Mozaffar ad-Din Shah Qajar

Mozaffar ad-Din Shah Qajar (Persian: مظفرالدین شاه قاجار, romanizedMozaffar ad-Din Ŝāh-e Qājār; 23 March 1853 – 3 January 1907), was the fifth shah of Qajar Iran, reigning from 1896 until his death in 1907. He is often credited with the creation of the Persian Constitution of 1906, which he approved of as one of his final actions as Shah.[2]

Mozaffar ad-Din Shah Qajar
Mozaffar ad-Din Shah Qajar portrait.jpg
King of Persia Mozaffar ad-Din Shah Qajar in 1906
Shah of Iran
Reign1 May 1896 – 3 January 1907
PredecessorNaser al-Din Shah Qajar
SuccessorMohammad Ali Shah Qajar
Prime MinisterMirza Nasrullah Khan
Born(1853-03-23)23 March 1853
Tabriz, Persia
Died3 January 1907(1907-01-03) (aged 53)
Tehran, Persia
SpousesTaj ol-Molouk
IssueSee below
Shahinshah al-Sultan Muzaffar al-Din Qajar Allah Khalad ul-Mulk[1]
FatherNaser al-Din Shah
MotherShokouh al-Saltaneh
ReligionShia Islam
TughraMozaffar ad-Din Shah Qajar's signature
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).


The son of the Qajar ruler Naser al-Din Shah Qajar, Mozaffar al-Din was named crown prince and sent as governor to the northern province of Azerbaijan 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 stereoscopic portrait of Mozaffar al-Din Shah. Brooklyn Museum.
Full-length portrait of Mozaffar al-Din Shah by Antoin Sevruguin. Brooklyn Museum.

At Mozaffar al-Din's accession Persia faced a financial crisis, with annual governmental expenditures far in excess of revenues as a result of 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 furthered this debt by borrowing even more funds from Britain, France, and Russia. The income from these later loans was used to pay earlier loans rather than create new economic developments. In 1908, oil was discovered in Persia but Mozzaffar ad-Din had already awarded William Knox D'Arcy, a British subject, the rights to oil in most of the country in 1901.[3]

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.[4] The following is a translated excerpt from the Shah's diary:

Caricature of Shah Muzaffer-Ed-Din, by "Spy". Vanity Fair, 1903. Original caption: 'Persia'.

....[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 decided to sign many concessions, providing foreigners with monopolistic control of various Persian industries and markets. One example was 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 Imam Husayn Shrine in Kerbala.

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 premiersEdit

Historical anecdotesEdit

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

The Shah visited the United Kingdom in August 1902 with the anticipation of also 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.[5]

A nephew of his wife was Mohammed Mossadeq, the Prime Minister of Iran during the Pahlavi dynasty. Mossadeq was overthrown by a coup d'état staged by the United Kingdom and the United States in 1953.


See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Yusuf, Mohamed (1988). A History of Afghanistan, from 1793 A.D. to 1865 A.D. New York University. ISBN 1466222417.
  2. ^ Farmanfarmaian, Manucher (1997). Blood and Oil: Memoirs of a Persian Prince. Random House. ISBN 9780679440550.
  3. ^ Cleveland, William L.; Bunton, Martin (2013). A history of the modern Middle East (Fifth ed.). Boulder, CO: Westview Press. p. 132. ISBN 9780813348339.
  4. ^ Iranian Cinema: Before the Revolution at
  5. ^ Philip Magnus, King Edward the Seventh (London: John Murray, 1964) pages 301–5.
  6. ^ "Ritter-Orden", Hof- und Staatshandbuch der Österreichisch-Ungarischen Monarchie, 1905, pp. 56, 67, retrieved 22 August 2020
  7. ^ "Latest intelligence - Germany". The Times. No. 36781. London. 30 May 1902. p. 5.
  8. ^ "Court Circular". The Times. No. 36775. London. 23 May 1902. p. 7.
  9. ^ "The Shah". The Times. No. 36867. London. 8 September 1902. p. 4.
  10. ^ Shaw, Wm. A. (1906) The Knights of England, I, London, p. 72
  • 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 linksEdit

  • 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: 23 March 1853 Died: 3 January 1907
Iranian royalty
Preceded by Shah of Iran
Succeeded by