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Reza Pahlavi

Shah Reza Pahlavi

His Imperial Majesty Reza Pahlavi (Persian: رضا پهلوی), (March 16, 1877July 26, 1944), called Reza Shah the Great after his death, was Shah of Persia from 1925 until 1935 and Shah of Iran (as the country was renamed to Iran, the name which had always been used by its people) from 1935 until 1941.

On February 21, 1921, Reza Khan Mirpanj (رضا خان میرپنج), as was then his name and rank, staged a coup d'état together with Seyyed Zia'eddin Tabatabaee, who became the prime minister. He was a military commander who had risen from the ranks to command the Russian trained Cossack Brigade, becoming known as Reza Khan Sardar Sepah (رضا خان سردار سپه). He later became the Minister of War, in April 1921. Ahmad Shah Qajar finally named him Prime Minister on October 26, 1923, and left for Europe. His rule was formalized when he was proclaimed Shah by the National Assembly, or parliament, on December 12, 1925. He took his imperial oath on December 15, 1925 and so became the first Shah of the Pahlavi dynasty.

Out of his marriage with Taj al Molouk (18961982) his son and successor Mohammad Reza Pahlavi of Iran was born.

In 1922 Reza Khan married a third time, Turan (Qamar al Molk) Amir Soleimani (19041995). From this marriage a son was born (Gholam Reza), and Reza Khan divorced her soon after, in 1923.

Marching his troops from Qazvin, 150 kilometres to the west of Teheran, General Reza Khan seized key parts of the capital almost without opposition and forced the government to resign. His first post was as army commander, which he later combined with the post of Minister of War, taking at the same time the title Sardar Sepah. Until 1923 there were civilian prime ministers, but the future monarch soon increased his powers. In 1923 he became Prime Minister, and soon afterwards the last Shah of the Qajar Dynasty, Ahmad Shah was deposed and left for Europe. On December 12, 1925, the Majlis of Iran, convening as a constituent assembly, voted to crown Reza Khan as the new Shah of Persia.

On April 25, 1926, a new era began when Reza Shah placed the Imperial Crown on his own head. At the same time, his son Mohammad Reza was proclaimed Crown Prince of Persia.

Under Reza Shah's 16 years rule major roads and the Trans-Iranian Railway were built, modern education was introduced and the University of Tehran was established, and for the first time the systematical dispatch of Iranian students to Europe was conducted. Industrialization of the country was stepped up. His achievements were great, but by the mid-1930s Reza Shah's dictatorial style of rule caused dissatisfaction in Iran, which he chose to rename the country.

Concerned that Reza Shah was about to align his petroleum-rich country with Nazi Germany during World War II, the United Kingdom and the USSR occupied Iran and forced him to resign in favor of his son.

The shah went into exile, first to Mauritius, then to Johannesburg, South Africa, where he died in 1944.

Preceded by:
Ahmad Shah Qajar
Persian Shahs Succeeded by:
Mohammad Reza Pahlavi
Pahlavi dynasty

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