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Last Persian Emperor
Aqa Mohammad Shah QajarChapter 3


Last Persian Emperor: Aqa Mohammad Shah Qajar
Historically Condemned or Historical Hero?
Psychological Thriller Deep in the Psyche of Aqa Mohammad Shah!
Pictorial History of Aqa Mohammad Shah Qajar in 4 Chapters
Aqa Mohammad Shah, The Real Story: Chapter 3

Ahreeman X
February 22, 2019

Aqa Mohammad Shah Qajar Self-Coronation at the Muqan Plain, Azerbaijan, Persian Empire
The Final Persian Emperor (1794 – 1797) of the Persian Colonial Empire
Fuad Poladov powerful theatric play as Aqa Mohammad Shah Qajar
Shah Qajar Play, Baku, Azerbaijan


After the conquest of Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Caucasia, Aqa Khan who was very nostalgic and patriotic, proclaimed himself as the Shahanshah (emperor) of the “Persian Colonial Empire”. He conducted this event in Muqan Plain where Nader Shah the Great of Afshar had done 60 years earlier. Aqa Khan admired great conquerors.

Aqa Mohammad Shah Qajar Lion and Sun Dark Persian Imperial Court Emblem
Various Dark Banners and Insignias were often used during the national mourning events or during the dark and intense political relations or near war situations with a foreign adversary power. They were often sign of sorrow or anger.

The Coronation event in Muqan was performed with a great number of state administrators, National governors and military commanders present. Unlike the false stories told during the Pahlavi Imperial Regime and the IRI Islamist Regime, Aqa Khan was not living a life of luxury; therefore, his crowning was also not luxurious. The only reason that he gained wealth, jewels and property was for the good of the empire, imperial regime and Qajar Dynasty or else he was a simple man. He was always on the move, conducting campaigns and wars. He had no time for a life of luxury.

Aqa Mohammad Shah Qajar Mobile Golden Throne with Lion Arms and Gold Enamel Carvings. This Throne was Carried from one battlefield to another where Aqa Khan was conducting wars and leading the troops. He used it in between campaigns to rest his aching bones.
Many mainstream historians falsely reported that various famous large size and fancy Persian Thrones were built by his order; however, he did not order to build any large luxurious Persian Throne, simply because unlike other false reports, he was not a man of luxury. On the contrary to historians’ biased narrative, he was not a materialistic man but he was a simple man. All the treasures captured in wars was to make the Persian Empire wealthier and the economy greater. The treasures were not for his personal usage. Even though he was the Khan of Qajar and Emperor of the Persian Colonial Empire, he lived a simple life. Frankly he was always running around from corner of the empire to another whether defending the empire or expanding the empire; therefore, he had no time for a life of luxury. All the stories of Aqa Khan throwing jewels up in the air over his head and rolling on jewelry are mainstream historians’ lies. When they hate someone with a passion, then they make up grand lies to assassinate his character. That is what the so-called traditional historians do!

Muqan is a plain (Dasht-e Moqan) and a county of the Iranian Azerbaijan on the west bank of the Caspian Sea and south bank of the Aras River.

Aqa Mohammad Shah Qajar self-crowned himself and stated:

“I worked hard for everything which I have achieved including this crown, so I do not need anyone to crown me and grant me this crown (traditional crowning via clerics or generals). I awaited all of my youth in incarceration (Zand Imprisonment) for this moment. I earned this crown with much suffering, warfare and bloodshed, so no one is worthier to crown me than I.”
(Aqa Mohammad Shah Qajar)

Aqa Khani Throne
Lions of the Aqa Mohammad Shah Qajar Mobile Golden Throne with Lion Arms and Gold Enamel Carvings. This Throne was Carried from one battlefield to another where Aqa Khan was conducting wars and leading the troops. He used it in between campaigns to rest his aching bones.

Conquest of Khorasan

The same as the descendants of Karim Khan Zand, the descendants of Nader Shah Afshar were not worthy; therefore, they declined and reduced to local rulers. After Nader Shah’s death, despite the events in Iran, Khorasan had remained under the Afsharid local rule. The local warlords and tribal chieftains were securing Khorasan and receiving tax shares from Mashhad (Khorasan Capital). Shahrokh the Blind was ruling Khorasan but technically it was Nader Mirza Afshar his son who ran Khorasan. After coronation (1796), Aqa Khan with a massive army moved towards Khorasan. The province of Khorasan was the largest province of Iran and it was still under Afshar. Aqa Khan still remembered his castration as a child by Adel Shah Afshar. It was time for Aqa Mohammad Shah Qajar to set the records straight and return the favor to the Afshar Dynasty. Even though Aqa Khan had the highest respect for Nader Shah (unlike Karim Khan Zand whom he had no respect for), yet still he could not forget and forgive this sin!

Aqa Khani Throne
Back View of the Aqa Mohammad Shah Qajar Mobile Golden Throne with Lion Arms and Gold Enamel Carvings.

As soon as Aqa Khan started charging towards Mashhad, Nader Mirza ran away to Afghanistan and abandoned his blind father Shahrokh. Nader Mirza was perfectly aware of Aqa Khan’s brutal revenges.

On the way to Khorasan, Aqa Khan stopped at Turkmenistan and once more punished the Turkmens for raiding Astarabad (Gorgan) which was a major Persian city. If there was any doubt that the Turkmens had forgotten Aqa Khan’s punishment styles, he made sure that a great number of the raiders and bandits were gathered, beheaded and the beheaded heads were not even become parts in building minarets but they were punctured each on top of a spear and all of these spears with head tops were pushed in the ground and lined up in front of the Astarabad city gate, facing outward towards the desert for the public to view from the back and for the visitors and travelers to view from the front! Aqa Khan appointed guards to not allow the people to bring down the heads or spears for weeks until they were rotten and the stench filled up the air. Aqa Khan then secured Astarabad and moved on towards Mashhad.

Aqa Khani Throne
Simple Throne for a Simple Man
Seat View of the Aqa Mohammad Shah Qajar Mobile Golden Throne with Lion Arms and Gold Enamel Carvings.

On his way to Mashhad, every local Khorasani Warlord surrendered his forces to him and brought him gifts. Aqa Mohammad Khan conquered the complete Khorasan without much bloodshed. Aqa Khan being a religious person, could not damage Mashhad so instead, in tradition of Shah Abbas the Great of Safavid walked in to the gates of Mashhad on foot. He made it a pilgrimage to Mashhad and the Shrine of Imam Reza. He kneeled and kissed the ground of Mashhad at the gate and again at the entrance of the Shrine. Mashhad is one of the most important Shiite Shrines in the Islamic World (after Najaf, Karbala and Samara). Aqa Mohammad Shah become a Mashhadi AKA Mashti (Pilgrim to Mashhad) while his pilgrimage lasted 3 weeks! For Aqa Khan to set 3 weeks of his time without running around Iran conducting campaigns and wars was a record!

Aqa Mohammad Shah Qajar Crown Replica, handmade enameled copper made in Esfahan and displayed at the Golestan Palace his residence in Tehran, Iran

Shahrokh surrendered all of his Naderi Jewels and Treasures from Nader Shah’s Campaigns to Aqa Khan, still Aqa Khan spread paste on his head and dropped hot melted lead on his head. Aqa Khan tortured Shahrokh for weeks until he handed over all the hidden treasures of Nader Shah, then he sent Shahrokh and his court to Mazandaran but due to much torture, on his way to Mazandaran (at Damqan, Semnan) he passed away.

Aqa Mohammad Shah Qajar Crown Replica, of Classical Theatre Actor Huseyn Arablinski from 1900s displayed at the Azerbaijan State Theatre Museum, Baku, Azerbaijan

Aqa Mohammad Shah Qajar Crown Replica, of Classical Theatre Actor Fuad Poladov, Azerbaijan State Theatre, Baku, Azerbaijan

Once capturing the Khorasan, Aqa Khan directed his attention towards Uzbeks at Bokhara. Aqa Khan sent a messenger to the Amir of Bokhara to release the Persian prisoners held in Bokhara. Aqa Khan encouraged Amir of Kabul (Afghanistan) to combinedly raid the Uzbeks at Bokhara (North East of the Persian Empire). Zaman Khan, Amir of Kabul accepted Aqa Khan’s offer for the combine attack, he even gave the complete city of Balkh in present Afghanistan (north east of the Persian Empire) as a gift to Aqa Khan! Zaman Khan accepted to become an autonomous protectorate of the Persian Empire as long as Aqa Khan would leave Kabul alone! Aqa Khan did not find time to complete his Bukhara Campaign deep into Uzbekistan because Russians started yet another shenanigan in Caucasia!

Aqa Mohammad Shah Qajar Crown, the Real McCoy and the Actual Crown’s Detailed Graphic Design Sketch, Iran

Fourth Conflict with Catherine the Great

Second Caucasian Campaign of Aqa Khan was unavoidable. Catherine II has never forgotten the disaster of Georgia. Her plan was to topple Aqa Mohammad Shah and replace him with his half-brother Morteza Qoli Khan who refuged to her court. Morteza Qoli Khan for years was awaiting for this moment.

Persian Peacock Throne
After the Indian Campaign victory, annexation of various Indian states and joining them to the Persian Colonial Empire as provinces of Iran; along with other jewels, Nader Shah the Great (1736 – 1747) brought this throne from India as a war booty, used it a while and then gave it as a gift to Sultan Mahmud I (1730 – 1754) the Ottoman Sultan. After years of war, this was an act of good faith for better relations between the Persian Colonial Empire and the Ottoman Empire. Presently the throne is at the Topkapi Palace, Istanbul, Turkey.

Russo-Persian War of Caucasia 1796

The original plan was for General Ivan Gudovich to lead the invasion of Persia. Zubov Family of Russia were powerful Russian Aristocracy. Prince Platon Alexandrovich Zubov was a powerful man in Imperial Russia. Prince Zubov was also the last lover of the Russian Empress. Prince Zubov convinced the Empress to grant the Persian Expedition to his young brother, Count Valerian Alexandrovich Zubov. So eventually the young General Zubov become in charge of the Persian Campaign.  

Persian Sun Peacock Throne
Fath Ali Shah Qajar (1797 - 1834) built this throne in tradition of the original Peacock Throne. It has a disk on top of the seat area. Presently this throne is at the Golestan Palace, Tehran, Iran.

This throne is for the Persian Style Floor Sitting Positions such as:
Long Sitting, Cross Legged Sitting, Side Saddle Sitting, Side Sitting, Kneel Sitting, W Sitting, V Sitting, Frog Sitting, Tuck Sitting and One Knee Up Sitting
You can also sit on it in the chair sitting position if you sit in the front with your legs on the step.

Persian Marble Throne
Fath Ali Shah Qajar (1797 - 1834) built this throne for the front porch of the Golestan Palace. Presently this throne is at the Golestan Palace, Tehran, Iran.

On 1796, General Zubov with 45,000 fresh Russian troops moved towards Georgia and the Persian Empire boundaries. General Zubov seized the Darband Fortress in Daqestan and Baku in summer. The Russians faced not much resistance because the local governors in Azerbaijan had no ambition to put up a resistance! After taking over Shamakhi and Ganjeh, the Russian troops stationed on the banks of Kura River and Aras River and awaited the orders for invasion of Armenia and Georgia. General Zubov’s commanders were debating to invade the mainland Iran or invade Armenia and Georgia next.

Persian Naderi Peacock Throne
Fath Ali Shah Qajar (1797 - 1834) built this throne in the chair sitting form as a chair throne for the Golestan Palace. Marble Throne and Sun Peacock Throne are in the long sitting, cross legged sitting and other floor sitting forms (Persian Style). That is why he added the third one in the chair sitting form. Presently this throne is at the Golestan Palace, Tehran, Iran.

Once the news of the Russian aggression and expedition of Azerbaijan, also the future plans to invade Georgia reached Aqa Mohammad Khan, he had no choice but to abandon plans to invade Bukhara and Uzbekistan in the east. Aqa Khan rushed to Azerbaijan in the west to defend the Persian Empire. He was determined to this time, for once and for all take care of Catherine’s ambitions to invade Iran. As he was moving cavalry from Uzbekistan on the east of Caspian Sea to Azerbaijan at the west of Caspian Sea, he was sending messengers along the way to various cities, so they could send more reserve troops to add to his already massive army. Every city they moved to, they gained more men. His army was consisting of:

Cavalry Units
(Due to logistics ease, these units were mobile and could move around the empire)

* Savare Nezam-e Div Sar (Devil Heads Cavalry Special Forces)
[They were referred to as Devil Heads because they wore double horned helmets.]

* Savare Nezam-e Tofangchi (Musketeers Rifle Shooter Cavalry)

* Savare Nezam-e Lashkari (Main Cavalry)

* Savare Nezam-e Mahali (Local Militia Cavalry)
[These units were irregular cavalry as backups.]

* Savare Nezam-e Zanburakchi (Camel Back Mobile Light Artillery)
[These units unlike the other units were riding camels instead of horses, so they could position their light cannons on camel backs. Camels are strong enough to carry light cannons. Then soldiers would put these cannons on their portable bases on the ground to fire or on camels’ backs to fire.]

Other Units
(Due to logistics difficulties, these units were often local and joined the cavalry units at the battlegrounds)

* Piyade Nezam (Infantry)

* Tupchi (Heavy Artillery)

* Zakhire (Auxiliary)
[These units were strictly to provide supplies, support and backup aid]

Pictorial History of Iranian Military Uniforms – Chapter 20: Qajar Uniforms

Pictorial History of Iranian Flags – Chapter 3: Qajar Imperial Flags

Atlas of Iran Maps – Chapter 10: Qajar Maps

8000 Years of Iranian History: Chapter 3

If this battle would have occurred, it would have been mother of all battles. It would be Qajar Dynasty versus Romanov Dynasty to the death!

Div Sar (Devil Head) Cavalryman Armors and Accessories
Left to Right weapons:
* Tabarzin (Spiked Round Axe)
* Shamshir (Straight Persian Sword)
* Khanjar (Dagger and Scabbard)
* Qameh (Curved Dagger)
Top to Bottom Armors:
* Div Sar Kolahkhud (Devil Head Helmet)
* Zereh (Chainmail Armor) with integrated Zereh Daman (Skirt Chainmail Armor)
* Chahar Ayeneh [Four Mirrors Square Armor consisting of four armor plates: Sineh Band (Front Plate), Posht Band (Back Plate) plus two Baqal Bands (Side Plates) all flexible but connected to one another]
* Zereh Shalvar va Joshan (Chainmail and Plates Armored Pants with Spiked Knee Pads)
* Separ (Shield)
* Bazu Bands (Armored Armguards)

Suddenly Catherine passed away and Paul I took over. The new Tsar had other priorities and plans. Militaristically, the last thing that he needed was a long conflict with the Persian Empire and interference in the internal Persian affairs. Tsar Paul I openly disagreed with Zubovs to invade the Persian Empire and he saw this as a death trap and waste of Russian lives. Paul I was perfectly aware of Aqa Khan’s determination to keep Caucasia for Iran and he was aware that Aqa Khan is an Ultra Nationalist Brutal Warrior. He heard stories of Aqa Khan bloods baths; therefore, he had no desire to waste more Russian lives in an endless war. Paul recalled the troops and ordered retreat back to Russia. The Great Russian Army was on the run back to Russia.

Zubov Brothers and their commanders have never forgotten this order. They worked hard for this expedition and they have never forgiven Paul for this disgraceful retreat. 5 years later, they participated in the conspiracy to murder Paul. Zubovs were primary figures in Paul’s assassination.

Qajar Persian Imperial Cavalry Divsar Devil Head Armor 18 Century

Qajar Persian Imperial Cavalry Weapons 18 Century

The reality is that Paul was correct. Russia had other priorities and other battles elsewhere to conduct. These Persian campaigns were cost worthy, life worthy and exhausting. They were unnecessary adventures in Paul’s mind. Of course, Caucasus was a great trophy but with someone like Aqa Mohammad Khan as a rival, this conflict would never end and it would drag on to become a death trap for the Russian troops. Paul had made the right decision.

With Russian troops on the run retreating back to Russia, Aqa Khan seized moving to Georgia and instead he decided to secure Azerbaijan and punish those who did not put up a resistance to Russians. Aqa Khan attacked and sacked the Shusha Fortress and entered Shusha. Victory of Shusha was his final victory.

Qajar Persian Imperial Cavalry Spiked Helmet with Chainmail 18 Century

Qajar Persian Imperial Cavalry Shield, Late 18 Century – Early 19 Century

Aqa Mohammad Shah Qajar’s Assassination

The same as much garbage which has been written about Aqa Mohammad Khan, the story of his assassination is also fictional. The false narrative is that Aqa Khan loved the chicken drumsticks and he saved one and told the servants to not touch it and leave it for him to eat the next day. The servants ate the drumstick and Aqa Khan got mad and ordered to kill them, but they took opportunity and killed Aqa Khan first!

Imagine the debt of the lies portraying the Persian Emperor as a cheap thug who ordered execution of his servants over a chicken leg!

Qajar Persian Khanjar Dagger: Steel, Inlayed Gold Enamel and Scabbard 18 Century

The Ture Story of Assassination

Aqa Mohammad Khan hated lies. 3 Servants were stealing from the troop’s resources and funds. Two of them were caught and one did not but he was their connection to escape arrest. The troops naturally were depended on their resources. Aqa Khan brought these two and told them that how he hates thieves but most of all he hates lies. They still denied their theft and corruption. Because they were long time servants in his court, he gave them a second chance. He truly did not want to execute them but he wanted them to redeem themselves by confession and begging for forgiveness. Aqa Khan just wanted to teach them a lesson to be honest servants. So as long as the event occurred on Friday and Friday is the prayer day, then Aqa Khan had mercy on their souls and he told them that sleep over it until Saturday and on Saturday they will be questioned again and if not redeemed, then they will be executed.

Qajar Persian Khanjar Dagger: Steel, Gold Enamel, 18 Century
Metropolitan Museum of Art

These two lowly servants were aware of Aqa Khan’s brutality and their guilt. They knew that Aqa Khan does not forgive and forget. Even though a court butler told them that this is their 2nd chance for redemption and Aqa Khan will question them again on Saturday, so they better redeem themselves, yet they truly believed that they would be executed on Saturday.

Qajar Persian Khanjar Dagger Handle: Carved Steel, Gold Enamel, 18 Century
Metropolitan Museum of Art

Two servants took the upper hand and the third one helped them escape the tent arrest and that night they rushed Aqa Khan’s Royal Tent and with daggers back stabbed their benevolent master! It is amazing that the Persian Emperor in this incident, actually had mercy on some servants and challenged them to redeem themselves rather than instantly behead them; however, these foolish servants were scared straight and instead of seeking redemption, they assassinated their master!

After Aqa Mohammad Shah Qajar, his nephew Fath Ali Khan (Baba Khan) as his earl, was crowned as the new Persian Shah.

Qajar Persian Imperial Officers’ Qameh Dagger and Scabbard

Qajar Royal Administration

Haji Ebrahim Khan Kalantar Shirazi had become Aqa Mohammad Shah’s Grand Vazir (Prime Minister) and served him well. Haji Ebrahim Kalantar was a wise Vazir and as long as Aqa Khan was always on the run and on the horse personally leading the armies and conducting military campaigns, battles and wars all over Iran, then to have a wise Vazir to run the administration was essential; therefore, Haji Ebrahim Kalantar was the perfect person for this position. Haji Ebrahim Kalantar helped Qajars to gain power and rule Iran. Haji Ebrahim Kalantar was a great administrator and organizer. Haji Ebrahim had a group of devoted people as his cabinet who well organized Iran with him. He served Iran well.

Qajar Persian Golden Axe, Iran

Central Government

Unlike the Pre-Islamic Iran who was a primitive form of a Federal System of Government, the Qajar system same as other Post Islamic Persian Empires, was a Central System. Even though a central system, yet Aqa Khan allowed local governors to rule the provinces and Tehran was in charge of the foreign policy and economical trades. Some provinces of Iran had internal autonomy and some had semi autonomy. Governors (Vali) had much internal freedom over their provinces’ affairs.

Centralism the same as Slavery did not exist in Pre-Islamic Persia and they are the fruits of Islam.

History of Federalism in Iran – 2 Chapters

Civilization: Persia versus Greece and Rome: 2 Chapters

History of Slavery in Iran - It All Started by Islam!

Qajar Persian Imperial gold Enamel Axe, Late 18 Century – Early 19 Century

Qajar Coinage

Qajar Coins
Tuman (Gold) = 10 Qeran = 200 Shahi = 10,000 Dinar
Qeran (Silver) = 20 Shahi = 1,000 Dinar
Shahi = 50 Dinar
Dinar (smallest unit)

Aqa Mohammad Shah Qajar Gold Half Tuman Coin, Esfahan, Iran

Separation of Facts from Fiction

We must comprehend to judge the historical people by the specific norms and traditions of their own era. What was norm in 18th century is not the norm now; therefore, you cannot judge Aqa Mohammad Khan’s actions by today’s standards.

Much lies, exaggerations and falsehood has been narrated about Aqa Khan. The biased narrators have stated over and over about the excessive kindness and bravery of Zand Dynasty. It is true that Karim Khan Zand was gracious but in reality, he imprisoned Aqa Mohammad Khan through all of his youth. It is also true that Lotf Ali Khan Zand was a brave and handsome warrior; however, he killed as many as he could (even his own family) to gain power. Actually, in that era, you had to kill all the competition to become Shah. It was a kill or be killed time period. The ands also justified the means. It was a different era with different norms and traditions.

So, neither Zands were saints nor Qajars were monsters. Neither Pahlavis were wonderful saviors nor Qajars were sadistic evils. There is no absolute good or evil. One should judge historical events by combining all aspects and all angles of the episodes and view them from every perspective. Same with the historical characters, they must be judged due to the combine actions and not only partial actions which they have done.

Qajar Persian Blunderbuss and Rifle, Iran Late 18 Century – Early 19 Century

Another fabrication of history is that Aqa Khan was materialistic to the point that he would empty the hall from attendants and then throw all the Naderi jewels taken from Afsharids all over the floor and then roll on them and throw them over his head. So, he would swim in them!

This is fantasy. Aqa Khan collected wealth to create a powerful empire. He was always seeking more and more wealth so Iran would be wealthy and Iran could purchase arms and goods. This was not a personal greed or obsessive compulsion!

Qajar Persian Handmade Inlaid Long Rifle, Iran Late 18 Century – Early 19 Century

Yet another lie is that Aqa Khan was excessively cheap and stingy. This is also far from the truth. On the contrary Aqa Khan was extremely generous and rewarding to those who served Iran well and to those who were faithful to him.

Qajar Persian Handmade Hand Painted Woodstock Rifle, Late 18 Century – Early 19 Century

A famous lie is that Aqa Khan ordered to take Nader Shah’s bones out of his grave and he took them from Mashhad to Tehran and buried them next to Karim Khan Zand’s bones in front of the Golestan Palace so people would walk over them and insult him on daily basis. The part about Karim Khan bones buried in front of Golestan Palace is true because Aqa Khan carried the grudge against him for the imprisonment, but the part about Nader is not true. In fact, Aqa Khan respected Nader as a military genius and a conqueror. He could relate to Nader because they were both superb military strategists, wise military tacticians, rough military men, brutal conquerors and also, they were both religious. The difference was that Aqa Khan was Shiite but Nader was Sunni. All the rumors that Nader Shah was secular is false and fiction. Aqa Khan admired Nader and he saw himself as the true student of Nader Shah worthy of being his descendant.

Qajar Persian Imperial Army Tabarzin Axes, Late 18 Century – Early 19 Century

Reconstruction of the Qajar Persian Imperial Army

Aqa Mohammad Khan’s reign was short, basically he ruled majority of the Persian Empire Provinces for 8 years (1789 – 1797) and he reigned the complete Persian Empire for 3 years (1794 – 1797). In this short period, he was on constant runaround the country conducting military campaigns and wars to protect the boundaries of the Persian Empire. If anything, at least one issue was his priority: To keep the military happy. Military was his backbone and he had the highest respect for the military, so had taken care of the military. He paid the army well, he granted them great benefits and housing. He raised their prestige to the high level amongst the social classes. The military would also get the top women as sex slaves and prisoners of wars.

Qajar Persian Imperial Troops
Drawing from the Illustrated London Times 1857
Left to Right:
 1) Qajar Persian Imperial Guard’s Drummer
 2) Qazvin Militiaman
 3) Artillery Officer
 4) Zanburakchi (Camel Back Light Artilleryman)
 5) Kurdish Mounted Irregular Cavalryman
 6) Qajar Persian Imperial Guard’s Infantryman
 7) Infantry officer
 8) Tofangchi (Musketeer of the Irregular Cavalry)

Despite the lack of time to industrialize and modernize the Persian War Machine, in his short reign, he progressed and dragged the Persian military, weaponry and logistics from Middle Ages to the Modern Era. If he had more time to his reign, he would have created a superb military machine which would put the Persian Empire’s prestige at the level of the Pre-Islamic Era.

Aqa Mohammad Khan organized, disciplined and trained a powerful Persian Army faithful to mother Persia and Shahanshah.

Qajar Persian Imperial Cavalry Arms 18 Century
Rifle, Bayonet, Long Rifle, Scimitar, Lance, Spiked Helmet, Shield and Mace

Reconstruction of the Powerful Qajar Persian Imperial Navy

On 1789 when he started his rule of the majority of the Persian Imperial states, he also organized and built the strongest Persian Navy since Nader Shah Afshar’s navy.

Qajar Persian Imperial Navy Gun Ship, Persian Gulf Fleet, Iran 18 Century

Persian Imperial Navy of the Post-Islamic Era

During the Safavid Era, there were two problems rising in the Persian Gulf. One was Arab Pirates and the other was the entrance of the first colonial naval power to the Persian Gulf. Portuguese were the first modern naval power who started to colonize the Persian Gulf. At the time (16th to 18th century), Portugal along with Spain were the dominant global naval powers. Portuguese Empire was specifically dominant in the sea during the 15th to 17th centuries. Eventually from the 17th century, the Dutch and the British Empires started to primarily challenge the Spanish and the Portuguese, and then replace them as the primary naval powers. So eventually the Dutch and the British became the colonial powers in the Persian Gulf.

Qajar Persian Imperial Navy Battleship, Persian Gulf Fleet, Iran 18 Century

Qajar Persian Imperial Navy Battleship Cannons, Persian Gulf Fleet, Iran 18 Century

Shah Abbas the Great and the Safavids did not have much of a navy so they created alliance with the British Navy against the Portuguese Navy which was dominant in the Persian Gulf. Safavid Empire had numerous battles with the Portuguese in the Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman. Safavid Navy basically owned small and large boats and gunboats. During this time, the Portuguese colonized various islands and built bases in various ports of Iran in the Persian Gulf.

Nader Shah the Great created the first Modern Persian Navy since the Ancient Persian Empire Navy of the Sassanid and Achaemenid Era. Nader Shah Afshar bought ships from the English and the Dutch. Later on, he built his own ships. Nader Shah expanded the Persian Navy’s power in the Persian Gulf and the Caspian Sea.

Pictorial History of Iranian Military Uniforms – Chapter 18: Afsharid

Pictorial History of Iranian Flags – Chapter 2: Afsharid

Atlas of Iran Maps – Chapter 9: Safavid and Afsharid

Qajar Persian Imperial Navy Battleship, Caspian Sea Fleet, Iran 18 Century

Qajar Persian Imperial Navy Battleship Up Close, Caspian Sea Fleet, Iran 18 Century

Qajar Persian Imperial Navy Cargo Ship, Caspian Sea Fleet, Iran 18 Century

British Domination of Persian Gulf and Oman Gulf Timeline
1763 British Maintained a colonial presence in the Persian Gulf
British started being the new colonial power in the Persian Gulf replacing the Portuguese and the Dutch
1770 British transformed their economical domination to political domination in the Persian Gulf
1820 British colonized India and dominated the Persian Gulf

Through the years, British had primarily fought with the Arab States and Sheikhs of the Southern Persian Gulf and then dominated and colonized them or turned them to protectorates and supported them Against the Persian Colonial Empire.

Through the years the British had primarily fought with the Arab Pirates of the Southern Persian Gulf and then supported them against the Persian Colonial Empire.

Qajar Persian Imperial Navy 12 Lb. Naval Cannons on Deck 18 Century

Qajar Persian Imperial Navy 24 Lb. Long Naval Cannon at Port Fort Shores Defense
Late 18 Century – Early 19 Century

Aqa Mohammad Khan’s Qajar Navy

Aqa Khan primarily bought ships from the British but then built them. Aqa khan had grand plans to modernize the navy and in general the armed forces, yet he found no time; however, he organized and well-disciplined the armed forces.

Persian Imperial Navy consisted of Battleships, Cargo Ships, Large boats, Gun Boats and Small Boats. There were naval bases on ports of the mainland and islands.

Since Nader Shah the Great, Iran haven’t tried to improve the Persian Navy until Aqa khan’s Era. Aqa Khan was emphasizing on the navy but he did not have much time to attend to it (only reigned 3 years). Aqa Khan was either fighting to secure Iran, unite Iran and control Iran (1789 – 1794) or fighting to keep the integrity of Iran intact (1794 – 1797). In total Aqa Khan fought for 8 years to keep Iran united, intact and powerful, so he did not have much time to attend to the navy.

Qeshm Island Shipyard Traditional Ship Building, Persian Gulf, Iran
New Machinery and Tools are used but the technic and style are old school

Qajar Persian Imperial Navy Port Fort, Hormoz Island, Persian Gulf, Originally Portuguese, Iran 18 Century. Ruins of the Facility Originally Built by the Portuguese (Safavid Era) and Later Renovated and Modernized by the Qajar.

Qajar Persian Imperial Seaport Defense Cannon, Qeshm Island, Persian Gulf, Originally Portuguese, Iran 18 Century. Ruins of the Facility Originally Built by the Portuguese (Safavid Era) and Later Renovated and Modernized by the Qajar.

Qajar Persian Imperial Seaport Castle, Qeshm Island, Persian Gulf, Originally Portuguese, Iran 18 Century. Ruins of the Facility Originally Built by the Portuguese (Safavid Era) and Later Renovated and Modernized by the Qajar.

Despite his lack of time, he maintained a good size and powerful navy in the Caspian Sea, Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman. Qajar Persian Imperial Navy was not as modern, powerful and glorious as the British or the Russian Navy but it was well maintained during the Aqa Khan and it was operated as a well disciplined and brutal navy. This is why the British and the Russian Navy dared to entangle with the Aqa Khan’s Navy in the Persian Gulf or the Caspian Sea. Aside a few incidents and minor challenges, neither Russian nor British Navy ever went to sea battles with the Aqa khan’s Persian Imperial Navy. Ottomans also had access to the Persian Gulf but they also never dared to challenge Aqa Khan’s Navy.

When Aqa Khan came to power, the Caspian Sea was the raiding ground for the Turkmen pirates and ruling ground for the Russian navy. The Persian Gulf and the Oman Gulf were raiding ground for the Arab pirates and roaming ground for the British Navy. Once Aqa Khan secured Iran, then he secured the Seas and all of the piracy, and sea domination by British and Russians changed. There was a new sheriff in town!

Qajar Persian Imperial Port Fort, Ashuradeh Island, Caspian Sea, Originally Russian, Iran 18 Century. Ruins of the Facility Originally Built by the Russians (Qajar Era) and Later Renovated and Modernized by the Qajar.

Ashuradeh Island, Caspian Sea, Mazandaran, Iran
Ashuradeh was an important Qajar Naval Port with Fort Defense

Anzali Port Light House, Caspian Sea, Gilan, Iran
Anzali (Bandar Pahlavi) was a very important Qajar Naval Port with Fort Defense

Aqa khan always kept a safe and secure sea presence in the Caspians, Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman. He used the navy cargo ships for logistics and to supply resources in the Azerbaijan campaigns, also to deliver goods and arms through Azerbaijan for his Georgian campaigns. The Caspian Fleet also conducted a few minor sea to land and sea to sea naval battles. He used the Persian Gulf Navy to secure the region and to suppress the bandits and pirates.

During the reign of Aqa Mohammad Shah Qajar, Catherine II of Romanov ruled Russia and George III of Hanover ruled Britain. Both of them clearly ordered their navies to create no sea incidents with the Persian Imperial Navy because they knew that Aqa Khan as a fierce warrior would not back down and would carry on with the sea battles forever! During the Aqa Khan’s reign, the Persian Imperial Navy kept the Russians at bay and far from the Persian waters in the Caspian Sea. The Persian Imperial Navy had kept the British away from the north Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman. They were limited to the Southern waters.

Qajar 24 Lb. Cannon, Persian Imperial Military Artillery, Iran 18 Century

Qajar Persian Imperial Artillery Heavy Cannon, Iran, Late 18 Century – Early 19 Century

Qajar Persian Imperial Artillery Cannons

Arab Pirates specifically Masqati (Muscat) and Omani Pirates had created a dangerous situation in the Persian Gulf. The most important naval campaigns which was conducted during the Aqa Khan’s era was the fierce and brutal suppression of the Arab Pirates (Persian Gulf) and Turkmen Pirates (Caspian Sea) to make the Persian seas safe and secure.

Aqa Khan had no time to conduct naval campaigns because he was always leading the armies across the Persian Empire to conduct land wars; therefore, his admirals were attending to the Persian Imperial Navy’s campaigns.

Qajar Persian Imperial Infantry Officer Shamshir Persian Straight Sword 18 Century

Qajar Persian Irregular Cavalry Helmet, Shield, Chainmail and Armband 18 Century

Qajar Persian Imperial Cavalry Divsar Devil Head Uniform and Armor
Iran Late 18 Century – Early 19 Century

Qajar Persian Imperial Artillery Specialist, Iran Late 18 Century – Early 19 Century

Qajar Persian Imperial Army Tabl (Percussion) and Sornay (Horn Instrument) Musicians
Iran Late 18 Century – Early 19 Century

Qajar Persian Imperial Guard Infantryman - Iran Late 18 Century – Early 19 Century

Qajar Persian Imperial Infantryman - Iran Late 18 Century – Early 19 Century

Qajar Persian Imperial Infantry Tablzan (Drummer) - Iran Late 18 Century – Early 19 Century

Qajar Persian Imperial Infantry Alamdar (Standard Bearer), Officer and Alam (Standard)
Iran Late 18 Century – Early 19 Century

Qajar Persian Imperial Zanburakchi Mobile Artillery Black Regiment, Persian Gulf
Iran Late 18 Century – Early 19 Century

Qajar Persian Imperial Cavalry Royal Guard - Iran Late 18 Century – Early 19 Century

Qajar Persian Imperial Cavalry Zanburakchis Camel Back Mobile Light Artillery
Iran Late 18 Century – Early 19 Century

Qajar Persian Imperial Cavalry Zanburakchi, Iran Late 18 Century – Early 19 Century

Qajar Persian Imperial Cavalry Zanburak on Saddle Carriage for Ground Fire
Iran Late 18 Century – Early 19 Century

Aqa Mohammad Shah Qajar Wax Figure at the Wax Museum, Tehran, Iran

Aqa Mohammad Shah Qajar on Throne with Jeyran Khanum, the Queen Mother
Shah Qajar Theatre Production

Aqa Mohammad Shah Qajar Residence, Golestan Palace, Tehran, Iran

Qajar Persian Imperial Artillery Double Spiked Helmet with Large Devil Face 18 Century

Aqa Khan was perfectly aware of the fact that the Persians were never a great naval power (even during Achaemenids) and the Persians must at least keep a strong presence with watchful eyes in the Caspian Sea, Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman. This was essential for the national security. Persian Imperial Navy’s main task during Aqa Khan was to basically observe, keep a strong presence and if needed to do logistics missions.

Unfortunately, after Aqa Mohammad Khan and after the Russo-Persian Wars of Fath Ali Shah (Golestan and Turkmenchay Treaties) Iran was not allowed to own navy in Caspians. Iran’s navy in the Persian Gulf also depleted, reduced and lost power to the British navy until it became near nothing.

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Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
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