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MUZAFFAR-ED-DIN, shah of Persia (1853-1907), the second son of Shah Nasr-ed-Dm, was born on the 25th of March 1853. He was in due course declared vali ahd, or heir-apparent, and invested with the governorship of Azerbaijan, but on the assassination of his father in 1896 it was feared that his elder brother, Zill-es-Sultan, the governor of Isfahan, might prove a dangerous rival, especially when it was remembered that Muzaffar-ed-Dln had been recalled to Teheran by his father upon his failure to suppress a Kurd rising in his province. The British and Russian governments, in order to avoid widespread disturbances, agreed however to give him their support. All opposition was thus obviated, and Muzaffar-ed-Din was duly enthroned on the 8th of June 1896, the Russian general Kosakowsky, commander of the Persian Cossacks, presiding over the ceremony with drawn sword. On this occasion the new shah announced the suppression of all purchase of civil and military posts, and then proceeded to remit in perpetuity all taxes on bread and meat, thus lightening the taxation on food, which had caused the only disturbances in the last reign. But whatever hopes may have been aroused by this auspicious beginning of the reign were soon dashed owing to the extravagance and profligacy of the court, which kept the treasury in a chronic state of depletion. Towards the end of 1896 the Amin-es-Sultan, who had been grand vizier during the last years of Nasr-ed-Dln's reign, was disgraced, and Muzaffar- edDm announced his intention of being in future his own grand vizier. The Amin-ad-Dowla, a less masterful servant, took office with the lower title of prime minister. During his short administration an elaborate scheme of reforms was drawn up on paper, and remained on paper. The treasury continued empty, and in the spring of 1898 Amin-es-Sultan was recalled with the special object of filling it. The delay of the British government in sanctioning a loan in London gave Russia her opportunity. A Russian loan was followed by the establishment of a Russian bank at Teheran, and the vast expansion of Russian influence generally. At the beginning of 1900 a fresh gold loan was negotiated with Russia, and a few months later Muzaffar-ed-Din started on a tour in Europe by way of St Petersburg, where he was received with great state. He subsequently went to Paris to visit the Exhibition of 1900, and while there an attempt on his life was made by a madman named Francois Salson. In spite of this experience the shah so enjoyed his European tour that he determined to repeat it as soon as possible. By the end of 1901 his treasury was again empty; but a fresh Russian loan replenished it and in 1902 he again came to Europe, paying on this occasion a state visit to England. On his way back he stopped at St Petersburg, and at a banquet given in his honour by the tsar toasts were exchanged of unmistakable significance. None the less, during his visit to King Edward VII. the shah had been profuse in his expressions of friendship for Great Britain, and in the spring of 1903 a special mission was sent to Teheran to invest him with the Order of the Garter.

The shah's misguided policy had created widespread disaffection in the country, and the brunt of popular disfavour fell on the atabeg (the title by which the Amin-es-Sultan was now known), who was once more disgraced in September 1903. The war with Japan now relaxed the Russian pressure on Teheran, and at the same time dried up the source of supplies; and the clergy, giving voice to the general misery and discontent, grew more and more outspoken in their denunciations of the shah's misrule. Nevertheless Muzaffar-ed-Dm defied public opinion by making another journey to Europe in 1905; but, though received with the customary distinction at St Petersburg, he failed to obtain further supplies. In the summer of 1906 popular discontent culminated in extraordinary demonstrations at Teheran, which practically amounted to a general strike. The shah was forced to yield, and proclaimed a liberal constitution, the first parliament being opened by him on the 12th of October 1906. Muzaffar-ed-Din died on the 8th of January 1907, being succeeded by his son Mahommed Ali Mirza.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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