The Warrior Union Remembrance Day - Afshar Dynasty

The 19th of June Memorial Day

On this in 1747 AD, Nader Shah Afshar was cowardly assassinated in Quchan, Khorasan, at the age of 59, by the captain of his guards, Salah Beg, after a 11-year reign as Emperor of IRAN, following his usurpation of the Iranian throne by displacing the Safavid dynasty, upon the last of them had to himself as regent by deposing his father, Shah Tahmasp II, in the aftermath of his victorious campaigns that liberated the country from the Afghan occupation and drove out the Ottomans from the northwestern provinces. 

Born as Nader Qoli into the Qereqlu clan of the Afshars, a Qizilbash tribe settled in northern Khorasan; following the death of his camel-driver father, Imam Qoli, he, along with his mother, was abducted as a young boy by marauding Uzbek tribesmen, from whom he managed to escape.

He joined a band of brigands and eventually became their leader. Under the patronage of Afshar chieftains, he rose through the ranks to become a powerful military figure. During the chaos resulting from the defeat of Shah Sultan Hussain Safavi and the occupation of the Iranian capital, Isfahan, by the Hotaki Afghan rebels, Nader initially submitted to the local Afghan governor of Mashhad, Malek Mahmoud, but then rebelled and built up his own small army. 

Sultan Hussain’s son had declared himself Shah Tahmasp II with the support of the Qajar tribe, with whom Nader Qoli joined ranks, but on discovering the treacherous correspondence of the Qajarid chief with the Afghans, he revealed the plot to Shah Tahmasp II, who executed the traitor and made Nader the chief of his army. Nader subsequently took the title Tahmasp Qoli (Servant of Tahmasp). 

In late 1726, he recaptured Mashhad. In May 1729 he took Herat. In September 1729 in the Battle of Damghan, the decisively defeated the usurper Ashraf Afghan Hotaki, and in December liberated the imperial capital Isfahan.

In the spring of 1730, he attacked the Ottomans and regained most of the lost Iranian territory. His relations with the Shah, however, declined as the latter grew jealous of his general’s military success. While Nader was in the east, Tahmasp II tried to assert himself by launching a campaign to liberate Yerevan but ended up losing Armenia and Georgia to the Ottomans. 

Nader denounced the treaty with the Ottomans, and in 1732 forced Tahmasp II to abdicate the throne in favour of the infant, Abbas III, to whom Nader became regent. He now liberated Armenia and Georgia as well as Baghdad from the Ottomans, and soon liberated the whole of the Caucasus by forcing the Russians to return Daghestan to Iran. In January 1736, he held an assembly of leading political figures to suggest removal of Abbas III, and on March 8, 1736, crowned himself the new Shah, thereby ending the two centuries and thirty-five year rule of the Safavid Dynasty. 

In 1738, he liberated Qandahar, and when the Hotaki Afghan rebels fled into India, he asked for their surrender from the Mughal Emperor, Mohammad Shah, whose weakness provided him the pretext to cross the border into the Subcontinent to capture Ghazni, Kabul, Peshawar, Sindh and Lahore. He then advanced deeper into India crossing the River Indus and defeating the large Mughal army at the Battle of Karnal on 13 February 1739. 

Nader, along with the defeated Mohammad Shah entered Delhi in triumph. He forced the Mughal Emperor to hand over the keys of the royal treasury, from which he took the famous Peacock Throne, along with a trove of fabulous jewels, such as the fabulous diamonds Koh-e-Noor (Princezss name - Mount of Light) and Darya-e Noor (Sea of Light). He also took with him thousands of elephants, horses and camels, loaded with the booty, which was so great that he stopped taxation in Iran for a period of three years following his return. In 1740 he launched the Central Asian campaign to conquer the Khanates of Bukhara and Khwarezm. 

In the Persian Gulf, he liberated Bahrain, and in 1743 he conquered Oman and its capital Muscat. Then after a war with the Ottomans, he freed the holy city of  Najaf 

The Safavids had introduced the political Shi'a Islam as the state religion of Iran. Nader was probably brought up as a Shi'a but later espoused the Sunni faith as he gained power and began to push into the Ottoman Empire. He believed that Safavid Shi'ism had intensified the conflict with the Sunni Ottoman Empire. 

Nader's army was a mix of Shi'a and Sunni (with a notable minority of Christians) and included his own Qizilbash as well as Uzbeks, Afghans, Christian Georgians and Armenians, and others.

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