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Anglo–Persian War (1856)


War occasioned by Iran's seizure of Herat.

In March 1856, the government of Iran's Qajar monarch, Naser al-Din Shah (ruled 18481896), dispatched a military force to capture Herat, a city in western Afghanistan whose control had been a source of contention between the Afghans and Iranians since Afghanistan asserted its independence from Iran in the mid-eighteenth century. After a long siege, Herat surrendered to the Iranians in October 1856. The capture of Herat prompted Great Britain, which had long opposed Iran's claims to the city, to declare war. Actual hostilities between Iranian and British forces were limited, but Britain captured Kharg Island in the Persian Gulf and landed a military contingent at the port of Bushehr. Iran sued for peace, but the British captured the port of Khorramshahr before negotiations were completed. Under the terms of the Treaty of Paris of March 1857, Iran agreed to evacuate Herat, renounce all claims to the city, and recognize the independence of Afghanistan.

see also herat; kharg island; naser al-din shah; paris, treaty of (1857).


Rawlinson, Sir Henry. England and Russia in the East: A Series of Papers on the Political and Geographical Condition of Central Asia, edited by Denis Sinor. New York: Praeger, 1970.

Eric Hooglund

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