Nasser al-Din ShahQajar (16 July 1831 – 1 May 1896) (Persian: ناصرالدین شاه قاجار) was the King of Persia from 17 September 1848 to 1 May 1896 when he was assassinated. He was the son of Mohammad Shah Qajar and Malek Jahān Khānom and the third longest reigning monarch in Persian history after Shapur II of the Sassanid dynasty and Tahmasp I of the Safavid Dynasty. Nasser al-Din Shah had sovereign power for close to 50 years and was also the first Persian monarch to ever write and publish his diaries. Reign Diplomacy and wars
Naser al-Din was in Tabriz when he heard of his father's death in 1848, and he ascended to the Sun Throne with the help of Amir Kabir.
Naser al-Din had early reformist tendencies, but was dictatorial in his style of government. With his sanction, some Babis were killed after an attempt on his life. This treatment continued under his prime minister Amir Kabir, who even ordered the execution of the Báb – regarded as a manifestation of God to Bábí's and Bahá'ís, and to historians as the founder of the Bábí religion.
Unable to regain territory lost to Russia in the early 19th century, Naser al-Din sought compensation by seizing Herāt, Afghanistan, in 1856. Great Britain regarded the move as a threat to BritishIndia and declared war on Persia, forcing the return of Herāt as well as Persia recognition of the kingdom of Afghanistan.
Naser al-Din was the first modern Persian monarch to visit Europe in 1873 and then again in 1878 (when he saw a Royal Navy Fleet Review), and finally in 1889 and was reportedly amazed with the technology he saw there. During his visit to the United Kingdom in 1873, Naser al-Din Shah was appointed by Queen Victoria a Knight of the Order of the Garter, the highest English order of chivalry. He was the first Persian monarch to be so honoured. His travel diary of his 1873 trip has been published in several languages as Persian, German, French, and Dutch. In 1890 Naser al-Din met British Major Gerald F. Talbot and signed a contract with him giving him the ownership of the Persian tobacco industry, but he later was forced to cancel the contract after AyatollahMirza Hassan Shirazi issued a fatwa that made farming, trading, and consuming tobacco haram (forbidden). Consuming tobacco from the newly monopolized 'Talbet' company represented foreign exploitation, so for that reason it was deemed immoral. It even affected the Shah's personal life as his wives did not allow him to smoke.
This was not the end of Naser al-Din's attempts to give concessions to Europeans; he later gave the ownership of Persian customs incomes to Paul Julius Reuter. Reforms
Naser al-Din was effective in introducing several different western influences to Persia. He curbed the secular power of the clergy, introduced telegraphy and postal services, built roads, opened the first school offering education along Western lines, and launched Persia's first newspaper. He was the first Persian to be photographed and was a patron of photography who had himself photographed hundreds of times. His final prime minister was Ali Asghar Khan, who after the shah's assassination aided in securing the transfer of the throne to Mozaffar al-Din.
In 1852 Naser al-Din dismissed and executed Amir Kabir, the famous Persian reformer. With him, many believe, died the prospect of an independent Persia led by meritocracy rather than nepotism. In the later years of his rule, however, Naser al-Din steadfastly refused to deal with the growing pressures for reforms. He also granted a series of concessionary rights to foreigners in return for large payments that went into his own pockets. In 1872 popular pressure forced him to withdraw one concession involving permission to construct such complexes as railways and irrigation works throughout Persia. In 1890 he made an even greater error in granting a 50-year concession on the purchase, sale, and processing of all tobacco in the country, which led to a national boycott of tobacco and the withdrawal of the concession. This last incident is considered by many authorities to be the origin of modern Iranian nationalism. Naser al-Din was assassinated by Mirza Reza Kermani, a follower of Jamal al-Din al-Afghani, when he was visiting and praying in the shrine of Shah-Abdol-Azim. It is said that the revolver used to assassinate him was old and rusty, and had he worn a thicker overcoat, or been shot from a longer range, he would have survived the attempt on his life. Shortly before his death he is reported to have said "I will rule you differently if I survive!" Naser al-Din Shah's assassin was prosecuted by the Defence Minister Nazm ol Doleh. Naser al-Din was buried in the Shah-Abdol-Azim shrine, in Rayy near Tehran, where he was assassinated. His one-piece marble tombstone, bearing his full effigy, is now kept in the Golestan Palace Museum in Tehran and is renowned as a masterpiece of Qajar-era sculpture. ------ ...