Mozaffar ad-Din Shah Qajar

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Mozaffar ad-Din Shah Qajar
Lion and Sun Emblem of Persia.svg
Shahanshah of Persia
Portrait of Muzaffar al-Din Shah Qajar by Kamal-ol-molk, 1902.jpg
Shah of Iran
Reign 1 May 1896 – 3 January 1907
Predecessor Naser al-Din Shah Qajar
Successor Mohammad Ali Shah Qajar
Born (1853-03-23)23 March 1853
Tehran, Persia
Died 3 January 1907(1907-01-03) (aged 53)
Tehran, Persia
Full name
Mozaffar al-Din Shah
Dynasty Qajar dynasty
Father Naser al-Din Shah
Mother Princess Shokuh-ol-saltaneh
Religion Shia Islam
Mozaffar ad-Din Shah Qajar depicted on a 10 toman gold coin dated AH1314 (c. 1896).
Mozaffar ad-Din Shah Qajar depicted on a 10 toman gold coin dated AH1314 (c. 1896).

Mozaffar ad-Din Shah Qajar, (Persian: Mozafar Ŝāhe Qājār‎‎, Muẓaffari’d-Dīn Shāh Qājār; 23 March 1853 – 3 January 1907) was the fifth Qajar king of Persia. He reigned between the years 1896 and 1907.

He is credited with the creation of the Persian constitution, and often wrongly credited with the rise of the Persian Constitutional Revolution which took place immediately after his death.[citation needed]


The son of the Qajar ruler Naser al-Din Shah Qajar, Mozaffar ad-Din was named crown prince and sent as governor to the northern province of Azarbaijan in 1861. He spent his 35 years as crown prince in the pursuit of pleasure; his relations with his father were frequently strained, and he was not consulted in important matters of state. Thus, when he ascended the throne in May 1896, he was unprepared for the burdens of office.

A Double Portrait of Mozaffar al-Din Shah, One of 274 Vintage Photographs. Brooklyn Museum
Full-length Portrait of Mozaffar al-Din Shah, One of 274 Vintage Photographs - Antoin Sevruguin Brooklyn Museum.

At Mozaffar ad-Din's accession Persia faced a financial crisis, with annual governmental expenditures far in excess of revenues due to the policies of his father. During his reign, Mozzafar ad-Din attempted some reforms of the central treasury; however, the previous debt incurred by the Qajar court, owed to both England and Russia, significantly undermined this effort. He had to make up the existing deficit by contracting more unpopular loans from Russia, which exacted political concessions in return.[citation needed]

The Shah and his retinue taking the waters at a French spa

Like his father he visited Europe three times. During these periods, on the encouragements of his chancellor Amin-os-Soltan, he borrowed money from Nicholas II of Russia to pay for his extravagant traveling expenses. During his first visit he was introduced to the "cinematographe" in Paris, France. Immediately falling in love with the silver screen the Shah ordered his personal photographer to acquire all the equipment and knowledge needed to bring the moving picture to Persia, thus starting Persian cinema.[1] The following is a translated excerpt from the Shah's diary:

Portrait of Shah Muzaffer-Ed-Din, 1903.

....[At] 9:00 P.M. we went to the Exposition and the Festival Hall where they were showing cinematographe, which consists of still and motion pictures. Then we went to Illusion building ....In this Hall they were showing cinematographe. They erected a very large screen in the centre of the Hall, turned off all electric lights and projected the picture of cinematography on that large screen. It was very interesting to watch. Among the pictures were Africans and Arabians traveling with camels in the African desert, which was very interesting. Other pictures were of the Exposition, the moving street, the Seine River and ships crossing the river, people swimming and playing in the water and many others that were all very interesting. We instructed Akkas Bashi to purchase all kinds of it [cinematographic equipment] and bring to Tehran so God willing he can make some there and show them to our servants.

Additionally, in order to manage the costs of the state and his extravagant personal lifestyle Mozzafar ad-din Shah was forced to sign many concessions, providing foreigners with monopolistic control of various Persian industries and markets. One example being the D'Arcy Oil Concession.

Widespread fears amongst the aristocracy, educated elites, and religious leaders about the concessions and foreign control resulted in some protests in 1906. These resulted in the Shah accepting a suggestion to create a Majles (National Consultative Assembly) in October 1906, by which the monarch's power was curtailed as he granted a constitution and parliament to the people. He died of a heart attack 40 days after granting this constitution and was buried in Masumeh shrine in Qom.

Carte de Visite with Portrait of Mozaffar al-Din Shah




  • Prince Mohammad-Ali Mirza E’tezad es-Saltaneh, later Mohammad-Ali Shah (1872–1925)
  • Prince Malek-Mansur Mirza Shoa os-Saltaneh (1880–1920)
  • Prince Abolfath Mirza Salar od-Dowleh (1881–1961)
  • Prince Abolfazl Mirza Azd os-Sultan (1882–1970)
  • Prince Hossein-Ali Mirza Nosrat os-Saltaneh (1884–1945)
  • Prince Nasser-od-Din Mirza Nasser os-Saltaneh (1897–1977)


List of Premiers

Historical anecdotes

Picture of Shah Mozaffar al-Din in the front page of Le Petit Journal, 1900.

The Shah visited the United Kingdom in August 1902 on the promise of receiving the Order of the Garter as it had been previously given to his father, Nasser-ed-Din Shah. King Edward VII refused to give this high honor to a non-Christian. Lord Lansdowne, the Foreign Secretary, had designs drawn up for a new version of the Order, without the Cross of St. George. The King was so enraged by the sight of the design, though, that he threw it out of his yacht's porthole. However, in 1903, the King had to back down and the Shah was appointed a member of the Order.[4]

A nephew of his wife was Mohammed Mossadeq, the Prime Minister of Iran during the Pahlavi dynasty that was overthrown by a coup d'état staged by the United Kingdom and the United States in the 1950s.

See also


  1. Iranian Cinema: Before the Revolution<!— bot-generated title —> at
  2. "Court Circular" The Times (London). Friday, 23 May 1902. (36775), p. 7.
  3. "Latest intelligence - Germany" The Times (London). Friday, 30 May 1902. (36781), p. 5.
  4. Philip Magnus, King Edward the Seventh (London: John Murray, 1964) pages 301–5.
  • Walker, Richard (1998). Savile Row: An Illustrated History
  • The translation of the travelogue in Issari's book: Cinema in Iran: 1900–1979 pages 58–59
  • Iranian Cinema: Before the Revolution at Iranian Cinema: Before the Revolution by Shahin Parhami.
  • Hamid Dabashi, Close Up: Iranian Cinema, Past, Present, and Future, 320 p. (Verso, London, 2001), Chapter 1. ISBN 1-85984-332-8

External links

  • Some fragmentary motion pictures of Mozaffar al-Din Shah Qajar: YouTube.
  • Portrait of Mozaffar al-Din Shah Qajar: [1].
  • Mohammad-Reza Tahmasbpoor, History of Iranian Photography: Early Photography in Iran, Iranian Artists' site, Kargah
  • History of Iranian Photography. Postcards in Qajar Period, photographs provided by Bahman Jalali, Iranian Artists' site, Kargah.
  • History of Iranian Photography. Women as Photography Model: Qajar Period, photographs provided by Bahman Jalali, Iranian Artists' site, Kargah.
  • Photos of qajar kings
Mozaffar ad-Din Shah Qajar
Born: 1853 Died: 1907
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Naser al-Din Shah Qajar
Shah of Persia
Succeeded by
Mohammad Ali Shah Qajar