55 Facts About Reza Shah


Reza Shah Pahlavi was an Iranian military officer, politician, and first shah of the House of Pahlavi of the Imperial State of Iran and father of the last shah of Iran.

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Reza Shah reigned from 15 December 1925 until he was forced to abdicate by the Anglo-Soviet invasion of Iran on 16 September 1941.

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Reza Shah introduced many social, economic, and political reforms during his reign, ultimately laying the foundation of the modern Iranian state.

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Reza Shah forced the dissolution of the government and installed Zia ol Din Tabatabaee as the new prime minister.

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In 1925, Reza Shah Pahlavi was appointed as the legal monarch of Iran by the decision of Iran's constituent assembly.

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Reza Shah founded the Pahlavi dynasty that lasted until overthrown in 1979 during the Iranian Revolution.

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Reza Shah Pahlavi was born in the city of Alasht in Savadkuh County, Mazandaran Province, in 1878, to son of Major Abbas-Ali Khan and wife Noush-Afarin.

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Reza Shah's mother was a Georgian Muslim immigrant from Georgia, whose family had emigrated to Qajar Iran when it was forced to cede all of its territories in the Caucasus following the Russo-Persian Wars several decades prior to Reza Shah's birth.

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Reza Shah's father was a Mazanderani, commissioned in the 7th Savadkuh Regiment, and served in the Siege of Herat in 1856.

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Reza Shah remarried in 1879 and left Reza to the care of his uncle.

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When Reza Shah was sixteen years old, he joined the Persian Cossack Brigade.

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Farman Farma noted that Reza Shah had potential and sent him to military school where he gained the rank of gunnery sergeant.

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Reza Shah was the last commanding officer of the Brigade, and the only Iranian commander in its history, succeeding to this position the Russian colonel Vsevolod Starosselsky, whom Reza Shah had helped, in 1918, take over the brigade.

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Reza Shah forced the dissolution of the previous government and demanded that Seyyed Zia'eddin Tabatabaee be appointed Prime Minister.

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Reza Shah took the title Sardar Sepah, or Commander-in-Chief of the Army, by which he was known until he became Shah.

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Reza Shah Khan spent the rest of 1921 securing Iran's interior, responding to a number of revolts that erupted against the new government.

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Zia ol Din Tabatabaee wrongly calculated that when Reza Shah Khan was appointed as the minister of war, he would relinquish his post as the head of the Persian Cossack Brigade, and that Reza Shah Khan would wear civilian clothing instead of the military attire.

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Reza Shah quickly established a political cabinet in Tehran to help organize his plans for modernization and reform.

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Reza Shah's reign has been said to have consisted of "two distinct periods".

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Reza Shah was the first Iranian Monarch in 1400 years who paid respect to the Jews by praying in the synagogue when visiting the Jewish community of Isfahan; an act that boosted the self-esteem of the Iranian Jews and made Reza Shah their second most respected Iranian leader after Cyrus the Great.

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Reza Shah's reforms opened new occupations to Jews and allowed them to leave the ghetto.

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Reza Shah forbade photographing aspects of Iran he considered backwards such as camels, and he banned clerical dress and chadors in favor of Western dress.

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Reza Shah discredited and eliminated a number of his ministers.

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Reza Shah was removed as the minister of court in 1932 and died under suspicious circumstances while in prison in September 1933.

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In 1935, Reza Shah asked foreign delegates and League of Nations to use the term Iran, the endonym of the country, used by its native people, in formal correspondence.

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Reza Shah announced that female teachers could no longer come to school with head coverings.

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Reza Shah restricted public mourning observances to one day and required mosques to use chairs instead of the traditional sitting on the floors of mosques.

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Reza Shah worked to balance British influence with other foreigners and generally to diminish foreign influence in Iran.

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Reza Shah previously hired American consultants to develop and implement Western-style financial and administrative systems.

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Reza Shah purchased ships from Italy and hired Italians to teach his troops the intricacies of naval warfare.

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Reza Shah imported hundreds of German technicians and advisors for various projects.

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Mindful of Persia's long period of subservience to British and Russian authority, Reza Shah was careful to avoid giving any one foreign nation too much control.

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Reza Shah insisted that foreign advisors be employed by the Persian government, so that they would not be answerable to foreign powers.

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Reza Shah eventually fired Millspaugh, and prohibited foreigners from administering schools, owning land or traveling in the provinces without police permission.

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In contrast, the Reza Shah's regime did not develop what critics believe was an economically justifiable east–west railway system.

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In 1932, the Reza Shah offended Britain by canceling the agreement under which the Anglo-Persian Oil Company produced and exported Iran's oil.

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Reza Shah knew that the system of the constitutional monarchy in Iran after him had to stand on a solid basis of the collective participation of all Iranians, and that it was indispensable to create educational centers all over Iran.

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Reza Shah attempted to forge a regional alliance with Iran's Middle Eastern neighbors, particularly Turkey.

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Reza Shah treated the urban middle class, the managers, and technocrats with an iron fist; as a result his state-owned industries remained underproductive and inefficient.

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Reza Shah confiscated land from the Qajars and from his rivals and into his own estates.

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Collapse of the army that Reza Shah had spent so much time and effort creating was humiliating.

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Reza Shah ordered pro-British Prime Minister Ali Mansur, whom he blamed for demoralising the military, to resign, replacing him with former prime minister Mohammad Ali Foroughi.

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Foroughi was disobliged towards Reza Shah, having been previously forced into retirement years earlier for political reasons with his daughter's father in-law being executed by firing squad.

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Reza Shah stalled on the last demand, choosing instead to secretly evacuate German nationals from the country.

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The British wanted to restore the Qajar Dynasty to power, but the heir to Ahmad Reza Shah Qajar since that last Qajar Reza Shah's death in 1930, Hamid Hassan Mirza, was a British subject who spoke no Persian.

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Anglo-Soviet invasion was instigated in response to Reza Shah for having denied the request to remove the German residents, who could threaten the Abadan refinery.

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Reza Shah further refused the Allies' requests to expel German nationals residing in Iran, and denied the use of the railway to the Allies.

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Reza Shah was forced by the invading British to abdicate in favor of his son Mohammad Reza Pahlavi who replaced his father as Shah on the throne on 16 September 1941.

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Reza Shah abdicated and the British forces quickly took him and his children to Mauritius, where he lived at Chateau Val d'Ory on Bois-Cheris Road in the Moka neighborhood of Port Louis.

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Reza Shah lived on a diet of plain rice and boiled chicken in the last years of his life.

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In 2018, a mummified body believed to be Reza Shah's was found in the vicinity of his former mausoleum site in Tehran.

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Reza Shah married, for the first time, Maryam Savadkoohi, who was his cousin, in 1894.

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The couple married in 1916 and when Reza Shah Khan became king, Queen Tadj ol-Molouk was his official wife.

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Third wife of Reza Shah was Queen Turan Amirsoleimani, who was from the Qajar dynasty.

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Reza Shah's fourth and last wife, Queen Esmat Dowlatshahi, was a Princess of the Qajar dynasty.

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