Habibullah Khan

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Habibullah Khan
King Habibullah I
Amir of Afghanistan
Emir of Afghanistan
ReignOctober 1, 1901 – February 20, 1919
Predecessor Abdur Rahman Khan
Successor Nasrullah Khan
BornJune 3, 1872
Samarkand, Uzbekistan [1] [2]
DiedFebruary 20, 1919(1919-02-20) (aged 46)
Kalagosh, Afghanistan
Father Abdur Rahman Khan
MotherAsal Begum, Uzbek consort
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Habibullah Khan (June 3, 1872 – February 20, 1919) was the Emir of Afghanistan from 1901 until 1919. He was the eldest son of the Emir Abdur Rahman Khan, whom he succeeded by right of primogeniture in October 1901. His grandfather was Mohammad Afzal Khan. [1] [2]

Abdur Rahman Khan Emir of Afghanistan, 1880-1901

Abdur Rahman Khan was Emir of Afghanistan from 1880 to 1901.

Primogeniture is the right, by law or custom, of the paternally acknowledged, firstborn son to inherit his parent's entire or main estate, in preference to daughters, elder illegitimate sons, younger sons and collateral relatives; in some cases the estate may instead be the inheritance of the firstborn child or occasionally the firstborn daughter. The descendant of a deceased elder sibling inherits before a living younger sibling by right of substitution for the deceased heir. In the absence of any children, brothers succeed, individually, to the inheritance by seniority of age. Among siblings, sons usually inherit before daughters. In the absence of male descendants in the male-line, there are variations of primogeniture which allocate the inheritance to a daughter or a brother or, in the absence of either, to another collateral relative, in a specified order.

Mohammad Afzal Khan Emir of Afghanistan (1865-1867)

Mohammad Afzal Khan was the Emir of Afghanistan from 1865 to 1867. The oldest son of Dost Mohammad Khan, Afzal Khan seized power from his brother Sher Ali Khan three years after their father's death. Following Afzal Khan's death the following year, Mohammad Azam Khan was proclaimed Amir of Afghanistan. He was an ethnic Pashtun and belong to the Barakzai tribe.


Early life

Habillah was the eldest son of Emir Abdur Rahman, born in Samarkand, Uzbekistan in 1871. He had a younger brother Nasrullah, born in 1874. [1]

Samarkand Place in Samarqand Region, Uzbekistan

Samarkand, alternatively Samarqand, is a city in modern-day Uzbekistan, and is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in Central Asia. There is evidence of human activity in the area of the city from the late Paleolithic era, though there is no direct evidence of when Samarkand was founded; some theories propose that it was founded between the 8th and 7th centuries BC. Prospering from its location on the Silk Road between China and the Mediterranean, at times Samarkand was one of the greatest cities of Central Asia.

Uzbekistan Landlocked Republic in Central Asia

Uzbekistan, officially also the Republic of Uzbekistan, is a landlocked country in Central Asia. The sovereign state is a secular, unitary constitutional republic, comprising 12 provinces, one autonomous republic, and a capital city. Uzbekistan is bordered by five landlocked countries: Kazakhstan to the north; Kyrgyzstan to the northeast; Tajikistan to the southeast; Afghanistan to the south; and Turkmenistan to the southwest. Along with Liechtenstein, it is one of the world's only two doubly landlocked countries.

Nasrullah Khan (Afghanistan) Emir of Afghanistan (1919)

Nasrullah Khan (1874–1920), sometimes spelt as Nasr Ullah Khan, was shahzada of Afghanistan and second son of Emir Abdur Rahman Khan. He held the throne of Afghanistan as Emir for one week, from February 21 to February 28, 1919.


Habibullah was a relatively reform-minded ruler who attempted to modernize his country. During his reign he worked to bring modern medicine and other technology to Afghanistan. In 1903, Habibullah founded the Habibia school as well as a military academy. He also worked to put in place progressive reforms in his country. He instituted various legal reforms and repealed many of the harshest criminal penalties. But one of his chief advisers Abdul Lateef was sentenced to death in 1903 for apostasy. He was stoned to death in Kabul. Other reforms included the dismantling of the repressive internal intelligence organization that had been put in place by his father.

Habibia High School is a school in southwestern Kabul, Afghanistan which has educated many of the former and current Afghan elite, including President Hamid Karzai and musician Ahmad Zahir. It was founded by King Habibullah Khan in 1903.

Sahibzada Abdul Latif Afghan royal advisor

Syed Abdul Latif or Sahibzada Abdul Latif Shaheed among the Ahmadiyya Movement in Islam was the Royal Advisor to Abdur Rahman Khan and Habibullah Khan, the father and son kings of Afghanistan between the late 19th century and early 20th century. It is believed that Abdul Latif helped King Abdur Rahman Khan during the negotiation of the Durand Line Agreement with the British India in 1893. In 1902 he became a follower of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad and is remembered as one of the first martyrs of the Ahmadiyya movement.

Apostasy Formal disaffiliation from or abandonment or renunciation of a religion

Apostasy is the formal disaffiliation from, or abandonment or renunciation of a religion by a person. It can also be defined within the broader context of embracing an opinion contrary to one's previous beliefs. One who undertakes apostasy is known as an apostate. Undertaking apostasy is called apostatizing. The term apostasy is used by sociologists to mean renunciation and criticism of, or opposition to, a person's former religion, in a technical sense and without pejorative connotation.

World War I

Habibullah maintained the country's neutrality in World War I, despite strenuous efforts by the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire and a German military mission (Niedermayer–Hentig Expedition) to enlist Afghanistan on its side. He also greatly reduced tensions with British India, signing a treaty of friendship in 1905 and paying an official state visit in 1907. While in India, he was initiated into Freemasonry, at Lodge Concordia, No. 3102. [3] [4]

World War I 1914–1918 global war originating in Europe

World War I, also known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war originating in Europe that lasted from 28 July 1914 to 11 November 1918. Contemporaneously described as "the war to end all wars", it led to the mobilisation of more than 70 million military personnel, including 60 million Europeans, making it one of the largest wars in history. It is also one of the deadliest conflicts in history, with an estimated nine million combatants and seven million civilian deaths as a direct result of the war, while resulting genocides and the 1918 influenza pandemic caused another 50 to 100 million deaths worldwide.

Ottoman dynasty dynasty

The Ottoman dynasty was made up of the members of the imperial House of Osman, also known as the Ottomans. According to Ottoman tradition, the family originated from the Kayı tribe branch of the Oghuz Turks, under Osman I in northwestern Anatolia in the district of Bilecik Söğüt. The Ottoman dynasty, named after Osman I, ruled the Ottoman Empire from c. 1299 to 1922.

Niedermayer–Hentig Expedition diplomatic mission to Afghanistan sent by the Central Powers in 1915–1916

The Niedermayer–Hentig Expedition was a diplomatic mission to Afghanistan sent by the Central Powers in 1915–1916. The purpose was to encourage Afghanistan to declare full independence from the British Empire, enter World War I on the side of the Central Powers, and attack British India. The expedition was part of the Hindu–German Conspiracy, a series of Indo-German efforts to provoke a nationalist revolution in India. Nominally headed by the exiled Indian prince Raja Mahendra Pratap, the expedition was a joint operation of Germany and Turkey and was led by the German Army officers Oskar Niedermayer and Werner Otto von Hentig. Other participants included members of an Indian nationalist organisation called the Berlin Committee, including Maulavi Barkatullah and Chempakaraman Pillai, while the Turks were represented by Kazim Bey, a close confidante of Enver Pasha.


Habibullah was assassinated while on a hunting trip at Laghman Province on February 20, 1919. [5] His assassination was carried out by Mustafa Seghir, an Indian spy, employed by Britain.[ citation needed ] Seghir was again hired by Britain to assassinate Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.[ citation needed ] He was arrested in Ankara and confessed that he received a regular salary from the British. He was hanged till death. [6] Habibullah's brother Nasrullah Khan briefly succeeded him as Emir and held power for a week between February 21 and February 28, 1919, before being ousted and imprisoned by Amanullah Khan, Habibullah's third son. [7]

Laghman Province Province in Afghanistan

Laghman is one of the 34 provinces of Afghanistan, located in the eastern part of the country. It has a population of about 445,600, which is multi-ethnic and mostly a rural society. The city of Mihtarlam serves as the capital of the province. In some historical texts the name is written as "Lamghan" or as "Lamghanat".

Amanullah Khan King and Emir of Afghanistan (1919-1929)

Amānullāh Khān was the sovereign of the Kingdom of Afghanistan from 1919 to 1929, first as Emir and after 1926 as Malik (King). After the third Anglo-Afghan War, Afghanistan was able to pursue an independent foreign policy free from the influence of the United Kingdom, and his rule was marked by dramatic political and social change. He was the first Afghan ruler who attempted to modernize Afghanistan on Western designs. However, he did not succeed in this because of a popular uprising by Habibullah Kalakani and his followers. On 14 January 1929, Amanullah abdicated and fled to neighbouring British India whilst the country went into a short civil war. From British India he went to Europe where he died in Zürich, Switzerland, in 1960.


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Mohammadzai, also spelled "Moḥammadzay" is a sub-tribe or clan of the Barakzai which is part of the Durrani confederacy of tribes. They are primarily centered on Kandahar, Kabul and Ghazni in Afghanistan. The Mohammadzai ruled Afghanistan from 1826 to 1978, for a total 152 years. The monarchy ended under Mohammad Zahir Shah when his brother in law Sardar Daoud Khan took power via a coup.

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  1. 1 2 3 Vogelsang, The Afghans (2001, p. 270)
  2. 1 2 http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~royalty/afghan/i105.html#I105 Archived 2012-10-24 at the Wayback Machine
  3. http://nationalheritagemuseum.typepad.com/library_and_archives/2008/10/amir-habibullah.html
  4. McMahon, Henry A (1939). An Account of the Entry of H. M. Habibullah Khan Amir of Afghanistan into Freemasonry. London, UK: Favil Press, Ltd.
  5. Islam and Politics in Afghanistan, Olesen, page 101
  6. Lords of The Golden Horn, Noel Barber, page 283
  7. Afghanistan 1919–1928: Sources in the India Office Records


Regnal titles
Preceded by
Abdur Rahman Khan
Barakzai dynasty
Emir of Afghanistan

Succeeded by
Nasrullah Khan