The Qajar Dynasty
The Qajars were a group of Turkic origin who lived in the area of Azerbaijan. They were sympathetic to the Safavids, who ruled in Persia from 1501-1736 AD. The Qajar Dynasty began when Mohammad Khan Qajar seized Mashhad (then under Durrani suzerainty – see Afghanistan) and put an end to the Afsharid Dynasty. The Qajars were forced to fight several defensive wars against Russia, losing territory each time. Foreign powers became more involved in Persia as the strategic nature of the region became clear. The empire was nearly bankrupt by the end of the 1800’s, and the dynasty finally fell when Reza Khan, a commander of the Persian Cossack Brigade, held a coup d’etat and launched the Pahlavi Dynasty in 1925 AD.