Eight Facts About the Shah of Iran

Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the last leader to hold the title of "Shah".
Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the last leader to hold the title of "Shah".

The heart of the Middle East antiquity, the First Persian (Iranian) Empire was founded by Cyrus the Great in 550 after he took Babylon from the Babylonians. Since then, Iran's long and turbulent history had many rulers, kings, and emperors. We refer to them as "Shah of Iran."

Is Iran The Same As Persia?

The term Persia is an exonym: it is an external name for the country given by people speaking a different language. Iranians never really referred to Iran by that name: they knew it as Iran or Iranshahr, which is the name of the country in Persian.

In 1935 the ruler of Iran asked foreign delegates to use the term Iran. Since then, the word "Iran" has become more common in the Western World. Also, the usage of the terms for Iranian nationality changed, and the usual adjective for citizens of Iran went from "Persian" to "Iranian." In 1959, the government of Iran announced that both "Persia" and "Iran" could officially be used interchangeably. 

What Does The Word Shah Mean?

Persian Empire, which included many kingdoms and nations, had many various names for its rulers: Calif, Emir, Sultan, Amir, Bey, Khan. In the 15th century, "Shah" (pronounced [ʃɒːh]), meaning "King of a specific kingdom," became the continuously used term. Some regional monarchs were even recorded in history by a contraction of the kingdom's name with "shah" such as Khwarezmshah or the Shirvanshah.

Curious Inventions By The Shahs of The Iran Empire?

Darius the Great created the first taxation system as a way to generate revenue for his infrastructure projects. The Royal Road of Persia, he constructed, was used to create the world's first postal service. 

Persians invented trousers, and the word "pajama" is their creation: while the rest of the ancient world was running around in long flowing robes and togas, the Persians were sitting comfortably in pants! They also gave us paradise, or at least the word: it is derived from the Avestan word "paridaiza," meaning enclosed garden. 

Is There A Shah In Iran In The 21st Century?

Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, Shahanshah of Iran, was the last ruler to hold the title of Shah from 1941 to 1979. His exile in 1979 ended 2,500 years of monarchy in Iran, replaced by an Islamic system that is still in charge today.

The life of the last Shah certainly wasn't ordinary or boring! Born in 1919 and educated in Switzerland, Pahlavi was just 22 when he ascended to the throne. The previous Shah ruled in Iran for almost three decades during the most turbulent time in the 20th century. He is still one of the most disputed figures in contemporary Middle Eastern history. 

What Were The Family Members Of a Shah Called?

The first wife of the Emperor was called Shahbanu, Empress. A prince or princess was called Shahzada: the term derived from Shah using the Persian patronymic suffix -zādeh or -zāda, "born from" or a "descendant of."

Who Is The Most Famous Fictional Shah In The World?

Arabian Nights, or 1000 and 1 nights of Scheherazade, is the most well-known collection of the Middle East tales and folklore. Shahryar of the Arabian Nights is the fictional Persian Shah, who is told stories by his wife for 1001 nights. 

What Does Shah Have To Do With Chess?

Checkmate it the ultimate sign of victory in contemporary society, but its roots come from the Persians. The phrase "Shah Mat" meant "the King is dead," or "the King is helpless," and was used by the Persians in their game ''chatrang'', the ancestor to chess. When the Moors conquered the Iberian Peninsula, the chess was brought to Europe and the endgame declaration was transliterated to "checkmate." 

Is There A Message From The Shah Of Iran On The Moon?

In 1969, the last Shah of Iran, Mohammad Reza, sent one of 73 Apollo 11 Goodwill Messages to NASA for the first lunar landing. The message still rests on the lunar surface today. He stated: "we pray the Almighty God to guide mankind towards ever-increasing success in the establishment of culture, knowledge and human civilization." 


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