Although it was not until A.D. 1736 that Nádir deemed it expedient to take the title of King, he became from A.D. 1730 onwards the de facto ruler of Persia. Of his humble origin and early struggles it is unnecessary to speak here; they will be found narrated as fully as the circumstances permit in the pages of Hanway, Malcolm and other historians of Persia. Sháh Ṭahmásp was from Incapacity of Ṭahmásp. the first but a roi fainéant, and his only serious attempt to achieve anything by himself, when he took the field against the Turks in A.D. 1731, resulted in a disastrous failure, for he lost both Tabríz and Hamadán, and in January, 1732, concluded a most un­favourable peace, whereby he ceded Georgia and Armenia to Turkey on condition that she should aid him to expel the Russians from Gílán, Shírwán and Darband. Nádir, greatly incensed, came to Iṣfahán in August, 1732, and, having by a stratagem seized and imprisoned Ṭahmásp, proclaimed his infant son (then only six months old) as 'Abbas III pro­claimed King. king under the title of Sháh 'Abbás III, and at once sent a threatening letter to Aḥmad Páshá of Baghdád, which he followed up by a declara­tion of war in October.

In April of the following year (1733) Nádir appeared before Baghdád, having already retaken Kirmánsháh, with Further suc­cesses of Nádir. an army of 80,000 men, but suffered a defeat on July 18, and retired to Hamadán to recruit and recuperate his troops. Returning to the attack in the autumn he defeated the Turks on October 26 in a great battle wherein the gallant and noble-minded Ṭopál 'Osmán ('Uthmán) was slain. Having crushed a revolt in favour of the deposed Sháh Ṭahmásp in Fárs, he invaded Georgia in 1734, took Tiflís, Ganja and Shamákhí, and obtained from Russia the retrocession of Gílán, Shír-wán, Darband, Bákú and Rasht. In the following year (1735) he again defeated the Turks near Erivan, and captured that city and Erzeroum.

On the following Nawrúz, or Persian New Year's day (March 21, 1736), Nádir announced to the assembled army Nádir pro­claimed King. and deputies of the nation the death of the infant Sháh 'Abbás III and invited them to decide within three days whether they would restore his father, the deposed Sháh Ṭahmásp, or elect a new king. His own desire, which coincided with that of most of his officers and soldiers, was evident, and, the unwilling minority being overawed, the crown of Persia was unanimously offered to him. He agreed to accept it on three conditions, namely: (1) that it should be made hereditary in his family; (2) that there should be no talk of a restoration of the Ṣafawís, and that no one should aid, comfort, or harbour any member of that family who might aspire to the throne; and (3) that the cursing of the first three Caliphs, the mourning for the death of the Imám Ḥusayn, and other distinctive practices of the Shí'a should be abandoned. This last condition was the most distasteful to the Persians, and the chief ecclesiastical authority, being asked his opinion, had the courage to denounce it as “derogatory to the welfare of the true believers”—a courage which cost him his life, for he was immediately strangled by Nádir's orders. Not content with this, Nádir, on his arrival at Qazwín, confiscated the religious endowments (awqáf) for the expenses of his army, to whom, he said, Persia owed more than to her hierarchy. Towards the end of the year he concluded a favourable treaty with Turkey, by which Persia recovered all her lost provinces; and in December he set out at the head of 100,000 men against Afghánistán and India, leaving his son Riḍá-qulí as regent.

The next two years (A.D. 1737-9) witnessed Nádir Sháh's greatest military achievement, the invasion of India, capture Nádir's Indian campaign (A.D. 1737-1739). of Lahore and Delhi, and return home with the enormous spoils in money and kind which he exacted from the unfortunate Indians, and which Hanway * estimates at £87,500,000. Having taken Qandahár, Kábul and Peshawur in 1738, he crossed the Indus early in the following year, captured Lahore, and in February, 1739, utterly defeated the Indian army of Muḥammad Sháh, two hundred thousand strong, on the plains of Karnál. Delhi was peaceably occupied, but a few days later a riot occurred in which some of Nádir's soldiers were killed, and he avenged their blood by a general massacre of the inhabitants which lasted from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m., and in which 110,000 persons perished. He never dreamed of holding India, and, having extorted the enormous indemnity mentioned above and left the unhappy Muḥam-mad Sháh in possession of his throne, with a threat that he would return again if necessary, he began his homeward march in May, turning aside to chastise the predatory Uzbeks of Khiva and Bukhárá, which latter town he captured on November 28, 1739.

During the absence of Nádir Sháh his son Riḍá-qulí had put to death the unfortunate Ṭahmásp and most of his Nádir's son Riḍá-qulí rebels and is blinded. family at Sabzawár, and began to show signs of desiring to retain the powers with which he had been temporarily invested by his father. Being suspected of instigating an unsuccessful attempt on Nádir's life, he was deprived of his eyesight, but with this cruel act the wonderful good fortune which had hitherto accompanied Nádir's views on religion. Nádir began to desert him. His increasing cruelty, tyranny, avarice and extortion, but most of all, perhaps, his attempt to impose on his Persian subjects the Sunní doctrine, made him daily more detested. His innovations included the production of Persian translations of the Qur'án and the Gospels. The latter, on which several Christians were employed, he caused to be read aloud to him at Ṭihrán, while he commented on it with derision, and hinted that when he found leisure he might (perhaps after the model of Akbar) produce a new religion of his own which should supplant alike Judaism, Christianity and Islám. * His military projects, moreover, began to miscarry; his campaign against the Lazgís in A.D. 1741-2 did not prosper, and in the war with Turkey in which he became involved in 1743 he was unsuccessful in his attempt to take Mosul (Mawṣil). Revolts which broke out in Fárs and Shírwán were only suppressed with difficulty after much bloodshed. However he put down a rebellion of the Qájárs at Astarábád in A.D. 1744, defeated the Turks in a great battle near Erivan in August, 1745, and concluded a satisfactory peace with them in 1746. In the following year Nádir Sháh visited Kirmán, which suffered much from his cruelties and exactions, and thence proceeded to Mashhad, where he arrived at the end of May, 1747. Here he conceived the abominable plan of killing all his Persian officers and soldiers (the bulk of his army being Turkmáns and Uzbeks and consequently Sunnís), but this project was made known by a Georgian slave to some of the Persian officers, who thereupon decided, in the picturesque Persian phrase, “to breakfast off him ere he should sup off them.” A certain Ṣáliḥ Beg, aided by four trusty men, undertook the task, * and, entering his tent by night, rid their country of one who, though he first Assassination of Nádir (June 20, 1747). appeared as its deliverer from the Afghán yoke, now bade fair to crush it beneath a yoke yet more intolerable. At the time of his death Nádir Sháh was sixty-one years of age and had reigned eleven years and three months (A.D. 1736-47). He was Chaos suc­ceeding Nádir's death. succeeded by his nephew 'Alí-qulí Khán, who assumed the crown under the title of 'Ádil Sháh, but was defeated and slain by his brother Ibráhím in the following year. He in turn was killed a year later (A.D. 1749) by the partisans of Nádir's grandson Sháhrukh, the son of the unfortunate Riḍá-qulí and a Ṣafawí princess, the daughter of Sháh Husayn, who now succeeded to the throne. Youth, beauty and a character at once amiable and humane * did not, however, secure him against misfortune, and he was shortly after his accession deposed and blinded by a certain Sayyid Muḥammad, a grandson on the mother's side of the Ṣafawí Sháh Sulay-mán II. He in turn soon fell a victim to the universal violence and lawlessness which now prevailed in Persia, and Sháhrukh was restored to the throne, but again de­posed and again restored to exercise a nominal rule at Mashhad over the province of Khurásán, which Aḥmad Khán Abdálí (afterwards famous as Aḥmad Sháh Durrání, the founder of the modern kingdom of Afghánistán) desired, before leaving Persia, to erect into a buffer state between that country and his own. The remainder of the blind Sháhrukh's long reign was uneventful, and he survived until A.D. 1796, having reigned nearly fifty years.