KAJAR, the tribe to which the reigning family of Persia belong. They are one of the seven Turkish tribes which supported Shah Ismail, one of the first kings of the Suffavi dynasty, about A.D: 1500, when he raised the sect of the Shiah to importance, and made their belief the national religion of Persia. Shiah means sect in Persian, and the name given them as a reproach he took as a title. The Kajar have been distinguished during several generations among the tribes of Masan ' daran, the ancient Hyrcania. But they have not been traced farther back than A.H. 906, A.D. 1500, when Pin Beg, Kajar, is mentioned in a MS. Mr. Foster says the Kajar are an extensive tribe, chiefly residing in Masandaran and Astrabad ; and that the word in the provincial language signifies rebel or deserter. Like the Rajputs of India, they devote themselves principally to the profession of arms.
The greater number of the ancestors of Shah Ismail had been Sufis or philosophical deists, and Malcolm supposes that he raised the sect of Ali because he thought it necessary that the holy raptures in which the devotional men of his time and family indulged, should have some object more comprehensible to the mass of his country men than the abstract contemplation of the deity. The names of the other• Turkish tribes who sup ported Shah Ismail were Oostajalu, Shamlu, Nikallu, Baharlu, Zulkudder, and Affshar. Muhammad Khan, 1794, was the first monarch of the Kajar dynasty, and at that time the tribe were principally settled in the neighbourhood of Astra bad, where they still remain. He wal the son of
a petty chieftain, who had been expelled from his state by Nadir Shah. In his youth he had fallen into the hands of a nephew of Nadir, who made him a eunuch. Ila was avaricious, revenge ful, and loved power. In 1797 he was succeeded by his nephew Futtch Ali, in whose reign Persia had two disastrous wars with Russia, which gained the frontier of the Araxes and some territory beyond its mouth. But Persia recon quered Khorasan from the Uzbaks and Afghans. He died in 1834, and was succeeded by his grandson Muhammad Shah, and he again, in 1848, by Nasr-ud-Din.
Colonel MacGregor says the Kajar were brought from Syria by UMW', A.II. 803, and rapidly increased, that they are divided into the sections Yokaribash and Ashagabash, who have each six clans. The Ziadoglu Kajar division of the Kajar were settled at Ganja in Russian Armenia, and remain there still. The Azdanln section were removed to Mery in the reign of Shah Tamasp and held it until conquered by and nearly anni hilated by the Uzbak under the Khan of Bokhara. — MacGregor, iv. p. 609 ; Ferrier's Journeys ; Malcolm's Persia ; Tarikh Alam Arai; Ouseley's Travels ; Foster's Travels ; Chatfield's Hindustan.