Nasr-ed-Din - Encyclopedia

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NASR-ED-DIN [NASIRU'D-DINT (1829-1896), shah of Persia, was born on the 4th of April 1829. His mother, a capable princess of the Kajar family, persuaded Shah Mahommed, his father, to appoint him heir apparent, in preference to his elder brothers; and he was accordingly made governor of Azerbaijan. His succession to the throne, 13th October 1848, was vigorously disputed, especially by the followers of the reformer El Bab, upon whom he wreaked terrible vengeance. In 1855 he reestablished friendly relations with France, and coming under the influence of Russia, signed a treaty of amity on the 17th of December with that power, but remained neutral during the Crimean war. In 1856 he seized Herat, but a British army under Outram landed in the Persian Gulf, defeated his forces and compelled him to evacuate the territory. The treaty of peace was signed at Paris, on the 4th of March 1857, and to the end of his reign he treated Great Britain and Russia with equal friendship. In 1866 the shah authorized the passage of the telegraph to India through his dominions and reminted his currency in the European fashion. In 1873, and again in 1889, he visited England in the course of his three sumptuous journeys to Europe, 1873,1878,1889. The only results of his contact with Western civilization appear to have been the proclamation of religious toleration, the institution of a postal service, accession to the postal union and the establishment of a bank. He gave the monopoly of tobacco to a private company, but was soon compelled to withdraw it in deference to the resistance of his subjects. Abstemious in habits, and devoted to music and poetry, he was a cultured, able and well-meaning ruler, and his reign, already unusually long for an Eastern potentate, might have lasted still longer had it not been for the unpopular sale of the tobacco monopoly, which was probably a factor in his assassination at Teheran on the 1st of May 1896 by a member of the Babi faction. He was succeeded by his son Muzaffar-ed-din.

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