NEẒĀM-AL-SALṬANA, ḤOSAYNQOLI KHAN (1832-1908, Figure 1), official, governor, and prime minister in the Qajar era. Ḥosaynqoli Khan was born in 1832 to the family of Šarif Khan Māfi, a high-ranking military commander and a minor governor during the reigns of the Qajar monarchs Fatḥ-ʿAli Shah (1797-1834) and Moḥammad Shah (1834-48). According to the manuscript of Solṭān-ʿAli Khan Māfi’s Taḏkerāt al-ābāʾ (Ḵāṭerāt, I, p. 13; Eqbāl Āštiāni, p. 31), prior to the Safavid era (1501-1722), the Māfi clan, originally from Kermānšāhān, had settled in Lorestān, forming a sub-branch of the Bayrānavand. During the Safavid period, the Māfis were relocated to Fārs province, later forging close ties with the Zand dynasty (1751-94). Following the defeat of the last Zand ruler, Loṭf-ʿAli Khan, in 1794 by Āḡā Moḥammad Khan Qajar, who gradually established his own dynastic control over Persian territories, the Māfis were moved from Fārs to Qazvin and adjacent territories, as a means of containing their power base.

Ḥosaynqoli Khan’s mother, Ṣāḥeb-Jān Khānom, was the second wife of Šarif Khan Māfi, with their other children being Ḥaydarqoli Khan, who pursued a military career, and Moḥammad-Ḥasan Khan, who entered the Qajar bureaucracy. Ḥosaynqoli Khan also had siblings from his father’s first marriage, and would marry two wives himself. Only two of his children survived into adulthood: a daughter by the name of Batul, who would marry Shaikh Ḵazʿal of Moḥammara (KHORRAMSHAHR), and a son named Ḥosayn (Ḵāṭerāt, I, pp. 12, 13-14, 15, 31; Eqbāl Āštiāni, p. 51).

Ḥosaynqoli Khan completed his formal education at the age of twenty-two, after which he was engaged in family business for nearly four years before embarking on his career in the Qajar bureaucracy in 1858 at the age of twenty-six. His bureaucratic career followed the usual vicissitudes of all high-ranking Persian government officials of the period, of which he provided numerous examples in his posthumously published memoirs and letters (Ḵāṭerāt va asnād-e Ḥosaynqoli Khan Neẓām-al-Salṭana Māfi). Senior government positions were generally secured only after much maneuvering, bargaining, and even bribery; with fully competent officials frequently dismissed from their posts after a brief tenure, either due to rival influences or in keeping with the Qajar state’s strategy of preventing officials from gaining too much popularity and leverage. The state’s practice of auctioning senior government posts and the accompanying rampant nepotism, along with the uncertainty of one’s tenure, undermined stability and continuity in government administration and, often, also resulted in officials’ financial ruin, public disgrace, bitter resentment, and subsequent scheming against their rivals — as Ḥosaynqoli Khan personally experienced. Ḥosaynqoli Khan, his brother Moḥammad-Ḥasan Khan, and their nephew Reżāqoli Khan (Ḥaydarqoli Khan’s oldest son) worked together closely to advance their respective administrative careers and safeguard their family’s interests.

In 1858, Ḥosaynqoli Khan was employed as private secretary, or steward/administrator (piškār), by Prince Solṭān Morād Mirzā Ḥosām-al-Salṭana, the governor of Fārs. Ḥosaynqoli Khan continued to serve Ḥosām-al-Salṭana in the same capacity when the latter became the governor of Khorasan in 1861 and was tasked with pacifying the marauding Turkmen tribes. They remained in Khorasan until Ḥosām-al-Salṭana was recalled to Tehran in late 1864 (Ḵāṭerāt, I, pp. 32-39; Bāmdād, I, pp. 292-94; Afżal-al-Molk, pp. 244-46; Eʿtemād-al-Salṭana, p. 856; Eqbāl Āštiāni, p. 35). In 1865, Ḥosām-al-Salṭana was reappointed as governor of Fārs, with Ḥosaynqoli Khan again serving as his secretary for the next three years, followed by another nearly two years in the service of Ḥosām-al-Salṭana in Yazd. In 1870, Ḥosaynqoli Khan was engaged as private secretary by Ḥosām-al-Salṭana’s son, Abu’l-Fatḥ Mirzā, who took over the governorship of Yazd as his father’s deputy. Ḥosaynqoli Khan continued serving Abu’l-Fatḥ Mirzā when the latter was delegated by his father to the governorship of Isfahan in 1871.

In April 1874, Ḥosaynqoli Khan achieved his first significant career advancement. He was appointed the governor of Yazd and granted the title of Saʿd-al-Molk (Ḵāṭerāt, I, pp. 45-47, 48-49, 50-58, 67-73). From 1876 to 1879, he was engaged as minister, or chief administrator (vizier), by the governor of Fārs province, Mirzā Yaḥyā Khan Moʿṭamad-al-Molk; briefly also serving the latter’s successor Farḥād Mirzā Moʿṭamad-al-Dawla. From 1879 to 1881, Ḥosaynqoli Khan supervised the state granaries countrywide. In recognition of his administrative efficiency and reliability, he was put in charge in 1882 of overseeing the Persian Gulf ports, islands, and customs (Ḵāṭerāt, I, p. 73-87). In this role, he was instrumental in extensively enforcing direct state control over the ports and islands (Voṯuqi, pp. 112-17).

In 1885, Ḥosaynqoli Khan was appointed the governor of Ḵamsa (present day Zanjān), with his tenure earning a commendation from Nāṣer-al-Din Shah (Ḵāṭerāt, I, pp. 112-18). The shah also approved of Ḥosaynqoli Khan’s proposed scheme for selling the province’s ḵāleṣa (state-owned agricultural lands; see ḴĀṢṢA) as a means of both more efficiently managing these lands under private ownership and resolving the intricacies of converting taxed produce from the lands into treasury funds (Ḵāṭerāt, I, pp. 117-18). In 1888 Ḥosaynqoli Khan was assigned the governorship of ʿArabestān province (present day Ḵuzestān), as well as Čahār-Maḥāl and Baḵtiāri territories. Given the many inter-ethnic and intra-tribal rivalries throughout these districts, and periodic rebellions against the central government, this was a posting fraught with major predicaments. Lacking an alternative, he accepted the post reluctantly. Along with this appointment, he was granted the newly-coined title of Neẓām-al-Salṭana; his former title was transferred to his brother Moḥammad-Ḥasan Khan, who was appointed administrator of the Persian Gulf ports and islands (Ḵāṭerāt, I, pp. 120-23; Eʿtemād-al-Salṭana, p. 562). Immediately after arriving at his new post, Ḥosaynqoli Khan successfully suppressed a rebellion by a Baḵtiāri tribal leader, Emāmqoli Khan Ḥāji Ilḵāni (Kāṭerāt, I, pp. 124-37). Ḥosaynqoli Khan’s most important duties as governor were the imposition of central authority, preservation of regional stability by means of cajoling or force, and the collection of taxes, which was rendered difficult by regular evasions, periodic rebellions, and recurrent inter- and intra-ethnic strife among the mostly Arab, Lor, and Baḵtiāri local population. Previously, the central government had had little direct control over ʿArabestān. The collection of taxes in the province had been difficult and erratic at best, with payments often in arrears. On occasion, Ḥosaynqoli Khan resorted to military force for levying taxes (Ḵāṭerāt, I, pp. 144, 148-49). In his memoirs, he also recounted that as a means of reinforcing loyalty to the Qajar state among the local population, he twice arranged for lavish public celebrations of the shah’s birthday in Moḥammara, even importing fireworks from Bombay for the festivities (Ḵāṭerāt, I, pp. 147, 161).

Ḥosaynqoli Khan’s duties in ʿArabestān required frequent travel through harsh terrain, often in the company of a sizable armed force for intimidating or pacifying mutinous local shaikhs (Arab tribal rulers). On one occasion this led to a misunderstanding with the powerful Shaikh Mozʿel of Moḥammara, who fled the city after mistakenly assuming that Ḥosaynqoli Khan’s reported approach towards the city signaled a punitive mission (Ḵāṭerāt, I, pp. 143-47). Ḥosaynqoli Khan also initiated some public works and other construction and repair projects, such as bridges in Moḥammara and Ahvāz, or a dam near Šuštār, as well as undertaking the conservation of the remains of the ancient Salāsel citadel (Ḵāṭerāt, I, pp. 140-41, 150-51, 156-57). He arranged for the extension of the telegraph line from Dezful to Moḥammara and the construction of a new port in Ahvāz, named Nāṣeri in honor of the shah. He was supportive of efforts by Iranian merchants to organize a company (also called Nāṣeri) for the navigation of the Kārun river above the Moḥammara dam, beyond the range navigated by the British company of Messrs. Lynch in the lower Kārun after 1888 (Ḵāṭerāt, I, pp. 154, 155, 158-59). In 1882, the authorities in Tehran had sent the prominent Dār al-fonun statistician, astronomer, and engineer Mirzā ʿAbd-al-Ḡaffār Najm-al-Molk to oversee the construction of a dam in Ahvāz; but he had been unsuccessful (Najm-al-Molk, pp. 49-55). In 1890, Najm-al-Molk was dispatched once again to supervise the building of the dam. Ḥosaynqoli Khan, however, objected to the project; cautioning the government that the plan was an exorbitant undertaking, while such a dam would also drain the streams feeding surrounding agricultural lands, which, in turn, would result in a major loss of taxable produce. Moreover, he was adamant that Persia lacked the necessary domestic expertise and material for constructing a durable dam of such wide expanse and height (Ḵāṭerāt, I, pp. 153-55).

In 1891, the former governor of Māzandarān, Šahāb-al-Molk, assumed the governorship of ʿArabestān, and Ḥosaynqoli Khan was appointed the governor of Bušehr as well as the administrator of ports and islands of the Persian Gulf — the latter post hitherto held by his brother Moḥammad-Ḥasan Khan Saʿd-al-Molk, who had requested to be relieved of his duties after the recent death of his wife. The new posting once again afforded Ḥosaynqoli Khan the opportunity to visit some remote islands and inland coastal regions of the Persian Gulf, which he described in detail in his memoirs, ranging from their social conditions to flora and fauna (Ḵāṭerāt, I, pp. 163-67, 339-45).

Nāṣer-al-Din Shah’s rising confidence in Ḥosaynqoli Khan’s abilities and opinion, appears to have been the underlying cause of worsening relations between the chief minister (ṣadr-e aʿẓam) Amin-al-Solṭān and Ḥosaynqoli Khan, after an initially warm rapport between the two men. Moreover, Amin-al-Solṭān, who exercised great leverage over governmental appointments and whose first tenure in office lasted from 1885 to 1896, wished to consolidate his own support base by securing top official posts for those loyal to him (Ḵāṭerāt, I, pp. 120-23, 174, 175-76, 177, 196-200, 204-6; Eʿtemād-al-Salṭana, p. 995). In 1892, the shah appointed Ḥosaynqoli Khan the governor of Fārs, one of the highest gubernatorial posts in the country, with Ḥosaynqoli Khan having paid a considerable sum of money for the appointment (Ḵāṭerāt, I, p. 200; ʿAyn-al-Salṭana, I, pp. 519, 578). Other than widespread economic and financial crises in the province, a major source of consternation was inter-tribal rivalry and periodic clashes between the chief of the Qašqāʾi, Ṣawlat-al-Dawla, and the head of the Ḵamsa confederacy, Moḥammad-Reżā Qawām-al-Molk (Oberling, pp. 73-76). Prior to Ḥosaynqoli Khan’s arrival at his new post, Qawām-al-Molk had been expelled from the provincial capital Shiraz by the previous governor, Prince Rokn-al-Dawla. Ḥosaynqoli Khan allowed Qawām-al-Molk to return to the city, despite widespread popular opposition to this move, which soon erupted into a rebellion. Eventually, Ḥosaynqoli Khan was forced to once again exile Qawām-al-Molk after some protesters were killed (Ḵāṭerāt, I, pp. 182-92; ʿAyn-al-Salṭana, I, pp. 530, 540). Amin-al-Solṭān, who earlier had disapproved of Ḥosaynqoli Khan’s assignment to Fārs, now joined forces with Rokn-al-Dawla for the latter’s reappointment as the governor of the province, by seizing upon the disturbances in Shiraz as the pretext for Ḥosaynqoli Khan’s dismissal. Ḥosaynqoli Khan was recalled within almost a year after arriving in Shiraz (Ḵāṭerāt, I, pp. 177-180, 193-94; Eʿtemād-al-Salṭana, p. 938).

In 1895, Ḥosaynqoli Khan was again granted the governorship of ʿArabestān and Baḵtiāri, as well as Lorestān on this occasion. He delegated the affairs of Lorestān to his brother and nephew, Moḥammad-Ḥasan Khan Saʿd-al-Molk and Reżāqoli Khan (now titled Mojir-al-Salṭana; Ḵāṭerāt, I, pp. 203-4, 206-7; Afżal-al-Molk, p. 77). Ḥosaynqoli Khan was still in ʿArabestān and Baḵtiāri when Nāṣer-al-Din Shah was assassinated on 1 May 1896 and was succeeded by the crown prince Moẓaffar-al-Din. A few weeks after the shah’s death, Ḥosaynqoli Khan, his brother, and his nephew were recalled to Tehran (Ḵāṭerāt, I, pp. 212-13, 220-21; Afżal-al-Molk, p. 82). His second tenure as governor of ʿArabestān ended abruptly in the summer of 1896 due a dispute with the British consul in Kerman, Sir Percy Sykes. In Sykes’ version of events, Ḥosaynqoli Khan had initially refused to formally acknowledge Sykes as a British representative when Sykes arrived in ʿArabestān to seek an indemnity for the recent attacks by Iranians against two British citizens in the province (a vicious attack on an agent of Messrs. Lynch company by his Iranian servant in Šuštār and the injury caused by an Iranian soldier to another agent of Messrs. Lynch in Ahvāz). Sykes additionally accused Ḥosaynqoli Khan of refusal to consider any indemnity to victims of these attacks, after Ḥosaynqoli Khan had finally followed due diplomatic protocol in greeting Sykes. In reaction, Sykes lodged a complaint with the prime minister Amin-al-Solṭān, who ordered Ḥosaynqoli Khan to cooperate with Sykes and, shortly after, terminated the latter’s appointment (Sykes, pp. 247, 252-53, 255). Ḥosaynqoli Khan’s account of the meeting with Sykes maintains the governor received Sykes in accordance with official protocol after learning Sykes’ identity, and that, rather than an unqualified rejection of restitution to British victims of recent assaults, Ḥosaynqoli Khan had merely indicated he would require Tehran’s prior authorization before indemnifying foreign nationals. With much exaggeration, Ḥosaynqoli Khan would ultimately attribute his dismissal to his patriotism in opposition to rapidly expanding British hegemony in the region, and to collusion between the British consular service and Amin-al-Solṭān (Ḵāṭerāt, I, pp. 213-18, 220, 248-49). 

Following this episode, Ḥosaynqoli Khan joined a plot to unseat the prime minister, with the latter increasingly loathed by the conservative clergy for his allegedly blasphemous lifestyle, and widely blamed by various groups for unpopular concessions granted by the Persian government to British and Russian subjects during the reign of the former shah. Amin-al-Solṭān was also opposed by the influential circle in the royal court of Prince ʿAbd-al-Ḥosayn Mirzā Farmānfarmā, the war minister and commander-in-chief of the army (Malek-al-Moʾarreḵin, I, p. 383; Amin-al-Dawla, pp. 216-21; Ḵāṭerāt, I, pp. 221, 228-32). For a few weeks following Amin-al-Solṭān’s dismissal in late November of 1896, a cabinet without a prime minister was in charge of government affairs (with the war minister Farmānfarmā at the helm), until in March 1897 Mirzā ʿAli Khan Amin-al-Dawla became the prime minister (Amin-al-Dawla, p. 221-25; Ḵāṭerāt, I, pp. 239-40). Amin-al-Dawla, an opponent of Amin-al-Solṭān and considered a reformist politician, appointed Ḥosaynqoli Khan to both ministries of Justice and Commerce, with Ḥosaynqoli Khan’s brother, Saʿd-al-Molk, later put in charge of customs of southern ports (Ḵāṭerāt, I, pp. 240, 246, 249; Afżal-al-Molk, pp. 232, 241-42; Amin-al-Dawla, p. 236). In September, the new prime minister convinced the shah to dismiss Farmānfarmā, who extensively interfered with government affairs, with Ḥosaynqoli Khan also counseling the shah on this matter (Ḵāṭerāt, I, pp. 240-42; Amin-al-Dawla, p. 229, 239-40).

Persia’s finances were in disarray and the treasury lacked sufficient funds for governmental expenditures (Kazemzadeh, pp. 302-10). Amin-al-Dawla, who enjoyed British diplomatic endorsement, was dismissed from office in 1898 after failing to secure a desperately-needed foreign loan from various parties, including from the British-owned Imperial Bank of Persia, even after the prime minister lowered the sum of the loan requested from the Imperial Bank from £400,000 to £250,000. The shah appointed Ḥosaynqoli Khan as minister of finance and recalled Amin-al-Solṭān from exile, tasking him with the formation a new government (Ḵāṭerāt, I, pp. 250-51, 254-55; Kazemzadeh, pp. 312-19). At the urging of Amin-al-Solṭān, following his return to Tehran, the shah dismissed Ḥosaynqoli Khan from the ministry, instead appointing him the administrator (piškār) of Azerbaijan in the service of the crown prince Moḥammad ʿAli. Ḥosaynqoli Khan accepted this post reluctantly, given the crown prince’s antipathy toward him (Ḵāṭerāt, I, pp. 256-58, 261-62, 278; Malek-al-Moʾarreḵin, I, p. 324-25; Afżal-al-Molk, p. 354).

When Moẓaffar-al-Din Shah passed through Azerbaijan on both legs of his first trip to Europe in 1900, the responsibility of overseeing the lodging and provisions for the monarch and his vast entourage in the provincial capital, Tabriz, and surrounding areas rested with Ḥosaynqoli Khan. Even by the shah’s extravagant expectations, Ḥosaynqoli Khan fulfilled this duty splendidly (Moẓaffar-al-Din Shah, pp. 27, 29, 40-43, 253-57, 261; Ḵāṭerāt, I, pp. 272). Ḥosaynqoli Khan, on the other hand, was highly critical of the shah’s trip, particularly its timing while the country was undergoing major financial crisis and Azerbaijan was experiencing a serious food shortage. In his memoirs, he recounted the difficulty of procuring suitable accommodation and food supplies for the shah’s travel party and for their transport animals (Ḵāṭerāt, I, pp. 270-72, 273-74, 278; Malek-al-Moʾarreḵin, I, p. 493). On the shah’s return trip, Hosaynqoli Khan had to organize a state dinner on 26 October 1900 on the Persian side of the Aras river frontier with Russia, welcoming the shah, the monarch’s close companions, and a large group of Russian dignitaries accompanying them across the border. During the dinner, heavy rain began seeping through the reception tent. Hosaynqoli Khan appears to have been overly perturbed by this incident. Whereas the shah’s account of the event indicates the situation was soon brought under control, Hosaynqoli Khan recounted that he unsuccessfully offered to resign his post, fearing the shah’s rage at the incident and weary of service to the crown prince (Moẓaffar-al-Din Shah, pp. 254-55; Ḵāṭerāt, I, pp. 277-78). In April 1901, however, Hosaynqoli Khan was dismissed from his post, due to mounting mutual aversion of the crown prince toward him, exacerbated by the crown prince’s ultimately abortive efforts to obstruct Hosaynqoli Khan’s reclamation of a substantial personal debt the latter had incurred for governmental expenditures during his Azerbaijan tenure (Ḵāṭerāt, I, pp. 281-84, 287-91). After a brief stay in Tehran, Hosaynqoli Khan retired to his estate in Ḵamsa and tended to his several landed properties there (Ḵāṭerāt, I, pp. 300-305).

Ḥosaynqoli Khan’s next official posting in 1905 coincided with major economic and political upheavals, which would eventually culminate in the outbreak of the Constitutional Revolution in the summer of 1906. With the shah setting out on his third European journey in May 1905, and the crown prince taking charge of affairs in Tehran during the shah’s absence, Ḥosaynqoli Khan was reappointed as the administrator of Azerbaijan (Ḵāṭerāt, III, pp. 374-76; Nāẓem-al-Eslām, I, p. 130; Malek-al-Moʾarreḵin, II, p. 762). He continued in this capacity after the shah’s return to Tehran in early October 1905, not long after which the first signs of popular unrest appeared in the Persian capital. Tabriz, with its own set of local conflicts, was not immune to these broader popular disturbances (Kasravi, pp. 127-58; Ḵāṭerāt, III, p. 382). Following the outbreak of the Constitutional Revolution in 1906, Ḥosaynqoli Khan, who at the time was averse to a constitutional system of government, grew even more alarmed at the rapid radicalization of some constitutionalist factions, particularly in Tabriz in the aftermath of the ailing Moẓaffar-al-Din Shah’s proclamation of a constitutional monarchy on 5 August 1906. Ironically, the crown prince relieved Ḥosaynqoli Khan of his duties in Azerbaijan in late October 1906, blaming him for spurring the constitutionalist disturbances in Tabriz (Ḵāṭerāt, III, pp. 399, 400-404, 406, 407-8). Ḥosaynqoli Khan subsequently served two very brief stints as governors of Isfahan and Fars, before being appointed prime minister (raʾis al-wozarāʾ) in December 1907 by no other than the former crown prince, Moḥammad-ʿAli, who had ascended the throne in January 1907 (Ḵāṭerāt, III, pp. 445-47, 450-52).

Ḥosaynqoli Khan’s appointment as prime minister followed the mass resignation of the moderate-reformist prime minister Nāṣer-al-Molk and his entire cabinet in objection to the shah’s antagonism toward the Majles (parliament), which had convened in October 1906. Remaining in office until May 1908, Ḥosaynqoli Khan was increasingly overwhelmed by the rapidly escalating hostilities between the Majles and the overtly anti-constitutionalist Moḥammad-ʿAli Shah, who now counted on Russian support. The standoff between the shah and the Majles reached a breaking point following the attempted assassination of the shah by radical constitutionalists in February 1908. Ḥosaynqoli Khan was caught between courtiers wishing to unseat him (Moḡiṯ-al-Salṭana, p. 211) and the more radical Majles deputies and revolutionary councils (anjomans), who considered him a reactionary (Ḵāṭerāt III, pp. 452-53). Within weeks after his resignation in May, the Majles was bombarded by the Russian-officered Persian Cossack forces loyal to the shah (23 June 1908), and the country was soon plunged into a civil war, lasting until the following summer when the shah was ousted and succeeded by his teen-age son Ahmad. Ḥosaynqoli Khan died in August 1908, just as the civil war was getting underway; the last year of his life was also marred by the loss of his only son, Mirzā Ḥosayn Khan (Moḡiṯ-al-Salṭana, p. 200; Eqbāl Āštiāni, p. 44).

Memoirs. Ḥosaynqoli Khan’s memoirs cover the years 1858 to 1903. These have been published along with his correspondence with his nephew Reżāqoli Khan (from 1884 to 1908), to which are also appended a few letters by other relatives and by Yusuf Moḡiṯ-al-Salṭana, an aide-de-camp of Reżāqoli Khan. This collection is an invaluable source of information on political and social conditions during the reigns of the three Qajar monarchs whom Ḥosaynqoli Khan served. He was not an admirer of Nāṣer-al-Din Shah, but they maintained a cordial relationship, despite Ḥosaynqoli Khan’s concealed disdain of Amin-al-Solṭān’s influence over the shah’s court and of the prime minister’s handling of governmental affairs and his flagrant nepotism. Ḥosaynqoli Khan also disapproved of Nāṣer-al-Din Shah’s endorsement of some of the concessions Amin-al-Solṭān granted to foreign investors (Ḵāṭerāt, I, p. 216; Ḵāṭerāt III, 418-20). Ḥosaynqoli Khan considered Moẓaffar-al-Din Shah an irresolute monarch and far inferior to his father in intellect and demeanor. The shah was faulted for his coarse mannerisms and overfamiliar and vulgar interaction with his attendants and other common folk, and for treating officials and courtiers in condescending or capricious manner (Ḵāṭerāt, I, pp. 233-35, 273-74). These characteristics of the shah are also attested by other contemporaries (Amin-al-Dawla, p. 221-24; Nāẓem-al-Eslām, I, p. 131). Ḥosaynqoli Khan’s attitude toward Moḥammad-ʿAli Shah was even more scornful, having initially served that shah while the latter was crown prince and in charge of Azerbaijan province. When Ḥosaynqoli Khan was reappointed as the administrator of Azerbaijan in 1905, he wrote to his nephew that he would rather be shackled than work for such a “rogue” again; even though Ḥosaynqoli Khan ultimately accepted the appointment (Ḵāṭerāt, III, p. 352).

Spanning six decades, Ḥosaynqoli Khan’s memoirs and letters provide detailed descriptions and personal impressions of social, economic, infrastructural, and political conditions in various parts of Persia where he served, and of broader developments in general. He commented on the alliances and rivalries between various officials and/or courtiers, including Ḥosaynqoli Khan’s own involvement in a plot to unseat Amin-al-Solṭān. In addition, the memoirs and letters provide ample details of the terrain, scenery, and population of those parts of the country through which he traveled, the inter-tribal or inter-ethnic relations in different regions, various modes of transportation, local produce, trade routes, local customs, local construction styles, historical sites and monuments, as well as the expanding presence of British, Russian, and other foreign commercial interests in various parts of the country, among other range of topics.

These sources also provide valuable insight into Ḥosaynqoli Khan’s own character over time. According to many other contemporary sources, too, including Eʿtemād-al-Salṭana, who was highly critical of most officials, Ḥosaynqoli Khan was an ambitious, diligent, and honest administrator (Eʿtemād-al-Salṭana, p. 856; Afżal-al-Molk, pp. 242-49). He was a fervent patriot and a devout Muslim, with a firm belief in the divine plan. He adhered to conservative social values and, along with his brother Moḥammad-Ḥasan Khan, disapproved of the emergent trend among many of their social cohorts for imitating all things European (Ḵāṭerāt, I, pp. 212-13, 214, 221). He was well-versed in Persian classical literature and history, with his letters often punctuated by verses of poetry and aphorisms, and he was a patron of the poets Iraj Mirzā and Forṣat Širāzi (Ḵāṭerāt, III, pp. 226, 371; Afżal-al-Molk, p. 242; Eqbāl Āštiāni, pp. 49-50). Ḥosaynqoli Khan general outlook on life was pragmatic and he had a wry sense of humor, both of which are reflected in his account of a visit to the ruins of the Sasanian city of Madāʾen in Ottoman Iraq. Alluding to the well-known verse by the twelfth-century poet Ḵāqāni, in which the spectator at the ruins of Madāʾen is advised to take heed of changing fortunes and ravages of time, Ḥosaynqoli Khan wrote: “I beheld Madāʾen, but took no heed” (Ḵāṭerāt, I, p. 108).


Ḡolām-Ḥosayn Afżal-al-Molk, Afżal al-tawāriḵ, ed. M. Etteḥādiya (Neẓām Māfi) and S. Saʿdvandiān, Tehran, 1982.

ʿAli Khan Amin-al-Dawla, Ḵāṭerāt-e siāsi, ed. Ḥ. Farmānfarmāʾiān, Tehran, 1962.

Qahramān Mirzā Sālur ʿAyn-al-Salṭana, Ruznāma-ye ḵāṭerāt, ed. M. Sālur and I. Afšār, 10 vols., Tehran, 1995-2001 (continuous pagination of vols. I-X).

Mahdi Bāmdād, Šarh-e ḥāl-e rejāl-e Irān, 6 vols., Tehran, 1978.

G. N. Curzon, Persia and the Persian Question, 2 vols., 2nd ed., London, 1966.

ʿAbbās Eqbāl Āštiāni, “Ḥoseynqoli Khan Neẓām-al-Salṭana-ye Māfi,” Yādgār 3/2, 1946, pp. 31-51 (quotes directly from Neẓām-al-Salṭana’s own account, pp. 31-40).

Moḥammad-Ḥasan Khan Ṣaniʿ-al-Dawla Eʿtemād-al-Salṭana, Ruz-nāma-ye ḵāṭerāt-e Eʿtemād-al-Salṭana, ed. I. Afšār, 3rd ed., Tehran, 1977.

Manṣura Etteḥādiya (Neẓām Māfi), Peydayeš va taḥawwol-e aḥzāb-e siāsi-e mašruṭiyat, dawra-ye yekom va dovvom-e Majles-e Šurā-ye Melli, Tehran, 2nd ed., 2002.

Aḥmad Kasravi, Tāriḵ-e mašruṭa-ye Irān, 15th ed., Tehran, 1990.

Ḵāṭerāt (see under Ḥosaynqoli Khan Neẓām-al-Salṭana).

Firuz Kazemzadeh, Russia and Britain in Persia, 1864-1914: A Study in Imperialism, New Haven, 1968.

Solṭān-ʿAli Khan Māfi, Taḏkerat al-odabāʾ, unpublished M.S.

Yusof Moḡiṯ-al-Salṭana, Nāmahā-ye Yusof Moḡiṯ-al-Salṭana, ed. Maʿṣuma Neẓām Māfi, Tehran, 1983.

ʿAbd-al-Ḥosayn Malek-al-Moʾarreḵin (Lesān-al-Salṭana Sepehr), Merʾāt al-waqāyeʿ-e moẓaffari wa yāddašthā-ye Malek-al-Moʾarreḵin, ed. ʿA.-Ḥ. Navāʾi, 2 vols., Tehran, 2007.

Moẓaffar-al-Din Shah, Safar-nāma-ye mobāraka, ed. A. Dehbāši, 2nd ed., Tehran, 1982.

ʿAbd-al-Ḡaffār Najm-al-Molk, Safar-nāma-ye Ḵuzestān, ed. M. Dabirsiāqi, Tehran, 1962.

Nāẓem-al-Eslām Kermāni, Tāriḵ-e bidāri-ye Irāniān, ed. ʿA.-A. Saʿidi Sirjāni, 5 vols., Tehran 1978.

Ḥosaynqoli Khan Neẓām-al-Salṭana, Ḵāṭerāt va asnād-e Ḥosaynqoli Khan Neẓām-al-Salṭana Māfi, ed. M. Neẓām Māfi et al., 2nd ed., 3 vols. in 2, Tehran, 2007.

Pierre Oberling, The Qashqā’i Nomads of Fars, The Hague, 1974.

Percy M. Sykes, Ten Thousand Miles in Persia, London, 1902.

Moḥammad-Bāqer Voṯuqi, Barrasi-e tāriḵi, siāsi, va ejtemāʿi-e asnād-e Bandar ʿAbbās, 1226-1321, Tehran, 2008.

(Mansoureh Ettehadieh)

Originally Published: November 24, 2010

Last Updated: October 19, 2017

Cite this entry:

Mansoureh Ettehadieh, “NEẒĀM-AL-SALṬANA, ḤOSAYNQOLI KHAN,” Encyclopædia Iranica, online edition, 2017, available at (accessed on 19 October 2017).