Zand dynasty

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Zand dynasty

سلسله زندیه
The Zand dynasty at its zenith under Karim Khan. Light-blue shows the Kingdom of Kartli-Kakheti, which was de jure under Zand rule, but de facto autonomous.
Capital Shiraz
Common languages Persian (official)
Karim Khan Zand (first)
Lotf Ali Khan Zand (last)
  Qajar conquest
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Blank.png Azad dynasty
Afsharid Imperial Standard (3 Stripes).svg Afsharid dynasty
Qajar dynasty Flag of Persia (1910).svg

The Zand dynasty (Persian : سلسله زندیه, Selseleye Zandiye; Loudspeaker.svg listen  ) was an Iranian dynasty of Lak [1] a branch of Lurs [2] origin founded by Karim Khan Zand that initially ruled southern and central Iran in the 18th century. It later quickly came to expand to include much of the rest of contemporary Iran, as well as Azerbaijan, Bahrain, [3] and parts of Iraq and Armenia.

Persian language Western Iranian language

Persian, also known by its endonym Farsi, is one of the Western Iranian languages within the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European language family. It is primarily spoken in Iran, Afghanistan, and Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and some other regions which historically were Persianate societies and considered part of Greater Iran. It is written right to left in the Persian alphabet, a modified variant of the Arabic script.

Laks are an Iranian group in southwestern Iran. They speak Laki, an independent Iranian language, or a dialect of Kurdish or Lurish languages.



Karim Khan Zand

Contemporary portrait of Karim Khan Zand, the founder of dynasty (1751). Karim Khan-e Zand.png
Contemporary portrait of Karim Khan Zand, the founder of dynasty (1751).

The dynasty was founded by Karim Khan Zand, chief of the Zand tribe, which is a tribe of Laks, [1] [4] a branch of Lurs [1] who may have been originally Kurdish. [1] [4] Nader Shah moved the Zand tribe from their home in Lakestan to the eastern steppes of Khorasan. After Nader's death, the Zand tribe, under the guidance of Karim Khan, went back to their original land. [5] After Adil Shah was made king Karim Khan and his soldiers defected from the army and along with Ali Morad Khan Bakhtiari and Abolfath Khan Haft Lang, two other local chiefs, became a major contender but was challenged by several adversaries. [6] Abolfath Khan was the Prime Minister, Karim Khan became the army chief commander and Ali Morad Khan became the regent. [6]

Karim Khan Zand Ruler of Iran

Mohammad Karim Khan Zand, better known as Karim Khan Zand, was the founder of the Zand Dynasty, ruling from 1751 to 1779. He ruled all of Iran (Persia) except for Khorasan. He also ruled over some Caucasian lands and occupied Basra for some years.

The Zand tribe was a tribe of Lak origin, a branch of Lurs who may have been originally Kurdish, though there isn't enough evidence to suggest such a thing as fact. The Zands were concentrated on the villages of Pari and Kamazan in the Malayer district, but were also found roaming in the central Zagros ranges and the countryside of Hamadan.

Lurs Iranian people

Lurs are an Iranian people living mainly in western and south-western Iran. Their population is estimated at around five million. They occupy Lorestan, Kohkiluyeh and Boyer-Ahmad, Khuzestan and Fars, Bushehr, Chaharmahal and Bakhtiari, Hamadan, Ilam, and Isfahan provinces. The Lur people mostly speak the Lurish language, a Southwestern Iranian language related to Persian. According to the Encyclopaedia of Islam, the Lurish language is the closest living language to Archaic and Middle Persian. According to the linguist Don Still, Lori-Bakhtiari like Persian is derived directly from Old Persian. Michael M. Gunter states that Lur people are closely related to the Kurds but that they "apparently began to be distinguished from the Kurds 1,000 years ago." There is also a significant population of Iraqi Lurs in the eastern and central parts of Iraq, mainly known as Feylis.

Karim Khan declared Shiraz his capital, and in 1778 Tehran became the second capital. He gained control of central and southern parts of Iran. In order to add legitimacy to his claim, Karim Khan placed the infant Shah Ismail III, the grandson of the last Safavid king, on the throne in 1757. Ismail was a figurehead king and real power was vested in Karim Khan. Karim Khan chose to be the military commander and Alimardan Khan was the civil administrator. Soon enough Karim Khan managed to eliminate his partner as well as the puppet king and in 1760, founded his own dynasty. He refused to accept the title of the king and instead named himself The Advocate of the People.

Shiraz City in Fars, Iran

Shiraz is the fifth-most-populous city of Iran and the capital of Fars Province. At the 2016 census, the population of the city was 1,869,001 and its built-up area with "Shahr-e Jadid-e Sadra" was home to 1,565,572 inhabitants. Shiraz is located in the southwest of Iran on the "Rudkhaneye Khoshk" seasonal river. It has a moderate climate and has been a regional trade center for over a thousand years. Shiraz is one of the oldest cities of ancient Persia.

Tehran City in Iran

Tehran is the capital of Iran and Tehran Province. With a population of around 8.694 million in the city and 15 million in the larger metropolitan area of Greater Tehran, Tehran is the most populous city in Iran and Western Asia, and has the second-largest metropolitan area in the Middle East. It is ranked 29th in the world by the population of its metropolitan area.

Iran Country in Western Asia

Iran, also called Persia and officially known as the Islamic Republic of Iran, is a country in Western Asia. With over 81 million inhabitants, Iran is the world's 18th most populous country. Comprising a land area of 1,648,195 km2 (636,372 sq mi), it is the second largest country in the Middle East and the 17th largest in the world. Iran is bordered to the northwest by Armenia and the Republic of Azerbaijan, to the north by the Caspian Sea, to the northeast by Turkmenistan, to the east by Afghanistan and Pakistan, to the south by the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman, and to the west by Turkey and Iraq. The country's central location in Eurasia and Western Asia, and its proximity to the Strait of Hormuz, give it geostrategic importance. Tehran is the country's capital and largest city, as well as its leading economic and cultural center.

By 1760, Karim Khan had defeated all his rivals and controlled all of Iran except Khorasan, in the northeast, which was ruled by Shah Rukh. His foreign campaigns against Azad Khan in Azerbaijan and against the Ottomans in Mesopotamia brought Azerbaijan and the province of Basra into his control. But he never stopped his campaigns against his arch-enemy, Mohammad Hassan Khan Qajar, the chief of the Qoyunlu Qajars. The latter was finally defeated by Karim Khan and his sons, Agha Mohammad Khan and Hossein Qoli Khan Qajar, were brought to Shiraz as hostages.

Ottoman Empire Former empire in Asia, Europe and Africa

The Ottoman Empire, also 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.

Mesopotamia area of the Tigris–Euphrates river system

Mesopotamia is a historical region of Western Asia situated within the Tigris–Euphrates river system, in modern days roughly corresponding to most of Iraq, Kuwait, parts of Northern Saudi Arabia, the eastern parts of Syria, Southeastern Turkey, and regions along the Turkish–Syrian and Iran–Iraq borders.

Basra City in Basra Governorate, Iraq

Basra is an Iraqi city located on the Shatt al-Arab between Kuwait and Iran. It had an estimated population of 2.5 million in 2012. Basra is also Iraq's main port, although it does not have deep water access, which is handled at the port of Umm Qasr.

Karim Khan's monuments in Shiraz include the famous Arg of Karim Khan, Vakil Bazaar, and several mosques and gardens. He is also responsible for building of a palace in the town of Tehran, the future capital of the Qajar dynasty.

Arg of Karim Khan castle

The Karim Khan Castle is a citadel located in the downtown Shiraz, southern Iran. It was built as part of a complex during the Zand dynasty and is named after Karim Khan, and served as his living quarters. In shape it resembles a medieval fortress.

Vakil Bazaar bazaar

Vakil Bazaar is the main bazaar of Shiraz, Iran, located in the historical center of the city.

Decline and fall

Karim Khan's death in 1779 left his territory vulnerable to threats from his enemies. His son and successor Abu al-Fath was an incompetent ruler who was heavily influenced by his half uncle (and Karim Khan's commander), Zaki Khan. Other rulers such as Ali Morad and Jafar Khan also failed to follow the policies of Karim Khan and soon enough, the country was under attack from all sides.

Jafar Khan Monarch of Persia

Jafar Khan Zand, was the seventh shah (king) of the Zand dynasty from 1785 to 1789. He was the son of Sadiq Khan Zand, who was removed from the throne in Shiraz by Ali Murad Khan, who had previously taken Isfahan for himself.

The biggest enemies of the Zands, the Qajar chiefs, led by the former hostage, Agha Mohammad Khan, were advancing fast against the declining kingdom. Finally, in 1789, Lotf Ali Khan, a grand-nephew of Karim Khan, declared himself the new king. His reign (until 1794) was spent mostly in war with the Qajar khan. He was finally captured and brutally killed in the fortress of Bam, putting an effective end to the Zand Dynasty.

Politically, it is also important that the Zands, especially Karim Khan, chose to call themselves Vakilol Ro'aya (Advocate of the People) instead of kings. Other than the obvious propaganda value of the title, it can be a reflection of the popular demands of the time, expecting rulers with popular leanings instead of absolute monarchs who were totally detached from the population, like the earlier Safavids.


The Zand era was an era of relative peace and economic growth for the country. Many territories that were once captured by the Ottomans in the late Safavid era were retaken, and Iran was once again a coherent and prosperous country. After Iranian painting reached its height at the end of the 17th century, a special school of painting took shape during the Zand era in the 17th and 18th centuries. [7] The art of this era is remarkable and, despite the short length of the dynasty, a distinct Zand art had the time to emerge. Many Qajar artistic traits were copied from the Zand examples.

In foreign policy, Karim Khan attempted to revive the Safavid era trade by allowing the British to establish a trading post in the port of Bushehr. This opened the hands of the British East India company in Iran and increased their influence in the country. [8] The taxation system was reorganized in a way that taxes were levied fairly. The judicial system was fair and generally humane. Capital punishment was rarely implemented.


Vakeel mosque, Shiraz. Vakeel-mosque.jpg
Vakeel mosque, Shiraz.

John R. Perry, writes of Karim Khan Zand as a forward-thinking and popular leader, whom he credits as opening up international trade, employing a fair fiscal system and showing respect for co-existing religious institutions. [9] [ dubious ]


Other notable members

Family tree


Budaq Khan
Bay Agha
Inaq Khan
Allah Morad Khan
Bay Agha II
Zaki Khan Zand
Karim Khan Zand
Sadeq Khan Zand
Koda Morad Khan
Ali-Morad Khan Zand
Akbar Khan Zand
Abol Fath Khan
Mohammad Ali Khan Zand
Jafar Khan Zand
Sayed Morad Khan
Rostam Khan Zand
Lotf Ali Khan

See also

Related Research Articles

Agha Mohammad Khan Qajar Shah of Persia

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Abol-Fath Khan Zand was the third Shah of the Zand dynasty, ruling from March 6, 1779, until August 22, 1779.

Sadeq Khan Zand fifth Shah of the Zand dynasty, who ruled Persian Empire

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Ali-Morad Khan Zand Persian Shah

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Mohammad Ali Khan Zand was the second shah of the Zand dynasty, ruling from March 6, 1779 until June 19, 1779.

Sayed Morad Khan Shah of the Persian Empire

Sayed Murad Khan Zand, was a Shah of Iran who reigned from January 23, 1789 until May 10, 1789. He was the eighth king of the Zand dynasty. His brief reign is indicative of the ruthless and brutal struggle for power that prevailed among members of the Zand family following the death of Karim Khan Zand in 1779.

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Jalilavandi lived among the mountainous regions of an area known as Lakestan. Jalilvand originally started in Basrah, Iraq and move to south west of Iran near Shiraz several hundred years ago, in reality they are Iraqi's and part Arabs. They were a part of a people called Zand (Zandan) who inhabited the mountainous region. The Zand people were very well known among the people of the Zagros Mountains for their militaristic nature and aggressiveness. They were warriors of the land, but also were very welcoming to those who did not threaten them, as good hospitality towards guests was a big part of Zandi culture.

Mohammad Hasan Khan Qajar Iranian leader

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Abu'l-Fath Khan Bakhtiari was the Bakhtiari supreme chieftain (ilkhani) of the Haft Lang branch.

Ebrahim Kalantar Shirazi, also known as Hajji Ebrahim and E'temad al-Dawla, was an influential Iranian politician in the Zand and Qajar era.

Lotf Ali Khan Shah of Iran

Lotf Ali Khan was the last Shah of Persia of the Zand dynasty.

Ali Mardan Khan Bakhtiari was the Bakhtiari supreme chieftain (ilkhani) of the Chahar Lang branch, and major contender for supremacy in western Iran after the death of Nader Shah in 1747.

Shaykh Ali Khan Zand

Shaykh Ali Khan Zand was a Zand nobleman, who was a close associate and prominent lieutenant of his cousin Karim Khan Zand. However, he later clashed with the latter, who had him blinded. He afterwards lived the rest of his life as an honored representative of the court, until a civil war occurred after Karim Khan's death in 1779, where Shaykh Ali Khan was killed by his cousin, Zaki Khan Zand.

Hossein Qoli Khan Qajar was the Qajar chieftain of the Qoyunlu branch from 1759 till his death in 1777.

Akbar Khan Zand was an Iranian prince from the Zand dynasty, who played a lively and vicious role in the fratricidal power conflict that took place after the death of Karim Khan Zand in 1779.


  1. 1 2 3 4 Perry, John. "ZAND DYNASTY". Encyclopædia Iranica. Retrieved 24 March 2017. The founder of the dynasty was Moḥammad Karim Khan b. Ināq Khan (...) of the Bagala branch of the Zand, a pastoral tribe of the Lak branch of Lors (perhaps originally Kurds; see Minorsky, p. 616) (...)
  2. Muhammad Karim Khan, of the Zand clan of the Lur tribe, suc- ceeded in imposing his authority on parts of the defunct Safavid empire, David Yeroushalmi, The Jews of Iran in The Nineteenth Century: Aspects of History, Community, and Culture, BRILL, 2009, ISBN   978-90-04-15288-5, p. xxxix.
  3. "A Brief History of Bahrain".
  4. 1 2 ...the bulk of the evidence points to their being one of the northern Lur or Lak tribes, who may originally have been immigrants of Kurdish origin., Peter Avery, William Bayne Fisher, Gavin Hambly, Charles Melville (ed.), The Cambridge History of Iran: From Nadir Shah to the Islamic Republic, Cambridge University Press, 1991, ISBN   978-0-521-20095-0, p. 64.
  5. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 21 February 2006. Retrieved 21 February 2006.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  6. 1 2 "History of Iran". Retrieved 9 May 2017.
  7. "New Page 1" . Retrieved 9 May 2017.
  8. "Afshar and Zand". 23 February 2013. Retrieved 9 May 2017.
  9. Makers of the Muslim World Series -Karim Khan Zand, by John R. Perry, Oneworld Publications October 2006, ISBN   1-85168-435-2
Royal house
House of Zand
Founding year: 1760
Deposition: 1794
Preceded by
Afsharid dynasty
Ruling house of Iran
Succeeded by
House of Qâjâr