On July 16, 1831, Nasir-ed-Din (Nasirudin) Qajar was born, the first modern Persian shah to visit Europe. It belonged to the once powerful Qajar dynasty, which ruled Persia from 1785 to 1925. This dynasty was originally of Turkish origin, but was later Iranianized. Nasir-ed-Din was one of the longest reigning rulers in more than 2,500 years of Persian history. Namely, he ruled for almost half a century, from 1848 to 1896.
Nasir-ed-Din Qajar was the first modern Persian chess to visit Europe. He traveled there on three occasions: in 1873, 1878 and 1889. He met with Queen Victoria of Britain and attended various ceremonies in Europe.
On the domestic political front, Nasir-ed-Din initially acted as a reformer, but over time he became increasingly conservative. He managed to diminish the secular influence of the clergy and introduced some technological advances such as the telegraph system, newspapers, Western-type schools, etc. However, he contracted a number of deals with foreign companies that were unfavorable to his country and stuffed most of the profits into his own pocket. As a result, his popularity declined from year to year. His uncompromising attitude toward all attempts at reform led to the strengthening of nationalist forces in the country and ultimately to the Shah’s assassination in 1896.