The government of Naser al-Din Shah of 18/06/1866


Naser al-Din Shah Qajar (1831-1896), King of Persia
Naser al-Din Shah Qajar (1831-1896)

On 18 June 1866, Tinco Lycklama witnesses an important event in Persian politics: the formation of a new government. Coincidence?

Over a year earlier, in April 1865, the ruler of Persia Naser al-Din Shah had dismissed his cabinet of ministers and ran the empire with just a handful of close collaborators. In that same month, Tinco left Paris and embarked on his memorable voyage.

Despite the fact that Persia was top of his mind, it took Tinco a year before setting foot in the country. Actually, he leisurely spent the winter in Tbilisi (Georgia), and had no obvious urge to move on. However, early April 1866, he suddenly packed his bags and had to reach Tehran as quickly as he could.

So today, on 18/06/1866, the Shah appoints a new government. Some of its members are his long-time trusted advisors. Others are new and will play a major role in the years to come. The government under Naser al-Din Shah is generally considered conservative and quite autocratic. However, significant change is occurring. The country is keen on importing innovations from Europe, such as modern transportation and communications. Early industrialization of certain sectors of the economy starts to take shape. The new government incarnates these changes.

Over 1866-67, Tinco spends over six months in and around Tehran. He got very close to the tight political and diplomatic community. Though he talks only briefly about it, he develops a close relationship with one key member of the Shah’s new cabinet – Ali Quli Mirza. Besides being his great-uncle, this many is arguably also the Shah’s most trusted advisor – as minister of commerce, and assuming many other responsibilities. One should wonder why such a powerful politician and Qajar family member would spend his time on an ‘insignificant’ Dutch tourist – and even maintain correspondence after Tinco’s return to Europe.

Tinco Lycklama doesn’t specify any other particular encounter with members of the Shah’s cabinet. However, it is inconceivable that it did not occur. In fact, one anecdote illustrates this opinion. In September 1866, the Shah’s aide-de-camp conveys the Shah’s curiosity that Tinco had not yet asked for an audience with the Shah himself – despite having become a real presence on Tehran’s political and diplomatic scene. That meeting took place – but interestingly it was sort of requested by the Shah himself.

The list below provides us with the names and titles of the government’s ministers. We highlight their ‘modern’ names, followed by the spelling as given by Tinco Lycklama. We also provide some relevant links to online profiles for these people (some names require further clarification and we will update as we progress).


The cabinet appointed by Naser al-Din Shah on 18/06/1866…

  • Aziz Khan Mokri (1792-1871)Aziz Khan Mokri (1792-1871), Sardar-e Koll, Minister of War
    • Aziz Khan, Serdar-Koll, (Ministre de la Guerre)
    • See Iranica Online…, Wikipedia..
    • NOTE: he was replaced before November 1866 by Méhemmed Khan, Sepeh Sala Azem


  • Mirza Yousof, Mostowfi al-Mamalek, Finance Minister
    • Mostofi-ol-Memalek, (Ministre des Finances, Grand-Maître de la garde-robe, Directeur du timbre et des écuries royales), Mirza Youssouf
    • Genealogy on Geni…

  • Dost ‘Ali Khan, Muayyar ul-Mamaluk, Lord Treasurer
    • Moayir-ol-Memalek, (Contrôleur-général des Finances, Directeur de la Monnaie), Doust-Ali-Khan.
    • Genealogy on Geni…

  • Anoushirvan Khan Qajar Qovanlou (xxxx-1868)Anoushirvan Khan Qajar Qovanlu (xxxx-1868), Eyn ol-Molk, Etezad od-Doleh, Khan Salar
    • Etezod-ed-Doulet, (Grand-Maître d’hôtel, chef de la tribu des Kadjars), Eyin-ol-Molk.
    • See Qajarpedia…


  • Emam Qoli Mirza (1814-1875, governor of KermanshahAli Quli Mirza (1822-1880), I’tizad us-Sultana, Minister of Commerce
    • Etezad-es-Saltanet, (Ministre du Commerce et de l’Instruction publique, des manufactures, de l’imprimerie et des télégraphes), prince Ali-Kouli-Mirza.


  • Mirza Sa’id Khan Ansari (1816-1884), Motamen olMolkForeign Minister
    • Mirza Saïd Khan, Ministre des affaires étrangères, Directeur des chemins de fer et chargé des affaires relatives aux sujets professant un autre culte que l’Islamisme, Mirza-Said-Khan
    • See Wikipedia (German)…

  • Haji Muhammad Nasir Khan-e Qajar Devehlu, Zahir ud-Daula
    • Zéhir-ed-Doulet, (Ministre de la Maison-Royale, Introducteur des ambassadeurs, Surintendant du Harem, des travaux publics et des postes, Référendaire des affaires relatives aux princes et au clergé musulman), Méhemmed-Khan.
    • Genealogy on Geni…


  • Mirza Hosein Khan (1828-1881), Moshir od-Dowleh
    • Debir-ol-Molk, (Secrétaire-Général du Chah, Administrateur des domaines royaux, Directeur des postes et chemins de fer de la province d’Aderbeidjân), Mirza-Hosséin-Khan.
    • See Wikipedia…

  • Haji Muhammad Quli Khan-e Qajar Devehlu (died 1871), Asaf ud-Daula, Minister of Justice
    • Sepehdar, (Ministre de la Justice), Hadji-Méhemmed-Kouli-Khan.
    • Genealogy on Geni…

  • Haj Ali Khan Moghaddam Maraghei (1807-1867), E’temad os-Saltaneh, Minister of Pensions and Pious Endowments


  • Pasha Khan, Amin ol Molk
    • Emin-ol-Molk, (Garde des sceaux et Conseiller intime), Pacha-Khan.
    • Genealogy on Geni…

  • Emim-Khelvet., (Surintendant du service du palais), Mirza-Hashem-Khan.

  • Grand-Maître des cérémonies, Mohammed-Nassir-Khan.


Tinco Lycklama and the “Ecole des langues orientales” in Paris

“Le baron Lycklama fut un savant et un lettré. Il connaissait et parlait toutes les langues d’Europe, avait des notions étendues sur les langues mortes et étonnait par la variété de ses connaissances en toutes choses.”

Bibliotheque imperiale en 1862 - source Le Magasin Pittoresque
La Bibliothèque Impériale à Paris en 1862 (source: Le Magasin Pittoresque)

This is what Jean Hibert, the mayor of Cannes, tells us in his funerary speech at the occasion of Tinco’s death (in December 1900, see source…). Tinco’s knowledge of languages may be exaggerated. Pending further research, we can assume that he was fluent in Dutch, French, English and German. He also gained solid notions of arabic languages and even Farsi. But, we also find in his travel diaries that Tinco required assistance from interpreters at many occasions.

A very interesting chapter in Tinco’s life is his time in Paris – and we still know extremely little about it. It is interesting, because it will provide us with answers to many question marks. What did he do in Paris? Who did he meet? What relationships did he develop? To what extent did it influence the course of his life?

Let’s remember that Tinco Lycklama set off from Paris for his “grand tour” (1865-1868), which took him via Russia and the Caucasus to Persia and the Middle East. In addition, Tinco writes that he spent the years prior to this trip mostly in Paris (rather than at home, in The Netherlands). Based on the records we currently hold, his time in Paris can be situated between the middle of 1861 (after quitting the university of Groningen) and early 1865 (the start of his travel). We’re researching many traces which will soon produce factual information.

One of the critical pieces of the puzzle about Tinco’s time in Paris may prove to be the “Ecole des langues orientales“.

On 30 March 1795, the French  Convention issued a decree which created a “public school, destined to teach living oriental languages, for the benefits of politics and commerce”. Thus, the “Ecole de langues orientales vivantes” was born, and it was located at the National Library.

From his private correspondence, we know that Tinco Lycklama attended this Ecole des langues orientales – based since 1862 at the Biblothèque Impériale, in the rue Richelieu. We currently don’t have documentary proof about the exact dates. In his own writings, Tinco refers profusively to articles and books written by teachers at this school. It is more than likely that Tinco knew them well. The number of students at this school was relatively small and the relationship between teachers and students must have been close. The teachers were eminent and reputed scholars with strong contacts with scientists and influential people around Europe. They were also involved in other learned societies which Tinco later associated with – such as the Société de Géographie and the Société d’Ethnographie.

Though Tinco Lycklama never refers to him, he must have been well acquainted with Charles Schefer – one of the iconic personalities in the history of the school. From 1857 onwards, Schefer was actually teacher of Persian, and in 1867 he became the director of the school and remained in that position until his death in 1898.

A better understanding of this institution, including its teachers and its scientific network amongst the orientalists of that day across Europe, may provide us with additional information about the life and work of Tinco Lycklama. We will focus research on the teachers involved with languages and sciences that were relevant to Tinco’s interests. This may take us also to Algiers, for instance. We have no records for this, yet, but Tinco affirms in his own writing that he made at least two trips to Algiers. This must have occurred during his time in Paris, and therefor it makes sense to look at who may have been involved in these trips. And, indeed, we do find a teacher of Algerian Arabic at the Ecole des langues orientales – the naturalized Irishman William McGuckin (baron de Slane). This is but one example, and only a hypothetical one. But, to discover the life of Tinco and to answer the many question marks, we’ll examine all these traces one by one.



Directors of the “Ecole des langues orientales”

(A full overview can be found on (the French version of) Wikipedia… Hereunder only an abstract of directors that Tinco may/must have met during his lifetime)


(Overview of relevant teachers during the time of Tinco’s studies at the Ecole…)



  • Tableau des Professeurs de l’Ecole des langues orientales depuis sa fondation. Published November 1883. Historical overview about the Ecole de Langues Orientales since its inception (1795) til 1883 – produced at the occasion of the international congress of orientalists at Leiden (NL) which was held in September 1883 (Sixième Congrès International des Orientalistes réuni à Leyde). The overview includes the teachers and directors of the school. (Source: Gallica/BnF)
  • Illustration and description of the Bibliothèque Impériale in “Magasin Pittorèsque”, 1862… Bibliotheque Impériale

Additional literature…

Foreign Legations in Persia in 1866-67

Inventory of the personnel of the foreign legations in Persia in 1866-1867. This page will be updated regularly. The sources used are mentioned at the bottom. Personalities mentioned by Tinco Lycklama in his travel diaries are marked with .

(The abbreviation “E.e. et M. Pl.” is French practice and stands for “Envoyé extraordinaire et Ministre plénipotentiaire”. Some names have been enriched with information stemming from our research. This inventory is non-exhaustive. Corrections and suggestions are welcome)

The personalities


  • Tehran
    • Jacques-Adolphe Cousseau, comte de Massignac (1815-1879), E. e. et M. Pl. (appointed 05/10/1864, accredited 30/11/1865) 
      • Replaced in March 1867 by Ernest de Bonnières de Wierre (1825-1909) (see Geni…)
    • Louis Julien Emilien, comte de Rochechouart (1831-1879), secretary (3rd class) (see Geni…)
    • André Théodore Pichon (1805-1891), attaché (see Geni…)
    • Jean-Baptiste Nicolas (xxxx-1875), 1st drogman
    • Amedée Querry (1825-1900), chancelier 
    • Emile Charles Bernay (1841- ), commis de chancellerie 
    • In 1867…
      • Le Roy, attaché
  • Consulates
    • In Tabriz: Ernest Crampon, acting consul
      • Replaced by Amedée Querry in 1869
    • In Resht: Jean-Baptiste Nicolas, honorary consul


  • Tehran
    • Charles Alison (1810-1872), E.e. and M. Pl. (appointed 07/04/1860) 
    • Ronald Ferguson Thomson (1830-1888), secretary (see Geni…) (E.e. and M. Pl. 1879-1887)
    • William John Dickson (1826-1900), Oriental secretary  (see Wikipedia…)
    • August Henry Mounsey (1834-1882), 2nd secretary  (see Wikipedia…)
    • C.W. Lawrence, 2nd secretary
    • J.R.L. Dickson, doctor (Dr. Joseph Dickson – physician to the legation 1848-1887?)
    • Andrew Glen, interpretor and vice-consul
  • Consultates
    • In Tabriz: Keith Edward Abbott (1814-1873), consul general (see Wikipedia…)
    • In Resht: William George Abbott, consul general (see Geni…)


  • Tehran
    • Nicolas de Giers (1820-1895), E.e. et M. Pl. (appointed 01/08/1863)
    • Ivan Alekseevich Zinoviev (1835–1917), 1st secretary 
    • Serchputowski, 2nd secretary
    • Vasily Sevryugin, 1st drogman
    • Basile Amiroff, 2nd drogman
  • Consulates
    • In Astrabad: Goussew, consul
    • In Gilan: Nicolai Pavlov (Pauloff), consul
    • In Tabriz: Valérien Bézobrazow, consul general


  • Tehran
  • Consulates
    • In Kirmanshah: Méhémmed Bey, consul
    • In Tabriz: Ahmed Ilmi Effendi, consul


  • Vacancies at the consular agencies of Resht, Bandat Bushir, Tabriz and Tehran



  • Almanach de Gotha: annuaire généalogique, diplomatique et statistique pour l’année 1867, published November 1866 by Justus Perthes, Gotha. (see link…)
  • Almanach de Gotha: annuaire généalogique, diplomatique et statistique pour l’année 1868, published November 1867 by Justus Perthes, Gotha. (see link…)
  • Amédée Querry : drogman en Perse au milieu du XIXe siècle, by Florence Hellot-Bellier, Paris, 2009