The Afghan Interlude and the Zand and Afshar Dynasties (1722–95)

Kamran Scot Aghaie

in The Oxford Handbook of Iranian History

Published in print February 2012 | ISBN: 9780199732159
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

The Afghan Interlude and the Zand and Afshar Dynasties (1722–95)

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The intermediate period marking the transition from the Safavid to the Qajar dynasty was punctuated by widespread turmoil and varied bids to power. This interlude was strongly dominated by the Afghan factor. Two Afghans of humble origins, Nader Quli Khan Afshar and Karim Khan Zand, established rule over large swathes of Safavid domain. Although their reign succumbed almost immediately posthumously, the influence hurtled untill the nineteenth century, the era of the Qajars. The complex political rivalries in the region of Khorasan, bordering Afghanistan, led to the Afghan invasion of the Safavid domain of Isfahan in 1722. The defeat of the Safavid Qizilbash troops and the fall of Herat to the invading Abdali Afghans emboldened the Afghan siege, commandeered by Mahmud Ghilzai. The ascension of Nadir Shah to monarchy was marked by betrayal, violence, and cunningness. His domain stretched from Russian-controlled Caucasus to Delhi in the East. In contrast, Karim Khan's twenty odd years of reign were mostly marked with fighting off various adversaries.

Keywords: Qajar dynasty; Nader Quli Khan Afshar; Karim Khan Zand; Isfahan; Qizilbash; fall of Herat; Abdali Afghan

Article.  6155 words. 

Subjects: History ; Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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