1906 Revolution  Iranians fought and gained the right to have a democratic constitutional monarchy which except for brief periods did not function as intended. Unfortunately these brief periods of freedom were marred by corruption, election rigging, infighting and bitter rivalry.  The leaders of the 1906 revolution could not actually believe when in 1906  the good intentioned Qajar king Mozzafar Al Din Shah granted their wishes for a justice system, a constitution and national parliament without bloodshed.  Their distrust of the Qajar court was well founded as his successor Mohammad Ali Shah tried to return to absolute monarchy using many dirty tactics, eventually disgracing himself by ordering his troops to bombard the Parliament. He used were the Iranian Cossack brigade whose officers at the time were Russians led by Colonel Liakhov.  This sparked a rebellion in many cities and eventually a civil war which culminated in his dethronement. He further disgraced himself by seeking sanctuary  with the Russian Embassy and fleeing to Russia. 

1907 Treaty The economic and political life of Persia, like that of other monarchies of the Middle East, was dominated by the European powers, in Persia's case by Russia and Britain.  Russia was a neighbour in the Caucasus and Tukestan; Britania was a neighbour in India and the Persian Gulf. Unbeknown to Iran the 1907 Treaty was agreed and signed by Russia and Britain government representatives on 31 August 1907 in Moscow. 

The two colonial powers agreed to divide Iran into three sections, with the south becoming the British ''sphere of influence'', the north similarly as a Russian zone and a central strip as the neutral (Iranian controlled) zone.  The treaty also covered Tibet and Afghanistan.  Since the time  the British had colonized India, Iran had become one of the main arenas for competition and intrigue between the two colonial powers.  

The Russian ambition has always been to gain access to the warm seas and the British wanted to protect the jewel in the crown (India).  Long before their interest in Iranian oil (oil was first discovered in Iran by the British in 1906), the British were mindful of the threat to India from the west and were determined to stop any threat to India via Iran at the expense of the Iranians' rights or independence. Despite suffering for years Iran is in someways lucky as it has survived more or less in tact, our neighbours were not so lucky and are to  this day suffering.  One only needs to look at the tragedy of our neighbour Afghanistan which played a similar role as cushion between these two powers,  other countries (Caucaus, Chechnya, Azerbijan, Turkemnestan) simply became Russian satellites. For a fascinating account of how the competition between Russia and Britain in Central Asia started see The Great Game by Peter Hopkirk.  

In 1917 the British updated the treaty with Russia and removed the Persian zone entirely and divided the country among themselves. 

AH Latin Anno Hegirae  ‘’in the year of Hegira’’ It is the western abbreviation for the Islamic (Arabic) lunar calendar. For further information please see the various Islamic sites and its conversion problems (Calendar).

Atabak Qajar title for the serving prime ministerst, the word is Azari/Turkish meaning Grand Father, teacher or coach to Princes.

Prince Ain Al Doleh Qajar  Nasser Al Din Shah's son, one of the most fierce opponents of constitutional monarchy, at one stage he had to be removed from his post as prime minister by Mozzafar Al Din Shah and sent to Khorasan as the governor of that province, responsible for the siege of Tabriz.

Amin Al Sultan Atabak Azzam, Mirza Ali Asghar Khan, of Georgian origin, his father worked in Nasser Al Din Shah's royal kitchens, yet he became prime minister during his reign and his son's reign. Amin Al Sultan's readiness to do the bidding for his master and fill in his own cofers are legendary. The granting the rights to government resources to foriegn governments are well recorded. Received the title Atabak Azam from Mozzafar Al Din Shah probably around 1279 HS (1900/1).

Bashi [Azari Turkish origin] means Chief, Commander (indeed the Turcomen used it as a military term), Head. As it applied to doctors in Persia, it meant chief physician. 

Bernier, Franois  was a French physician and traveller. He was born in 1625 at Angers and died in 1688 at Paris. He visited Egypt, India and Palestine, spending twelve years in India as the physician to the Great Mogul Emperor Aurengzib.  For an account of his travels see Travels in the Moghul [Mongol] Empire Ad 1656-1668.

Persian Cossack Brigade  From 1885 the Shah was guarded by the Cossack Brigade, generally cosisting of Turkish-speaking soldiers form the north-west of Persia (including soldiers from parts of north west Iran which were annexed by Russia, migrating south rather than accept Russian rule), trained and commanded by Russian Officers, who were responsible not only to the Shah but also to the Russian Viceroy of the Causcasus.  It was soon the most reliable armed force in the capital and later the forerunner of the modern Iranian army.

Hejri Shamsie Iranian Calender, Iranians were one of the first to use a solar calendar as calculated by the famous mathematician and poet Omar Khyaam in the middle ages - but it was not officially adopted until earlier this century. The Iranian Calendar is more accurate than the Georgian Calendar. The current calendar is Islamic and is like all the other Islamic calendars is based on the migration of the Prophet Mohammad from Mecca to Medina and is called Hejri Al Shamsie in Persian, Hejri is Arabic for migration and Shamsie means of the Shams which is the sun. Reference: Ross, K. L. ``Iranian Calendars.'' 

Ahamad KasraviKasravi, Ahmad  Historian, born on September 29, 1890 (8 Mehr 1269) in Tabriz, which at the time had a population of 150,000 to 200,000 people, 318 mosques and 8 Imamzadehs [shrines].  While still in his teens Kasravi warmed to the principles and ideals of the Iranian Constitutional Movement in spite of his ultra conservative religious background and the atmosphere of the poor, backward section of Tabriz in which he grew up.  Having reached the status of mullah [priest] at the age of twenty, Kasravi flatly repudiated all that he considered to be unenlightened and repressive in the education, precepts and practices of the Shia branch of Islam and turned wholeheartedly to the pursuit of knowledge, truth and social justice. He taught Arabic at the Presbyterian-run American Memorial School in Tabriz, contributed to the liberal journals in Egypt and Syria, wrote an Arabic grammar book for the Ministry of Education in Azarbaijan. 

From 1921 to 1933 Kasravi was a Judge in the Ministry of Justice, serving in Damavand, Zanjan, Khorasan, and Khuzestan where he tried to establish legal authority in face of the power of the British minion in the Iranian oil field area, Sheikh Khaz'al the Amir of Mohammareh.  In mid 1920's at the time of Ali Akbar Davar's reorganization of the ministry, he rose to be chief of the Courts of First Instance in Tehran. In that position he constantly annoyed Davar with his manner of administering justice and frequently ruling against the interests of the power elite. Eventually he ran afoul of the Royal Court which wanted to confiscate some villages near Tehran (Evin), to hand over to a fractious mullah. The farmers sought judicial assistance and Kasravi ruled against the Royal Court of Reza Shah, going the same day to Evin to make sure that his decree was enforced. Kasravi published almost one hundred books and essays between 1932 and 1946, all of them dealing primarily with Iran except for a history of America, a translation of Plutarch selections from English to Persian, and an essay entitled "A Message to the Scholars of Europe and America", written during the second World War.  He published PaymAn, for seven consecutive years and for one year he printed a daily newspaper Parcham (Flag), which also appeared in weekly form. 

Among his most famous historical books are:  History of the Constitution of Iran, History of 18 years in Azarbaijan, Azari, Ancient Language of Azarbaijan, Little History of the Lion and the Sun and Shi-ism.

Manucci Niccolao was a native of Venice. He reached India in 1656. He was an artillaryman in Dara's army and managed to attach himself in disguise to Aurengzeb's army.  He subsequently took up residence in the Mongol court and had various positions of responsibility in the Mongol court (which included serving as a physician in 1670's). He practically spent a life time in India and died in Madras in the year 1717.

Nasser-e-Din Shah QajarNasser Al Din Shah, Qajar reigned 1848-96, Trips to Europe 1873 & 1878, July 1889 (last trip), granted Reuter consession of 1872 which called for almost all potential sources of wealth and revenue to be handed over to a British company, granted in 1890 concession for the entire tobacco industry to the British which later in 1892 had to withdraw, his son Zel Al Sultan (Shadow of the King) as an anglophile, receives Grand Cross of the Order of the Star of India (seen as protection in case of danger to the its holder), other son Nayeb Al saltaneh (Lieutenant of the Kingdom) who in 1896 became a British subject.

Persian Titles  Titles in Iran were often hereditory, often signifying the profession or the family's feudal status. Other titles are religious.  

Qajar Titles There are various examples such as Hakim Al Molk (literally physician to the land meaning to the imperial court), Moayyer Al Mamalek (treasurer) or Malek Al Shoaara (poet laureate). As in other countries, titles were used and abused as part of a class system. When Reza Shah abolished all titles and introduced an identity card system, the old  families often modified their title and made it into their surnames, hence the family name Hakimi.

For a full explanation of Persian and Qajar titles please refer to The Monarchist Society Home Page

Religious Titles Various religious titles were used in Iran and Moslem countries. The significant ones are Seyyed which is used for descendents of Profit Mohammad's family. Haj or Haji was used by moslem (men) who had attened the annual religious Haj ceremony in the holy city of Mecca in [Saudi] Arabia. 

General Titles

Khan This word is a title for men. It means Lord, or Master. It is a feudal title.  When Reza Shah introduced the law making it compulsory to register births and have proper surnames, the use of all forms of titles was prohibited, including general titles like Khan or specific titles like Al-Molk, Al-Saltaneh etc.  However in a number of neighbouring countries who adopted the same system years later the latter rule was not followed, so that is why many Pakistanis for instance have the surname Khan which is a title not a name!

Mirza short for Amirzadeh meaning born of a leader or chief, therefore Prince, but also came to describe those who could read and write thus describing a male secretary.

Prince Nossrat Al Doleh Firouz (Prince Farmanfarma's son) became foreign minister in 1919. He is the worst example of the corrupt Qajar nobility keen to serve a foreign master. There were many like him which made the Iranian situation so desparate. In December of 1919 in exchange for a bribe of 100,000 from the British Government, an enormous sum of money in those days,  together with the Prime Minister Vosogh Al Doleh and the Minister of Finance agreed the shameful 1919 treaty with the British Government  (see 2). Three senior members of the government, the prime minister, the foreign minister , the finance minister and Sultan Ahmad Shah the king himself received bribes according to British Government records released 30 years later. The treaty  was never ratified by the Iranian Parliments. 

The opposition to the treaty by the people of Iran and its parliments made the government of the country impossible in subsequent years. The treaty would have given the British total control of Iran as the treaty called for Iran to hand the control if its economy and military to the British.  This treaty was the brain child of Lord Curzon who took the Iranian Parlimants' refusal to ratify the treaty and its subsequent abject failure personally, thus making life impossible for subsequent Iranian governments. The British used all methods to bring pressure and cripple the Iranian Government into submission. This main weapon used against Iran was the withdrawl of finance from the Iranian Governments (the British ran the banking system). One should also consider the world situation at that time, the Great War (First World War) had just ended and the Russian Revolution had removed any counter balance effect from the other main colonial power, leaving Iran totally exposed to the British. The misery of the Iranian situation was one of the main factors which brought the inevitable fall of the Qajar dynasty.   

For his services Nossrat Al Douleh  received hounours and decorations from the British government such as the Star of India and St Michael (from George V) medals. Later he returned to Iran under instructions from Lord Curzon who was increasingly concerned about the threat of Bolshevism from Russia, the Prince drove his Rolls Royce all the way from England in 1923 in order to take over the government and arrange a coup in favour of the British.  His plans did not succeed as Mir Panj [General] Reza Khan (later became Reza Shah) was given the means (mainly in the form of  food, clothing and funds for the cossack troops under his command) by General Sir Edmond Ironside the British military commander in charge of withdrawl of British troops from [Northern] Iran who was acting on his own and against the plans of Curzon, to make a coup-de-tat. After the coup Prince Nossrat Al Douleh was arrested by the military government of Reza Khan who  angrily dismissed the pleas by Mr. Norman the British representative in Iran who had interceded on the Prince's behalf.  In answer to Reza Khan's question as to why the Prince should be released, Norman suggested that since the Prince was decorated by the British monarch, implying he was under the protection of the British and Reza Khan ought to release him. The latter retorted angrily that perhaps it was better for the British Government to take back its honours from an Iranian subject. This was completely unprecendented and the British were not used to being treated in such a manner.  One must bear in mind that Iranians were used to having to defer to the British and Russians.

Sardar Mohebi Moe'z Al Sultan one of the bravest leaders of the Gilan revolution in 1909, one of the many rebellions against Mohammad Ali Shah Qajar to restore democracy in Iran, Sardar Mohebi participated in the rebellion and in the ensuing fight to capture the governor of Gilan Agha Bala Khan Sardar Afkham (see photo [4th military commander]) completely unarmed! He overcame his comrades objections by saying they could shoot him on the spot if he was caught attempting to run from the fight as a consequence of not having arms.

Sardar Afkham, Agha Bala Khan see Sardar Mohebi above despite pleas by Sardar Mohebi he resulted arrest by the revolutioneers in Gilan and was killed (see description of the rebellion in Gilan by Dr Navaie 6).

Tabatabaie Mr Tabatabie was one of the senior clerics and later a progressive leader of the movement for constitutional monarchy (1906 revolution).

Tabriz is a city in North West Iran, the capital of (Iranian) Azerbijan.It was traditionally the seat of government for the Qajar crown princes who were appointed governors of Azarbaijan [Azerbijan]