By: Mir M.Hosseini
Fathali Shah was the nephew of Agha Mohammad Khan who ascended the throne on June, 17, 1797 after his uncle was murdered. His reign marked great territorial losses for Persia. Although he was praised for his vigorousness and intelligence by foreign diplomats, in their private notes, they described him as lazy and greedy.
Fathali Shah of Qajar dynasty who reigned in Iran for more than 36 years died in Isfahan. He was born in Damghan in 1771. After his uncle eunuch Mohammad Khan died, he became king. His real name was Khan Baba but he chose Fathali Shah as his crown name. The most dramatic event during his reign was separation of Transcaucasia (Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan) from Iran after wars lost to Russians. His son, Abbas Mirza was nominated as crown prince and his successor though he died before his father and thus Mohammad Shah became the next Qajar king.
As the Iranian army was technologically inferior against the imperial Russia, Fathali Shah sought help from other European countries. He signed a military agreement with Britain who refused to help claiming that the military agreement did not concern a Russian attack. Britain just followed her change of priorities in the war against Napoleon. Then Fathali Shah sent a diplomat to sign the Treaty of Finckenstein with France. Only later to see that the French made peace with Russia and turned their back on Iran. In the end, Iran had to settle for the best accommodation that could be made with Russia. An alternative with little or no benefit for Iranians that was hidden from the public for a long time.
Fathali Shah's heritage included 158 wives and 260 children. He thus gave way to a corrupt royal court sunk in lust and avarice. His spent much time and effort on ceremonial regalia, large-scale oil paintings and a phony court culture with rigid etiquette that negatively affected the Iranian culture to the extent of total degeneration. He employed writers and painters to make a book called Shahanshahnameh about his wars with Russia.
Abbas Mirza, his Crown Prince died in 1833 and he named his grandson Mohammad Mirza as his successor.