The Dynasty of the Kajars


The Dynasty of the Kajars is an English translation of an original manuscript, Maʼāsir-i sulṭānīyah, published in London in 1833 in an edition of 250 copies. The translator, Sir Harford Jones Brydges (1764–1847), was a British diplomat in the service of the East India Company who served as the company’s envoy-extraordinary and minister-plenipotentiary to the court of Persia from 1807 to 1811, and who received the manuscript from the shah of Persia, Fath ʻAli Shah (reigned 1797–1834). The author of the original work, ʻAbd-al-Razzaq Beg Donboli (1762 or 1763‒1827 or 1828), was a poet, historian, and biographer who lived and worked in Isfahan, Shiraz, and Tabriz. The history is mainly an account of the early part of Fath ʻAli’s reign. In addition to the translation, Brydges provided preliminary matter running to more than 200 pages that includes an explanation of how he came to possess the manuscript, an overview of the dynasties and rulers of Persia, and an account of his own time in Persia. The Qajar dynasty ruled Persia (present-day Iran) from 1794 to 1925. ʻAbd-al-Razzaq’s history begins with a chapter on the “illustrious lineage” of the Qajars, a Turkmen tribe that held ancestral lands in present-day Azerbaijan. The dynasty was founded by Shah Aqa Muhammad, who defeated numerous rivals to bring all of Persia under his rule by 1794. Aqa Muhammad was assassinated in 1797 and was succeeded by his nephew, Fath ʻAli. Much of the history is taken up by Russo-Persian War of 1804‒13, in which Persia was defeated and forced to cede to the Russians extensive territories in the Caucasus. The history also covers Fath ʻAli’s interactions with Afghanistan and with his Arab neighbors. The book is illustrated with plates and a map.

Date Created

Publication Information

J. Bohn, London


Title in Original Language

The dynasty of the Kajars

Type of Item

Physical Description

448 pages : maps ; 22 centimeters


  1. T.F. Henderson, revised by H.C.G. Matthew, “Brydges, Sir Harford Jones, first baronet (1764–1847),” in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford, U.K.: Oxford University Press, 2004).
  2. J.R. Perry, “'Abd-Al-Razzaq Beg,” in Encyclopædia Iranica, Volume I (New York: Encyclopaedia Iranica Foundation, 1985).

Last updated: September 30, 2016