« السابقةمتابعة »
Gulf; but the Portuguese fleet which had promised to trans rt his troops to Bahrein was defeated by the im'am of Muscat an forced
to retreat to Goa.
The court of Isfahan had no sooner received tidings of this disaster than Mahmud, with a large army of Afghans, invaded "In" Persia in the year 1721, Kennan, and inlthe Inn”, following year advanced to wrthin four days' march of
' the city of Isfahan. The shah offered him a sum of money to return to Kandahar, but the Afghan answered by advancing to a place called Gulnabad, within 9 m. of the ca ital.‘ The ill-disciplined Persian army, hastily collected, advan to attack the rebels. Its centre was led by Sheikh ‘Ali Khan, covered by twenty-four field-pieces. The wali of Arabia commanded the right, and the ‘itimadu' d-daulah, or prime minister, the left wing. T e whole force amounted to 50,000 men, while the Afghans could not count half that number. ' t
On the 8th of March 1722 the richly dressed hosts of Persia appeared before the little band of Al hans, who were scorched and disfi ured by their long marches. T e wali of Arabia commenced the attle by attackin the left wing of the Afghans with great fury, routing it, and undering their camp. The prime‘ minister immediately afterwar s attacked the enem '9 right wing. but was routed, and the Afghans, taking advanta e 0 the confusion, ca tured the Persian guns and turned them on t e Persian centre, w o fled in confusion without striking a blow. The wali of Arabia escaped into Isfahan, and Mahmud the Afghan gained a complete victory. Fifteen thousand Persians remained dead on the field. A panic now seized on the surrounding inhabitants, and thousands of country people fled into the city. Is ahan was then one of the most magmficent cities in Asia, containing more than 600,000 inhabitants. Mahmud seich on the Armenian suburb of ulfa, and invested the doomed city; but Tahmasp, son of the shah, ad previously escaped into the mountains of Mazandaran. Famine soon an to press hard upon the besieged, and in September Shah Hosain offered to capitulate. Havin been conducted to the Afghan camp, he fired MM",qu the my plume of feathers on the. young rebel's turban U "on with his own hand; and 4000 Afghans were ordered to
W 'occup the palace and gates of the city.l Mahmud entered Isfahan in triumph. with the captive shah onhis left hand, and, seating himself on the throne in the royal palace, he was saluted as sovereign of Persia by the unfortunate Hosain. When 'l‘ahmasp,‘ the fugitive prince, received tidings of the abdication of his father, he at once assumed the title of shah at Kazvin.
Turkey and Russia were not slow to take advantage of the calamities of Persia. The Turks seized on Tiflis, Tabriz and Hamadan, while Peter the Great, whose aid had been sought by the friendless Tahmasp, fitted out a fleet on the Caspian.’ The Russians occupied Shirvan, and the province of Gilan south-west of the Caspian;a and Peter made a treaty with Tahmas II. in July 1722, by which he agreed to drive the Af hans out of ersia on condition that Darband (Derbend), Baku, Gilan, Mazandaran and Astarabad were ceded to Russia in perpetuity. These were all the richest and most im rtant nort ern provinces of Persia. ,
leanwhile the invader, in r723, invited 300 of the rincipal Persian nobility to a banquet and massacred them. 0 prevent their children rising up in vengeance they were all murdered also. Then he proceeded to slaughter vast numbers of the citizens of Isfahan, until the place was nearly depopulated. Not content with this, in February [725 he assembled al the captives of the royal family, except the shah, in the counyard of the palace, and caused them all to be murdered, commencing the massacre with his own hand. The wretched ljlosain was himself wounded in endeavouring vainly to save his infant son, only five years of age. All the males of the royal family, except Hosain himself, Tahmasp, and two children, are said to have perished. At length the inhuman miscreant Mahmud died, at the early age of twenty-seven, on the 22nd of April 1725. With scarcely any neck, he had round shoulders, a broad face with _a flat nose, a thin beard, and squinting eyes, which were enerally downcast. .
Mairmud was succeeded by his first cousin, Ashraf, the son' of Mir 'Abdallah. He was a brave but cruel Afghan. He gave the dethroned shah a handsome allowance, and strove, by a mild policy, to acquire popularit . In I727, after a short war, he signed a treaty with the- urks, acknowledgin the sultan as chief of the Moslems. But the fortunate star of ahmasp II. was now bebinnincg to rise, and the days of Afghan usurpation were numbered. He ha collected a small arm in Mazandaran, and was supported by Fath ‘Ali Khan, the power ul chief of the Kajar tribe.
1 We have an account of the Afghan invasion and sack of Isfahan from an eye-witness, Father Krusinski, procurator of the esuits at that place, whose interesting work was translated into Eng ish in the last century. _
' In 1721 Sultan Hosain sent an embassy to the Russians, seeking aid against the Af v hans. In Ma 1722 a flotilla descended the Volga commanded by 'Igsar Peter an on the 19th of July the Russian flag first waved over the Caspian. Gilan was occupied by 6000 men under General Matushkin.
‘ The Russians remained in Gilan until r734, when they were obliged to evacuate it, owing to the unhealthiness of the climate.
‘the fugitive shah was joined by Nadir Kuli, a robber chief, who murdered Fath “Ali, and, having easily ap sed the shah, received the command of the r0 al army. In I72 shraf became alarmed, and led an Afghan army into horasan, where swam”. he was defeated by Nadir at Damghan, and forced to ommu" retreat. The Persian general followed close in his rear and again defeated him outside Isfahan in November of the same year. The Afghans fled through the town; and Ashrnf, murdering the poor old shah Hosain on his way, hurried with the wreck of his army towards Shiraz. On the 16th of November the victorious Nadir entered Isfahan, and was soon followed by the young shah Tahmasp II., who burst into tears when he beheld the ruined palace of his ancestors. His mother, who had escaped the numerous massacres by disguising herself as a slave and rforming the most degrading OfilCCS, now came forth and threw erself into his arms. Nadir did not give his enemies time to recover from their defeat. He followed them up, and again utterly routed them in january 1730. Ashraf tried to escape to Kandahar almost alone, but was murdered by a party of Baluch robbers; and thus, by the genius of Nadir, his native land was delivered from the terrible Afghan invaders. , ,
The ambition of Nadir, however, was far greater than his loyalty. On pretext of incapacity, he dethroned Tahmas II. in 1732, and sent him a. prisoner into Khorasan, where lie was murdered some years afterwards by Nadir’s son while PM," the conqueror'was absent on his Indian expedition. s"""“' For a short time the wil usurper placed Tahmasp's son on the throne, a little child, wit the title of_‘Abbas III., while he contented himself with the office of regent. Poor little ‘Abbas died at a very convenient time, in the year 1736, and Nadir then threw off the mask. He was reclaimed shah of Persia by a vast assemblage on the plain of M an.- , '0
By the fall of the Safawid dynasty Persia lost her race of national monarchs, considered not. only in respect. of origin and birthplace but in essence and in spirit. Isma'il, Tahinasp and ‘Abbas, whatever their faults and failings, were Persian and peculiar to Persians. Regarded in a sober English spirit, the reign of the great 'Abbas is rendered mythical by crime. But something liberal in the philOSQphy of their progenitors threwv an attractiveness over the~earlier Safawid kings' which was wanting in those who came after. them. The fact is that, two centuries after Shah 'Isma'il’s accession to the throne, the Safawid race of kings was efl'ete; andit became necessary to make room for a more vigorous if not a more lasting gule. Nadir was the strong man for the hour and occasion. He had been designated a. “robber chief ”; but his antecedents, like those of manyothers who have filled the position, have redeeming points of melodramatic interest.
A map attached to Krusimki’s Volumes illustrates the extent of Persian territoryin 1728, or one, year before Ashraf was finally defeated by Nadir, and some eight years prior to the date on which Nadir was himself proclaimed king. It-shows, during the reign of the Safawids, Tiflis, Erivan, Khoi and Bagdad to have been within the limits of Persia on the west, and in like manner Balkh and Kandahar to have been included within the eastern border. There is, however, also shown, as a. result of the Afghan intrusion and the impotency of the later Safawid kings, a long broad strip of country to the west, including Tabriz and Hamadan, marked “ conquests of the Turks,” and the whole west shore of the Caspian from Astrakan to Mamndaran marked “ conquests of the Czar of MuScovy ”;'Makran, written Mecran, is designated “ a warlike independent nation.” If further allowance be made for the district held by the Afghan invaders as part of their own country, it will be seen how greatly the extent of Persia proper was reduced, and what a work Nadir had before him to restore the kingdom to its former proportions.
But the former proportions had been partly reverted to, and would doubtless have been in some respects exceeded, both in Afghanistan and the Ottoman dominions and on the shores of the Caspian, by the action of this indefatigable general, had not Tahmasp LI. been led into a premature treaty with the Turks. Nadir’s anger and indignation had been great at this weak proceeding; indeed, he had made it the ostensible cause of the shah’s deposition. He had addressed letters to all the military chiefs of the country, calling upon them for support; he had sent an envoy to Constantinople insisting upon the sultan’s restoration of the Persian provinces still in his possession—that is
Georgia and part of Azerbaijan—and he had threatened Bagdad with assault. As regent, he had failed twice in taking the city of the caliphs, but on the second occasion he had defeated and killed its gallant defender, Topal ‘Othman, and he had succeeded in regaining Tifiis, Kars and Erivan.1
Russia and Turkey, naturally hostile to one another, had taken occasion of the weakness of Persia to forget their mutual quarrels and unite to plunder the tottering kingdom of the Safawid kings. A partition treaty had been signed between these two powers in 1723, by which the czar was to take Astarabad, Mazandaran, Gilan, part of Shirvan and Daghistan, while the acquisitions of the Porte were to be traced out by a line drawn from the junction of the Aras and Kur rivers, and passing along by Ardebil, Tabriz and Hamadan, and thence to Kermanshah. Tahmasp was to retain the rest of his paternal kingdom on condition of his recognizing the treaty. The ingenious diplomacy of Russia in this transaction was manifested in the fact that she had already acquired the greater part of the territory allotted to her, while Turkey had to obtain her share by further conquest. But the combination to despoil a feeble neighbour was outwitted by the energy of a military commander of a remarkable type.
D.—From the Accession of Nadir Shah, in 17 36, to 1884.
Nadir, it has been said, was proclaimed shah in the plains of Moghan in 1736. Mirza Mahdi relates how this event was brought about by his address to the assembled nobles and officers on the morning of the “ Nau~ruz,” or Persian New-Year's Day, the response to that appeal being the offer of the crown. The conditions were that the crown should be hereditary in his family, that the claim of the Safawids was to be held for ever extinct, and that measures should be taken to bring the Shi‘ites to accept uniformity of worship with the ’Sunnites. The mulla bashi (or high priest) objecting to the last, Nadir ordered him to be strangled, a command which was c_arried out on the spot. On the day following, the agreement having been ratified between sovereign and people, he was proclaimed emperor of Persia. At Kazvin the ceremony of inauguration took place. The edict expressing the royal will on the religious question is dated in June, but the date of coronation is uncertain. From Kazvin Nadir moved to Isfahan, where he organized an expedition against Kandahar, then in the possession of a brother of Mahmud, the conqueror of Shah Hosain. But before setting out for Afghanistan he took measures to secure the internal quiet of Persia, attacking and seizing in his. stronghold the chief of the marauding Bakhtiaris, whom he put to death, retaining many of his men for service as soldiers. With an army of 80,000 men he marched through Khorasan and Seistan to Kandahar, which city he blockaded inefl'ectually for a year; but it finally capitulated on the loss of the citadel. Balkh fell to Riza Kuli, the king’s son, who, moreover, crossed the Oxus and defeated the Uzbegs in battle. Besides tracing out the lines of Nadirabad, a town since merged in modern Kandahar, Nadir had taken advantage of the time ayailable and of opportunities presented to enlist a large number of men from the Abdali and Ghilzai tribes. It is said that as many as 16,000 were at his disposal. His rejection of the Shi‘ite tenets as a state religion seems to have propitiated the Sunnite Afghans.
Nadir had sent an ambassador into Hindustan requesting the Mogul emperor to order the surrender of certain unruly Afghans who had taken refuge within Indian territory, but no satisfactory reply was given, and obstacles were thrown in the way of the return of the embassy. The Persian monarch, not sorry perhaps to find a plausible pretext for encroachment in a quarter so full of promise to booty-seeking soldiers, pursued some of the fugitives through Ghazni to Kabul, which city was then under the immediate control of Nasr Khan, governor of eastern Afghanistan, for Mahommed Shah of Delhi. This functionary, alarmed at the near approach of the Persians, fled to Peshawar. Kabul had
Invasion of India.
long been considered not only an integral part but also one of the main gates of the Indian Empire; notwithstanding a stout resistance on the part of its commandant, Shir or Shirzah Khan, the place was stormed and carried (1738) by Nadir, who moved on eastward. Mirza Mahdi relates that from the Kabul plain he addressed a new remonstrance to the Delhi court, but that his envoy was arrested and killed, and his escort c0mpelled to return by the governor of Jalalabad. The same authority notes the occupation of the latter place by Persian troops and the march thither from Gandamak. It was probably through the Khaibar (Khyber) Pass that he passed into the Peshawar plain, for it was there that he first defeated the Imperial forces.
The invasion of India had now fairly commenced, and its successful progress and consummation were mere questions of time. The prestige of this Eastern Napoleon was immense. It had not only reached but had been very keenly felt at Delhi before the conquering army had arrived. There was no actual religious war; all sectarian distinction had been disavowed; the contest was between vigorous Mahommedans and effete Mahommedans. Nadir’s way had been prepared by circumstances, and as he progressed from day to day his army increased. There must have been larger accessions by voluntary recruits than losses by death or desertion. The victory on the plain of Karnal, whether accomplished by sheer fighting or the intervention of treachery, was the natural outcome of the previous situation, and the submission of the emperor followed as a matter of course. '
Delhi must have experienced a sense of relief at the departure of its conqueror, whose residence there had been rendered painfully memorable by carnage and riot. The marriage of his son to the granddaughter of Aurangzeb and the formal restoration of the crown to the dethroned emperor were doubtless politic, but the descendant of Babar could not easily forget how humiliating a chapter in history would remain to be written against him. The return march _of Nadir to Persia is not recorded with precision. On the 5th of May 1739 he left the gardens of Shalamar, and proceeded by way of Lahore and Peshawar through the passes to Kabul. Thence he seems to have returned to Kandahar, and in May 1740—just one year after his departure from Delhi—he was in Herat displaying the imperial throne and other costly trophies to the gaze of the admiring inhabitants. Sind was certainly included in the cession to him by Mahommed Shah of“ all the territories westward of the river Attok, ” but only that portion of it, such as Thattah (Tatta), situated on the right bank of the Indus.
From Herat he moved upon Balkh and Bokhara, and received the submission of Abu’l-Faiz Khan, the Uzbeg ruler, whom be restored to his throne on condition that the Oxus should be the acknowledged boundary between the two empires. The khan of Khwarizm, who had made repeated depredations in Persian territory, was taken prisoner and executed. Nadir then visited the strong fortress of Kelat, to which he was greatly attached as the scene of his boyish exploits, and Meshed, which he constituted the capital of his empire. He had extended his boundary on the east to the Indus, and to the Oxus on the north.
On the south he was restricted by the Arabian Ocean and Persian Gulf; but the west remained open to his further progress. He had in the first place to revenge thew mm death of his brother Ibrahim Khan, slain by the wj‘j. ’ Lesghians; and a campaign against the Turks might follow in due course. The first movement was unsuccessful, and indirectly attended with disastrous consequences. Nadir, when hastening to the support of some Afghan levies who were doing good service, was fired at and wounded by a stray assailant; suspecting his son, Riza Kuli, of complicity, he commanded the unfortunate prince to be seized and deprived of sight. From that time the heroism of the monarch appeared to die out. He became morose, tyrannical and suspicious. An easy victory over the Turks gave him but little additional glory; and he
'readily concluded a peace with the sultan which brought but insignificant gain to Persia.1 Another battle won from the Ottoman troops near Diarbekr by Nasr Ullah Mirza, the young prince who had married a princess of Delhi, left matters much the same as before.
The last years of Nadir’s life were full of internal trouble. On the part of the sovereign, murders and executions; on that of his subjects, revolt and conspiracy. Such a state of things could not last, and certain proscribed persons plotted the destruction of the half-demented tyrant. He was despatched by Salah Bey, captain of his guards (1747). He was some sixty years of age, and had reigned eleven years. About the time of setting out on his Indian expedition he was described as a most comely man, upwards of 6 ft., tall, well-proportioned, of robust make and constitution; inclined to be fat, but prevented by the fatigue he underwent; with fine, large black eyes and eyebrows; of sanguine complexion, made more manly by the influence of sun and weather; a loud, strong voice; a moderate wine-drinker; fond of simple diet, such as pilaos and plain dishes, but often neglectful of meals altogether, and satisfied, if occasion required, with parched peas and water, always to be procured.I
During the reign of Nadir an attempt was made to establish a British Caspian trade with Persia. The names of Jonas Hanway and John Elton were honourably connected with this undertaking; and theformer has left most valuable records of the time and country.
From Nadir Shah to the Kajar Dynasty—After the death of Nadir Shah something like anarchy prevailed for thirteen years in the greater part of Persia as it existed under Shah ‘Abbas. No sooner had the crime become knovvn than Ahmad Khan, chief of the Abdali Afghans, took possession of Kandahar and a certain amount of treasure. By the action of Ahmad Abdali, Afghanistan was at once lost to the Persian crown, for this leader was strong enough to found an independent kingdom. The chief of the Bakhtiaris, Rashid, also with treasure, fled to the'mountains, and the conspirators invited ‘Ali, a nephew of the deceased monarch, to ascend the vacant throne. The Bakhtiari encouraged his brother, ‘Ali Mardan, to compete for the succession to Nadir. The prince was welcomed by his subjects; he told them that the murder of his uncle was due to his own instigation, and, in order to conciliate them, remitted the revenues of the current year and all extraordinary taxes for the two years following.
Taking the title of ‘Adil Shah, or the “just” king, he commenced his reign by putting to death the two princes Riza Kuli and N asr Ullah, as well as all relatives whom he considered his competitors, with the exception of Shah Rukh, son of Riza Kuli, whom he spared in case a lineal descendant of Nadir should at any time be required. But he had not removed all dangerous members of the royal house, nor had he gauged the temper of the times or people. ‘Adil Shah was soon dethroned by his own brother, Ibrahim, and he in his turn was defeated by the adherents of Shah Rukh, who made their leader king. ,
This young prince had a better and more legitimate title than that of the grandson of Nadir, for he was also grandson, Shh Ramon the mother’s side, of the Safawid Shah Husain.
Amiable, generous and liberal-minded, and of prepossessing exterior, he proved to be a popular prince. But he was neither of an age nor character to rule over a people led by turbulent and disaffected chiefs, ever divided by the conflicting interests of personal ambition. Sa'id Mahommed, son of Mirza Daud, a chief mullah at Meshed, whose mother was the reputed daughter of Suleiman, declared himself king, and imprisoned and blinded Shah Rukh. Yusuf ‘Ali, the general commanding the royal troops, defeated and slew Suleiman, and replaced his master on the throne, reserving to himself the protectorship or regency. A new combination of chiefs, of which Ji‘afir the Kurd and Mir 'Alam the Arabian are the
Period of Mirth]
1 Creasy says the war broke out in 1743. but was terminated in 1746 by a treaty which made little change in the old arrangements fixed under Murad IV.
' F raser's History of Nadir Shah (1742).
principal names handed down, brought about the death of Yusuf 'Ali and the second imprisonment of Shah Rukh. These events were followed by a quarrel terminating in the supremacy of the Arab. At this juncture Ahmad Shah Abdali reappeared in Persian Khorasan from Herat; he attacked and took'possession of Meshed, slew Mir ‘Alam, and, pledging the local chiefs to support the blinded prince in retaining the kingdom of his grandfather, returned to Afghanistan. But thenceforward this unfortunate young man was a mere shadow of royalty, and his purely local power and prestige had no further influence whatever on Persia as a country. '
The land was partitioned among several distinguished persons, who had of old been hiding their opportunities, or were born of the occasion. Foremost among these was Mahommed Hasan Khan, hereditary chief of those Kajars gzlzzom who were established in the south-east corner of the Caspian. His father, Fath ‘Ali Khan, after sheltering Shah Tahmasp II. at his home in Astarabad, and long acting as one of his most loyal supporters, had been put to death by Nadir, who had appointed a successor to his chiefdom from the “ Yukari " or “ upper ” Kajars, instead of from his own, the “Ashagha,” or “ lower.”' Mahommed, with his brother, had fled to the Turkomans, by whose aid he had attempted the recovery of Astarabad, but had not succeeded in regaining‘a permanent footing there until Nadir had been removed. On the murder of the tyrant he had raised the standard of independence, successfully resisted Ahmad Shah and his Afghans, who sought to check his progress in the interests of Shah Rukh, and eventually brought under his own sway the valuable provinces of Gilan, Mazandaran and Astarabad‘—quite a little kingdom in itself. In the large important province of Azerbaijan, Azad Khan, one of Nadir’s generals, had established a separate government; and ‘Ali Mardan, brother of the Bakhtiari chief, took forcible possession of Isfahan, empowering Shah Rukh's governor, Abu’l-Fath Khan, to act for the new master instead of the old. I
Had ‘Ali Mardan declared himself an independent ruler he would have been by far the most important of the three persons named. But such usurpation at the old Safawid capital would have been too flagrant an act for general assent; so he put forward Isma‘il, a nephew of Shah Husain, as the representative of sovereignty, and himself as one of his two ministers—the other being Karim Khan, a chief of the Zend Kurds. Shah Isma'il, it need scarcely be said, possessed no real authority; but the ministers were strong men in their way, and the Zend especially had many high and excellent qualities. After a time ‘Ali Mardan was assassinated, and Karim Khan became the sole living power at Isfahan. The story of the period is thus told by R. G. Watson:—
“ The three rivals, Karim, Azad and Muhammad Hasan, roceeded to settle, by means of the sword, the question as to w ich of them was to be the sole master of Persia. A threesided war then ensued, in the course of which each of Stun" 0' the combatants in turn seemed at one time sure to be a" TM” the final conqueror. Karim, when he had arranged “"1" matters at lspahan, marched to the borders of Mazandarflu, where the governor of that province was ready to meet him. After a. closely contested battle victory remained with Muhammad Hasan; who, however, was unable to follow up the foe, as he_ had to return in order to encounter Azad. That leader had invaded Gilan, but, on the news reaching him of the victory which the governor of Mazandaran had gained, he thou ht it prudent to retrace his steps to Sultaniyah. Karim reunited his shattered forces at Tehran, and retired to Is ban to prepare for a second campaign. When he again took t e field it was not to measure himself once more with the Kajar chief, but to put down the pretensions of The wary Afghan, however, shut himself up_in Kazvin, a position from which he was enabled to inflict much ingry on the army of Karim, while his own troops remained unharmed,
hind the walls of the town. Karim retired a second time to
Ispahan, and in the following spring advanced. again to meet Azad. A pitched battle took place between 'them, in which the army of Karim was defeated. He retreated to the capital, closely pressed by the foe. Thence he continued his way to Shiraz, but Azad was still upon his traces. He then threw himself upon the mercy of the Arabs of the Garmsir or hot country, near the Persian Gulf, to whom the name of the Afghans was haiteful, and who rose in a bod to turn u on Azad. Karim, by their aid, once more rep’aired his losses an advanced on lspahan, while Muhammad Hasan with fifty thousand men was coming from the o posite direction, ready to encounter either the Afghan or the Zen . The Afghan did not await his coming, but retired to his government of Tabriz.
“ The Zend issued from Is ahan, and was a second time defeated in a pitched battle by the a'ar. Karim took refuge behind the walls of Shiraz, and all the e orts of the enem . to dislodge him were ineffectual. Muhammad Hasan Khan in the; following year turned his attention to Adarbaijan. Azad was no.longer in a position to oppose him in the field, and he in turn became master of every place of importance in the province;'while'Azed had to seek assistance in vain—~first from the pasha of Baghdad, and then from his former enemy, the tsar of Georgian; Next year, thecon uering Kajar returned to Shiraz to make an end'of the only rival w 0 now stood in his way. On his side Were 80,000 men, commanded by a
eneral who had twice defeated the Zend chief on an equal field.
rim was still obligedto takeshelter'in Shiraz, and to employ artifice in order to supply the place of the force in which he was deficient. Nor were his efforts in this respect unattended with success: seduced by his gold, many of the troops of the Kajar began to desert their banners; In the meantime the neighbourhood of Shiraz was laid waste, so as to destroy the source from which Muhammad Hasan drew his provisions; by gegrees his army vanished, and he had finally to retreat with rapi ity to Ispahan with the few men that remained to him. Finding his position there to be untenable, he retreated still farther to the country of his own tribe, while his rival advanced to Ispaha~n,'where he received the submission of nearly all the chief cities of Persia. The ablest of Karim’s officers, Shaikh ‘Ali, was sent in pursuit of the Kajar chief. The fidelity of the commander to whom that chieftain had confided the care of the pass leading into Mazandaran, was'corrupted; and, as no firrtherrretreat was open to'hirn, he found himself under the necessit of fighting. The combat which ensued resulted in his complete dc eat, although he presented to his followers an example of the most determined valour. While attempting to effect his escape he was recognized by the chief of the other branch of the Kajar tribe, who had deserted his cause, and who had a gloog-feud with him, in pursuance of whichhe now put him to eat .
" For nineteen years after this event Karim Khan ruled with the title of wakil, or regent, over the whole of Persia, excepting the Km“ Khan rovince of Khurasan. He made Shiraz the seat of
' is government, and by means of his brothers put down every attempt which was made to subvert his authority. The rule of the great Zend chief was just and mild, and he is on' the whole, considering his education and the 1circumstances under which he was placed, one of the most faultless characters to be met with in Persian history."
Karim Khan died at his capital in 1779 in the'twentieth year of his reign, and, it is said, in the eightieth of his age. He built the. great bazaar of Shiraz, had a tomb c0nstructed over the remains of Hafiz, and repaired the “ turbat ” at the grave of Sa‘di, outside the walls. He encouraged commerce and agriculture, gave much attention to the shores of the Persian Gulf, and carefully studied the welfare of the Armenian community settled in his dominions. In his time the British factory was remoVed from Bander Abbasi to Bushire. ‘
. On Karim’s death a new period of anarchy supervened. His brother, Zaki, a cruel and vindictive chief who, when governor of Isfahan, had revolted against Karim, assumed the government. At the same time he proclaimed
\bu ‘l-Fath Khan, second son of the deceased monarch, and his brother Mahommed ‘Ali, joint-successors to the throne. The seizure of the citadel at Shiraz by the adherents of the former, among whom were the more influential of the Zends, may have induced him to adopt this measure as onetof prudent conciliation. But the garrison held out, and, to avoid a protracted siege, he had recourse to treachery. The suspicious nobles were solemnly adjured to trust themselves to his keeping, under promise of forgiveness. They believed his ' professions, tendered their submission, and were cruelly butchered.- Zaki did not long enjoy the fruits of his perfidious dealing. The death of Karim Khan had raised two formidable adversaries to mar his peace;
Aga Mahommed, son of Mahommed Hasan, the Kajar chief of Astarabad, a prisoner at large in Shiraz, was in the environs.
oflthat city awaiting intelligence of the old king’s decease, and, hearing it, instantly e'smped to Mazandaran, there to gather his tribesmen together and compete for the crown of Persia. Taken prisoner by Nadir and barbarously mutilated by 'Adil Shah, he had afterwards 'found mmns to rejoin-'his people, but had surrendered himself to Karim Khan when his father was killed
. in battle. On the other hand, Sadik, brother to Zaki, who had
won considerable and deserved repute by the capture of Basra from the Turkish governor, abandoned his hold of the conquered town on hearing of the death of Karim, and appeared with his army before Shiraz. To provide against the intended action of the first, Zaki detached his nephew, ‘Ali Murad, at the head of his best troops to proceed with all speed to the north; and, as to the second, the seizure of such families of Sadik’s followers as were then within the walls of the town, and other violent measures, struck such dismay into the hearts of the besieging soldiers that they dispersed and abandoned their leader to his fate. From Kerman, however, where he found an asylum, the
, latter addressed an urgent appeal for assistance to ‘Ali Murad.
This chief, encamped at Teheran when the communication
“reached him, submitted the matter to his men, who decided
against Zaki, but put forward their own captain as the only master they would acknowledge. ‘Ali Murad, leaving the pursuit of Aga Mahommed, then returned to Isfahan, where he was received with satisfaction, on the declaration that his one object was to restore to his lawful inheritance the eldest son of Karim Khan, whom Zaki had set aside in favour of a younger brother.’ The sequel is full of dramatic interest. Zaki, enraged at his nephew’s desertion, marched out of Shiraz towards Isfahan. On his way he came to the town of Yezdikhast, where he demanded a sum of money from the inhabitants, claiming it as part of secreted revenue; the demand was refused, and eighteen of the head men were thrown down the precipice beneath his window; a “ saiyid,” or holy man,- was the next victim, and his wife and-daughter were to be given over to the soldiery, when a suddenly-formed conspiracy took effettt, and Zaki’s own life was taken in retribution for his guilt (1779).
When intelligence of these. events reached Kerman, Sadik Khan hastened to Shiraz, proclaimed himself king in place of Abu ‘l-Fath Khan, whom he declared incompe—‘Au M d. tent to reign, and put out the eyes of the young "'8 prince. He despatched his son Ji‘afir to assume the government of Isfahan, and watch the movements of 'Ali Murad, who appears to have been then absent from that city; and he gave a younger son, ‘Ali N aki, command of an army in the field. The campaign ended in the capture of Shiraz and assumption of sovereignty by ‘Ali Murad, who caused Sadik Khan to be put to death.
From this period up to the accession of Aga Mahommed Khan the summarized history of Markham will supply the principal facts required.
‘Ali Murad reigned over Persia until I 85, and carried on a successful war with Aga Mahommed in azandaran, defeating him in several en agements, and occupying Tehert'm and Sari. He died on his way mm the former place to IsfahanLand was succeeded by Ji'afir, son of Sadik,l who reigned at Shiraz, assisted in the government b an able but unpririCipled “ kalantar," or head magistrate, name Hajji Ibrahim. This ruler was poisoned by the agency of conlsfiirarors, one of whom, Saiyid‘ Murad, succeeded to t e throne. a ji Ibrahim, however, contrivin to maintain the loyalty of the citizens towards the Zend reigning amily, the usurper was killed, and Lutf ‘Ali Khan, son of Ji'atir, proclaimed Luff,“ king. He had hastened to Shiraz on hearin of his Kb father's death and received a warm welcome from the “' inhabitants. Hajji Ibrahim became his chief adviser, and a new minister was found for him in Mirza Hosain Shirazi. At the time of his accession Lurf 'Ali Khan was only in his twentieth year. very handsome, tall, graceful, and an excellent horseman. While differing widely in character, he was a worthy successor of Karim Khan, the great founder of the Zend dynasty. Lutf “Ali Khan had not been many months on the throne when A a Mahommed advanced to attack him, and invested the city of S iraz, but retreated soon afterwards to Teheran, which he had made the capital of his dominions. The young king then enjoyed a short period oLpeace.
Afterwards, in r790,.he collected his forces and marched against the Kajars, in the direction of Isfahan. But Hajji Ibrahim had been intriguing against his sovereign, to whose amily he owed everything, not only with his ofliccrs and soldiers but also with Aga Mahommed, the chief of the Kajars, and arch-enemy of the Zends. Lutf ‘Ali Khan was suddenly deserted by the whole of his army, exce t seventy faithful followers; and when he retreated to Shiraz he ound the gates closed against him b Hajji Ibrahim, who held the city for the Kajar chief. Thence alling back upon Bushire, he found that the sheikh of that town had also betm ed him. Surrounded by treason on every side, he boldly atta d and routed the chief of Bushire and blockaded Shiraz. His unconquerable valour gained him many followers, and he defeated an army sent against him by the Kajars in 1792.
Aga Mahommed then advanced in person against his rival. He encamped with an army of 30,000 men on the plain of Mardasht, near Shiraz. Lutf 'Ali Khan, in the dead of night, suddenly attacked the camp of his enem with only a few hundred followers. The Kajars were completey routed and thrown into confusion; but Aga Mahommed, with extraordinary presence of mind, remained in his tent, and at the first appearance of dawn his “.muezzin,"_ or public crier, was ordered to all the faithful to morning prayer as usual. Astonishecl at this, the few Zend cavaliers, thinking that the wholy army of Kajars had returned, fled with recipitation leaving the field in possession of Aga Mahommed. T e successful Ka'ar then entered Shiraz, and promoted the traitor Hajji Ibrahim to his vizier. Lutf 'Ali Khan took refuge with the hospitable chief of Tabbas in the heart of Khorasan, where he succeeded in collecting a few followers; but advancing into Fars, he was again defeated, and forced to take refuge at Kandahar.
In 1794, however, the undaunted prince once more crossed the Persian frontier, determined to make a last effort, and either regain
his throne or die in the attempt. He occu ied the Kinemmgof cit of Kerman, then a flourishing commercill town, ' ha f-way betWeen the Persian Guf and the province
of Khorasan. Aga Mahommed besieged it with a large army in I795, and, after a stout resistance, the gates were opened through treachery. For three hours the gallant young warrior fought in the streets with determined valour, but in vain. When he saw that all hope was gone he, with only three followers, fought his way through the Kajar host and esca to Bam-Narmashir, the most eastern district of the province 0 Kerman on the borders of Seistan.
Furious at the escape of his rival, the savage conqueror ordered a general massacre; 20,000 women and children were sold into slavery, and 70,000 eyes of the inhabitants of Kerman were brought to Aga Mahommed on a platter.
Lutf ‘Ali Khan took refuge in the town of Barn; but the governor of Narmashir, anxious to propitiate the conqueror, basely surrounded him as he was mounting his faithful horse Kuran to seek a more secure asylum. The young prince fou ht bravely; but, bein badly wounded and ove wered by num rs, he was secured an sent to the camp of the 'ar chief. The spot where he was seized at Barn, when mounting is horse, was marked by a p ramid, formed, by order of his revengeful enemy, of the skulls of t e most faithful of his adherents. The most hideous indi nities and atrocities were committed upon his person by the crue Kajar, and finally he was sent to Teherin and murdered, when only in his twentysixth year. Every member of his family and ever}; friend was ordered to be massacred by Aga Mahommed; and t e successful miscreant thus founded the dynasty of the Kajars at the price of all the best and noblest blood of Iran.
The Zend is said to be a branch of the Lak tribe, dating from the time of the Kaianian kings, and claims to have been charged with the care of the Zend-Avesla by Zoroaster himself.1 The tree attached to Markham’s chapter on the dynasty contains the names of eight members of the family only, Le. four brothers, one of whom had a son, grandson and great-grandson, and one a son. Four of the eight were murdered, one was blinded, and one cruelly mutilated. In one case a brother murdered a brother, in another an uncle blinded his nephew.
Kajar Dynasty.—Aga Mahommed was undoubtedly one of the most cruel and vindictive despots that ever disgraced a throne. But he was not without care for the honour of his empire in the eyes of Europe and the outer world, and his early career in Mazandaran gave him a deeply-rooted mistrust of Russia, with the officers of which power he was in constant contact. The following story, told by Forster,2 and varied by a later writer, is characteristic. A party of Russians having obtained permission to build a ‘ counting-house .” at Ashraf,
in the bay of that name, erected instead a fort with eighteen guns. Aga Mahommed, learning the particulars, visited the spot, expressed great pleasure at the work done, invited the officers to dine with him, imprisoned them, and only spared their lives when they had removed the whole of the cannon and razed the fort to the ground. This occurrence must have taken place about 1782.
Forster was travelling homeward by the southern shores of the Caspian in January 1784, and from him we gather many interesting details of the locality and period. He calls Aga Mahommed chief of Mazandaran, as also of Astarabad and “ some districts situate in Khurasan,” and describes his tribe the Kajar, to be, like the Indian Rajput, usually devoted to the profession of arms. Whatever hold his father may have had on Gilan, it is certain that this province was not then in the son’s possession, for his brother, Ji'afir Kuli, governor of Balfrush (Balfroosh), had made a recent incursion into it and driven Hidaiyat Khan, its ruler, from Resht to Enzeli, and Aga Mahommed was himself meditating another attack on the same quarter. The latter’s palace was at Sari, thena small and partly fortified town, thickly inhabited,and with a plentifully-supplied market. As “the most powerful chief in Persia ” since the death of lIliarim Khan, the Russians 'were seeking to put their yoke upon
As Aga Mahommed’s power increased, his dislike and jealousy of the Muscovite assumed a more practical shape. His victory over Lutf ‘Ali was immediately followed by an _c.,,,"ln expedition into Georgia. After the death of Nadir against the wall of that country had looked around him mm!"for the safest means of shaking off the yoke of Persia; and in course of time an opportunity had oflered of a promising kind. In 1783, when the strength of the Persian monarchy was concentrated upon Isfahan and Shiraz, the Georgian tsar Heraclius entered into an agreement with the empress Catherine by which all connexion with the shah was disavowed, and a quasi-vassalage to Russia substituted—the said empire extending her aegis of protection over her new ally. Aga Mahommed now demanded that Heraclius should return to his position of tributary and vassal to Persia, and, as his demand was rejected, prepared for war. Dividing an army of 60,000 men into three corps, he sent one of these into Daghestan, another was to attack Erivan, and with the third he himself laid siege to Shusha in the province of Karabakh. The stubborn resistance offered at the last-named place caused him to leave there a small investing force only, and to move on with the remainder of his soldiers to join the corps d’armée at Erivan. Here, again, the difficulties presented caused him to repeat the same process and to effect a junction with his first corps at Ganja, the modern Elisavetpol. At this place he encountered the Georgian army under Heraclius, defeated it, and marched upon Tiflis, which he pillaged, massacring and enslaving ' the inhabitants. Then he returned triumphant to Teheran, where (or at Ardebil on the way) he was publicly crowned shah of Persia. Erivan surrendered, but Shusha continued to hold Out. These proceedings caused Russia to_ enter the field. Derbent was taken possession of by Imhov, Baltu and Shumakhy were occupied and Gilan was threatened. The death of the empress, howeVer, caused the issue of an order to retire, and Derbent and Baku remained the only trophies of the campaign.
In the meantime Aga Mahommed’s attention had been called away to the east. Khorasan could hardly be called an integral part of the shah’s kingdom so long as it was under away," even the nominal rule of the blind grandson of In Nadir. But the eastern division of the province “"3"!”and its outlying parts were actually in the hands of the Afghans, and Meshed was not Persian in 1796 in the sense that Delhi was British at the outbreak of the Indian Mutiny. Shah Rukh held his position, such as it was, rather under Ahmad
‘ Lady Sheil says (1849) ; “ I saw a few of these unhappy captive. who all had to embrace Mahommedanism, and many of whom had risen to the highest stations, just as the Circassian slaves in Constantinople."