Fath Ali Shah Qajar
Second Shah of the Qajar Dynasty
Fath Ali Shah (b. 1771) referred to in his youth as Baba Khan, was the son of Hossein Qoli Khan, Agha Mohammad Khan's younger brother. Fath Ali Shah is the second shah of the Qajar (Kadjar) dynasty, but in a sense its real founder, literally. He fathered over an hundred children during his reign, and had a harem of several hundred wives. As his uncle and first shah of the dynasty, Agha Mohammad Khan, was unable to father any children of his own due to a mutilation he had suffered at the hands of his enemies during his long captivity, Fath Ali Shah took the task of creating a family of heirs and supporters of the throne to be a matter of state. Not unlike those of other prodigiously fecund royal parents in Europe and elsewhere, the births of royal children where indeed matters of state and often matters concerning the viability of state. He was the first of the Qajar shahs to create a court life of opulence and glamour. His reign is remembered for his attempts at court building and empire maintenance. He was not as succesful at the latter. He suffered the loss of the northern provinces to Russia, despite the galant efforts of his son and crown prince, Abbas Mirza, to avoid that catastrophy. He died a year after Abbas Mirza, in 1834.