Pictorial History of Iranian Military Uniforms
Book in 23 Chapters
Chapter 20. Qajar
February 23, 2012
Aqa Mohammad Shah Qajar Iranian Flag 1794 – 1797
Qajar Dynasty (1794 - 1925)
Aqa Mohammad Shah Qajar Courthouse Iranian Flag 1794 - 1797
Imperial Qajar Coat of Arms Emblem 1794 – 1907
Aqa Mohammad Shah Qajar, last Persian Emperor (1794 - 1797)
Aqa Mohammad Khan was the Final Shahanshah of Iran
After Aqa Khan “Qajar Persian Empire” become “Qajar Kingdom of Pars”
Aqa Mohammad Shah Qajar (1794 - 1797)
Aqa Mohammad Khan was the first Shah of Qajar and the only worthy Shah of Qajar.
Aqa Mohammad Khan was the final Persian Emperor, the last Shahanshah of Iran.
After Aqa Mohammad Khan, Iran was no more an Empire and had become a kingdom.
Rest of the Qajar Shahs could not save the integrity of Iran (worst of them being Fath-Ali Shah); therefore, Iran lost massive territories and then declined and was reduced to a kingdom status.
Aqa Mohammad Shah was a Turkmen Iranian (Iranian of the Turkmen State Origin). Turkmenistan was back then a state of Iran. Both External Turkmenistan (Today’s independent nation of Turkmenistan) and Internal Turkmenistan (Today’s Golestan Province of Iran and parts of North Western Khorasan) together made the large Turkmenistan State of the Persian Empire. Aqa Khan (Aqa Mohammad Khan) was born in Astarabad (Today’s Gorgan, capital of the Golestan Province of Iran).
Aqa Mohammad Khan had a rough childhood. Aqa Mohammad Khan at age 6 was castrated by Adel Shah Afsharid AKA Ali Qoli Shah-e Adel [The Fair] (1747 - 1748), who also ordered the death of Aqa Mohammad Khan’s father (Mohammad Hassan Khan Qajar). Obviously Adel Shah the Fair was not fair to Aqa Khan! Adel Shah castrated Aqa Mohammad Khan because his father (Mohammad Hassan Khan) committed a rebellion to overthrow Adel Shah, thus he believed that Adel Shah’s reign was illegitimate and Nader Shah Afsharid’s son had to reign after him (Adel Shah was Nader’s nephew and killed his sons except Shahrokh only 14 so he could rule Iran after Nader). So Adel Shah killed Aqa Mohammad Khan’s father and castrated him (dried his seed) so he could not continue the Qajar’s Dynasty.
Aqa Khan (Aqa Mohammad Khan) being a Eunuch, not having any testicles (Balls) grew up to become one of Iran’s most powerful Shahanshahs with very large size “Balls”! So Aqa Khan despite being a eunuch managed to become leader of the Qajar Tribe (1758), but later he got defeated in a battle and captured by a rival tribal head (1762) faithful to Karim Khan Zand (1750 - 1779). Aqa Khan was sent to Shiraz as a captive. Even though Karim Khan had mercy on Aqa Khan and treated him right (due to be distant relatives) and raised him well, yet still Aqa Khan was technically a hostage in Shiraz for about 16 years. On 1779 Aqa Khan escaped from Shiraz and on the same year, death of Karim Khan Zand started a chaos in Iran. Later on Aqa Khan started an organized rebellion and seized power on 1794, started the reign of Qajar and become the final Persian Shahanshah.
Aqa Mohammad Shah Qajar, last Persian Emperor 18 AD
Aqa Khan primarily slaughtered all the rivals having claims to the Persian Crown and Throne. Aqa Mohammad Shah Qajar chose a village named Tehran near the city of Ray as the capital and turned it to the Great City of Tehran the capital of Qajar Dynasty. After Aqa Khan, Tehran grew to become a major city. Aqa Khan then organized the Iranian administration, economy and internal affairs.
Throughout Aqa Khan’s reign, the enemies of Iran including but not limited to the Ottomans, Russians and the British dared to set foot inside the Iranian territories. They were practically afraid of Aqa Khan.
Yes it is true that Aqa Khan was brutal. For instance once he gained control of Iran, he went to Khorasan and ordered the torture and death of Shahrokh Afsharid whom Zand Shahs allowed him to reign in Khorasan State even after they overthrown the Afsharids. Aqa Khan did that to take revenge for what Adel Shah Afsharid had done to him. Aqa Khan also had long years of hit and run rivalry and battles with Lotf Ali Khan Zand which it ended up in capturing him, ordering the henchmen to publicly rape him, torture him and then to kill him by choking him to death. He had done this to take revenge from Lotf Ali Khan and years of being hostage to the Zand Dynasty in Shiraz.
Yes, Aqa Khan was brutal. He would not just torture and kill the enemies but he would rape, torture, behead and murder their whole family, clan, dynasty, servants and troops. It is known that once his court councilor asked him:
Council: Why being so brutal with the defeated enemies and why eliminating everyone around them?
Aqa Khan: You need to be extremely brutal with the enemies so in the future no one else will dare to rise and take arms against you. Also you need to exterminate everyone in their clan so there will be no one of their blood left to rise and take arms against you.
Think about it, the logic makes sense! Aqa Khan was so extreme in his campaigns that he put the fear and shakes in the hearts and spines of the enemy. Throughout his campaigns in Khorasan, Azerbaijan and Georgia, he crushed the rebellions, massacred the rebels and leveled towns. For instance he leveled Tbilisi (Teflis) capital of Georgia back then a seceded and rebel state of Iran. Aqa Khan brought Georgia back to the arms of Mother Persia. After Georgia, states thought twice before seceding from Persia!
Aqa Mohammad Shah Qajar, last Persian Emperor
Aqa Khan was much feared by the enemies because after their defeat, he would not have mercy on their souls, but instead Aqa Khan would mass behead the enemies, pile up their heads in to shape of a large hill or a small mountain and display the monument in the public squares for weeks to set an example for the revolting town or state not to ever take arms against the Qajar Empire again! It is written in the historical books that Aqa Khan would keep beheading the defeated troops for days and weeks until rivers of blood would run through the streets’ Water Steams (Juy) and Water Streams would turn red and become Blood Streams. Aqa Khan would also stick the heads on top of the spears, stick the spears in the ground and display them outside the city gates (for weeks) for all residents of the city and all the travelers to the city to view, tell others and learn from this lesson not to rebel against him.
Aqa Khan’s extreme tactics made him to be feared by not only the domestic rebels but also by the foreign enemies. As long as Aqa Khan was in power, Ottoman Turks, Russians and the British were truly afraid to cause border disturbances or set foot inside the Persian Empire’s territories.
Early Qajar Zanburakchi Mobile Light Artillery Camel Cavalry Unit
Good or bad, this was how Aqa Khan reigned and the bottom line is that he saved the integrity of the Persian Empire with the skin of his teeth. By the time of his death, Iran remained an Empire and still owned all her “Greater Iran” states. Aqa Mohammad Shah lived by the sword and died by the sword. He was finally assassinated by the enemies.
For more information on Aqa Mohammad Shah Qajar read:
Atlas of Iran Maps: Chapter 10: Qajar Persian Empire
8000 Years of Iranian History: Part 3
Early Qajar Persian Lion and Sun Standard Bearer of General Abbas Mirza Era 19 AD
General Prince Abbas Mirza Qajar 19 AD
Abbas Mirza Qajar - life (1789 – 1833)
After Aqa Mohammad Shah’s death, his nephew Fath Ali Shah (1797 - 1834) succeeded him (because Aqa Khan had no children). Fath-Ali Khan was unworthy but his son Abbas Mirza was one of the Qajar Jewels.
General Prince Abbas Mirza Qajar 1789 AD - 1833 AD
Abbas Mirza was the crown prince and a brave general of the Qajar Dynasty. Abbas Mirza was the older son of Fath-Ali Shah Qajar. He conducted many campaigns and fought many battles with various enemies of Iran, either domestic or foreign. He gained victories in battles against the Ottomans and Russians but lost the final wars against the Russians because his unworthy father (Fath-Ali Shah) did not send backup troops, ammunition and equipments to aid him in the battles.
General Prince Abbas Mirza Qajar
Abbas Mirza was also a great administrator and he had done many goods for Iran. Abbas Mirza attempted to modernize the Persian Army and organize the administration. He was the first person who started the modern printing in Iran and popularized the use of the printing machines in Iran. He built factories to produce textile and gun powder in Iran. He sent students to both Russia and Britain for higher education. His final project and order was to travel to Khorasan State to put down a revolt, organize the administration and put Khorasan in order. While occupied with the task, he passed away (1833). Abbas Mirza was one of Qajar’s worthy generals, excellent administrators and greatest patriots.
General Prince Abbas Mirza Qajar on the horse
Early Qajar Persian Officer of General Abbas Mirza Era 19 AD
Qajar Persian Soldier of General Abbas Mirza Era 19 AD
Early Qajar Persian Soldier 19 AD
Naser e-Din Shah Qajar Iranian Flag 1848 - 1896
Naser e-Din Shah Qajar (1848 - 1896)
After Abbas Mirza the Qajar Government declined and become weak. In later years there were attempts made to restore things, save territories and gain territories but it was all too little and too late. For instance during the Naser e-Din Shah’s reign, Afghans started a rebellion. Governor of Kabul demanded separation from Iran and he seized control of Kabul and Qandahar. The governor of Kabul (with the British backing and treachery) started a rebellion and surrounded the city of Heart (Today’s Western Afghanistan). In retaliation, Naser e-Din Shah sent troops, made a siege on Heart, and took over and occupied it. After the victory of Heart, the Persian troops intended to crush the rebellion and move towards Kabul but the British started their ultimatums and threats.
The cold war between Iran and Britain continued until the British Navy invaded and occupied the Kharg Island and Port of Bushehr in the Persian Gulf. British bombarded the Kharg Island and Bushehr for days until they captured them. Iranian local tribal warriors (Tangestani and Dashtestani) had done many sacrifices and conducted many hit and run campaigns to avoid the British to occupy Bushehr. Later on during the Pre WWI and WWI Era (1st World War) the legendary Tangestani and Dashtestani warriors had fought many battles against the British and their Indian Servants (employees of the British Colonial Army) in the Fars, Bushehr and Hormozgan Provinces. Tangestani and Dashtestani warriors were famous for their hit and run tactics and brave resistance against the British Imperialism.
Persian troops and local warriors fought bravely in Bushehr but due to the British superior weaponry, they had to finally give up. Next, the British troops moved on to Khoramshahr and started to charge towards Ahvaz (capital of Khuzestan State). Naser e-Din Shah sent troops to Khuzestan and they entangled with the British and their colonial army consisting of Indians. Persian sadly equipped troops and local Khuzestani warriors were no match for the British Colonial Army, so Naser e-Din Shah was forced to make peace.
Naser e-Din Shah appointed Napoleon III the French Emperor to play the role of the moderator to the peace treaty between Iran and the British Empire. The French intervened and made peace between the two. According to this treaty known as the “Paris Treaty” (1857) British agreed to evacuate Khuzestan, Bushehr, Kharg and all Persian Islands and territories in the Persian Gulf and in returns Naser e-Din Shah agreed to evacuate Heart and Afghanistan. Naser e-Din Shah also agreed to the separation of Afghanistan from Iran.
Various Iranian campaigns had occurred on 1837 – 1838 (Heart, Afghanistan) and 1884 (Marv, Turkmenistan) which resulted in loss of territory to the British (Afghanistan) and the Russians (Turkmenistan).
Naser e-Din Shah Qajar of Iran 1848 – 1896
Young Naser e-Din Shah Early Battle Days
Separation of Afghanistan from Iran
Fabrication of a Country named Afghanistan (by the British)
Due to the Treaty of Paris (1857) Naser e-Din Shah Qajar was forced to accept the separation of Afghanistan from Iran because if he would not agree, then the British would continue the occupation of Khuzestan, Bushehr, Kharg Island and Persian Gulf territories of Iran. The war with Britain would continue and obviously the British would annex some southern states of Iran. Naser e-Din Shah knowing the weak state of the Persian Army equipped with outdated weapons, had no other choice but to agree to this catastrophe. From 1857 the British ruled Afghanistan and on 1863 they created the protectorate of Afghanistan. Throughout the years British could not easily remain in control of Afghanistan and they conducted 3 wars of their own with the Afghans to suppress them: Anglo-Afghan Wars of (1839 – 1842), (1878 – 1880) and (1919). So the British caused the separation of Afghanistan from Iran, then they created the Protectorate of Afghanistan and finally on 1919 they fabricated Afghanistan as an independent nation.
Iranian Identity is the Only Afghan Identity
Afghans must comprehend the true history. Let’s face the reality that until 1857 Afghanistan as a separate entity did not exist. 155 years ago Afghanistan was separated from Iran. Before that, throughout the centuries, Afghanistan was basically 2 states of Iran (Ariana and Bakhtar). A bit before 1857 the Afghans started their riots in the eastern part and demanded separation (1839). All put together, more or less the country of Afghanistan was fabricated about 2 centuries ago. On 1857 Afghanistan totally separated from Iran (155 years ago) and a few decades before this date, Afghans started their rebellions and independence songs (promoted by the British). Before these episodes, Afghanistan was a part of Iran and their history is the history of Iran. Afghanistan the same as all other “Istan” countries and none “Istan” countries of the region were all states of Iran. The whole concept of Afghanistan as an independent nation with history of its own is a joke. Afghans are Iranians, their history is history of Iran and the country of Afghanistan was fabricated by the British and started to exist on 1857 (primarily as a colony, then protectorate and next as an independent nation). Afghan Nationalism the same as Tajik Nationalism and etc. are all oxymoronic simply because they are all Iranians.
Judgment of Qajar Dynasty in the History
Aqa Mohammad Shah was the final Shahanshah of the Persian Empire (last Persian Emperor) and after him the Persian Empire had become Kingdom of Pars. Unworthy kings of Qajar (starting from Fath-Ali Shah) step by step had caused the weakness of Iran. Lack of strong and organized administration, worthy people in charge and proper vision of the future had caused corruption, chaos, domestic decline and international decay. Persian military due to outdated equipment, lack of training and education had become weak and eventually irrelevant. Iran had become a global joke. This caused the enemies of Iran to step by step guzzle states of Iran. One by one the Ottomans, Russians and the weasel old Iranian enemy the British started to systematically separate the states of Iran, primarily colonize them and down the road fabricate independent nations out of them!
Powerful patriots such as Abbas Mirza have tried to revive Iran but lack of cooperation from the monarchs and corrupt administrations avoided these attempts to become successful. The final attempt to battle the British Imperialistic Intentions towards the Iranian Territories was fought by Naser e-Din Shah in Afghanistan but by then it was all too little and too late. Iranian military had become a faction and fraction of what it used to once be. Iran was floating in corruption and chaos and the Iranian military and administration had become a global satire. Finally Naser e-Din Shah gave up and was forced to sign the Treaty of Paris and let go of Afghanistan to save Khuzestan, Bushehr and Persian Gulf Islands from the British. It is written that Naser e-Din Shah stated:
Naser e-Din Shah: I prefer to drink poison and die to sign this treaty (Treaty of Paris).
Iranian Historians have written so many horrible tales about Naser e-Din Shah, but if we try to be fair and we put ourselves in Naser e-Din Shah’s shoes, then we could see that by the time he came to power, Iran was already on the life support (1848). Naser e-Din Shah could not have done much to fix Iran or even avoid the separation of Afghanistan. The best that he could do with so little that he had, was to avoid the further deterioration of Iran and separation of Khuzestan and Bushehr from Iran or else the British would have yet created and Fabricated more new independent nations out of our states such as “Khuzestan” and “Bushehristan”! Naser e-Din Shah done the best that he could but his best wasn’t even enough because by the beginning of his reign Iran was already in coma!
After the Treaty of Paris (1857) terribly disappointed from the outcome, Naser e-Din gave up and instead of becoming a part of the solution, he had become a part of the problem and joined the machine in silence. The Machine (Qajar Court) was directing Iran towards the destruction. Corruption and Chaos, Weakness and Rot was in sight, I truly believe that even if Naser e-Din Shah would have changed path and decided to fight the Qajar Court and Administration (such as Abbas Mirza done) to save Iran, still his efforts would have been in vain and useless. Naser e-Din Shah (1848 - 1896) tried and failed because as I stated before, Iran was way too deep in the coma and very close to death! Naser e-Din Shah did not have the means to save Iran.
To save Iran, the whole system and everything had to be destroyed and rebuilt from the scratch and obviously neither the actual conditions nor people were ready to do such nor was Naser e-Din Shah the man to take on such great task. So Iran continued to decay until the end of the Qajar Dynasty.
Qajar Persian Cossack Soldier late 19 AD
Qajar Imperial Iranian Court Standard Banner 1907 Version
Imperial Qajar Coat of Arms Emblem 1907 - 1925
Ahmad Shah Qajar Iranian Flag 1909 - 1925
Qajar Persian Cossack Standard Bearer 20 AD
Persian Cossack Brigade
The Cossack Brigade was the main military force of the Qajar Era originally started by the Cossack Cavalry and created by the Naser e-Din Shah Qajar.
Cossack Brigade was established in 1879 Qajar Era and continued its service until the 1921 Reza Khan Pahlavi Coup (Later Reza Shah the Great). Reza Khan Mir5 (Brigadier General) was the head of the Cossack Brigade (1920 -1921). After 1921, Reza Khan (back then the Minister of War) merged the Cossack Brigade with the Gendarmerie and created the Iranian National Army. Next he created Nazmiyeh (Urban Police) and Amniyeh (Rural Police). On 1925 Reza Khan officially started the Pahlavi reign.
Qajar Persian Cossack Brigade Officer 20 AD
Qajar Persian Cossack Soldier 20 AD
Qajar Persian Gendarmerie Standard Bearer 20 AD
The Iranian Gendarmerie was a cross over between today’s State Police and the Paramilitary Rural Force. Gendarmerie established in 1910 Qajar Era and continued its service throughout the Pahlavi Era.
After 1921, Reza Khan Pahlavi (back then the Minister of War) merged the Cossack Brigade with the Gendarmerie and created the Iranian National Army. After 1925 (Pahlavi Era) the New Gendarmerie was created as the State Police Force.
Qajar Persian Gendarmerie Officer 20 AD
Qajar Persian Gendarme 20 AD
Back to Uniforms Index
Back to Photos Index