Zand dynasty: Wikis


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سلسله زندیه
Zand dynasty



Zand Empire in 1782 at it's greatest extent
Capital Shiraz
Language(s) Persian (official)
Lori (native language of the ruling family)
Government Monarchy
 - 1750-1779 Karim Khan Zand (first)
 - 1789-1794 Lotf Ali Khan Zand (last)
 - Zand dynasty begins 1750
 - Qajar dynasty begins 1794
Faravahar background

History of Iran

Kings of Persia
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Saffarid dynasty 861–1003
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Sarbadars 1337–1376
Jalayerid dynasty 1339–1432
Timurid dynasty 1370–1506
Qara Qoyunlu 1407–1468
Aq Qoyunlu 1378–1508
Safavid dynasty 1501–1722/36
Hotaki dynasty 1722–1729
Afsharid dynasty 1736–1750
Zand dynasty 1750–1794
Qajar dynasty 1781–1925
Pahlavi dynasty 1925–1979
Interim Government 1979–1980
Islamic Republic since 1980


The Zand dynasty (About this sound Zand ) (سلسله زندیه) (formally known as the Zandieh dynasty) ruled southern and central Iran (1750–1794) in the eighteenth century. [1]




Karim Khan Zand

The dynasty was founded by Karim Khan, chief of the Zand tribe which was from the Lek / Laki . Lakki is the language of Kurdish tribes interspersed among the population of Northern Luristan.[2] He became one of Nadir Shah's generals.[3] Nadershah moved the Zand tribe from their home in lakestan to the eastern steppes of Khorasan. After Nader’s death, the Zand tribe, under the guidance of Karim Khan, went back to their original land.[4] After Adil Shah was made king Karim Khan and his soldiers defected from the army and along with Ali Morad Khan Bakhtiari and Abolfath Khan Haft Lang, two other local chiefs, became a major contender but was challenged by several adversaries.[5] Abolfath Khan was the Prime Minister, Karim Khan became the army chief commander and Ali Morad Khan became the regent.[5] Karim Khan declared Shiraz his capital. He gained control of central and southern parts of Iran. In order to add legitimacy to his claim, Karim Khan placed the infant Shah Ismail III, the grandson of the last Safavid king in 1757 on the throne. Ismail was a figurehead king and real power being vested in Karim Khan. Karim Khan chose to be the military commander and Alimardan Khan was the civil administrator. Soon enough Karim Khan managed to eliminate his partner as well as the puppet king and in 1760, founded his own dynasty. He refused to accept the title of the king and instead named himself The Advocate of the People.

By 1760 Karim Khan had defeated all his rivals and controlled all of Iran except Khorasan, in the northeast, which was ruled by Shah Rukh. His foreign campaigns against Azad Khan in Azerbaijan and against the Ottomans in Mesopotamia brought Azerbaijan and the province of Basra into his control. But he never stopped his campaigns against his arch-enemey, Mohammad Hassan Khan Qajar, the chief of the Ghovanloo Qajars. The latter was finally defeated by Karim Khan and his sons, Agha Mohammad Khan and Hosseingholi Khan, were brought to Shiraz as hostages.

Karim Khan's monuments in Shiraz include the famous Arg of Karim Khan, Vakil Bazaar, and several mosques and gardens. He is also responsible for building of a palace in the town of Tehran, the future capital of the Qajar dynasty.

Decline and Fall

Karim Khan's death in 1779 left his territory vulnerable to threats from his enemies. His son and successor Abu al-Fath was an incompetent ruler who was heavily influenced by his half uncle (and Karim Khan's commander), Zaki Khan. Other rulers such as Ali Morad and Jafar Khan also failed to follow the policies of Karim Khan and soon enough, the country was under attack from all sides.

The biggest enemies of the Zands, the Qajar chiefs, lead by the former hostage, Agha Mohammad Khan, were advancing fast against the declining kingdom. Finally, in 1789, Lotf Ali Khan, a grand-nephew of Karim Khan, declared himself the new king. His reign (until 1794) was spent mostly in war with the Qajar khan. He was finally captured and brutally killed in the fortress of Bam, putting an effective end to the Zand Dynasty.

Politically, it is also important that the Zands, especially Karim Khan, chose to call themselves Vakilol Ro'aya (Advocate of the People) instead of kings. Other than the obvious propaganda value of the title, it can be a reflection of the popular demands of the time, expecting rulers with popular leanings instead of absolute monarchs who were totally detached from the population, like the earlier Safavids.

After the Islamic Revolution of 1979 the Zand was the only dynasty whose names on public places and monuments were not removed by the new Republican government. Interestingly, a union was formed between the Zands and the Qajars in so far as Karim Khan's daughter, Bolour Khanum Zandieh married Mohammad Shah Qajar and bore him two daughters, Princess Ozra and Princess Effat ed-Dowleh [6].


Zand era art sample, dated 1790.

The Zand era was an era of relative peace and economic growth for the country. Many territories that were captured by the Ottomans in the late Safavid times were taken back and Iran was once again a coherent and prosperous country. After Iranian painting reached its height at the end of the 17th century, a special school of painting took shape during the Zand era in the 17th and 18th centuries.[7] The art of this era is remarkable and despite the short length of the dynasty, a distinct Zand art had the time to emerge. Many Qajar artistic traits were copied from the Zand examples.

In foreign policy, Karim Khan attempted to revive the Safavid era trade by allowing the British to establish a trading post in the port of Bushehr. This opened the hands of the British East India company in Iran and increased their influence in the country.[8] The taxation system was reorganized in a way that taxes were levied fairly. The judicial system was fair and generally humane. Capital punishment was rarely implemented.[9]

Zand Benevolent

Esteemed academic John Perry (the leading English authority on Karim Khan Zand's era) writes of this forward thinking and notably popular leader, Karim Khan Zand, a man before his time, that by opening up international trade, employing a fair fiscal system and showing respect for existing religious institutions, Karim Khan succeeded in creating a peaceful and prosperous state in a particularly turbulent epoch of history.[10]

So Karim Khan Zand was a model leader, an inspiration of his time and still one for Iran today. It is to commemorate this great man's achievements and to continue his down-to-earth humanitarianism, that the Zand Benevolent Trust has been set up by a number of Karim Khan Zand's descendants, including Nazenin Khajeh-Noori and Michael-Mehrdod Khajeh-Noori, both great grand children of Bolour Khanum Zandieh, the daughter of Karim Khan Zand, who married the Qajar King,Mohammad Shah[11]. The Zand Benevolent Trust is a global charity dedicated to bringing hope and relief to children and the vulnerable.[12] The related Noble Order of Zand annually selects a handful of unsung heroes to whom honorary Order of the Zand membership is offered together with a small cash prize. The first award was to George Hoskins, Founder, Chief Executive and Research Co-ordinator of The WAVE Trust (Worldwide Alternatives to ViolencE) in recognition of his remarkable efforts, enabling The WAVE Trust to make progress in working to prevent violence and child abuse by tackling it at its roots and making headway at a government and international level and the path to a world where compassion, empathy and peace can genuinely be the norm is that bit more realistic.[13]

Rulers / Kings of the Zand dynasty پادشاهان زند

Vakeel mosque, Shiraz. Karim-khan Zand, and Lotf-ali Khan Zand are remembered well by the people of Shiraz.

Family tree


Bodaq Khan Zand

Agha Beygom
Inaq Khan Zand
Allah Morad Khan
Agha Beygom
Karim Khan
Sadiq Khan
Koda Morad Khan
Ali Murad Khan
Abol Fath Khan
Mohammad Ali Khan
Jafar Khan Zand
Sayed Murad Khan
Lotf Ali Khan

External links

See also


  1. ^ Insert footnote text here
  2. ^ Vladimir Minorsky, "The Guran" in Bulletin of School of Oriental and African Studies, 11, No. 1, (1943).
  3. ^ History of Iran: Zand Dynasty
  4. ^
  5. ^ a b History of Iran
  6. ^
  7. ^ New Page 1
  8. ^ Iran & Iranian History - Afshar and Zand :: Iran Visitor
  9. ^ History of Iran - Kajar Dynasty - InfoHub
  10. ^ Makers of the Muslim World Series -Karim Khan Zand, by John R. Perry, Oneworld Publications Oct 2006, ISBN: 1851684352
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^


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