1688-1747, shah of IRAN (1736-47), founder of the Afshar dynasty. After victories over the Afghans and the Turks, he became shah by deposing (1736) the last of the Safavid dynasty. He successfully invaded India in 1739; the great treasures he carried off included the Peacock Throne and the Koh-i-noor diamond. He greatly extended Iran's territory.

The [world's] largest diamond is not as big as it should be because Queen Victoria had it cut down radically. It's now in the Tower of London and it's about the size of a small plum. The name itself, Koh-I-Noor, is Persian and comes from 1739 when the Persian army invaded India and reached Delhi. What they were after was treasure. At that point, it wasn't called the Koh-I-Noor diamond.

The Persian invader Nadir Shah particularly wanted this diamond and so he arranged a big ceremony with the Moghul Emperor of India where he agreed that the Emperor could control India as a kind of vassal state. He had received word from his spies that the diamond was hidden in the Moghul Emperor's turban so, as a part of this agreement, he suggested that they swap turbans. You can imagine the Moghul Emperor's face when he realized that he was caught in this trap, because he knew what was inside his turban. They exchanged turbans and then as soon as the ceremony was over, Nadir Shah rushed away and unwrapped his turban and out rolled this magnificent diamond, and he was said to exclaim, "Koh-i-Noor" which means "mountain of light."



Last modified 21 November 2000

Last modified 8 June 2007