Reza Shah Pahlavi

His Imperial Majesty Reza Shah Pahlavi His Imperial Majesty Reza Shah Pahlavi

His Imperial Majesty Reza Shah Pahlavi was born in Mazandaran Province in 1878 to Abbas Ali and his wife Noush Afarin.

In his lifetime Reza Shah was married four times, first to Maryam Khanum (d.1904) with whom he had Hamdamsaltaneh (1903-1992); second to Nimtaj who was titled Taj ol-Moluk (1896-1982) with whom he had Princess Shams (1917-96), Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi (1991-1980), Princess Ashraf (b. 1919) and Prince Alireza (1922-54); third to Turan who was titled Qamar ol-Moluk (1904-95) with whom he had Prince Gholamreza (b. 1923); and fourth to Esmat Dowlatshahi (1904-95) who was titled Esmat ol-Moluk with whom he had Prince Abdulreza (1924-2004), Prince Ahmadreza (1925-81), Prince Mahmudreza (1926-2001), Princess Fatimeh (1928-87) and Prince Hamidreza (1932-92).

At the age of 15 Reza Khan joined the Persian Cossack Brigade and through strength of character, courage and leadership abilities ascended to the rank of Brigadier General in 1918. In 1921 he led the coup that deposed the Qajar Shah’s government and installed himself as minister of war (1921-23), during which time he defeated tribal rebellions, and then as prime minister (1923-25). Reza Khan aspired to be the Kemal Ataturk of Persia. He favored the establishment of a secular republican government which could set Persia down the road of modernity and development. The Shia clergy had other ideas, however, and opposed republicanism which they associated with socialism and anti-clericalism. In 1925 they favored the compromise by which the Qajar dynasty was ousted and replaced with the new Pahlavi dynasty led by Reza Khan who styled himself Reza Shah Pahlavi.

Reza Shah formed a civilian-led administration that built the foundations of a modern nation state. The government established a national army, universities and schools, a national bank, bureaucracies to administer new policies and railroads, air strips and roads to bind the nation together. Persia was formally renamed “Iran” to make clear the break with the past. Reza Shah renegotiated Iran’s oil pact with Great Britain to secure a more favorable financial settlement. He emancipated Iranian women and ordered all Iranians to wear western dress in public. When the clergy opposed these reforms the Shah sent in the army to make it clear that power now radiated from the center in Tehran and from the ulama in Qom or Mashad.

For two decades Reza Shah successfully balanced the interests of foreign powers with an eye to Iran’s oil and location bordering the Persian Gulf. But in August 1941 Great Britain and Soviet Russia invaded Iran, ostensibly to block Nazi Germany from seizing control of Iran’s land and rail routes. Reza Shah abdicated in his son’s favor on September 16, 1941, and ended his days in exile in South Africa.


House of Pahlavi:

1st Spouse Maryam Khanum (died 1904)

Hamdamsaltaneh Pahlavi (1903–1992)

2nd Spouse Tadj ol-Molouk (1896–1982)

Princess Shams Pahlavi (1917–1996)
Crown Prince Mohammad-Rezā Shāh Pahlavi (1919–1980)
Princess Ashraf Pahlavi (b. 1919)
Prince Ali Reza Pahlavi (1922–1954)

3rd Spouse Turan (Qamar al Molk) Amir Soleimani (1904–1995)

Gholam Reza Pahlavi (b. 1923)

4th Spouse Esmat Dowlatshahi (1904–1995)

Abdul Reza Pahlavi (1924–2004)
Ahmad Reza Pahlavi (1925–1981)
Mahmud Reza Pahlavi (1926–2001)
Fatimeh Pahlavi (1928–1987)
Hamid Reza Pahlavi (1932–1992)

Father, Abbas Ali Khan
Mother, Noush-Afarin Ayromlou
Born, March 15, 1878
Iran, (Persia) Alasht, Savad Kooh, Mazandaran
Died, July 26, 1944 (aged 66) in Johannesburg, South Africa
Burial, Reza Shah's Mausoleum in Ray, Tehran, Iran

See more photos of Reza Shah Pahlavi

Reza Shah The Great - رضا شاه بزرگ

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