Page:Frederic Shoberl - Persia.djvu/30

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PART I.

OF THE GOVERNMENT.




CHAPTER I.

OF THE KING—HIS FAMILY—HIS HOUSEHOLD—HIS REVENUES.

The government of Persia is monarchical, and the throne is at present filled by Feth Ali Shah, of the tribe of the Cadjars, the origin of which is as follows:—

During the reign of Shah Abbas I. considerable assemblages of Turkish families, collecting on the northern frontier of Persia, placed themselves under the protection of that monarch, and entered into his armies. Abbas received them most cordially; but apprehensive lest they might in process of time become too powerful, he dispersed them throughout his empire. Part of them repaired to Mazanderan, where they had to make head against the Usbecks and Turcomans; while others defended the provinces of the Persian Gulf against the attacks of the Arabs. The Persians witnessed with mortification the reception given by the king to these new-comers, whom they contemptuously denominated cadjars, or runaways, an appellation which they still retain. In a short time, however, the horde of Mazanderan acquired great reputation for valour; it frequently signalized itself during the reigns of Hussain and Thamasp, and formed even part of the body-guard of the latter of those princes. The Cadjars were then commanded by Feth Ali Khan, great-grandfather of the present monarch. He obtained, in 1723, the government of Mazanderan, and was ordered to drive the Afghans from Teheran; but being defeated by them, he retired to Asterabad. After the expulsion of the Afghans by Nadir Shah, Mazanderan was in a state of rebellion. Ibrahim, Nadir's brother, reduced it, took Feth Ali Khan, and put him to death. He is considered as the first chieftain who rendered his tribe renowned, and bore the title of prince. Some time after this event, his son was taken into favour by Nadir, who appointed him governor of Asterabad, a city on the Caspian Sea. This was the celebrated Mohammed Hassan Khan, who was highly renowned at the time for his wars with Kerim Khan. In 1743 he commanded a corps of troops at the siege of Moossool. After the death of Adel, the successor of Nadir, and his brother Ibrahim, Mohammed marched from Asterabad against the governor of Mazanderan, whom he defeated and took prisoner; routed the Afghans, and