Author(s): Cihat AYDOMUOLU

Abbas Mirza was the son of Fath Ali Shah Qajar (1797-1834). In 1799, he was declared the crown prince and became the governor of Azerbaijan. Beginning in 1804, Iran became involved in a long, disastrous war with Russia in the Caucasus, which was under Iranian rule. The war ended in 1813 with defeat for Iran. Under the Treaty of Golestan, Iran ceded Georgia, Darband, Baku, Shirvan, Ganjeh, Karabagh, and Moghan to Russia. Boundaries were not well defined, which gave a pretext for the renewal of war by 1824. Abbas Mirza led the Iranian forces, which were no match for the better-equipped Russians. Iran was defeated in 1828, and Tabriz -Abbas Mirza's capital- was occupied. The Treaty of Turkmanchai -which ended the war- had dire consequences for Iran. It agreed to cede all the areas north of the Aras River and pay 5 million tumans to Russia before Tabriz was evacuated. During his years as crown prince, Abbas Mirza had come into contact with many European envoys because he often carried out diplomatic negotiations for the shah. He believed that Iran needed to modernize its army and governmental administration. So he employed European military advisers -first from France- then from Britain. He also sent Iranian students to Britain to study such subjects as medicine, arms manufacture, languages, and the arts, and he subsidized the translation of several useful books. But his untimely death ended any positive results from this pursuit.


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