Rezā Shāh - Political Figure, Timeline and Family

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Rezā Shāh's Personal Details

Reza Shah was the founder of the Pahlavi dynasty and Shah of Iran from 1925 to 1941

InformationDetail
BirthdayMarch 15, 1878
Died onJuly 26, 1944
NationalityIranian
FamousPolitical Figure, Leaders, Political Leaders
SpousesMaryam Khanum, Tadj ol-Molouk, Turan
Known asRezā Shāh Pahlavi, Rezā Khan
Childrens Mohammad Reza Pahlavi
Founder / Co-Founder
  • University of Tehran
  • Imam Ali University for Army Officers
Birth PlaceAlasht
ReligionShia Islam, Islam, Sunni Islam, Zoroastrianism
GenderMale
FatherAbbas Ali Khan
MotherNoush-Afarin Ayromlou
Sun SignPisces
Born inAlasht
Famous asPolitical figure
Died at Age66

// Famous Political Figure

Rezā Shāh's photo

Who is Rezā Shāh?

Reza Shah was the founder of the Pahlavi dynasty and Shah of Iran (Persia) from 1925 to 1941. He founded the Pahlavi dynasty, after ending the century-old Qajar dynasty, and subsequently introduced and implemented steps to improve the prevailing social, economic and political conditions in Iran. From the profile of an army officer, he quickly rose to the post of war minister, followed by his appointment as the Prime Minister of the new regime. Thereafter, he founded the Pahlavi dynasty and became the Shah of Iran. He became popular among the masses due to his social, economic and political reforms. He also played a major role in changing the name of Persia to Iran. Despite having no formal education, he was extremely talented and intelligent to give Iran complete makeover. While his supporters approved of his decision to modernize Iran, his critics were dissatisfied by his ignorance towards the peasants and lower classes, which eventually triggered the Iranian Revolution, thus bringing an end to his constitutional monarchy. Construction of the Trans-Iranian Railway, foundation of the University of Tehran, and sponsoring Iranian students to European universities were some of the major developments initiated by him

// Famous Leaders

Childhood & Early Life

Reza Shah Pahlavi was born as Reza Khan on March 15, 1878 in Alasht village, Savad Kouh County, Mazandaran Province, to Major Abbas Ali Khan and his second wife, Noush Afrin Ayromlou.

After his father’s death a few months following his birth, his mother took him to Tehran where she settled with her brother.

At the age of 16, he joined the Persian Cossack Brigade. He is also said to have served as a guard and servant under Dutch consul general Frits Knobel in 1903.

Career

He served in the Iranian Army under Qajar Prince Abdol Hossein Mirza Farmanfarma and rose to the rank of gunnery sergeant. His good account of service led to his promotion as a Brigadier General in the Cossacks, in 1918.

Post the Russian Revolution of 1917, Britain and Soviet Russia vied with each other for better influence over Iran (Persia). By 1920, British and Soviet forces had control over most of the Iranian mainland.

In the midst of this political crisis in Iran, Reza Khan entered Tehran with his Cossack Brigade and seized control of the capital city of Tehran in the coup d'état on February 21, 1921. He forced the dissolution of the previous government and became the Commander of the Iranian Army and war minister in the new government and carried out the withdrawal of Russian troops.

During his tenure as minister of war, he brought modernization and harmony, built a strong army, and secured the nation from both domestic and foreign threats, thus establishing peace – a situation Iran had been missing for a century.

Upon approval from Ahmad Shah Qajar, he became the prime minister of the new regime in 1923. After Qajar left for Europe for a lengthy cure, he started working towards the creation of a republic.

After succeeding in convincing the Majlis, he overthrew the absentee monarch Qajar and was proclaimed as the Shah of the Kingdom of Iran in 1925. This brought an end to the Qajar dynasty and establishment of the Pahlavi dynasty.

He was coronated in April 1926 and changed his name to Reza Shah Pahlavi. He also proclaimed his son, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, as the Crown Prince of Persia.

Due to his autocratic style of ruling, he removed a number of ministers on various accusations of corruption, resulting in their imprisonment and death subsequently.

After a few years of industrialization and development programmes, he started forced acquisition of land, due to his rapacious nature. As a result, dissatisfaction started prevailing in the country, by mid-1930s.

In 1932, he canceled the agreement given to British company, Anglo-Persian Oil Company. Even though a new agreement was signed and Shah was offered 21% share instead of the previous 16%, both parties were disappointed.

To counterbalance the British and Soviet influence on Iran, he increased trade relations with Germany and by the onset of World War II, Germany was Iran’s largest trading partner.

As a matter of policy, he always tried to play Soviet Union off against the British but this policy failed when the two joined in 1941 against Germany. As a result, Russian and British troops invaded Iran in August 1941, forcing the Persian army to surrender in less than a week.

In order to preserve his dynasty, he relinquished his crown as demanded by the invading British who agreed to make his son, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the next Shah of Iran in exchange of an exile.

His son ascended the throne in September 1941, after which he was taken by the British troops first to Mauritius, then to Durban and finally Johannesburg.

Major Works

In 1934, he succeeded in setting up the country’s first European-style modern school, the University of Tehran, providing modern education and training for bureaucrats as well as the middle class.

He freed the women from wearing the veil in 1935 and encouraged them to receive education at schools and seek employment.

He sent a letter to the League of Nations suggesting the change of name from Persia to Iran and this was implemented in 1935.

Road networks were improved and expanded under his rule - the most significant of them being the Trans-Iranian Railway, which opened in 1938.

He initiated sponsorships for Iranian students to study in European universities and ended all special rights provided to foreigners, thereby giving Iran independence in true sense.

He set up state-owned factories for the production of basic consumer goods, like sugar, canned goods, matches, textiles and cigarettes.

He ended the religious hierarchy by allocating state-licensed notaries for notarizing documents, rather than clerics who had been doing it for years.

Personal Life & Legacy

He married Maryam Khanum in 1894. He had a daughter, Hamdan Saltaneh Pahlavi in 1903. However, Maryam died in 1904.

He married for a second time to Tadj ol-Molouk in 1916, who bore four children – daughter Shams Pahlavi, Crown Prince Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi, daughter Ashraf Pahlavi, and son Ali Reza Pahlavi.

His third wife was Turn (Qamar al Molouk) Amir Soleimani, whom he married in 1922. The couple had a son, Gholam Reza. They later divorced in 1923.

His fourth marriage to Esmat Dowlatshahi in 1923 resulted in five offsprings – son Abdul Reza Pahlavi, son Ahmad Reza Pahlavi, son Mahmud Reza Pahlavi, daughter Fatimeh Pahlavi, and son Hamid Reza Pahlavi.

He died in 1944, due to a heart ailment, while in exile in Johannesburg, South Africa. His body was taken to Egypt, where it was embalmed and preserved in Al Rifa’I Mosque, Cairo, till 1950.

His body was taken to Iran, and was buried in Ray, Tehran, but was later taken back to Cairo and buried in Al Rifa’I Mosque, in 1979.

// Famous Political Leaders

Rezā Shāh biography timelines

  • // 15th Mar 1878
    Reza Shah Pahlavi was born as Reza Khan on March 15, 1878 in Alasht village, Savad Kouh County, Mazandaran Province, to Major Abbas Ali Khan and his second wife, Noush Afrin Ayromlou.
  • // 1894 To 1904
    He married Maryam Khanum in 1894. He had a daughter, Hamdan Saltaneh Pahlavi in 1903. However, Maryam died in 1904.
  • // 1903
    At the age of 16, he joined the Persian Cossack Brigade. He is also said to have served as a guard and servant under Dutch consul general Frits Knobel in 1903.
  • // 1916
    He married for a second time to Tadj ol-Molouk in 1916, who bore four children – daughter Shams Pahlavi, Crown Prince Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi, daughter Ashraf Pahlavi, and son Ali Reza Pahlavi.
  • // 1917 To 1920
    Post the Russian Revolution of 1917, Britain and Soviet Russia vied with each other for better influence over Iran (Persia). By 1920, British and Soviet forces had control over most of the Iranian mainland.
  • // 1918
    He served in the Iranian Army under Qajar Prince Abdol Hossein Mirza Farmanfarma and rose to the rank of gunnery sergeant. His good account of service led to his promotion as a Brigadier General in the Cossacks, in 1918.
  • // 21st Feb 1921
    In the midst of this political crisis in Iran, Reza Khan entered Tehran with his Cossack Brigade and seized control of the capital city of Tehran in the coup d'état on February 21, 1921. He forced the dissolution of the previous government and became the Commander of the Iranian Army and war minister in the new government and carried out the withdrawal of Russian troops.
  • // 1922 To 1923
    His third wife was Turn (Qamar al Molouk) Amir Soleimani, whom he married in 1922. The couple had a son, Gholam Reza. They later divorced in 1923.
  • // 1923
    Upon approval from Ahmad Shah Qajar, he became the prime minister of the new regime in 1923. After Qajar left for Europe for a lengthy cure, he started working towards the creation of a republic.
  • // 1923
    His fourth marriage to Esmat Dowlatshahi in 1923 resulted in five offsprings – son Abdul Reza Pahlavi, son Ahmad Reza Pahlavi, son Mahmud Reza Pahlavi, daughter Fatimeh Pahlavi, and son Hamid Reza Pahlavi.
  • // 1925
    After succeeding in convincing the Majlis, he overthrew the absentee monarch Qajar and was proclaimed as the Shah of the Kingdom of Iran in 1925. This brought an end to the Qajar dynasty and establishment of the Pahlavi dynasty.
  • // Apr 1926
    He was coronated in April 1926 and changed his name to Reza Shah Pahlavi. He also proclaimed his son, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, as the Crown Prince of Persia.
  • // 1932
    In 1932, he canceled the agreement given to British company, Anglo-Persian Oil Company. Even though a new agreement was signed and Shah was offered 21% share instead of the previous 16%, both parties were disappointed.
  • // 1934
    In 1934, he succeeded in setting up the country’s first European-style modern school, the University of Tehran, providing modern education and training for bureaucrats as well as the middle class.
  • // 1935
    He freed the women from wearing the veil in 1935 and encouraged them to receive education at schools and seek employment.
  • // 1935
    He sent a letter to the League of Nations suggesting the change of name from Persia to Iran and this was implemented in 1935.
  • // 1938
    Road networks were improved and expanded under his rule - the most significant of them being the Trans-Iranian Railway, which opened in 1938.
  • // Aug 1941
    As a matter of policy, he always tried to play Soviet Union off against the British but this policy failed when the two joined in 1941 against Germany. As a result, Russian and British troops invaded Iran in August 1941, forcing the Persian army to surrender in less than a week.
  • // Sep 1941
    His son ascended the throne in September 1941, after which he was taken by the British troops first to Mauritius, then to Durban and finally Johannesburg.
  • // 1944 To 1950
    He died in 1944, due to a heart ailment, while in exile in Johannesburg, South Africa. His body was taken to Egypt, where it was embalmed and preserved in Al Rifa’I Mosque, Cairo, till 1950.
  • // 1979
    His body was taken to Iran, and was buried in Ray, Tehran, but was later taken back to Cairo and buried in Al Rifa’I Mosque, in 1979.

// Famous Iranian

Rezā Shāh's FAQ

  • What is Rezā Shāh birthday?

    Rezā Shāh was born at 1878-03-15

  • When was Rezā Shāh died?

    Rezā Shāh was died at 1944-07-26

  • Where was Rezā Shāh died?

    Rezā Shāh was died in Johannesburg

  • Which age was Rezā Shāh died?

    Rezā Shāh was died at age 66

  • Where is Rezā Shāh's birth place?

    Rezā Shāh was born in Alasht

  • What is Rezā Shāh nationalities?

    Rezā Shāh's nationalities is Iranian

  • Who is Rezā Shāh spouses?

    Rezā Shāh's spouses is Maryam Khanum, Tadj ol-Molouk, Turan

  • Who is Rezā Shāh childrens?

    Rezā Shāh's childrens is Mohammad Reza Pahlavi

  • Which company or organization was founded by Rezā Shāh?

    Rezā Shāh was the founder/co-founder of University of Tehran, Imam Ali University for Army Officers

  • What is Rezā Shāh's religion?

    Rezā Shāh's religion is Shia Islam, Islam, Sunni Islam, Zoroastrianism

  • Who is Rezā Shāh's father?

    Rezā Shāh's father is Abbas Ali Khan

  • Who is Rezā Shāh's mother?

    Rezā Shāh's mother is Noush-Afarin Ayromlou

  • What is Rezā Shāh's sun sign?

    Rezā Shāh is Pisces

  • How famous is Rezā Shāh?

    Rezā Shāh is famouse as Political figure