From the earliest times, ancient Iranian myths and legends addressed the tradition of royal succession. As monarchical rule continued throughout pre- and post-Islamic history, succession remained an important component of affairs of the court. It was critical for kings to designate heirs to the throne if their legacy was to endure. However, as most Iranian dynasties were tribal in origin, succession of a ruling family was often attained after intense struggles with rivaling branches of the same tribe. Policies related to succession were developed in order to keep a balance between family members. The Qajars, who seized power as a tribe in 1786, also faced challenges with respect to the tradition of succession.
This study deals with how the tradition of succession developed during the Qajar period. It primarily focuses on the case of Muzaffar al-Din Mirza, addressing the turbulent events leading to his appointment as governor of the province of Azarbaijan (1861-1896) and as crown prince the following year. In addition to internal factors such as familial rivalries and court intrigue, the Qajars faced the external factor of an ever-increasing foreign intervention in nearly all of the country's affairs. Succession became a bone of contention mainly between Britain, Russia and France. The political manipulation these powers resorted to came to a head during the early period of Nasir al-Din Shah's reign (1848-1896). Therefore, this study addresses the complex internal and external forces that eventually led to Muzaffar al-Din Mirza's appointment as a provincial governor and finally heir apparent. Furthermore, it examines how, with the arrival of modernity and technologies such as the telegraph, Nasir al-Din Shah was able to centralize his power, and how Muzaffar al-Din Mirza consequently was able to preserve his position as crown prince and governor for thirty-five years and eventually to ascend the throne (1896). The study concludes with an overview of Qajar royal succession after the heir apparency of Muzaffar al-Din Mirza. Although their cases were neither as complicated nor as tumultuous as that of Muzaffar al-Din Mirza, the final heir apparents of the Qajar dynasty were selected by the same traditions as those established at the very beginning of the dynasty's rule.
|Commitee:||Banani, Amin, Marashi, Mehdi, Weiss, Bernard, von Sivers, Peter|
|School:||The University of Utah|
|Department:||Languages and Literature|
|School Location:||United States -- Utah|
|Source:||DAI-A 74/05(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Biographies, Middle Eastern history, Modern history|
|Keywords:||Muzaffar al-Din Mirza, Muzaffar al-Din Shah, Shah of Iran, Qajar, Royal succession|
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