31 October 1925: Ending of the Qajar Dynasty

Saturday, November 1, 2014


Ahmad Shāh Qajar was Shah of Persia from 16 July 1909, to 31 October 1925, and the last ruling member of the Qajar dynasty.


Ahmad Shah Qajar


The Shah ascended to the Sun Throne on 16 July 1909, following the overthrow of his father and predecessor, Mohammad Ali Shah, who had attempted to reverse earlier constitutional restrictions on royal power, and thus enraged the majority of Persians.



Due to his young age, a regent, his uncle Azud al-Mulk, took charge of his affairs. However, his lavish lifestyle did not gain him any favors with the Persian people. Ahmad Shah inherited a kingdom in turmoil, and a constituency frustrated with British and Russian imperialism and the absolute rule of his father.


Ahmad Shah and His Father, Mohammad Ali Shah


Ahmad Shah attempted to fix the damage done by his father by appointing the best ministers he could find. He was, however, an ineffective ruler who was faced with internal unrest and foreign intrusions, particularly by the British and Russian Empires.


Ahmad Shah in London


Russian and British troops fought against the Ottoman forces in Persia during World War I. The War led to outcries across the country because the people of Persia were not happy that they were being used as a battleground. Thus, leading to local movement across the country that tried to challenge the power of Ahmad Shah Qajar and his government.



In 1917, Britain used Persia as the springboard for an attack into Russia in an unsuccessful attempt to reverse the Russian Revolution of 1917. The newly born Soviet Union responded by annexing portions of northern Persia as buffer states much like its Tsarist predecessor. Marching on Tehran, the Soviets extracted ever more humiliating concessions from the Qajar government – whose ministers Ahmad Shah was often unable to control. By 1920, the government had virtually lost all power outside its capital and Ahmad Shah had lost control of the situation. The Anglo-Persian Agreement, along with new political parties, furthermore immobilized the country.


Ahmad Shah and Reza Khan


On 21 February 1921, Ahmad Shah was pushed aside in a military coup by his Minister of War and commander of the Cossack garrison, Colonel Reza Khan, who subsequently seized the post of Prime Minister. During the coup, Reza Khan used three thousand men and only eighteen machine guns, a very bloodless coup that moved forward quickly.


Admiral Sir Herbert Heath and the Shah of Persia, London 1919



Stripped of all his remaining powers, Ahmad Shah went into exile with his family in 1923. Ahmad Shah's apparent lack of interest in attending to the affairs of the state and poor health had prompted him to leave Persia on this extended “European Tour.” He was formally deposed on 31 October 1925, when Reza Khan was proclaimed Shah by the Founders Assembly, taking the title Reza Shah Pahlavi. Reza Shah and the Majles thus terminated the Qajar Dynasty and established the Pahlavi Dynasty.


Ahmad Shah and Reza Khan


The coup of 1921 rendered Ahmad Shah politically weaker and less relevant. In 1923, Ahmad Shah left Persia for Europe for health reasons. Later, the formal termination of the Qajar Dynasty by the Majles, turned Ahmad Shah's 1923 European tour into exile.


Ahmad Shah in Exile, Paris

*Photo Credit:  Fararu, Wikipedia

طراحی و توسعه آگاه‌سیستم