A Persian Shah in Europe

A website called iroon.com has put together a video of Mozaffar ad-Din Shah Qajar, who ruled Iran (which most people outside Iran then called “Persia”) from 1896 until his death in 1907, based on photos, films, and even an audio recording from the three trips he made to Europe while he was Shah:

The Qajars were already wearing out their welcome in Persia when Mozaffar ad-Din succeeded his father, Naser al-Din (who was assassinated by a political dissident in 1896 and whose policies caused the Tobacco Protest in 1890 that is generally thought to have birthed modern Iranian nationalism). Mozaffar al-Din was handcuffed by massive state deficits that forced Iran to borrow heavily from the predatory European powers.

That would have been OK, I guess, except that Mozaffar al-Din put Iran, and the Iranian people, deeper into debt largely to finance his own lavish lifestyle, including but not limited to opulent European vacations. So it’s not really surprising that the last year of Mozaffar al-Din’s life coincided with the start of Iran’s 1905-1907 Constitutional Revolution, which aimed to end arbitrary rule and situate royal powers within some sort of legal framework.

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