Persia / Pahlavi Dynasty /
Reza Shah Pahlavi
(1878-1944) Shah-en-shah (emperor) of Iran 1925-41.
Reza Shah Pahlavi.
Reza Shah Pahlavi. Painting by S.J.Woolf. Note the Babylonian lion in the back, not entirly Iranian.
Reza Khan's rise to power came from both his strong personality and charisma, as well as his political intelligence. He was able to gather people behind his person and his cause, and he was apt in dividing and weakening his opponents.
Reza Khan did much the same to Iran as Atatürk did to Turkey, in terms of modernizing the society. He created a national civil service and a police force.
He introduced reforms to improve the economic development of the country, among which the Trans-Iranian Railway and 20,000 km of roads were among hte most important.
He ended the favourable agreements with European states, and changed the regulations on foreign oil companies to secure more of the revenues on Iranian hands. He increased taxation on imported products.
He required all Iranian men, no matter what people, to wear Western-style dress and a round peaked cap. He opened up all public places and educational institutions to women.
He reduced the impact from the religious institutions on life in general, and strengthened secular state courts.
1878: Born in northern Mazandaran province in Iran as the son of a military officer.
Joins the army as a youth.
Becomes commander of the Cossack Brigade.
1921 February 21: As the shah was young and incompetent, and the government corrupt, there was much dissatisfaction in Iran with the authorities. With the support of the British Reza Khan leads his 1,200 troops to overthrow the government, and forces king Ahmad Shah Qajar to appoint Sayyid Zia Uddin Tabataba'i as prime minister. Reza Khan becomes war minister.
1925 October: Has the parliament depose Ahmad Shah Qajar (who was in Europe for medical treatment) from his throne, and is himself appointed regent.
December: Gets himself proclaimed shah-en-shah (king of kings).
1926 April: Is coronated and takes the title Reza Shah Pahlavi.
Uses his army to break the power of the unruly tribes, disarming them and sometimes even resettle them.
1927: Starts the construction of the Trans-Iranian Railway.
1932: Pressures the Anglo-Persian Oil Company to increase the royalities, as well as reduced its concessionaire area to one fifth.
1933: With the accession of Adolf Hitler as state leader of Germany, Reza Shah starts building close economic and political ties to the country. This aimed at reducing the British dominance in Iran. Germany would become the most imporant trade partner of Iran.
1934: Opens the first regular university.
1935: Requires the Iranian women to discard their veils.
1938: The Trans-Iranian Railway opens.
1939 September: With the start of World War 2, Iran declares itself neutral.
1941 August: British trops invade Iran from 5 sides, in order to hinder German dominance in the area, and allow for supplies to the Soviet Union which now was in war with Germany.
September 16: As part of a policy aiming at avoiding the attack from Soviet troops, Reza Shah Pahlavi resigns from his position, and makes his son, Muhhamad Reza become shah.
Reza Shah moves to Mauritius.
1942: Reza Shah moves to South Africa.