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The Zand dynasty partly replaced the Safavid dynasty of Persia. It is considered to be founded by Karim Khan in 1750, even though Karim did not assume the title of Shah or ruler, The Zand dynasty was contemporary with Afsharid rule. The Zand dynasty made its capital in Shiraz. Initially, it ruled southwestern Persia while the Afsharid dynasty rued the north west.

1750: Karim Khan establishes  power.

1757: Karim Khan makes the infant son of the last Safavid king, Ismail III, himself vakil (regent).

1775: Karim successfully attacks Basra.

1779: Death of Karim Khan.

1794: Mohammad Khan Qajar defeats Lotf Ali Khan at Kerman.


Zand Shahs

Karim Khan, 17501779
Abol Fath Khan, 1779
Mohammad Ali Khan, 1779
Sadiq Khan, 17791782
Ali Murad Khan, 17821785
Jafar Khan, 17851789
Lotf Ali Khan, 17891794

Ami Isseroff

October 30, 2010


Synonyms and alternate spellings: Sasanid, Sassanian

Further Information:: Persia  

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Encyclopedia of the Middle East

Note - This encyclopedia is a work in progress. It is far from complete and is being constructed and improved all the time. If you would like to contribute articles or expansions of existing articles, please contact news (at) mideastweb.org.  Suggestions and corrections are welcome. The concise version of this dictionary is at our Middle East Glossary.

Spelling - Spelling of words in Middle-Eastern languages is often arbitrary. There may be many variants of the same name or word such as Hezbollah, Hizbolla, Hisbolla or Husayn and Hussein. There are some conventions for converting words from Semitic languages such as Arabic and Hebrew There are numerous variant renderings of the same Arabic or Hebrew words, such as "Hizbollah," "Hisbulla" etc. It is not possible to find exact equivalents for several letters. 

Pronunciation - Arabic and Hebrew vowels are pronounced differently than in English. "o" is very short. The "a" is usually pronounced like the "a" in market, sometimes as the "a" in "Arafat."  The " 'A " is guttural.  " 'H "- the 'het ('Hirbeh, 'Hebron, 'Hisbollah') designates a sound somewhat similar to the ch in "loch" in Scots pronunciation, but made by touching the back of your tongue to the roof of your mouth. The CH should be pronounced like Loch, a more assertive consonant than 'het.

The "Gh" combination, and sometimes the "G," designate a deep guttural sound that Westerners may hear approximately as "r." The "r" sound is always formed with the back of the tongue, and is not like the English "r."

More information: Hebrew, Arabic

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