ḤOSAYN KHAN ĀJUDĀN-BĀŠI, probably the most important officer to hold the military rank of adjudant-en-chef (see ĀJŪDĀN-BĀŠI) during the Qajar period (d. ca. 1283/1866-67). Ḥosayn Khan attained the rank of ājudān-bāši through the good offices of Moḥammad Khan Amir Neẓām Zangana, commander of the army of Azerbaijan. Previously he had been a chief officer in the army of Azerbaijan, a post which had been held by successive generations in his family since Safavid times. He commanded the army of Azerbaijan during Moḥammad Shah’s Herat campaign (Garmrudi, pp. 10-11, M. Moširi’s introd., citing the Rawżat al-ṣafāʾ). When relations between Britain and Persia subsequently became strained, Ḥosayn Khan was dispatched to clarify Persia’s intentions and restore good relations. This mission took him to Austria and France as well as to Britain. He left Tabriz on 23 Jomādā II 1254/13 September 1838 and proceeded with his party through Ottoman territory (Garmrudi, p. 230). He was favorably received in Vienna by Prince Metternich, the Austrian chancellor, who attended to his requests and took steps to ensure that he would also be received in Britain as the representative of the Persian government (Maḥmud, II, p. 295). He was also well received in France (Garmrudi, pp. 338-46), but not in Britain, where the government was not prepared to give him a hearing. He had to resort to writing letters to various members of Parliament and foreign ambassadors in order to communicate the Persian government’s aims (ibid., pp. 399, 499), becoming thus the first representative of Persia to employ such means. The British government remained adamant in their refusal, and so he returned to Persia without achieving his goals. On his way back, in France Ḥosayn Khan hired officers and three technicians, who accompanied him back to Persia; he arrived at Tabriz on 5 Šawwāl 1255/13 December 1839. Ḥosayn Khan had also purchased a quantity of arms in France. These proved to be of no benefit to Persia, but instead became a future source of embarrassment (tr. Nur-Ṣādeqi, p. 71).
Following the completion of his mission, Ḥosayn Khan was given the title Neẓām-al-Dawla, and in 1258/1842-43 he was appointed governor of Yazd (Eʿtemād-al-Salṭana, III, p. 181; Mirḵᵛānd, X, p. 284). In this post Ḥosayn Khan carried out a number of development projects, including the construction or repair of underground irrigation canals (qanāts), cisterns, the fortress at Nohgonbad on the road between ʿAqdā and Nāʾin, and the caravansary (rebāṭ) between ʿAqdā and Yazd. The poet Mirzā ʿAbd-al-Wahhāb Ṭarāz Yazdi dedicated his tract on the pious foundations (awqāf) in Yazd to Ḥosayn Khan in tribute to these and other works (FIZ 10, 1391 Š./1962). In 1260/1844, Ḥosayn Khan was appointed governor of Fārs. Among the development projects he introduced was a diversion of the waters of the Šešpir river from its source in the Mamassani hills to Shiraz, by means of a canal some 18 farsaḵs long, 10 cubits wide, and five cubits deep, which was lined throughout its length with stone and mortar (Sepehr, II, p. 173). Towards the end of his governorship, relations between him and the leading citizens of Shiraz became strained, and some disturbances even broke out there (Ḵormoji, pp. 39-40). These incidents occurred early in the government of Amir(-e) Kabir (q.v.), who had been on bad terms with Ḥosayn Khan when the latter was still in Tabriz; moreover, at this time he was preoccupied with putting down the rebellion of Moḥammad-Ḥasan Khan Sālār in Khorasan, as well as some other disturbances. Therefore, he summarily dismissed Ḥosayn Khan and ordered that he be detained in Shiraz (ibid., p. 40). Ḥosayn Khan’s name does not appear again in the histories of the Qajar period. Apparently he died in 1283/1866-67, if not earlier (Montaẓam III, p. 310).
His son, ʿAli Khan, who served in the foreign ministry, was eventually rewarded with the title of Mošir-al-Wezāra (Eʿtemād-al-Salṭana, p. 310). In 1283/1866-67, he went to Tiflis as chief commissary officer (Montaẓam III, p. 301). ʿAli Khan was also stationed for some time in London and Paris in diplomatic posts, before he died in Tehran on 28 Rabiʿ II 1301/26 February 1884 (Eʿtemād-al-Salṭana, p. 310).
Eʿtemād-al-Salṭana, Montaẓam-e Nā-ṣeri, Tehran, 1300/1882-83.
Idem, Ruz-nāma-ye ḵāṭerāt-e Eʿtemād-al-Salṭana, Tehran, 1966.
Flandin, Voyage en Perse, Persian tr. Nur-Ṣādeqi, Isfahan, 1947, p. 71.
Farhang-e Irān-zamin 10, 1962.
ʿAbd-al-Fattāḥ Garmrudi, Šarḥ-e maʾmuriyat-e ājudān-bāši, Tehran, 1968, pp. 10-11 (M. Moširi’s introd.).
Moḥammad-Jaʿfar Ḵormuji, Ḥaqāʾeq al-aḵbār-e Nāṣeri, ed. Ḥ. Ḵadivjam, Tehran, 1965.
Maḥmud Maḥmud, Tāriḵ-e rawābeṭ-e siāsi-e Irān o Engelis dar qarn-e nuzdahom-e milādi, Tehran, II, 1947.
Mirḵᵛānd (Tehran), X, p. 284.
Moḥammad-Taqi Sepehr, Nāseḵ al-tawārikò, ed. J. Qāʾem-maqāmi, Tehran, III, 1958.
(Ḥ. Maḥbubi Ardakāni)
Originally Published: December 15, 2004
Last Updated: March 23, 2012
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Vol. XII, Fasc. 5, p. 513