| Foreign alliances of France |
A Franco-Persian alliance or Franco-Iranian alliance was formed for a short period between the French Empire of Napoleon I and Fath Ali Shah against Russia and Great Britain between 1807 and 1809. The alliance was part of a plan to gather extra aid against Russia and by Persia's help, having another front on Russia's southern borders, namely the Caucasus region. The alliance unravelled when France finally allied with Russia and turned its focus to European campaigns.
The First French Empire, officially the French Empire, was the empire of Napoleon Bonaparte of France and the dominant power in much of continental Europe at the beginning of the 19th century. Although France had already established an overseas colonial empire beginning in the 17th century, the French state had remained a kingdom under the Bourbons and a republic after the Revolution. Historians refer to Napoleon's regime as the First Empire to distinguish it from the restorationist Second Empire (1852–1870) ruled by his nephew as Napoleon III.
The Russian Empire, also known as Imperial Russia or simply Russia, was an empire that existed across Eurasia and North America from 1721, following the end of the Great Northern War, until the Republic was proclaimed by the Provisional Government that took power after the February Revolution of 1917.
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland was established by the Acts of Union 1800, which merged the kingdoms of Great Britain and Ireland.
Due to the traditional friendly relations of France with the Ottoman Empire formalized by a long-standing Franco-Ottoman alliance, the relations of France with Iran had long been minimal. Instead, a Habsburg-Persian alliance had developed during the 16th century, and when Persian embassies visited Europe with the Persian embassy to Europe (1599–1602) and the Qagarie embassy to Europe (1609–1615), they pointedly avoided France.
The Ottoman Empire, historically known in Western Europe as the Turkish Empire or simply Turkey, was a state that controlled much of Southeast Europe, Western Asia and North Africa between the 14th and early 20th centuries. It was founded at the end of the 13th century in northwestern Anatolia in the town of Söğüt by the Oghuz Turkish tribal leader Osman I. After 1354, the Ottomans crossed into Europe, and with the conquest of the Balkans, the Ottoman beylik was transformed into a transcontinental empire. The Ottomans ended the Byzantine Empire with the 1453 conquest of Constantinople by Mehmed the Conqueror.
The Franco-Ottoman alliance, also Franco-Turkish alliance, was an alliance established in 1536 between the king of France Francis I and the Turkish sultan of the Ottoman Empire Suleiman the Magnificent. The strategic and sometimes tactical alliance was one of the most important foreign alliances of France, and was particularly influential during the Italian Wars. It lasted intermittently for more than two and a half centuries, until the Napoleonic campaign in Ottoman Egypt, in 1798–1801.
The Persian embassy to Europe (1599–1602) was dispatched by the Persian Shah Abbas I in 1599 to obtain an alliance against the Ottoman Empire. The Persians had then been at war with the Ottoman Empire for more than a century, and so decided to try to obtain European help against the Ottomans. Besides the territorial antagonism of the Ottoman and Persian realms, there was also strong religious antagonism, as the Persians proclaimed Shiism against the Ottoman Empire's Sunnism. The objective of the mission was to establish a European–Persian alliance against the Ottoman Turks. These Persian efforts at rapprochement with Europe followed the Persian defeat against the Ottoman Empire in the Ottoman–Safavid War (1578–1590).
Later however, France developed relations with Iran and signed treaties in 1708 and 1715 with the visit of an Iranian embassy to Louis XIV, but these relations ceased in 1722 with the fall of the Safavid dynasty and the invasion of Iran by the Afghans.
The Persian embassy to Louis XIV caused a dramatic flurry at the court of Louis XIV in 1715, the year of the Sun King's death. Mohammed Reza Beg, or in French sources Méhémet Riza Beg, was a high-ranking official to the Persian governor of the Yerevan province (Armenia). He had been chosen by the Safavid Persian emperor Sultan Husayn for the mission and travelled with a grand entourage, as suitable to the diplomat of a mighty empire.
The Safavid dynasty was one of the most significant ruling dynasties of Iran, often considered the beginning of modern Iranian history. The Safavid shahs ruled over one of the Gunpowder Empires. They ruled one of the greatest Iranian empires after the 7th-century Muslim conquest of Iran, and established the Twelver school of Shia Islam as the official religion of the empire, marking one of the most important turning points in Muslim history.
Afghanistan, officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in South-Central Asia. Afghanistan is bordered by Pakistan in the south and east; Iran in the west; Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan in the north; and in the far northeast, China. Its territory covers 652,000 square kilometers (252,000 sq mi) and much of it is covered by the Hindu Kush mountain range, which experiences very cold winters. The north consists of fertile plains, while the south-west consists of deserts where temperatures can get very hot in summers. Kabul serves as the capital and its largest city.
Attempts to resume contact were made following the French revolution, as France was in conflict with Russia and wished to find an ally against that country. In 1796, two scientists, Jean-Guillaume Bruguières and Guillaume-Antoine Olivier, were sent to Iran by the Directoire, but were unsuccessful in obtaining an agreement.
Guillaume-Antoine Olivier was a French entomologist.
Soon however, with the advent of Napoleon I, France adopted a strongly expansionist policy in the Mediterranean and the Near East. Following the Treaty of Campo Formio in 1797, France acquired possessions in the Mediterranean such as the Ionian islands as well as former Venetian bases on the coast of Albania and Greece, geographically close to the Middle-East.
The Near East is a geographical term that roughly encompasses a transcontinental region centered on Western Asia, Turkey, and Egypt. Despite having varying definitions within different academic circles, the term was originally applied to the maximum extent of the Ottoman Empire. The term has fallen into disuse in English and has been replaced by the terms Middle East, which includes Egypt, and West Asia, which includes the Transcaucasus.
The Treaty of Campo Formio was signed on 18 October 1797 by Napoleon Bonaparte and Count Philipp von Cobenzl as representatives of the French Republic and the Austrian monarchy, respectively. The treaty followed the armistice of Leoben, which had been forced on the Habsburgs by Napoleon's victorious campaign in Italy. It ended the War of the First Coalition and left Great Britain fighting alone against revolutionary France.
Napoleon Bonaparte launched the French Invasion of Egypt in 1798 and fought against the Ottomans to establish a French presence in the Middle East, with the ultimate dream of linking with a Muslim enemy of the British in India, Tippu Sahib.Napoleon assured the Directoire that "as soon as he had conquered Egypt, he will establish relations with the Indian princes and, together with them, attack the English in their possessions." According to a 13 February 1798 report by Talleyrand: "Having occupied and fortified Egypt, we shall send a force of 15,000 men from Suez to India, to join the forces of Tipu-Sahib and drive away the English."
Suez is a seaport city in north-eastern Egypt, located on the north coast of the Gulf of Suez, near the southern terminus of the Suez Canal, having the same boundaries as Suez governorate. It has three harbours, Adabya, Ain Sukhna and Port Tawfiq, and extensive port facilities. Together they form a metropolitan area. Railway lines and highways connect the city with Cairo, Port Said, and Ismailia. Suez has a petrochemical plant, and its oil refineries have pipelines carrying the finished product to Cairo, in the flag of the governorate: the blue background refer to the sea, the gear refer to the fact that Suez an industrial governorate, and the flame refer to the petroleum firms in it.
Napoleon was initially defeated by the Ottoman Empire and Britain at the Siege of Acre in 1799, and at the Battle of Abukir in 1801; by 1802, the French were completely vanquished in the Middle East.
In order to reinforce the Western border of British India, the diplomat John Malcolm was sent to Iran to sign the Anglo-Persian Treaty of 1801. The Treaty offered English support against Russia and trade advantages, and explicitly provided against French intervention in Iran:
Should it ever happen that an army of the French nation attempts to settle on any of the islands or shores of Persia, a conjunct force shall be appointed by the two high contracted parties, to act in cooperation, to destroy it... If ever any of the great men of the French nation express a wish or desire to obtain a place of residence or dwelling on any of the islands or shores of the kingdom of Persia, so that they may there raise the standard of abode or settlement, such request or settlement shall not be consented to by the Persian Government
Soon however, from 1803, Napoleon went to great lengths to try to convince the Ottoman Empire to fight against Russia in the Balkans and join his anti-Russian coalition.Napoleon sent General Horace Sebastiani as envoy extraordinary, promising to help the Ottoman Empire recover lost territories.
In February 1806, following Napoleon's remarkable victory in the December 1805 Battle of Austerlitz and the ensuing dismemberment of the Habsburg Empire, Selim III finally recognized Napoleon as Emperor, formally opting for an alliance with France "our sincere and natural ally", and war with Russia and Britain.
In his grand scheme to reach India (the "India Expedition"), the next step for Napoleon was now to develop an alliance with the Persian Empire. Early 1805, Napoléon sent one of his officers Amédée Jaubert on a mission to Persia. He would return to France in October 1806.
On the other hand, the Shah of Persia needed help against the Russian menace to his northern frontiers, as Russia had annexed Eastern Georgia in 1801 following the death of George XII of Georgia.General Tsitsianov occupied Georgia against rival Iranian claims, and attacked Ganja in Iran in 1804, triggering a Russo-Persian War, and soon the Russo-Turkish War was also declared in 1806.
Britain, an ally of Russia, had been temporizing without a clear show of support. The Shah decided to respond to Napoleon's offers, sending a letter carried by ambassador Mirza Mohammed Reza-Qazvini (Mirza Riza) to the court of Napoleon, then in Tilsit in eastern Prussia.In his instructions to the ambassador, the Shah explained that:
[Russia] was equally an enemy of the kings of Persia and of France, and her destruction accordingly became the duty of the two kings. France would attack her from that quarter, Persia from this.
The Shah also clearly considered helping France in the invasion of India:
If the French have an intention of invading Khorasan, the king will appoint an army to go down by the road of Kabul and Kandahar.
The Shah however denied the possibility of providing a port to the French "on they way to Hindustan".
Following the visit of the Iran Envoy Mirza Mohammed Reza-Qazvini to Napoleon, the Treaty of Finckenstein formalized the alliance on 4 May 1807, in which France supported Persia's claim to Georgia, promising to act so that Russia would surrender the territory. In exchange, Persia was to fight Great Britain, and to allow France to cross the Persian territory to reach India.
A military mission was also sent under General Antoine Gardanne in order to help modernize the Persian army, and in order to chart an invasion route to India.Gardanne also had the missions to coordinate Ottoman and Persian efforts against Russia. Gardanne's mission consisted in 70 commissioned and non-commissioned officers, and started to work at modernizing the Persian army along European lines. The mission arrived on 4 December 1807.
Captains of infantry Lamy and Verdier trained the Nezame Jadid (New Army), which served under Prince Abbas Mirza.This modernized army successfully defeated a Russia Army attack on the strategic city of Erevan on 29 November 1808, showing the efficiency of French training. Lieutenants of artillery Charles-Nicolas Fabvier and Reboul were sent by Gardanne to Ispahan in order to set up a factory to produce cannons for the Persian artillery, complete with foundries, lathes, machinery and instruments. Against great odds, by December 1808, they had managed to produce 20 pieces of cannon in the European style, which were transported to Tehran.
The 19th century diplomat Sir Justin Sheil commented positively on the French contribution in modernizing the Persian army:
It is to the military genius of the French that we are indebted for the formation of the Indian army. Our warlike neighbours were the first to introduce into India the system of drilling native troops and converting them into a regularly disciplined force. Their example was copied by us, and the result is what we now behold.
The French carried to Persia the same military and administrative faculties, and established the origin of the present Persian regular army, as it is styled. When Napoleon the Great resolved to take Iran under his auspices, he dispatched several officers of superior intelligence to that country with the mission of General Gardanne in 1808. Those gentlemen commenced their operations in the provinces of Azerbaijan and Kermanshah, and it is said with considerable success.— Sir Justin Sheil (1803-1871).
The embassy of Gardanne to Persia soon lost one of the main reasons for its original dispatch. In a final reversal, Napoleon I finally vanquished Russia at the Battle of Friedland in July 1807, and France and Russia became allied at the Treaty of Tilsit.General Gardanne arrived in Tehran in Persia after the Treaty of Tilsit, in December 1807.
Napoleon however wished to continue fostering the Franco-Persian alliance, in order to pursue his plan of invading India. To this effect, he planned to nominate his brother Lucien Bonaparte as his representative in Tehran.Napoleon still planned to invade British India, this time with Russian help.
A Persian ambassador was sent to Paris, named Askar Khan Afshar.He arrived in Paris on 20 July 1808 and was able to meet Napoleon on 4 September 1808.
Persia however lost the main motivation for the alliance, the recovery of Georgia and Azerbaijan over Russia, which had not even been addressed at the Treaty of Tilsit.
The Franco-Persian alliance thus lost its main motivation as France and Russia were now allied. The Shah of Persia again turned to the British for military advisers.In the east, a mutual defense treaty was signed between British India and Shah Shuja al-Mulk of Afghanistan on 17 June 1809 in order to better resist the Franco-Persian threat, but by that time Persia had already denounced its alliance with France.
After the failed mission of John Malcolm in 1808, who was only allowed to negotiate with the Governor of Fars,Sir Harford Jones managed to sign in March 1809 a preliminary treaty with Persia and General Gardanne was returned to France. In another mission in 1810, Malcolm brought a large mission of officers, one of whom, Lindsay Bethune, would become Commander-in-Chief of the Persian army for several years. In 1809-1810, the Shah sent ambassador Haji Mirza Abul Hasan Khan to the Court in London, immortalized as Hajji Baba by diplomat James Morier. According to Sir Justin Sheil:
"English influence becoming supreme, and the French Mission having quitted Persia, it was determined to accede to the wishes of the Persian Government and continue the same military organization. Sir John Malcolm was accompanied in 1808 by two officers of the Indian army, Major Christie and Lieutenant Lindsay, to whom was confided this duty: they did it well. Major Christie was a man of considerable military endowments; he undertook the charge of the infantry, and was killed at his post at the battle of Aslandooz in 1812. His able successor was Major Hart, of the Royal Army. Under the auspices and indefatigable cooperation of Abbas Meerza, heir apparent to the throne of Persia, by whom absolute authority was confided to him, he brought the infantry of Azerbijan to a wonderful state of perfection. The artillery was placed under Lieutenant Lindsay, afterwards Major-General Sir H. Lindsay. This officer acquired extraordinary influence in the army, and in particular among the artillery. He brought this branch of the forces in Azerbijan to such a pitch of real working perfection, and introduced so complete a system of esprit de corps, that to this day his name is venerated, and traces of his instruction still survive in the artillery of that province, which even now preserves some degree of efficiency."— Sir Justin Sheil (1803-1871).
The alliance between France and the Ottoman Empire was maintained, and a peace settlement was brokered between Russia and the Ottomans, but the territories the Ottomans had been promised (Moldavia and Wallachia) through the Treaty of Tilsit were never returned, although the Ottomans themselves had complied with their part of the agreement by moving their troops south of the Danube.
Meanwhile, a Russo-Persian war raged on despite France and Russia's efforts to try to reach a settlement between Russia and Persia.In 1812 Persia had to face a major defeat against Russia at the Battle of Aslandoz, forcing the Shah to negotiate the Treaty of Gulistan, on 12 October 1813, which resulted in huge territorial (and eventually irrevocable) integral territorial losses for Iran in its territories in the Caucasus region, comprising modern-day Georgia, Dagestan, and most of the contemporary Republic of Azerbaijan, per the Treaty of Gulistan of 1813.
In 1812, through the Treaty of Bucharest, the Ottoman Empire and Russia also agreed to make peace, just as Russia was anxious to liberate this southern front in anticipation of Napoleon's Invasion of Russia, with Russia keeping Bessarabia and the Ottomans regaining Wallachia and Moldavia.
After the fall of Napoleon, a French officer named Jean-François Allard visited Abbas Mirza to propose his services. He was promised the position of a Colonel, but never actually received the troops corresponding to his function. In 1820, Allard left for Punjab where he played a great role.
After a long period of exchanges between Persia and Great Britain, diplomatic relations with France resumed in 1839 following a dispute between Great Britain and Persia over the Afghanistan city of Herat. Great Britain would remove its military and diplomatic missions from Persia, and occupy Kharg island and attack Bushehr.Mohammad Shah Qajar would in turn resume diplomatic relations with France, and send a diplomatic mission to Louis-Philippe under Mirza Hossein Khan to obtain military help. In response, a group of French officers was sent to Persia with the returning ambassador.
In 1857, during the Anglo-Persian War (1856–1857), a Persian ambassador named Ferouk Khan was sent to Napoleon III, who expressed his regrets about the conflict. Negotiations led to the March 1857 Treaty of Paris, which put an end to the Anglo-Persian War.
Abbas Mirza was a Qajar crown prince of Persia. He developed a reputation as a military commander during the Russo-Persian War of 1804-1813 and the Russo-Persian War of 1826-1828 with neighbouring Imperial Russia, as well as through the Ottoman-Persian War of 1821-1823 with the Ottoman Empire. He is furthermore noted as an early modernizer of Persia's armed forces and institutions, and for his death before his father, Fath Ali Shah. Abbas was an intelligent prince, possessed some literary taste, and is noteworthy on account of the comparative simplicity of his life.
Tahmasp I was an influential Shah of Iran, who enjoyed the longest reign of any member of the Safavid dynasty. He was the son and successor of Ismail I.
The Treaty of Gulistan was a peace treaty concluded between Imperial Russia and Persia on 24 October 1813 in the village of Gulistan as a result of the first full-scale Russo-Persian War, lasting from 1804 to 1813. The peace negotiations were precipitated by Lankaran's fall to Gen. Pyotr Kotlyarevsky on 1 January 1813.
Pierre Amédée Emilien Probe Jaubert was a French diplomat, academic, orientalist, translator, politician, and traveler. He was Napoleon's "favourite orientalist adviser and dragoman".
Claude-Matthieu, Comte de Gardane was a French general and diplomat. He entered the army and rose rapidly during the revolutionary wars, becoming captain in 1793.
Relations between the Grand Duchy of Moscow and the Persian Empire (Iran), officially commenced in 1521, with the Safavids in power. Past and present contact between Russia and Iran have long been complicatedly multi-faceted; often wavering between collaboration and rivalry. The two nations have a long history of geographic, economic, and socio-political interaction. Since then, mutual relations have often been turbulent, and dormant at other times. Currently Russia acts as an economic partner to Iran, a country under severe sanctions by much of the Western world.
With thousands of years of recorded history, and due to an unchanging geographic condition, Iran has had a long, varied, and checkered military culture and history, ranging from triumphant and unchallenged ancient military supremacy affording effective superpower status in its day, to a series of near catastrophic defeats at the hand of previously subdued and conquered peripheral nations.
The 1804–1813 Russo-Persian War was one of the many wars between the Persian Empire and Imperial Russia, and began like many of their wars as a territorial dispute. The new Persian king, Fath Ali Shah Qajar, wanted to consolidate the northernmost reaches of his kingdom—modern-day Georgia—which had been annexed by Tsar Paul I several years after the Russo-Persian War of 1796. Like his Persian counterpart, the Tsar Alexander I was also new to the throne and equally determined to control the disputed territories.
French–Iranian relations are the international relations between France and Iran. Iran has generally enjoyed a friendly relationship with France since the Middle Ages. The travels of Jean-Baptiste Tavernier are particularly well known to Safavid Persia. France has an embassy in Tehran and Iran has an embassy in Paris.
Various Franco-Indian alliances were formed between France and Indian polities between the 18th century to the ascent of Napoleon. Following the alliances of Dupleix, a formal alliance was formed between by Louis XVI's France during the late 18th century in an attempt to oust Great Britain from the Indian subcontinent. Later, numerous proposals of alliance were made by Tipu Sultan, leading to the dispatch of a French fleet of volunteers to help him, and even motivating an effort by Napoleon to make a junction with India, through the 1798 Campaign of Egypt.
Askar Khan Afshar was a Persia ambassador who was sent to Paris, during the period of the Franco-Persian alliance. He arrived in Paris on 20 July 1808 and met Napoleon on 4 September 1808 at Château de Saint-Cloud. He left in April 1810, as Persia in turn allied with Great Britain, then France's enemy in the Napoleonic Wars.
The Anglo-Persian Treaty of 1801 was signed between the English diplomat John Malcolm and the Shah of Persia Fath Ali Shah in 1801. The Treaty was proposed at the initiative of Great Britain in order to reinforce the Western border of British India, following the threat of French invasion during the Campaign of Egypt.
Nader Shah Afshar was one of the most powerful Iranian rulers in the history of the nation, ruling as Shah of Iran (Persia) from 1736 to 1747 when he was assassinated during a rebellion. Because of his military genius as evidenced in his numerous campaigns throughout Middle East, Caucasus, Central and South Asia, such as the battles of Herat, Mihmandust, Murche-Khort, Kirkuk, Yeghevard, Khyber Pass, Karnal and Kars, some historians have described him as the Napoleon of Persia, Sword of Persia, or the Second Alexander. Nader Shah was an Iranian who belonged to the Turkmen Afshar tribe of Khorasan in northeastern Iran, which had supplied military power to the Safavid dynasty since the time of Shah Ismail I.
Maj.-Gen. Sir Henry Lindsay Bethune, 1st Baronet, de jure 9th Earl of Lindsay was a Scottish military officer. He was a member of a British diplomatic and military mission led by John Malcolm to the Persian Empire in 1810.
Charles de Ferriol (1652–1722) was a French ambassador sent by Louis XIV to the Ottoman Empire from 1692 to 1711, during the rule of Sultan Ahmed III.
France–Asia relations span a period of more than two millennia, starting in the 6th century BCE with the establishment of Marseille by Greeks from Asia Minor, and continuing in the 3rd century BCE with Gaulish invasions of Asia Minor to form the kingdom of Galatia and Frankish Crusaders forming the Crusader States. Since these early interactions, France has had a rich history of contacts with the Asian continent.
A Habsburg–Persian alliance, Habsburg-Safavid alliance or Hubsburg-Iran alliance was attempted and to a certain extent achieved in the 16th century between the Habsburg Empire and the Safavid Empire in their common conflict against the Ottoman Empire.
The foreign alliances of France have a long and complex history spanning more than a millennium. One traditional characteristic of the French diplomacy of alliances has been the "Alliance de revers", aiming at allying with countries situated on the opposite side or "in the back" of an adversary, in order to open a second front encircling the adversary and thus re-establish a balance of power. Another has been the alliance with local populations, against other European colonial powers.
The Ottoman–Persian War was a conflict between the forces of the Safavid Empire and those of the Ottoman Empire from 1730 to 1735. After Ottoman support had failed to keep the Ghilzai Afghan invaders on the Persian throne, the Ottoman possessions in western Persia, which were granted to them by the Hotaki dynasty, came under risk of re-incorporation into the newly resurgent Persian Empire. The talented Safavid general, Nader, gave the Ottomans an ultimatum to withdraw which the Ottomans chose to ignore. A series of campaigns followed with each side gaining the upper hand in a succession of tumultuous events which spanned half a decade. Finally with the Persian victory at Yeghevard, the Ottomans sued for peace, recognizing Persian territorial integrity as well as Persian hegemony over the Caucasus.