans routed from the field, followed by a series of subsequent blockades and pursuits until the final destruction of the Ottoman army. The severity of the defeat, in conjunction with the debacle near Mosul, ended any hopes Istanbul had entertained for a military victory in the war and forced them to enter negotiations with a significantly weaker position than they would otherwise have occupied.

Battle of Khyber Pass

The battle of Khyber Pass (or Kheibar Pass) was an engagement fought in the mid-eighteenth century between the Persian empire of Nader Shah and the Mughal vassal state of Peshawar. The result was an overwhelming victory for the Persians opening up the path ahead to invade the crown-lands of the Mughal empire of Muhammad Shah.

Division of the Afsharid Empire

After Nader Shah was assassinated in 1747, his nephew Ali Qoli (who may have been involved in the assassination plot) seized the throne and proclaimed himself Adil Shah (meaning: The Just King). He ordered the execution of all Nader's sons and grandsons, with the exception of the 13-year-old Shahrokh, the son of Reza Qoli. Meanwhile, Nader's former treasurer, Ahmad Shah Abdali, had declared his independence by founding the Durrani Empire. In the process, the eastern territories were lost and in the following decades became part of Afghanistan, the successor-state to the Durrani Empire. The Ottomans regained lost territories in Eastern Anatolia and Mesopotamia. The northern territories, Iran's most integral regions, had a different fate. Erekle II and Teimuraz II, who, in 1744, had been made the kings of Kakheti and Kartli respectively by Nader himself for their loyal service, capitalized on the eruption of instability, and declared de facto independence. Erekle II assumed control over Kartli after Teimuraz II's death, thus unifying the two as the Kingdom of Kartli-Kakheti, becoming the first Georgian ruler in three centuries to preside over a politically unified eastern Georgia. Due to the frantic turn of events in mainland Iran he would be able to remain de facto autonomous through the Zand period. Under the successive Qajar dynasty, Iran managed to restore Iranian suzerainty over the Georgian regions, until they would be irrevocably lost in the course of the 19th century, to neighbouring Imperial Russia. Meanwhile, Azad Khan Afghan (who was a member of Nader Shah's army and participated in the Indian campaign) managed to take control over the land between the Aras river, and the Urmia Lake by 1750. Azad Khan would later go on to capture Isfahan and occupy Shiraz, before losing all his territories by 1758 to Karim Khan. Meanwhile, the Absheron Peninsula and surrounding territories, were under the control of the Khanate of Baku, while the Avar Khanate took control over modern day Dagestan. Alongside eastern Georgia, these territories would all be re-incorporated into Iran but eventually permanently and irrevocably lost as well in the course of the 19th century, through the two Russo-Persian Wars of the century, to neighbouring Imperial Russia. Lastly, Oman and the Uzbek khanates of Bukhara and Khiva regained independence.

The Afsharid dynasty would continue to live on in parts of Khorasan with Mashhad as the capital. When the Zand empire expanded rapidly, Karim khan allowed the Afsharids to continue rule in Khorasan, showing his respect for Nader Shah. It was eventually dissolved upon the Qajars ascension to the throne.

Emanuel Bowen

Emanuel Bowen (1694?–1767) was an English map engraver, who worked for George II of England and Louis XV of France as a geographer.

List of wars involving Iran

The following is an historical overview of the list of wars and conflicts involving Iran (Persia). This list is far from complete.

Military of the Afsharid dynasty of Persia

The military forces of the Afsharid dynasty of Persia had their origins in the relatively obscure yet bloody inter-factional violence in Khorasan during the collapse of the Safavid state. The small band of warriors under local warlord Nader Qoli of the Turkomen Afshar tribe in north-east Iran were no more than a few hundred men. Yet at the height of Nader's power as the king of kings, Shahanshah, he commanded an army of 375,000 fighting men which constituted the single most powerful military force of its time, led by one of the most talented and successful military leaders of history.After the assassination of Nader Shah at the hands of a faction of his officers in 1747, Nader's powerful army fractured as the Afsharid state collapsed and the country plunged into decades of civil war. Although there were numerous Afsharid pretenders to the throne, (amongst many other), who attempted to regain control of the entire country, Persia remained a fractured political entity in turmoil until the campaigns of Agha Mohammad Khan Qajar in towards the very end of the eighteenth century reunified the nation.

Mohammad Khan Baluch's Rebellion

In the aftermath of Nader's crippling defeat and expulsion from Ottoman Baghdad the commander who was put in charge of the 12,000 soldiers to maintain the siege of the city, Mohammad Khan Baluch, fled from Mesopotamia and returned to southern Persia where taking advantage of Nader's shattered prestige due to his ignominious defeat at the hands of Topal Pasha at Samarra, Mohammad Khan raised the banner of rebellion in the south of the country.

Nader Guli sent the Shirazian vali to Megasets to suppress the Baloch uprising. He went there, but himself rebelled against Nader Guli and even collected troops for a campaign on Isfahan. Mohammad Khan Baluch went to the Bender area to recruit soldiers, and interrupted a number of residents who did not want to join him. Those who agreed to serve with him, Mohammad Khan Baluch took to his army and went to Shiraz, where he began to prepare for the campaign on Isfahan.

Moḥammad Taqi Khan Shirazi's Rebellion

Nāder's loss of prestige in the Dagestan campaign and his ongoing war with the Ottomans caused several domestic rebellions. The most serious of these began near Shiraz in January 1744 and was led by Moḥammad Taqi Khan Shirazi, the commander of Fārs province and one of Nāder’s favorites. In June 1744, Nāder sacked Shiraz, and by winter he had crushed these revolts with extreme force.

Nader's Sindh Expedition

The Sindh Expedition was one of Nader Shah's last campaigns during his war in northern India. After his victory over Muhammad Shah, the Mughal Emperor, Nader had compelled him to cede all the lands to the west of the Indus river. His return to this region from Delhi was honoured by all the governors of the newly annexed territories save for Khodayar-khan, ruler of Sindh, who was conspicuously absent despite being given a summons like the rest of the governors.

Sabzevar expedition

The Sabzevar expedition was a politically decisive event in Nader's career where he in effect turned from mere commander-in-chief of Tahmasp's forces into the real power behind the throne (although technically this still was a government in exile as the Gilzai Afghans were in control of Isfahan). The expedition was launched mainly due to Tahmasp's own incompetence and ill-thought attempt at curbing the powers of his upstart general and military genius.

Shahrokh Shah

Shahrokh Mirza Afshar, better known by his dynastic name of Shahrokh Shah (Persian: شاهرخ‎: also spelled Shah Rokh) (c. 1734–1796), was a king of the Afsharid dynasty and a contemporary of the Zand kings.

Siege of Kandahar

The April 1737 siege of Kandahar began when Nader Shah's Afsharid army invaded southern Afghanistan to topple the last Hotaki stronghold of Loy Kandahar, which was held by Hussain Hotaki. It took place in the Old Kandahar area of the modern city of Kandahar in Afghanistan and lasted until March 24, 1738, when the Hotaki Afghans were defeated by the Persian army.

Siege of Mosul (1743)

The Siege of Mosul (1743) was the siege of the Ottoman-held city of Mosul in northern Mesopotamia by Nader Shah's army during the Persian invasion of the Ottoman Empire in 1743.

Treaty of Constantinople (1736)

Treaty of Constantinople was a treaty between Ottoman Empire and Afsharid Persia signed on 24 September 1736, ending the Afsharid–Ottoman War (1730–35).

Treaty of Kerden

Treaty of Kerden (Turkish: Kerden Antlaşması, Persian:عهدنامه گردان) was signed between Ottoman Empire and Afsharid Iran on 4 September 1746. It concluded the Ottoman-Persian War of 1743-1746.

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