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  • 10/20/2004

Nadir Shah

(October 22, 1688 - June, 1747)

Nadir Shah (Nadir Qoli Beg) was a Shah of Persia who ruled 1736-1747 and who was the founder of the Afshari dynasty. He has sometimes been described as the Persian Napoleon.

Nader Shah is an enigmatic figure in Iranian history. Although he restored national independence and effectively protectedIran's territorial integrity at a dark moment of the country's history, his obsessive suspicions and jealousies plungedIran into political turmoil, and after his assassination in 1747 the Afshar dynasty he established proved short-lived.

He was born in the Dastgerd region of Khorasan (now inIran). His father was a poor peasant and died while Nadir was still a child. Nadir and his mother were carried off as slaves by the Uzbiks, but Nadir managed to escape. He had joined a robber band while he was still a boy. By 1717 he became their leader.

In 1719 the Afghans had invadedPersia. With 5000 supporters Nadir supported the Safavi dynasty ruler Tahmasp II in his war against the Afghan usurper Mahmud Ghilzai. Later, Nadir deposed Tahmasp II and placed his infant son Abbas III on the trone, declaring himself regent in 1732. Nadir defeated the Afghans in the Battle of Damghan, 1729. He drove out the Afghans who were occupyingPersia by 1730. Nadir took the throne in 1736, taking the title Nadir Shah.

In 1738, he conqueredQandahar and Kabul. He continued on to India, defeating the great Mughal army of Mohammad Shah at the Battle of Karnal, February 24, 1739. Beginning on March 20, 1739, Nadir hadDelhi plundered, in the process massacring 30000 of its people. He returned home with vast treasures, including the Peacock Throne, which thereafter served as a symbol of Persian imperial might, and the Kouh-e-Noor diamond. He leftDelhi at the beginning of May 1739, taking with him a few thousand Indian girls (both Hindu and Muslim), a large number of boys as slaves and thousands of elephants, horses and camels loaded with the booty his men had collected. The plunder seized from India was so rich that Nadir stopped taxation inIran for next three years.

In 1740 Nadir had TahmaspII and his two infant sons put to death.

In 1741, after an assassination attempt on him failed, Nadir suspected his oldest son Reza Quli Mirza as being responsible for conspiracy and had him blinded.

Nadir was assassinated in 1747, and the empire he had conquered fell apart shortly afterward.

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