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    The Cambridge History of Iran
    • Online ISBN: 9781139054997
    • Book DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521200950
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Book description

This final volume of The Cambridge History of Iran covers the period from 1722 to 1979. Part I sets out the political framework. Beginning in the reign of Nadir Shah, it traces the establishment of the Qajar dynasty and the rise and fall of the Pahlavi autocracy. Part II discusses relations with the Ottoman Empire, Russia, European countries, Britain and British India. Part III covers economic and social developments, including systems of land tenure and revenue administration, the tribes, the traditional Iranian city, European economic penetration and the impact of the oil industry. In Part IV religious and cultural life is examined. There are chapters on religious change and Iranian arts and crafts - including architecture, ceramics, painting, metalwork and textiles, from the eighteenth to the twentieth centuries - and popular entertainment, literature, and the press in modern Iran. The contributors to this volume represent the most informed and up-to-date international scholarship on the region. Together they have provided a unique survey of the modern period in Iranian history, leading up to the formation of the Islamic Republic.

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Page 1 of 2


  • 1 - NĀDIR SHĀH AND THE AFSHARID LEGACY
    pp 1-62
  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521200950.002
  • View abstract
    Summary
    The two main Persian-language accounts preface the history of Nadir Shah with observations on the stricken state of Iran after the collapse of the Safavid Empire. Nadir is introduced as Iran's saviour. Both these sources provide detailed comment on the pretenders to the Safavid throne who appeared between 1722 and the 1750s. This chapter furnishes some indication of the results within Iran of Nadir Shah's tumultuous reign, and it could be argued that Russian penetration into the Caucasus and eventual permanent acquisition, to the detriment of the Ottoman Empire, of the Crimea were both partly consequences of his wars against the Porte and expeditions in the Caucasus. Then, it talks about the Afsharid legacy. The chapter also deals with Agha Muhammad Khan Qajar's restoration of the province of Khurasan to an Iran which it had been his task again to reunify after the collapse of Nadir's dominion had once more splintered it.
  • 2 - THE ZAND DYNASTY
    pp 63-103
  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521200950.003
  • View abstract
    Summary
    The early months of 1751 mark the beginning of Karim Khan's rule as viceroy of the nominal king Ismā‘īl III, a position to be hotly disputed for twelve more years but never wrested from him. From Isfahan he appointed provincial governors and nominated his kinsmen commanders of the armies in the Zand homeland, the Zagros provinces and the approaches to the still unsubdued Kirmanshah fortress. During the greater part of this period the Zand ruler was more actively occupied with affairs on the Persian Gulf. The Iranian littoral of the Gulf, from the Shatt al-‘Arab to the Strait of Hurmuz, was dominated by a series of petty Arab shaikhs and their often intractable subjects. For the most part Sunni Muslims, they remained aloof from their Iranian neighbours, and paid tribute to inland rulers only when these could afford to send armed expeditions to enforce it; even then, they would often escape temporarily to the offshore islands.
  • 3 - ĀGHĀ MUHAMMAD KHĀN AND THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE QĀJĀR DYNASTY
    pp 104-143
  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521200950.004
  • View abstract
    Summary
    This chapter explains Agha Muhammad Khan's career within the context of the rise of the Qajars. Agha Muhammad Khan's career may be divided into four phases. First is his early years and confinement in Shiraz, which ended in 1193/1779. Secondly, a period of about six years from 1193/1779 to 1199-1200/1785, during which he consolidated his power-base in the Alburz region and extended his control over much of northern and north-western Iran. The third phase, between 1199-1200/1785 and 1208-09/1794, began with the wresting of Iraq-i Ajam, from the Zands, and ended with the conquest of Fars and Kirman, and the death of Lutf Ali Khan Zand. In the fourth phase, between 1208-09/1794 and 1211-12/1797, Agha Muhammad Khan, now master of the greater part of the Iranian plateau and of the territory formerly controlled by the Zands, ravaged the erstwhile Safavid province of Gurjistan (Georgia) in response to the intransigence of its ruler, proclaimed himself Shah, and conquered Khurasan.
  • 4 - IRAN DURING THE REIGNS OF FATH ‘Alī SHāH AND MUHAMMAD SHāH
    pp 144-173
  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521200950.005
  • View abstract
    Summary
    Fath Ali Shah seems to have aimed at ruling in accordance with those concepts of Iranian Shahanshahi which the age of the Safavids had come to symbolize. Fath Ali Shah had five prime ministers in thirty-seven years and Muhammad Shah, two in fourteen years. The size and effectiveness of the army under Fath Ali Shah and Muhammad Shah fluctuated in response to need and fiscal exigency. It was organized into two distinct sections: traditional forces dating from the time of Agha Muhammad Khan, and units on the European model favoured by Abbas Mirza. The traditional part comprised three categories of troops: royal ghulams, irregular tribal levies, and the militia. Throughout the lifetimes of both Fath Ali Shah and Muhammad Shah, Iran was still, in almost every respect, a medieval Muslim society largely self-sufficient in most of its material needs as well as in its cultural identity.
  • 5 - IRAN UNDER THE LATER QĀJĀRS, 1848–1922
    pp 174-212
  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521200950.006
  • View abstract
    Summary
    Before discussing the vicissitudes of late Qajar politics, it would be useful to try to understand how 19th century Iranian politics worked. The middle decades of the 19th century brought promises of change for many Iranians. It must be borne in mind that the internal politics were to a considerable degree controlled not only from behind the scenes, as they are in many countries, but even from beyond Iran's borders. Several Azali Babis, as the latter group was known, became active in opposition movements such as the Constitutional Revolution. Some Iranians now began to plan revolutionary action, and revolutionary sentiment was strengthened by the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-05 and the Russian Revolution of 1905. Iranians knew that Russia would intervene against any attempt to overthrow or undermine Qajar government, but with the Russian government fully occupied first with war and then with revolution, it was clearly a propitious time to move.
  • 6 - THE PAHLAVĪ AUTOCRACY: RIŻĀ SHĀH, 1921–41
    pp 213-243
  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521200950.007
  • View abstract
    Summary
    During the five years between Riza Khan's appointment as Minister of War in May 1921 and his coronation as Riza Shah in April 1926, he initiated and carried through a reorganization of the security forces without which the Pahlavi despotism and its concomitant programme of "pseudo-modernization" would scarcely have been possible. Riza Shah's achievement in the years between 1925 and 1941 was the substantial fulfilment of goals already set during his years as Minister of War and prime minister. The goals include the creation of a modern army and police force to maintain internal security, and the elimination of all opposition to his will. It also includes industrial development to reduce dependence upon foreign suppliers, and the elimination of outside interference in the country's internal affairs. By the end of Riza Shah's reign, private industrial undertakings were to be found in a number of major urban centres, but the most characteristic forms of industrialization were the state monopolies.
  • 7 - THE PAHLAVĪ AUTOCRACY: MUHAMMAD RIŻĀ SHĀH, 1941–1979
    pp 244-294
  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521200950.008
  • View abstract
    Summary
    In the protests of 1963, the religious authorities emerged for the first time in Muhammad Riza Shah's reign as the leaders of a broad alliance of opponents of the regime. Some clerical spokesmen were already well-known opponents of despotism and advocates of an Islam which combined progressive and socialist ideals with traditional religious and ethical values. Exhilarated by his self-perception as a royal modernizer, Muhammad Riza Shah now decided to revive the system of official political parties competing for favour, despite the fact that his earlier attempts had not proved conspicuously successful. In the opening months of 1977, on the eve of the revolution, it seemed as if the Pahlavi autocracy had attained the apogee of power and prestige. It was becoming clear that the Shah's determination to transform Iran into a fully industrialized country at breakneck pace was placing tremendous strain upon an over-extended economy, which was suffering simultaneously from inefficient and wasteful management, massive corruption, and social dislocation.
  • 8 - IRANIAN RELATIONS WITH THE OTTOMAN EMPIRE IN THE EIGHTEENTH AND NINETEENTH CENTURIES
    pp 295-313
  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521200950.009
  • View abstract
    Summary
    The basis for the relationships between the Iranian and Ottoman empires in modern times was the Treaty of Qasr-i Shirin. The spark for renewal of the conflict came, strangely enough, from the modern reforms introduced into the Ottoman Empire during the "Tulip Period", 1718-30, under the leadership of Sultan Ahmad III, 1703-30, and his Grand Vizier, Damad Ibrahim Pasha. The major task of the Ottoman governors of Iraq and the provinces of eastern Anatolia was to erect strong defences against incursions, but their efforts were largely unsuccessful, and local tensions remained throughout the 19th century. However, common economic interests made actual conflict disadvantageous for both sides. Both Iran and the Ottoman Empire were seriously affected by 19th-century European economic imperialism, thus boosting their common concerns, which included the manifestation on both sides, of somewhat similar reform movements, particularly after the Iranian Revolution of 1905 and the Young Turk Revolution, which occurred only three years later.
  • 9 - IRANIAN RELATIONS WITH RUSSIA AND THE SOVIET UNION, TO 1921
    pp 314-349
  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521200950.010
  • View abstract
    Summary
    Before the 18th century relations between Iran and Russia were sporadic. Though some Persian goods found their way to Muscovy while the duchy was still under the Tatar yoke, travel and commerce remained insignificant until the mid 16th century, when the Russian conquest of the khanates of Kazan and Astrakhan opened the Volga route to the Caspian Sea. Political and diplomatic relations between the two states were less important. More important was the knowledge of Iranian affairs gathered by Artemii Volynskii and transmitted by him to the Tsar. Volynskii reported that the Persian state was on the verge of collapse. The Persian government offered Moscow recognition and the establishment of diplomatic relations. The Iranian side pressed for the evacuation of Soviet troops from Gilan, troops that Chicherin first claimed were not there and which later were labelled Azarbaijani detachments, thus presumably freeing Russia of responsibility for their movements or actions.
  • 10 - IRANIAN RELATIONS WITH THE EUROPEAN TRADING COMPANIES, TO 1798
    pp 350-373
  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521200950.011
  • View abstract
    Summary
    In 1722 the East India Company represented the principal British interest in Iran. The Company had begun trading in the Persian Gulf in 1616 when the James was sent from Surat to Jask with seven factors bound for Iran. Under its Charters the East India Company undertook to export British goods. Much discussion regarding the relative merits of Basra and Bushire ensued. One committee considered that Iranian merchants would trade with the British in Bushire in preference to trading with Russian merchants in the northern provinces, while British traders with Basra faced insecure roads by land, pirates by sea, and customs duties either way. In spite of depressing trading conditions, the East India Company stations at Basra and Bushire retained a degree of viability. Basra was a key stage in overland despatches going to and from India and England, and, should something unforeseen occur at Basra, then Bushire would be ready for use.
  • 11 - IRANIAN RELATIONS WITH GREAT BRITAIN AND BRITISH INDIA, 1798–1921
    pp 374-425
  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521200950.012
  • View abstract
    Summary
    During the 19th century Russian pressure might have provided Britain, British India and Iran with grounds for common action, but the Napoleonic years had revealed how shifting these grounds could be. They had demonstrated that Britain and Iran had frequently changing priorities. In their struggle with Napoleon the British followed whatever course forwarded their cause, sacrificing any which did not. It was in the Napoleonic era that regular diplomatic relations began between Britain and Iran. The Shah responded to Malcolm's first mission by sending an envoy to India who was accidentally killed in a riot in Bombay in 1802, an episode which caused profound anxiety in India. After the promulgation of the Anglo-Russian Convention in 1907, relations between Britain and Iran steadily deteriorated. Great Britain and Russia pursued a joint policy in Iran until the Russian Revolution, but it was hardly a case of mutual co-operation.
  • 12 - IRANIAN FOREIGN POLICY, 1921–1979
    pp 426-456
    • By Amin Saikal, The Australian National University, Canberra
  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521200950.013
  • View abstract
    Summary
    This chapter talks about Iran's foreign relations between 1921 and 1979. This period covers the rule of the Pahlavi dynasty, begun by Riza Shah's accession to the throne in 1925, following his seizure of political power through a coup in 1921, and ended with the overthrow of his son, Muhammad Riza Shah, in 1979. Riza Shah laid more emphasis on foreign policy and devoted himself to strengthening Iran's relations with its immediate neighbours; Turkey, Iraq and Afghanistan. After his direct approach had failed, Riza Shah resorted to seeking to involve American oil companies in the Iranian oil industry, and to provoke Washington into concluding a treaty similar to the Treaty of Commerce and Navigation that Iran eventually concluded with the U.S. S. R. in March 1940. In the early 1940s, in a re-evaluation of its global position following its entry in to the Second World War, Washington became conscious of Iran's economic and strategic importance.
  • 13 - LAND TENURE AND REVENUE ADMINISTRATION IN THE NINETEENTH CENTURY
    pp 457-505
  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521200950.014
  • View abstract
    Summary
    The various threads which went to make up the land tenure and land revenue systems of 19th-century Persia were not, all in all, very different from those which had constituted the medieval systems. In the first half of the nineteenth century, the territorial structure of the Qajar empire, apart from the contraction of its frontiers, did not differ in broad outline from that of earlier Persian empires. The Qajar kingdom was thus not, at least in its early years, a highly centralized or uniform kingdom, and in matters of social organization, land tenure and land revenue there was, in fact, much local variation. In the second half of the nineteenth century there was an increase in centralization and the authority of the government was gradually extended to the more remote districts. As commercial farming became increasingly important in the second part of the century, so Persian agriculture became more dependent upon economic developments in other countries.
  • 14 - THE TRIBES IN EIGHTEENTH- AND NINETEENTH-CENTURY IRAN
    pp 506-541
    • By Richard Tapper, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London
  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521200950.015
  • View abstract
    Summary
    This chapter gives a general survey, based on available source materials, of the distribution of the tribes and their political history as a problem for the Iranian government in the 18th and 19th centuries. A number of processes affecting tribal organization has been considered, some originating in the ecology, economy and demography of pastoral nomadism, and some in cultural premises such as ideas of patriliny, patriarchy and individual property rights. The main factor differentiating the political conditions and roles of individual tribal groups is the degree and kind of government interference and control. The political organization of tribal groups in Iran during the 18th and 19th centuries has been analysed as resulting partly from the bases of group solidarity, partly from the varying influence of government and wider political relations, and partly from the nature of ongoing relations with urban and settled society.
  • 15 - THE TRADITIONAL IRANIAN CITY IN THE QāJāR PERIOD
    pp 542-589
  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521200950.016
  • View abstract
    Summary
    This chapter talks about urban life of Iranians in the Qajar period. The most prominent urban centres were, with few exceptions, those which enjoyed a continuous history going back to at least the beginning of the Islamic era: Isfahan, Shiraz, Mashhad, Tabriz, Kashan, Yazd, Kirman, Hamadan and Kirmanshah. Only Tehran, selected by Agha Muhammad Khan for his capital, was a relatively recent foundation where villages had been. The most complete set of figures for the urban population in the early part of the reign of Fath Ali Shah is that assembled by John Macdonald Kinneir prior to 1813. In the first part of the 19th century Isfahan was the most populated city in the kingdom. As to spatial organization, the core of every town and city was the bazaar, its commercial and social significance reflected in the scale, complexity and central location of the bazaars of such cities as Isfahan, Kashan, Shiraz and Tehran.
  • 16 - EUROPEAN ECONOMIC PENETRATION, 1872–1921
    pp 590-607
  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521200950.017
  • View abstract
    Summary
    In the course of the 19th century and the first half of the 20th, the foreign economic impact on Iran was far weaker than on its neighbours: India, Transcaucasia, Turkey, Syria, Egypt and, after 1865, Central Asia. The foreign economic penetration started later in Iran, and proceeded more slowly, than in the surrounding areas. It may be studied under the following headings: transport; trade; finance and capital investment; manufacturing and petroleum. At the beginning of the 19th century, practically all the foreign trade of Iran seems to have been in Iranian hands. By the middle of the century, a considerable part had passed into European control and it is probable that the foreign share continued to increase until the First World War, by which time it accounted for the bulk of Iran's foreign trade. The expansion of Iran's foreign trade was halted by the First World War and the great dislocations it caused in Iran and the neighbouring countries.
  • 17 - ECONOMIC EVELOPMENT, 1921–1979
    pp 608-638
    • By K. S. Maclachlan, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London
  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521200950.018
  • View abstract
    Summary
    Modernization of Iran by Riza Shah began immediately after he took over effective leadership of the state. In addition to concern with the traditionally important areas of the agricultural economy, the governments under Riza Shah gave some attention to modernization of manufacturing. It may be argued that Iranian domestic economic policies under Muhammad Riza Shah were formulated in large degree to achieve both internal and external political objectives. Economic strategies adopted in the 1964-73 period were largely successful. Only agriculture lagged seriously behind changes elsewhere. In agriculture there was no sustained strategy, only a series of ministers often without a grasp of the real needs of the sector. Growing needs for imports of food and agricultural raw materials were apparent. Despite this problem area of the economy, the government was able to stimulate growth of national income and per capita incomes in a way that had no precedent in Iran.
  • 18 - THE IRANIAN OIL INDUSTRY
    pp 639-702
  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521200950.019
  • View abstract
    Summary
    The oil industry has played a notable role in the economy of modern Iran, especially as a source of foreign exchange and as a factor in industrial development. The most impressive contribution of the oil industry to the national economy has been since the late 1960s, especially 1967-74, when Iran was the leading producer in the Middle East. Some idea of the growth of the Iranian market for oil products from 1933 may be gauged from the deliveries of Anglo-Iranian Oil Company to it up to 1950. The revival of the Iranian oil industry in its nationalized form had actually buttressed the power of the Shah rather than having moderated the exercise of it. The National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) was constituted after Nationalization to manage the domestic oil industry. The NIOC had been empowered to negotiate joint venture contracts with other organizations both on-shore and in maritime sovereign areas.
  • 19 - RELIGIOUS FORCES IN EIGHTEENTH- AND NINETEENTH-CENTURY IRAN
    pp 703-731
  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521200950.020
  • View abstract
    Summary
    The 18th and 19th centuries constitute a period in which Shiʿism underwent a process of internal differentiation that marked its final emancipation from the patronage of the state and its conclusive coalescence with the national spirit of Iran. This chapter discusses developments affecting the religious minorities in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Iran. The 19th century was a period in which Iran witnessed a multiple deployment of Shiʿism in its varying forms, exoteric and esoteric, legalistic and Sufi, learned and popular, completing the process of identification between Iran and Shiʿism that had been initiated by the Safavids and lain dormant through most of the 18th century. The Qajar period also gave final proof, on the verge of the modern age, of Iran's lasting fecundity in eclectic and heterodox doctrine, with the rise of Babism and its twin successors, Azalism and Bahaʾism.
  • 20 - RELIGIOUS FORCES IN TWENTIETH-CENTURY IRAN
    pp 732-764
  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521200950.021
  • View abstract
    Summary
    The tenacity of religion as a major force throughout the modern history of Iran is remarkable and unmistakable, and one may legitimately discern in a whole series of Islamic personages, institutions and movements the antecedents that made possible, although by no means inevitable, the great transformations ushered in by the revolution of 1978-79. In the revolution of 1978-79, two interrelated features were conspicuous: the vast extent of popular participation in the movement, unparalleled in any other revolutionary upheaveal of the 20th century; and its overwhelmingly Islamic nature, in terms of ideology, organization and leadership. Virtually every city and town in Iran was mobilized against the Pahlavl regime as men and women from almost all classes of Iranian society demonstrated their desire for an end to the monarchical system and the foreign hegemony it was seen to represent.
  • 21 - POPULAR ENTERTAINMENT, MEDIA AND SOCIAL CHANGE IN TWENTIETH-CENTURY IRAN
    pp 765-814
  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521200950.022
  • View abstract
    Summary
    The interaction of the media and entertainment in recent Iran can be subdivided into three parts. One is predominantly verbal, informal and traditional. The second is the state-controlled modern technological network of communication and entertainment and its submission to censorship. The third is modern technology in the service of both of the above categories. In the post-revolutionary period, the traditional network and the state-controlled mass communications were in a sense fused. This is not necessarily to the advantage of the country, in that the politico-religious values now control the whole state, including the media, communications and entertainment whether modern or traditional. The progression of this chapter, from Tazʿiya to Ruhauzi, to drama, to film, is intended to show that the indigenous forms of entertainment have survived, and indicate the impact it has had on imported forms. The vignette on Parviz Sayyad is meant to form a bridge between the past, present and the future, shown by means of one family.
  • 22 - PRINTING, THE PRESS AND LITERATURE IN MODERN IRAN
    pp 815-869
  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521200950.023
  • View abstract
    Summary
    This chapter explains why in 1837-39, according to the journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, the printing press was still of "but very recent introduction" in Iran. Scholarly research into literary matters seems to have become a legitimate branch of learning in an Iran which was gaining awareness of western efforts and methods applied to its own major asset in a great literature. The plain and often popular style of Habl al-Matin helped to open the way for literary developments. A survey of the development of journalism in Iran during the last hundred and eighty years includes a great deal about the development of its literary activity in general during the same period. It will have become evident that much of the journalism was what would commonly be considered literature in the creative and aesthetic sense, and that the development of the first provided a new vehicle for the second.
  • 23 - PERSIAN PAINTING UNDER THE ZAND AND QĀJĀR DYNASTIES
    pp 870-889
  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521200950.024
  • View abstract
    Summary
    This chapter describes the survey of Persian painting and the associated arts under the Zands and Qajars. Every new movement in Persian painting can be associated with or attributed to a particular master. By the time Muhammad Zaman appeared Persian painting was ready for an artist of genius to give it some new rejuvenating twist that might save it from stagnation for another century or two. In the classical period of the art the best work of the Persian painters was virtually confined to manuscript illustration. In general, Persian painted enamels of the Qajar period are often the most attractive manifestations of the painter's skill. Flower-painters were numerous in the Zand and Qajar periods, and their designs were among the most popular on enamels and lacquer. Their best work is in miniature-painting, sometimes applied to the decoration of manuscripts, where it attains an unrivalled delicacy and beauty.
  • 24 - THE ARTS OF THE EIGHTEENTH TO TWENTIETH CENTURIES
    pp 890-958
  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521200950.025
  • View abstract
    Summary
    For the construction and planning of their buildings the Zands and Qajars had Persia's centuries-old tradition upon which to draw and in general they chose to develop it rather than introduce drastic innovations. Since rather more information is available for this period concerning the materials and techniques of architecture and labour organization it may be summarized before discussion of the buildings themselves. Both religious and secular architecture owed much of its impact to decoration. One of the most frequently employed techniques was polychrome ceramic tilework, mainly produced in Qajar times in Tehran, Shiraz and Isfahan. The craft of metalworking was rather more healthily based in the Qajar period than that of ceramics. Persia has a long tradition of excellence in the textile arts, outstanding for versatility in both material and technique. One of the most important textile industries of Qajar Iran was silk-weaving.

Page 1 of 2


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