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Agha Mohammad Khan, the Founder of the Qajarid Dynasty of Iran

Compiled By: Syed Ali Shahbaz
On June 17, 1797 AD, Agha Mohammad Khan, the Founder of the Qajarid Dynasty of Iran, was assassinated at the age of 56, three years after crowning himself the Shah. Son of the tribal leader, Mohammad Hassan Khan, he was castrated at the age of 6 on the orders of Adil Shah Afshar to prevent him from becoming a political rival, but this loss did not hinder his career, although it made him cruel and merciless.
He became chief of the Qajarid tribe in 1758, but four years later he was captured and sent to Shiraz as a hostage at Karim Khan Zand’'s court, where he lived for 16 years, until his escape in 1779. The same year, the death of Karim Khan plunged Iran into a series of civil wars over the succession, with many members of the Zand dynasty ascending the throne in the space of only ten years.
Agha Mohammad Khan took the opportunity to launch a rebellion and in 1794 succeeded in capturing Lotf Ali Khan, the last Zand ruler. Two years later he proclaimed himself Shahanshah (King of Kings). He was, however, a man of extreme violence who killed almost all who could threaten his hold on power.
In 1795 he conquered Georgia in the Caucasus, which was formerly part of the Safavid Empire. In the same year he also conquered Khorasan and tortured to death its ruler Shah Rukh, the grandson of Nader Shah Afshar. In 1796 he moved his capital from Sari in his home province of Mazandaran to Tehran. Although the Russians took Derbend in Daghestan and briefly occupied Baku in Northern Azerbaijan in 1796, he successfully expanded Iranian influence into the Caucasus, reasserting sovereignty over its former dependencies. He was succeeded by his nephew, Fath Ali Shah.

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