Wednesday, November 28, 2012

'Abbas Mirza

‘Abbas Mirza (August 26, 1789 - October 25, 1833) was the son of the Qajar shah of Persia Fath ‘Ali Shah (r. 1798-1834). He was known for his bravery and generosity. Devoted to military art, he was for many years (1799-1833) governor-general of Azerbaijan. Almost a partner to his father’s throne, ‘Abbas Mirza’s sincere efforts to create a modern army (nizam jadid) and an efficient administration did not prevent his disastrous defeats in two rounds of Russo-Persian wars (1804-1813 and 1826-1828) and the loss of the Caucasian provinces to Russian expansionism. An advocate of modernization and European reforms, his provincial seat, Tabriz, grew to become Iran’s chief trade center. After 1831, he extended his control over eastern Iran, but his devastating campaigns failed to secure Herat. He predeceased his father, but Anglo-Russian guarantees made the monarchy hereditary, and because of his mother's royal birth, the line of 'Abbas Mirza was destined to sit on the throne.  

'Abbas Mirza was born in Navaa village.  He was a Qajar crown prince of Persia. He developed a reputation as a military commander during wars with Russia and the Ottoman Empire, as an early modernizer of Persia's armed forces and institutions, and for his death before his father, Fath Ali Shah. 

'Abbas Mirza was a younger son of Fath Ali Shah, but on account of his mother's royal birth was destined by his father to succeed him. Entrusted with the government of a part of Persia, he sought to rule it in European fashion, and employed officers to reorganize his army. He was soon at war with Russia, and his aid was eagerly solicited by both England and Napoleon, anxious to checkmate one another in the East. Preferring the friendship of France, 'Abbas Mirza continued the war against Russia's General Kotlyarevsky, but his new ally could give him very little assistance. Kotlyarevsky defeated the numerically superior Persian army in the Battle of Aslanduz and in October, 1813, Persia was compelled to make a disadvantageous peace, ceding some territory in the Caucasus (present-day Georgia, Dagestan, and most of the Republic of Azerbaijan). 

'Abbas Mirza gained some victories during the 1821 war between the Ottoman Empire and Persia, resulting in a peace treaty signed in 1823 after the Battle of Erzurum. The war was a victory for Persia. His second war with Russia, which began in 1826, ended in a string of costly defeats after which Persia was forced to cede nearly all of its Armenian territories and Nakhchivan. When the peace treaty was signed in February, 1828, 'Abbas Mirza sought to restore order in the province of Khorasan, which was nominally under Persian supremacy, and while engaged in the task died at Mashhad in 1833. In 1834, his eldest son, Mohammed Mirza, succeeded Fath Ali Shah as the next king. 

'Abbas Mirza is remembered for his valor in battle and his failed attempts to modernize the Persian army. He was not successful in part due to the lack of government centralization in Persia during the era. Additionally, it was 'Abbas Mirza who first dispatched Persian (Iranian) students to Europe for a western education.

Alternative names include:

'Abbas Mirza
Mirza, 'Abbas

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